IBJNews

City struggles to close gap on $30M in budget cuts

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indianapolis leaders made a pact to cut 5 percent from the already-adopted 2013 budget, but the reality might prove too difficult to stomach.

After weeks of presentations, city and county agencies so far have come up with $16.8 million in potential cuts, or about 60 percent of the target. Even that level of cuts would include some potentially controversial moves, such as laying off prosecutors and offering furloughs—unpaid time off—to police officers.

Ryan Vaughn, chief of staff for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, said almost every agency presented cuts that would affect personnel.

“People provide services, so you have to be very strategic about what you focus on and what you can find to outsource or eliminate," Vaughn said.

The review was part of a multi-part compromise between Ballard and the Democratic City-County Council on the $1.1 billion 2013 budget. Ballard agreed to undo a line-item veto of $32 million destined for county agencies if the council would approve tax increases and participate in the 5-percent budget cuts.

The next step is for Ballard and Council President Maggie Lewis to decide what’s acceptable. Ballard, who did not attend the presentations, hasn’t seen all the details yet, Vaughn said.

Lewis could not be reached for comment Monday morning.

Vaughn doesn’t think Ballard and Lewis will accept all of the $16.8 million in cuts that have been presented. He added, “I can’t imagine a scenario in which the council or the mayor is willing to lay off police officers.”

Not meeting the budget-cut target this year leaves the city with less cash to cover future deficits. City Controller Jeff Spalding has pegged the ongoing gap between revenue and expenses at $50 million.

Part of that has been addressed with tax hikes on car rentals and tickets to downtown sports venues. Ballard also wants the council to eliminate the homestead property-tax credit, which would free up $8 million in income-tax revenue. (The credit, which is separate from the more lucrative homestead deduction, is subsidized by income taxes.)

Other city-county councilors who sat in on the budget presentations are at a loss for answers.

“I do know this much. The public safety agencies are not going to be able to make up this budget gap,” said Councilor Mary Moriarty-Adams, chairwoman of the council’s Public Safety Committee. There’s so much interaction among the agencies that cuts in one area tend to shift burdens to others, she said.

The city has the option of raising a public-safety tax, Adams said, but she doubted there would be much support for it.

“A tax increase would be the absolute last resort,” Republican Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer said. “I keep praying that the economy will begin to rebound and next year won’t be as difficult as we fear that it might be.”

Pfisterer said she supports leaving cuts to the agencies.

“They know if they can reduce staff and still provide the services they’re required to provide,” she said.

Each year for the past five years, most mayor-controlled agencies have been required to trim 5 percent from their budgets. The exception was the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, which is budgeted for $187 million this year.

IMPD’s presentation included furloughing civilian staff; reducing officer overtime; ending finger-printing and gun-permit services; offering sworn officers seven furlough days a year; and not allowing reserve officers to take home patrol cars.

There are hidden consequences in some of those cuts, Vaughn said. Take-home cars are a perk for reserve officers, who work 20 hours per month unpaid doing jobs like downtown patrol and managing event traffic. Taking away that perk might prompt reservists to quit, leaving the city to fill the gap with regular police, he said.

Vaughn hopes to have a spending-reduction ordinance introduced to the council in May.

The review isn’t quite finished, Vaughn said. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office and a few other agencies that didn’t approach the 5-percent mark will be asked to take a second look at their budgets.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

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. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT