2012 NEWSMAKER: Council Dem Mahern plays role of antagonist

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                              NEWSMAKER: School librarian Ritz won with grass-roots campaign 2012
                              NEWSMAKER: Crime stance returns Hogsett to political spotlight 2012 NEWSMAKER:
                              Council Dem Mahern plays role of antagonist 2012 NEWSMAKER: CEO keeps Simon stock surging 2012 NEWSMAKER:
                              Miles adds to diverse business, sports career Other 2012 news
                              of note

City-County Council Vice President Brian Mahern emerged as the chief foe of Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s redevelopment agenda.

Mahern began to question the use of tax-increment financing districts, just as Ballard’s administration wanted to expand the downtown TIF’s boundaries to include the site of the Massachusetts Avenue fire station.

Brian Mahern Mahern

Ballard saw the TIF expansion as essential to redeveloping that site, as well as Flaherty & Collins’ Block 400 mixed-use project, anchored by a Marsh grocery store, in the northwest quadrant of downtown.

But those projects were stuck in limbo last summer as Mahern tried to push through a new set of policies around TIF districts.

Mahern opposes Ballard’s plans to expand and create new TIF districts because he thinks they will choke off revenue and services to neighborhoods that aren’t in the renewal spotlight. (TIF districts capture new real estate tax revenue to benefit developments within their boundaries.)

“It’s not something you immediately run up and break the glass and use,” he said. “It has long-term implications.”

Mahern created a TIF study commission, chaired by fellow Democrat Steve Talley, which issued a bevy of recommendations limiting TIFs. Among the proposed policies was creating an end date for the downtown TIF and requiring a cost-benefit analysis for new TIFs.

Ballard opposed the new policies, and the downtown TIF expansion became a political bargaining chip.

Talley, also chairman of the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee, delayed a vote for several months while the summer study commission completed its work.

Ballard’s deputies began complaining in August, as it looked like Talley might put off the vote several more months. Talley said he wanted time for the council to consider a formal proposal on the TIF policy suggestions.

In the end, it was other Democrats who broke the stalemate. Democratic members of the council’s economic development committee worked around Talley to hold a vote on the downtown TIF. When the deal finally reached the full council on Oct. 1, it passed by a wide margin, 25-2.

Democratic Councilor Vop Osili pushed through the TIF expansion after striking a deal with Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Deron Kintner, in which $1.5 million of the district’s revenue will be available to local residents for job training. Another $2 million will be set aside for microloans.•


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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.