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Indy Parks, county assessor poised for budget cuts

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Indy Parks, the mayor’s office and the Marion County assessor will take the biggest hits in the first round of mid-year budget cuts for the city of Indianapolis.

Two budget-reduction ordinances totaling $1.6 million will be introduced to the City-County Council on Monday night. They are the result of a bipartisan budget agreement, in which the council was to help Mayor Greg Ballard’s office shave 5 percent, or about $28 million, from the general fund with the goal of preserving cash that would offset an anticipated revenue shortfall in 2014.

The task has proven difficult, especially in the criminal justice system, which includes police, fire and courts and consumes 85 percent of the $569 million general fund.

Just $267,264 of the proposed cuts would come from a combination of the Department of Public Safety, Marion Superior Court and Marion County Coroner.

The remaining $1.35 million would come from various city and county offices, and most of that will be in the personnel category.

“When it’s all said and done—no one likes to hear this—we are either going to have to decrease service or increase our revenue,” Council President Maggie Lewis said. “It gets real tricky. The people of Indianapolis are going to start to feel this.”

The largest cuts, in terms of total dollars, will come from the assessor’s office ($235,015), Department of Parks and Recreation ($236,507) and mayor’s office ($232,168).

Assessor Joseph O’Connor won't be able to hire an additional customer-service representative that had been budgeted for this year. Most of the savings will come from shifting money out of a reassessment fund to cover general-fund positions. The reassessment fund had been designated for mailing out notices, called Form 11, for the 2013 tax cycle. Instead, tax bills will serve as notice of assessed value and trigger the 45-day appeal window, he said.

Parks officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about the pending cuts.

A large part of the mayor’s savings will come through staff attrition. Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn, a lawyer, will take on the role of special counsel, a job that was vacated when Ballard’s former campaign manager, John Cochran, departed in February for Bose Public Affairs Group. He earned $87,550 in 2012.

The mayor’s office set out to find $28 million in savings, but agencies identified only $16.8 million. Much of that was considered unsustainable or unpalatable, such as police-officer furloughs and laying off attorneys in the Marion County Prosecutor’s office.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indianapolis Fire Department remain untouched for now. The Department of Public Safety cuts headed to the council, totaling about $260,000, will affect positions in Director Troy Riggs' office, Homeland Security and Animal Care and Control, Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer Valerie Washington said. Vacant positions will remain unfilled, or they'll be shifted to grant funding, she said.

"Current staff will have to continue to do more," she said.

Some offices, including the Marion County sheriff, outlined less than the requested 5-percent savings. Lewis said talks will continue, and another round of budget-cutting ordinances will be introduced this year.

“The law enforcement piece of the budget is the largest portion of the budget, and we have to stay on top of that,” she said.

The ordinances to be introduced Monday will be referred to committee before returning to the council for a vote.

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  • What?
    I and others have been waiting to hear from our appeal for are over inflated property taxes. How shortsided to cut a department that is already behind in their work. You go Mayor, just go.
  • CRICKET
    Well atleast we still have 6 MILLION DOLLARS to waste on a cricket field. Our mayor is a fool and we need to get rid of him and his wasteful ways ASAP!
  • Next
    When is the next $10 million dollar check to the Pacers/Simons due?

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  1. Can your dog sign a marriage license or personally state that he wishes to join you in a legal union? If not then no, you cannot marry him. When you teach him to read, write, and speak a discernible language, then maybe you'll have a reasonable argument. Thanks for playing!

  2. Look no further than Mike Rowe, the former host of dirty jobs, who was also a classically trained singer.

  3. Current law states income taxes are paid to the county of residence not county of income source. The most likely scenario would be some alteration of the income tax distribution formula so money earned in Marion co. would go to Marion Co by residents of other counties would partially be distributed to Marion co. as opposed to now where the entirety is held by the resident's county.

  4. This is more same-old, same-old from a new generation of non-progressive 'progressives and fear mongers. One only needs to look at the economic havoc being experienced in California to understand the effect of drought on economies and people's lives. The same mindset in California turned a blind eye to the growth of population and water needs in California, defeating proposal after proposal to build reservoirs, improve water storage and delivery infrastructure...and the price now being paid for putting the demands of a raucous minority ahead of the needs of many. Some people never, never learn..

  5. I wonder if I can marry him too? Considering we are both males, wouldn't that be a same sex marriage as well? If they don't honor it, I'll scream discrimination just like all these people have....

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