Democrat-controlled committee OKs tapping CIB for $15M

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A Democrat-controlled City-County Council committee on Thursday night approved taking $15 million from the Capital Improvement Board to help close the city’s $65 million budget shortfall.

The plan—opposed by Republican Mayor Greg Ballard and members of the CIB—now advances to the City-County Council, which will vote Monday night. Democrats hold a 16-13 edge on the council.

Sen. Luke Kenley, an influential Republican state senator, also opposes the move. He told the Indy Politics blog this week the state would be “very hesitant” to provide any funding in the future to the city, singling out the city’s plans for a mass-transit system.

City officials are exploring ways to close the $65 million shortfall in the $595 million general fund, which covers daily operating expenses.

To do that, Council Vice President Brian Mahern is leading a charge among council Democrats who want to collect a so-called “payments in lieu of taxes” on CIB-operated properties exempt from property taxes, including Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indiana Convention Center.

The council's municipal corporations committee Thursday night approved drawing $15 million from the CIB along party lines. Both Mahern and fellow Democrat council member Monroe Gray, who chairs the committee, argue it’s only fair that the CIB provide some assistance. They say the city provided the CIB funds from the downtown tax-increment financing district when it needed help.

“Personally, I wasn’t excited about giving the CIB a helping hand a few years ago,” Mahern told IBJ,  “but we did.”

Indy Chamber CEO Scott Miller sided with critics of the committee's action.

“Addressing a long-term problem with a short-term solution is irresponsible and creates a fiscal cliff that would be a detriment to long term stability, economic attractiveness and job growth in our city," he said in a prepared statement released Friday morning. " We urge the Council to reject this measure and instead seek a consistent, long-term solution to this budget shortfall.”

The once-cash-strapped CIB expects to have a cash balance of about $67 million by year’s end. But the agency’s president, Ann Lathrop, insists that much of the reserve—$52 million—is earmarked for improvements to the properties and debt payments.


  • Don't Need A CPA
    Re: Fianace 101, tell me what benefit the CI B received from gifting the Pacers 33+ million for maintenance on a building dollars on a building the taxpayers built and maintain from which the Pacers receive 100% of all revenue. I don't need to be a CPA to see the CIB isn't a good steward of Indianapolis taxpayer dollars. The Pacers need a new scoreboard, they got the cash. The ICVA needs a few extra sheckles we sell a building and give them the cash. The best solution is to dissolve the CIB.
  • backgrouind in finance or accounting?
    Just answered my own question...based on the councilor's employers disclosed through the 2012 council ethics disclosure, I could not identify a single councilor with obvious concentrated financial background, such as a CPA, CFA of CFP. Please respond if that you know a councillor with a background in finance or accounting. I hope that I am incorrect and that the disclosures simply weren't descriptive enough.
  • moving backwords
    Indianapolis has strived diligently to attain a very high credit rating which allows us very favorable financing terms when we do need to raise debt in the public markets. Employing this type of action to close budget deficits cannot be repeated forever. A couple of years ago it was the Public Library that used accounting gimmics to grab funds from its building funds and redirect COIT. Once that shortfall was met, all of the services were restored and cost efficiency measures that had been employed were rolled back. I guess we can't dip back into COIT so lets go to the CIB. What next year when we have a deficit again? Its time to look at expenses folks. If we don't balance that side of the budget, eventually (and not so far from now I believe) the fianl option will be to raise local taxes and make Indianapolis even more tax uncompetitive with our donut counties. Come on Council, there must be one or two democrats that have finance backgrounds....Actually, Are there?
  • Joe - give me a break
    I'm not even going to get into who is right on this issue, but to say that the Council should just pass it because the mayor can veto it is simply undemocratic. They have a right to voice their opinion. That's why they were elected. However, Luke Kenley's "I will be very hesitant to provide any funding for mass transit" is a true theater. Like anyone would really believe he would do that in the first place (i.e. fund mass transit). And it's real good politics to keep people hostage because of Council's unfavorable vote (that according to you is meaningless).
  • You're Not Getting Much--It's Called A Veto
    If the full Council passes the budget change, the Mayor will veto it, and they don't have the vote to override a veto, so this amounts to political theater. Also, you do realize the CIB is just a part of local government and it manages buildings owned by the city itself? So, the city would just be "taxing" itself, which means the money just moves from one place to the other. Also, the City-County Council for years has voted to approve funding to the Pacers, Colts, etc. If you want to charge the sports teams more rent, fine, do it. In fact, I would be glad if both teams just picked up and moved to a city that wanted to pay for them. However, what I can do without is political theater, and this is political theater. It will end up in a veto, if it even passes the full Council, and then it will simply delay the budget and cost more time and money in getting a final budget passed. Can we move away from games and instead focus on real leadership?
    Way to go Brian Mahern! These out of control self interest Municipal Corporations need to be held to task. They need to be accountable to the taxpayers. Instead of this clown for a Mayor pushing more taxes out to the residents and hiding $100,000,000 in revenue in TIFS needs to disband all these corrupt quasi governmental entities. Make ICVA stand on its own and find its money from the tourism/hotel industry they serve. Clip CIB's wings give them no more authority to give $30,000,000 out to FOR PROFITprofessional sports teams. If a tax increase has to come down the road then so be it. The mayors office needs to provide proper levels of police and fire in ALL of Marion County. Have the city trade it's interest in CITYWAY PROJECT and the BroadRipple parking garage for another $15 or $20 million. CIB can own the interest/debt obligation on these great projects.
  • CIB Control
    I am finally getting what I am voting for on council. The city is long overdue in getting CIB under control. They have been arrogant and thinking they are above reproach for far too long. CIB needs to be disbanded as I thought Ballard said he was going to do. Guess I'll vote differently next time. CIB control should be an election issue. And Luke Kenley just wants to give our $$ to sports special interests.

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