Thursday, September 19, 2013

IMPD Budget Recap - It's Probably Not What You Expected

Last night's budget hearing for IMPD was quite well attended.  For those who missed it, let me recap.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, Police Chief Richard Hite, and Public Safety Deputy Director Valerie Washington present limited IMPD budget numbers; noting only that the money flowing to IMPD from one fund (the IMPD General Fund) would remain the same, at $187m.  

In 2014, the want to hire 35 civilians to take over duties now conducted by sworn Officers, allowing those Officers to return to patrol duties.  They also want to set up a recruit class of 50 new hires.  That, combined with 10 civilian hires this year, make the 90 new sworn Officers that is being bandied about in the media today.

But, in order to accomplish all of this, they need to have their budget cut by $5.65 m.

Now, I know you want to go back and re-read that last sentence.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

Yes the IMPD budget is being reduced by $5.65 million.  This includes a $7.09 million decrease in salaries from the current year budget.  No wonder they glossed over all the numbers except that one fund's expenditure total.

So you say, but Pat, what about the $1.4 million in fees to be charged the Officers for use of their take-home cars?  Well, I assume that's in the budget somewhere, but there is  no line that says 'fuel surcharge fee' in the numbers available to the public.  And, all I can say is, what one hand giveth, the other taketh away.

And you say, but Pat, what about the two tax hikes the Council gave the CIB - the increased ticket tax and car rental taxes?  Wasn't the first year's $6m supposed to go to IMPD and IFD?  And, after that isn't 25% of those increases to continue to flow to IMPD and IFD?  Why, yes, that's true.  But the year began on March 1, so the is only two months of 100% CIB 'public safety' revenue in 2014 and the rest is at 25% - so maybe $1m to IMPD. 

But, Pat, you say, what about the proposed increase in the old IPD Tax District?  Isn't that assumed in the 2014 that is on the table?  Why, yes - yes it is.  I know they say it will net about $3 million in additional funds, but the additional revenue IMPD collects is only $1.6 m.  And it actually should show up as a decrease in the property tax circuit breaker.  But that number is just about the same as it was for the 2013 budget.  So, you got me.  I'm sure its in there.  Yet again, what one hand giveth, the other taketh away.

What about the $9 million that is supposed to come from elimination of the Local Homestead Credit?  Surely that's in the IMPD budget.  Ryan Vaughn and Troy Riggs are all over the media saying that if that credit isn't eliminated then the IMPD budget will lose $9 million and there could be no new hires next year if that happens.  Well, this one gets a 'not really'.  Should the Local Homestead Credit be eliminated, the IMPD budget would actually go down about $300,000.  IMPD is better off if its not eliminated.  The elimination frees up County Option Income Tax revenue, but IMPD doesn't see a penny of that money.

Lets add up all the new money that the Mayor Ballard, Vaughn and Riggs imply is in the IMPD budget, shall we?  $1.4 million in fuel surcharge fee, $1 million from the CIB, $1.6 million or $3 million from expanding the old IPD Taxing District, and the $9 million from eliminating the Local Homestead Credit - sounds like $13 million to $14.4 million more money to IMPD, doesn't it?

But - nope.  No $14 million more for IMPD.  The 2014 budget really is $5.65 million less than 2013.

Its all a game to use public safety to secure public support for this round of tax changes. 


Anonymous said...

The really, really sad part about all of this BS is that our so called media doesn't do their due diligence and explore the issues but rather just regurgitates 'sound bits' from the 25th floor.

Anonymous said...

I believe the fuel surcharge only kicks in if gas prices reach a certain ppg threshold.