CIB considers employee furloughs to save cash-WEB ONLY

For more on the role a new downtown hotel will play in CIB’s rescue plan, see Peter Schnitzler’s story in this weekend’s IBJ.

The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board’s finance committee yesterday afternoon recommended slashing an additional $1.1 million from the organization’s budget in an ongoing quest to eliminate an expected $47 million shortfall.

The CIB’s capital budget would incur another $1 million in cuts while $88,200 would be saved by forcing the organization’s 81 employees to take six unpaid furlough days – two each month until July. If approved by the full board on Monday, the furloughs would begin later this month.

“I can tell you, it’s not going to be fun, but we’ll get it done,” CIB Executive Director Barney Levengood said.

The additional cuts would bring total CIB budget reductions to $8.7 million, $1.3 million shy of the $10 million target set by Indiana lawmakers. In the meantime, CIB officials are considering several measures to fund the additional $37 million needed to erase the deficit.

Proposals include increasing local alcohol taxes and raising local hospitality taxes to bail out the CIB, which operates the city’s professional sports stadiums and Indiana Convention Center.

That plan, however, could be changed drastically before reaching final approval.

To get to the $10 million target, the finance committee is exploring reducing the hours of the parking garage the CIB operates on Virginia Avenue near Conseco Fieldhouse. It would close on 6 p.m. on non-game days instead of remaining open 24 hours a day.

The committee also is looking at raising parking rates by 20 percent at the garage, as well as at lots near Lucas Oil Stadium and the lots on the former Market Square Arena site.

Also, CIB grants made to local tourism and arts programs, as well as Indiana Black Expo, will be delayed until after June 30. The CIB already approved cutting $410,000 from the amounts the organizations receive.

In addition, the committee said a one-time $16.9 million loan payment due in June likely will be paid for with cash from the CIB’s Renewal and Replacement Fund. If the CIB approves that recommendation, the fund would dip below $5 million, triggering a requirement that the CIB deposit $40,000 into the fund each month until it rises above the $5 million benchmark.

The full CIB meets at 1 p.m. on Monday.

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