Mayor, Democrats come to agreement on city budget ahead of meeting
Councillors pass funding for more police
Last Updated: 55 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The mayor’s office and Democrats came to an agreement on a city-county budget ahead of Monday night’s City-County Council meeting.
The budget was approved during Monday night's meeting, hours after Mayor Greg Ballard and city Democrats were able to work out a budget that agreed with everyone.
The deal includes borrowing funds from three areas and re-paying those funds. The agreement also includes hiring 30 more police officers for the city police department, which will be in addition to the 50 positions the city announced recently that IMPD would be adding in 2014. Funding will also be provided for IMPD raises identical to an offer accepted by IFD leadership.
"This agreement achieves my goals of adding a second IMPD recruit class and avoiding months of budget debates that shake confidence in the city's fiscal ability," Mayor Ballard said. "This deal is not perfect, as it delays long-term fiscal questions to 2015, but it will provide the necessary revenue to hire new police officers and continue making the necessary investments that make Indy a great place to live, work and raise a family."
Some members of the Fraternal Order of Police said the budget will put more officers on the street, but it will not solve the public safety concern.
"Tonight what we're proposing is we'll hire 80 for the 100 that we lose, we're still short. I'm not good at math, but that is less officers than we have today, and today we're hundreds short," FOP Vice President Rick Snyder said. "Before you can even talk about hiring more officers, you have to be able to take care of the ones that you have, and don't forget they're the ones that have been carrying the load and doing the work of a department that is a third less officers than what it should be."
The deal also concedes the Homestead Tax Credit to Democrats, which is something Ballard wanted to get rid of but Democrats wished to keep in the deal. Due to this, officials said the budget faced a $15 million deficit in order to add a second IMPD recruit class and pay police raises.
Officials said this compromise agreement closes the gap by taking a one-time loan of $6.9 million from the Fiscal Stability fund, using $2.4 million from the "rainy day" fund and spending $5.7 million in funds leftover in an escrow account to pay possible claims stemming from the transfer of water utilities to Citizens Energy Group.
"From the beginning, the budget debate has been pretty heated. But at the end of the day, we all agree that we want to have a compromise and do what's best for the city. We wanted to assure that the budget was completely funded. The members of the council wanted to assure that we had dollars available to fund additional officers and honor the contracts," said Council President Maggie Lewis.
The budget agreement does not pull funding from the Parking Meter Fund, which is dedicated to infrastructure improvements or funding from the Information Services Agency budget.
Only two lawmakers voted against the compromised budget while 26 lawmakers were in favor.
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