Council balking at Pacers aid

August 20, 2009
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fieldhouseIt remains a mystery where the $15 million dollars is going to come from the Indiana Pacers say they need to operate the city-owned Conseco Fieldhouse.

City-County Council leaders from both parties told IBJ yesterday there is no widespread support among council members to put this burden on city taxpayers—especially during the current economic downturn. We should have more answers by Sept. 30. That’s the deadline set by state law for the Council to approve its 2010 budget.

“There’s simply no line item for that,” said Joanne Sanders, the City-County Council Democratic minority leader. “The budget is tight, and there’s certainly not $15 million extra in there.”

Sanders added the city has other pressing needs.

“If we found $15 million, my vote is that it would go toward infrastructure issued in the city,” Sanders said.

City-County Council President Bob Cockrum said it’s not an ideal time for the Pacers to come looking for help, but added that he is open to listening to the concerns of team officials and the city’s Capital Improvement Board, which is charged with overseeing Conseco Fieldhouse.

“The problem is, where does the money come from?” Cockrum said. “There’s certainly nothing in the Municipal Corporations Committee [budget]. I’m sure it will be discussed in September.”

One source of the funding could be the city’s rainy day fund. The mayor’s proposal, sources said, is to squirrel away as much as $16 million in that fund in 2010. While the mayor has not openly proposed using those funds for the Pacers (or anything else for that matter), some council members said the idea of spending some of that money on certain initiatives should at least be considered.

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  • Mayor Ballard wants to unilaterally break the Pacers contract ten years early and use $15 million of the city's rainy day funds on taking over just one years worth of the Pacers operating expenses?

    No coherent CIB reform plan, just a one year bailout on top of the one just passed for the Colts.

    Guess using the money to attract new corporate jobs and pay for essential city services is a lower priority.

    Is there a prize for misplaced priorities and stupid business decisions?
  • That rumored Harley Davidson Plant with 1,500 new workers would fit nicely in cities vacant Visteon plant or the GM stamping plant scheduled to close soon.

    If only we had money to make it happen...............
  • Indianapolis auto parts plant left with hazy future
  • To my knowledge, Mayor Ballard has NOT suggested the money from the rainy day fund be directed toward the Pacers. He did float the idea of the fund but did not even hint that it could be used as a solution for the Pacers.
  • ebitduh,

    THere was NO supposed bailout of the Colts from the city. You need to lay down the crack pipe.
  • Tell the Pacers to open up their books first and be honest. Also somebody call out the little greedy troll David Simon.....
  • To clarify, Bill is correct, Mayor Ballard has not publicly suggested the rainy day fund money should be directed to the Pacers. In fact, he has resisted the idea of spending that money at all. Certain members of the council, however, appear more willing to delve into that fund.
  • There was some confusion with the second to last paragraph in this original post. I re-read and re-read the post again, and agree the paragraph could have been worded more clearly. Please accept my apologies for any confusion. I cleaned that paragraph up in addition to clarifying it in the above (No. 7) comment. Again, sorry for the confusion, and thanks for reading.
  • Mayor McCheese has no clue what to do. All he can say is we really don't want to raise taxes but....

    Had Enough?

    Hell yeAH! His term can't end soon enough. :(
  • Ballard is playing the hand he was dealt by the previous administration with regard to the CIB and LOS. Unless you're living in a hotel, he hasn't raised your taxes.
  • C'mon DaHooey, stop calling him names. I agree that Mayor B isn't what the city needs right now, or ever for that matter. Nonetheless, he is who he is and at least deserves enough respect from his Marine service without name calling.
  • He's not my Marine, he's my Mayor and he is doing a horrible job. Both sides of the political aisle have shunned him and he's an embarrassment to our fine city.

    Sure hope he decides to pull the plug before we do it for him.

    Greg Ballard: Mayor McCheesey.
  • I find it humorous that the Simon's keep saying they will move the Pacers. 1. No leverage if they break the lease they owe the city over 50 million. 2. If you listen to the NBA only two to three teams are making any money. 3. Where will they go? In this economy I don't see a major bidding war for a mediocre franchise. I agree with ebitda lets spend the money on real jobs like the Harley Davidson Plant. Are you listening Mayor Ballard!
  • I just saw Mayor McCheese @ Golden Corral.
  • Anthony, I was at the Colts game last night and parked in the Government garage accross from Victory Field and the parking fee was $15 for the game when I believe it was $10 last year. Is the revenue from this garage received by the CIB and are they attempting to make up revenue shortfalls by gouging the parking lot patrons in the city?
  • A few things to consider:

    The Pacers current lease does not give them the right to renegotiate.
    Another misconception is that the fieldhouse contract gives the team the right to renegotiate its lease after 10 years—it actually gives the team the right to cancel the lease after the first 10 years if it doesn’t reach certain profitability targets. Voiding the lease, though, would cost the team dearly. It would be obligated to pay CIB a termination fee “based on a formula sufficient to reimburse the city for the economic effects of such early termination,” the contract says. The minimum penalty is $50 million, but the contract says the Pacers’ cost for terminating the lease in 2012 could be as high as $144 million.

    If they threaten to move, where would they go?
    It’s laughable to think there are other markets waiting with open arms and sweeter deals for beleagured teams. We all see how that is working out in Oklahoma.

    The Pacers financial situation is more of a league issue than a city issue, as more than half of NBA teams are losing money.
    Saying that less than half the teams in the league made a profit last season, Stern spoke at length Tuesday about the financial difficulties facing the league's 30 franchises

    The NBA has actually offered some assistance to their struggling teams but he Pacers turned it down.
    12 of the league's 30 franchises plan to borrow between $13 million and $20 million a piece.

    As the Pacers seek ways to cut their losses, have they considered how much they are losing each season on the Fever? Could letting the Fever go save several million dollars?
    The Indiana Fever have not turned a profit during their 10-year stint in the WNBA.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.