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City-County Council passes smaller budget for 2012

October 18, 2011

The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday evening passed a 2012 budget totaling $944 million, which represents a 3-percent decrease from this year’s spending.

The budget includes funding cuts of 6 percent for nearly every department, except public safety.

The city will flat-line spending for public safety agencies such as the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Sheriff’s Department. No police officers or firefighters will be laid off, and there will be a police-recruit class, albeit a small one.

The city also plans to transfer $40 million from its downtown tax-increment financing district to the city-county budget, a move that city finance officials said won’t affect the district’s reserves or debt-coverage ratio.

But the campaign for Melina Kennedy, a Democrat who is challenging Mayor Greg Ballard in the November election, charged that the $40 million is merely a one-time fix used to make the budget look balanced.

“This budget is not honestly balanced—it is a deficit budget with more expenditures than revenues, raising more questions about how these costs will be covered and at what expense to the taxpayer,” her spokesman, Jon Mills, said in a prepared statement.

Ballard praised councilors for passing the budget, which they supported largely along party lines.

“While other cities across the country are struggling with millions of dollars in deficits and laying off police officers and firefighters, we are operating in the black and not resorting to job cuts,” Ballard said in a written statement.

No layoffs will occur, but the city will reduce its work force by 200 through attrition next year to help cut $20 million from non-public safety agencies.

The city predicts revenue will remain flat in 2013 but will start to increase in 2014.

 

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