IBJNews

Ballard to nix parts of council budget

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Mayor Greg Ballard plans to sign a $1 billion budget plan approved by the Indianapolis City-County Council earlier this month, but only after using his line-item veto powers to kill major portions of it, including the council’s plan to recruit a new class of police and firefighters.

“We’ve been in pretty intense and repeated discussions with the council over the last 10 days, and it’s pretty clear we’re not able to reach agreement,” Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn said Friday morning while announcing the mayor's intentions. Friday is the deadline for the mayor to act on the council’s budget plan.

Ballard will use the line-item veto to eliminate $32 million in county-option income tax revenue from the Marion County general fund, which covers the sheriff, auditor and prosecutor’s offices, among other functions. Vaughn said he hopes that will bring council Democrats to the table to discuss solutions to an ongoing structural deficit.

Ballard also will veto a police and fire recruiting fund, which the council set up to receive money from the Capital Improvement Board’s anticipated $15 million payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT. So even if CIB officials, who vehemently oppose the PILOT, were to make the payment, there would be no way for the council to spend it.

A consortium of countywide Democratic elected officials hammered Ballard's plan in a statement Friday afternoon as "my way or the highway politics."

"It is reckless, irresponsible, and in fact unlawful for the mayor to decide to cut critical services like prosecution of crimes, death investigations, court administration and child support," Democrats said in the release. It posits that Indiana Code prohibits the mayor from vetoing any part of the budget for countywide officers specified in the state constitution or for judicial offices or officers.

Officials who signed the statement include Auditor Billie Breaux, Assessor Joe O'Connor, Coroner Frank Lloyd, Prosecutor Terry Curry and Sheriff John Layton.

Democratic City-County Councilor Angela Mansfield, who also is chairwoman of the council's administration and finance committee, said earlier on Friday that Vaughn didn’t make much effort to work out a compromise before the council adopted its budget. “I think they’ve been playing a game of chicken,” she said.

The Capital Improvement Board runs Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium, and funds entities like VisitIndy, which promotes the city's hospitality and convention business. Council Democrats targeted the CIB’s reserve fund after rejecting Ballard’s plan to close the 2013 budget gap in part by eliminating the homestead property-tax credit. The credit, which generates an average annual homeowner savings of $20, is different from the more significant homestead deduction.

The council didn’t present Ballard with the CIB budget ordinance, which is separate from the city’s budget, but Vaughn said Ballard will issue a memo stating he believes he has the authority to veto it.

Finally, Ballard will veto the council’s $652,000 personnel budget, which covers a chief counsel and chief financial officer, and included $100,000 for a new redistricting plan. To pay staff, the council will have to submit an appropriations request after Jan. 1.

The council will have to do the same in order to keep funding level for county agencies. Vaughn said Ballard won’t approve the spending unless Democrats work with him to address an anticipated $35 million structural gap for 2014.

Ballard’s own budget had anticipated a $14 million gap for 2014, but the figure will grow if the city doesn't eliminate the homestead credit, which is worth about $9 million, and because the city will spend more than expected from the rainy day fund in 2013.

Ballard’s 2013 budget called for spending $17 million from the rainy day fund, which includes money that the state Department of Revenue realized it had failed to pay some cities and towns.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Incompitent
    Some more lunacy from a mayor who is steered by a big law firm coupled with his disdain forour police department for rebuking his choice of safety directon Frank Straub and the FOP backing Melina Kennedy in the last election. Typical Ballard and cronies.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

ADVERTISEMENT