Indy council to consider imposing fee on Mile Square property owners

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Monument Circle.

The president of the Indianapolis City-County Council will attempt to take advantage of a new state law that sets the stage for imposing a fee on property owners in the Mile Square to pay for beautification and public safety efforts in the downtown district and provide funds for a low-barrier homeless shelter.

President Vop Osili, a Democrat, said he would introduce a proposal at Monday night’s council meeting that would create an economic enhancement district and set into motion the creation of a district board that could impose a fee that would generate about $5.5 million a year.

Under the proposal, owners of single-family, residential parcels would pay a $250 flat fee, while other properties would have a fee rate of 0.1681% of assessed value. For instance, owners of non-residential properties and apartment buildings with a gross assessed value of $1 million would pay $1,681 towards the district, while a property valued at $25 million would pay $42,025.

Osili’s announcement comes two days after a municipal election in which Democrats retained their supermajority on the City-County Council and Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett won his third term over Republican Jefferson Shreve. It also comes amid ongoing urging by the Indy Chamber to take action before the Legislature reconvenes in January and opponents potentially try to undo the council’s authority to move forward with the new fee.

“This is a critical tool to help downtown thrive and attract new residents and businesses,” Osili said in written remarks. “The Mile Square faces the unique challenges of all large urban centers and an EED will allow for targeted investment to maintain our clean, safe, and beautiful downtown. This will include day-to-day operations and maintenance to ensure a vibrant downtown, 365-days-a-year, as well as increased homelessness outreach and housing hub operations.”

Hogsett’s office said in a written statement that the mayor has been “supportive of a sustainable funding solution for the City’s current $3.5 million partnership with Downtown Indy Inc. on efforts around public safety, cleanliness, and homelessness outreach. He looks forward to reviewing the Council’s language around the creation of the Economic Enhancement District.”

One-time federal funding provided by the city through the American Rescue Plan Act allowed for the creation of an 18-month pilot program operated by Downtown Indy Inc. to provide enhanced downtown services. Now the city is looking for long-term funding to sustain the program aimed at helping downtown continue to recover from the pandemic’s economic fallout.

Downtown Indy said the pilot program this year has resulted in the collection of 5,000 additional bags of trash, the clean up of 1,000 graffiti sites, more outreach to the homeless and an increased public safety presence.

Under the new state law, funds from the proposed enhancement district would be governed by an eight-member board made up of both state and local appointees, which will require Democratic city leadership to work in tandem with Republican-dominated state government.

The board would consist of:

  • Four state-appointed members: Two would be appointed by the Indiana governor, one by the speaker of the house, and one by the senate president pro tempore.
  • Four local-appointed members. Two appointees would come from the mayor and two from the Democratic-dominated City-County Council.

A majority of the board members must be downtown property owners. Board meetings would be open to the public, and the annual budgets of the board would be submitted to the City-County Council for review and approval.

Downtown Indy Inc. would administer the funds, but the board itself would set the budget and approve any special projects.

Osili’s proposal to set it all in motion will be introduced Monday evening at the full meeting of the City-County Council. A complete presentation of the proposal will occur at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee.

Members of the public will be permitted to comment following that presentation, held in the Public Assembly Room of the City-County Building at 5:30 p.m.

The measure would need the committee’s approval before it could move to the full council for a final vote.

The City-County Council voted down a similar measure in 2018, but it got bogged down in a dispute over whether enough petition signatures had been gathered to advance the proposal.

The new state law does away with the petition requirement for Indianapolis. Indy Chamber led the last-minute charge to win approval for the new law in this year’s Legislature. The Indiana Apartment Association fought hard to stop the change and has previously opposed such fee enhancements.

Downtown Indy CEO Taylor Schaffer said she expects more support from both downtown property owners and Indianapolis City-County Councilors than in 2018.

The proposed $5.5 million budget for the enhancement district would provide:

  • $1.025 million in public safety efforts, like B-link camera grants, off-duty patrols and safety ambassadors.
  • $570,000 in homelessness outreach, including increasing pay for a housing navigator and hours for IMPD’s Homeless Unit.
  • $2.04 million towards cleaning services, including hiring an additional supervisor and additional cleaning ambassadors for daily cleaning.
  • $365,000 in administrative costs.
  • $1.5 million in operations support to the low-barrier homeless shelter and planned housing hub.

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70 thoughts on “Indy council to consider imposing fee on Mile Square property owners

  1. You have so many problems in downtown Indy including paying for parking when you can stay in Carmel and be safer, get great restraints and entertainment and not. Pay to park.
    The lack of things to do outside of convention traffic downtown is really a problem and our tax rates are already outrageous. It’s difficult to sell property downtown now as well.
    What a mess

    1. Have you ever been downtown?

      In the burb’s getting stopped at one light can mean a three minute wait. And if there’s construction on a road, I have to travel a mile to get around it.

    2. I’m a Carmel resident, but drive downtown regularly. I’ve never had a problem with street parking that’s free if I’m willing to walk for a little bit.

      Our parking rates are on par with our other peer cities, and are way less than major cities like Chicago.

      Our tax rates are really low. If you moved to any of our surrounding states your tax rates would go up.

  2. Wow, the democrats didn’t take long to reach into owners pockets again. This time you get to pay to keep the homeless off your front sidewalk and alleyways. Ironic, the people that couldn’t fix the problem are charging owners to fix it. Brilliant!

    1. The Republican super majority in the General Assembly adopted this law, spurred on by the Chamber of Commerce (not exactly a progressive organization), and Republican controlled state government will control half of the board, yet you blame Democrats?

    1. I don’t know if its questionable, but it definitely seems like something everyone should be paying for and not just Mile Square property owners. After all, a public housing shelter would benefit the entire community.

  3. This is great. Spend years allowing crime, filth, deterioration, drug use, homelessness to grow and fester, then when it’s completely choking the downtown area, decide to make people pay for what should be basic city services for a “vibrant” downtown area.

    1. I don’t understand this point. Basic city services don’t just come out of the ether, of course you have “to make people pay” for them.

    2. Chris–

      Since when is a safe-house for junkies part of “basic city services”?

      Apparently you support this. Show how kind you are; open your spare bedrooms for a junkie or two, so that selfish people like me don’t have to.

    3. Agree. That these conditions exist is largely the fault of policymakers, and now they want to ding property owners for money to try and fix a problem they created.

    4. By “Basic Services” I was referring to what is required to run a city center like the Mile Square in Indy. Like cleaning up the trash, the druggies, the bums, etc. The problem Chris with “of course people have to pay for them” is that people already do, in the form of their high property taxes in that area. Now the city has screwed up so royally that they need even more money. So after putting these people through hell, they now say, oh, we think we can figure this out, even though we haven’t had the brains to do that yet, and we are going to charge you a special fee, on top of high taxes, to try and fight our way out of the mess they made.

    5. I don’t comment a lot on here but I read a lot of the comments and and for the first time I totally agree with Lauren on one point. Many on here are nothing but selfish individuals with little to no compassion or empathy for others who have problems or do not benefit you personally. God forbid someone you love become an addict or homeless as you will certainly blame them, refuse any help, and abandon them.

  4. Hey people, it’s not enough that you purchased a home or opened an business in this area, the Dems now want you to pay for the homeless and clean up the feces, urine, syringes and general destruction of downtown. I don’t know, shouldn’t this be what Joe Hogsett and his team should be doing with the taxes you already pay…..without taking more out of your pocket?

  5. I love Indianapolis. It breaks my heart to see how this administration has torn down what great mayors (on both sides of the aisle) built over the years. I also believe in a democracy and the people have spoken when they cast their votes on Tuesday. Apparently, the majority of the residents like the direction Indianapolis has gone over the past few years.

  6. Let’s see some review and removal of some of the programs that are not generating the improvements and goals they are being paid to achieve before we start adding more taxes.

  7. I love my city, I am independent, but this is absolutely nonsense. There are plenty of properties that spend a lot of money already maintaining their properties. Why should they be penalized? Perhaps focus on code enforcement, crime prevention, and looking at all the wasteful spending that DPW does with our city streets (I’m looking at you, College Avenue). I resounding reject this idea.

    1. Because that’s the option the state of Indiana gave the city of Indianapolis.

      The other options were to stop spending money somewhere else.

      Also note that Republican leadership doesn’t even trust Indianapolis with $5.5 million without insisting on a governance structure that gives Republicans equal say. At least the governor lives in Indianapolis. Huston and Bray live in Carmel and Martinsville.

    2. Joe B., why would the Republican leadership trust Indy Dems with $5.5 million? They have turned Indy into a crime ridden cesspool.

    3. Because they don’t have any alternatives to the problems themselves, for one, and because they contribute to the problems by using Indianapolis to avoid fair taxation for the rest of the state.

      Unless you’re telling me that they’re taking gas taxes and payroll taxes from Marion County and spreading them around to the rest of the state for Indianapolis’ own good. Best I can tell the state collects $1.15 billion in highway transportation revenue. Marion County gets around $50 million a year of that. I’d argue both numbers are WAY too low.

      Maybe a city that doesn’t have spend $150 million a year out of their own budget to try to deal with chronically underfunded roads and infrastructure … can pay for homeless shelters out of their own pocket.

      By the way, crime in 2022 was down from the high of 2021 and is tracking to be down in 2023.

    4. Joe B., you still did not answer why they would trust democrats with the money. What have they done, but ruin Indy? Stop blaming the problem on “outsiders/republicans” ruining the city, and start looking at the Democrats in charge. It hurts, but the truth is like that sometimes. Glad to hear that crime is down from the peak, to slightly lower than the peak, to slightly lower than the peak, to slightly lower than the peak. Also good to know that every office that I speak with has told me how they have had to stop arresting criminals because of “catch and release” practices. As in, what’s the point?

    5. Explain how Democrats have ruined Indianapolis. As in, what would Republicans do differently?

      Jefferson Shreve just spent $13 million to tell us he’d do the same things as Hogsett, just better, and hire a public safety chief. Explain how that is going to lead to different outcomes.

      It appears your approach is lock everyone up for everything. Given the issues we’ve had with overcrowding that led to us needing to release people, which is why we are in this situation, I’m sure you’re willing to pay the taxes to build yet another big jail building, right?

      Your Aaron Freeman-like attitude towards Indianapolis is really tiresome. “I know better, so I am going to overrule what voters want”. Here’s an idea – most of our Republican legislators come from parts of Indiana where the kids have no interest in staying. They move to the bigger cities in Indiana because they’re better places to live, the jobs are better and the schools are better and the amenities are better. Maybe Republican legislators should stop thinking that they, from places that are dying off, know what’s best for Indianapolis. Maybe they should sit down and lean back and learn lessons from Indianapolis.

  8. What an amazing idea! Punishing homeowners during a time when downtown’s fortunes are fragile (at best) so the City can build and subsidize a Junkie Haven that will make downtown even less attractive.

    Low barrier shelter = legitimizing opioid addiction

    Perhaps I’m being presumptuous in assuming this Junkie Haven will be placed downtown, but considering that everything else about this is based on an clearly defined “economic enhancement district”, that’s a safe assumption.

    Rarely a day goes by without some of the usual suspects talking about how Indy is the economic engine and bails out the rest of the state. Well, here’s another example…so if it gets approved, Indy should quit the griping. To my knowledge, the only other Junkie Haven recently opened in South Bend. So northern Indiana’s tweakers have a place to go. But what about Scottsburg and Brazil and Rushville? These towns will never have the resources to handle the problem, and they also lack the public will to enable addiction. They’ll be more than happy to buy one-way bus tickets to send their junkies to Indy, so it’s hard to know what will happen more quickly: it will achieve peak demand and exceed capacity, or one of the junkies will spazz out and attack another junky (or one of the hapless, underpaid case workers). Exactly the sort of abysmal conditions that explain why no private or non-profit organization wants to bring in active drug users. Let the taxpayers finance the liability.

    And the useful idiots on this forum make fun of me for noting how some in Indy’s leadership are tying to go Full Portland (but at the speed limit). Don’t worry–with Voice Of the People Osili, you’ll get there!

    1. You: “The homelessness problem is out of control! The City should do something!”

      *the city does something*

      You: “Wow, why are you doing that? What a waste!”

    2. You know, Lauren, if small town Indiana wants to bus their drug-addicted citizens to Indianapolis, maybe a prerequisite should be contributing to the funding.

      As opposed to just burying the bipartisan bill in the House. But I digress.

      I have said before – I’m all for clearing the streets and public places and telling people you can’t stay here. The options should either be mental health assistance (another area in which Indiana just flat refuses to spend money) or the low barrier shelter. But we’ve got to do those first.

      I’ve posted this a few times and I’ll do it again.

      “Decades of research have shown that focusing on housing, without making sobriety or mental health treatment a prerequisite, is the most effective way to reduce homelessness”

    3. Lauren, I believe the new low barrier shelter will be well outside of the Indy mile square. It will also offer counseling, drug addition services and resources to help the homeless get back on their feet. Drug addiction is no joke – addicts could use help not judgements. Please consider how callous your comments sound. They are still people. The new low-barrier shelter will be a blessing for all concerned. The state and the city are both contributing towards helping this population. So much thought has gone into this – many private and public organizations are teaming up to help build and support the shelter. Perhaps your charitable donations could help as well?

    4. Rebecca dearest–

      Joe B already knows that I’m hovering at around 49-51% trailer trash, at any given point. I’m utterly hopeless.

      It’s precisely because I have not one, not two, but three family members who have been junkies in the last 10 years. Two of the three cousins thankfully are now sober. The third, well, I just learned about her. And her husband is convinced he can love her out of her addiction, LOL.

      The people who think this is a good idea are overwhelmingly those who have never dealt with this firsthand, have never had a family member steal from them or lie in order to deceive and continue to feed their addiction.

      A low-barrier shelter IS. NOT. COMPASSION. This is the definition of enabling addiction.

      Joe, who clearly is enthralled with “science” and “research” and utterly fails to see that even civil engineering has been captured by the wokies, is as removed from junkieland as most MDs and graduate researchers are.

      These tweakers, these infuriating human parasites, can’t maintain a tent without marinating in their own filth. The encampments at the side of interstates in West Coast cities routinely catch on fire. Yet we’re pretending that an opioid addict, who often doesn’t know how to dress himself or herself, can somehow maintain a house? Are you really that painfully naïve? Where is the evidence in places like San Francisco that it’s working? They spend more on homelessness than the entire municipal budget of a city like Fort Wayne, yet the problem keeps growing and growing. And what’s their delusional response? “Still not enough!”

      Drug addiction is a moral failing, and addicts need judgment. They need callousness. They need to hit bottom to the point that they will starve. Otherwise they will continue to have a cushion that they will use to maintain their addiction. My two sober cousins are so grateful that their parents kicked them to the curb and changed the locks on their homes. Both have indicated that, if their parents hadn’t been so harsh, they’d be dead by now.

      At the very least, I guess this shows the posh caliber of the IBJ commentariat, that only a few people like Greg S seem to get it. Addicts will drag everyone else down into the muck along with them, if you let them.

    5. Drug addiction is a moral failing? I think you’re willfully ignoring the mental health aspects of both addiction and the services at said shelter, maybe decades of learnings about addiction of all kinds, and also ignoring how just locking everyone up in jail didn’t work before, but if I’ve learned anything about you, Lauren, you’ve got a complete and total disregard that kind of thing anyway.

      But I do think about the classmate from high school who got addicted to drugs and saw no way out other than shooting himself dead. I never once thought what he needed was more people being harsh on him.

      Also, I’ve never said anything about trailer trash. I called you a fascist repeatedly, but that’s different. I think.

      But I do give you credit. For all the times you’ve never given an alternative to something you’ve railed against, you finally did in this case. I’m slightly appalled by “don’t put a hand out to help instead, put a fist in their face and punch them down”, but it is an alternative.

  9. The opportunity to change our City’s government was last Tuesday. We have what was elected, like the old saying “doing something the wrong way over and over does not make it correct”. The new 8 member board will be split. Wonder what they will be able to accomplish.

  10. In the run-up to the election, commenters here piled on Mayor Hogsett and the Democrat-controlled City-County Council for their lack of effort to both make downtown Indianapolis safer as well as more attractive. They seem to believe these needs are greater there than in the outlying neighborhoods.

    Yet they cannot – or will not – admit that the challenges of making downtown “better” are exponentially greater than in the residential neighborhoods because of the increased density of population as well as the multitude of attractions and events that regularly draws tens of thousands in additional people to downtown.

    Simply put, more cops on the streets, more flowers in the beds, more power washing away the graffiti, and dealing with the homeless population cannot be covered by existing property taxes which already are too low to fill the potholes, maintain our parks, improve our schools, and perform countless of responsibilities.

    Downtown is the crown jewel of Indianapolis with its theatres, sports venues, museums, restaurants, and convention events. Its needs are admittedly more extensive than a residential area, so the costs of addressing those needs are going to be higher. It makes sense that the people who will benefit most from meeting those needs are able and should be willing to bear the extra burden.

  11. Maybe one the more regressive, destructive, senseless proposals I’ve ever heard. The fact is, the Democrat mentality, including at the federal level, is complete socialism or Marxism. It’s redistribution of wealth, forced redistribution. All I can say is this; 73% of all registered voters stayed home. Retail traffic is at an all time low in the vaunted ‘mile square’ ( exactly what constitutes the mile square anyway besides north, south, east and west streets?) So now, the extended administration wants to financially punish those that continue to invest in it. Unreal. Got news for ya’ VOP, living and struggling with business in the ‘mile square’ isn’t such prime real estate. I think the wackos in Chicago are/ or in the process of trying the same thing along Michigan Avenue, in what USED to be the ‘magnificent mile’. It’s no longer so magnificent.

    1. BSR – come on. The tax is meant to support existing owners in the mile square. Providing security, cleaning services, trash removal – all of those things make the downtown mile square more attractive and relieve property owners from these additional expenses. $.25/SF is a very small price to pay for heightened safety, beauty and attractiveness of downtown. If the mile square owners don’t buy into this, what is the option? Reduced property values due to perceived issues downtown? Let’s eliminate the perception and increase property values.

    2. Yep, you nailed it BSR.

      Property taxes in Indy are nearly double that of Carmel or Greenwood. And, yes, I get it: Indiana has lots more publicly owned properties and land, especially in the Mile Square (State govt), and Carmel has all those corporate HQs while Greenwood has lots of warehouses.

      But those corporate HQs didn’t opt for Carmel because of its Truman Show downtown–it was already a burgeoning hub long before Brainerd was mayor. And, despite all the interstate links in Indy (more than any other city in the country), the warehouses came to places like Greenwood and Lebanon. “Indy land is too expensive for warehouses!” they say. Maybe in some parts, but not at I-70 and Rural, or I-74 and Post, or I-465 and Harding/I-69. Greenwood didn’t have to do much to make itself more appealing. They partnered with the City of Indianapolis to finance a new unnecessary interchange at I-65 and County Line Road…and all the warehouses located on the Greenwood Side. Most of the new businesses too.

      Keep smugly thinking you can sell Indy’s higher cost and diminished QOL on the vibrancy of downtown alone. A Starbucks opening two blocks from where one closed due to concerns of employee safety isn’t enough to account for the vacant storefronts at City Market, Delaware Street, Indiana & 10th, E Washington.

      People even more ridiculous than me offer an harsher judgment. I still go downtown occasionally; that’s how I know about all the vacancies. If the perception that Indy is filled with feral fentanyl addicts grows–and with a low barrier shelter, it will–how is that going to help?

    3. You should check yourself into that low barrier shelter if you think Marion County still has the abundant land needed for a complex of distribution centers. They haven’t had that since they built out the Park 100 area decades ago.

      Go look at a satellite map at what is in Plainfield and Whitestown and out on Mount Comfort. It’s all converted farmland. You’re proposing some developer, if not for the taxes in Indy, would spend the extra time and money to buy up hundreds of individual houses just to be a few miles closer, in just about every case. Well, not near SR37 and Harding. Much of that is flood plain from the nearby White River and no one can build there … but you knew that as a local with your finger on the pulse, didn’t you?

  12. Total homeless in Indianapolis is back to pre-COVID levels. Not quite as low as they were in 2019, but comparable to a years like 2015 and 2016.

    Economically, Downtown is mostly recovered from COVID. The core CBD of Downtown – where most of the office space is – is nearly 80% back to where it was according to the University of Toronto study that’s been tracking the recoveries of downtowns across North America.* Additionally, the same kinds of data brokers that the University of Toronto use for their study show that foot traffic for retail visits and tourism is fully recovered or more than 100% in the Downtown neighborhoods surrounding the CBD (such as Mass Ave). In aggregate, it’s probably fair to say that Downtown is recovered. There may even be more overall activity than there was before.

    The long lasting impact of COVID in CBDs will be a reduction in companies’ office space footprint spurred by work from home. In Indianapolis, there is enough demand for apartments and hotels to offset this. Increases in CBD activity back to pre-COVID levels will come naturally as office buildings continue to be converted into residential buildings and hotels. 220 North Meridian is a shining example of an office conversion that is commanding very high rents. Seemingly every time I pass it, I see residents coming in/out – often even with young children. In general, I’ve seen more parents walking around the CBD with their toddlers and infants in strollers than I can ever remember. Residential demand in the Mile Square is high. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Go take a look at apartment occupancy figures and the number of office building conversions that are in the works.

    On the other side of the coin, Downtown’s non-CBD neighborhoods have benefited from the post-COVID shift in office space use. As office tenants have sought out smaller spaces, they’ve moved to other parts of Downtown where they can be close to street level and near mixed-use corridors. Activity in these parts of Downtown parts is – in many cases – higher than it was before COVID. To reflect this change in types of Downtown office space that companies want, Hendricks’ changed its plans for Bottleworks Phase II such that it became an office space project instead of an apartment project. The first building of Phase II isn’t even complete yet, but according to Hendricks, it’s 95% occupied. Similarly, Keystone is incorporating office space into the Eleven stadium project and Somera Road invested in renovating The Stutz for the same reasons.

    The reality is that this type of tax structure had been talked about for years, long before COVID. As I understand it, the state legislature did not allow such a tax until COVID happened and the perception of Mile Square among suburban and rural state lawmakers changed. The City would probably be fine without this tax, the faulty perception of Indiana’s state lawmakers enabled The City to do what it’s been trying to do for years. If you want to blame Hogsett for a tax that you think is unjust, that’s fine. I’m not here to argue in favor of the tax – I think Downtown is doing just fine without it. But if you’re blaming Hogsett and you don’t live in Indianapolis, realize that there is a very high chance that your state representatives set forth the framework for this tax in Indianapolis.

    1. Also – if you’re one of the people going overboard about how you perceive Indianapolis to be falling apart, you should assess whether your perception is more reflective of reality or whether it is more reflective of WIBC propaganda, Shreve’s ridiculous campaign ads, or talking points from the national far-right establishment. If you’re one of these people, there’s a good chance that you haven’t actually been Downtown in a long time and/or you are remembering pre-COVID Downtown with rose-colored glasses.

    2. I agree with you that the mile square tax is needed and is in fact used in nearly every major city in the U.S. Time for Indianapolis to make these necessary changes to insure our property values remain stong.

    3. Robert, I don’t listen to WIBC because it’s basically Radio Breitbart. And I don’t read Breitbart because it’s partisan ragebait at the exact same level as Washington Post. Neither one is worth the three minutes it takes to read one of their slanted articles. I know which one of the two carries the whiff of prestige enough to get IBJ’s syndication. I also know it’s resting on its laurels and, much like New York Times, is no better than Fox News or Gateway Pundit.

      I base my assessment on downtown not from propaganda but because I have two peepers. And I get downtown only infrequently; if I went down every day I’d probably be desensitized. But I’m there often enough to see the decline and inability to uplift itself. I guess I should stop believing my lying eyes?

  13. Like all taxes…they start out de minimis. For businesses, it will be passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices because corporations don’t pay taxes….they collect them. It will be interesting to see how much the taxes are in 10-15 years. To see how many businesses shut down and head to other parts of the counties…or other counties. Dems always create the problems and then love to be the knight in shining armor to solve them with op money. It’s a method. It’s a formula.

    1. No, businesses won’t shut down as a result of a mile square surtax. Heading to different states or different counties won’t result in savings. Downtown Carmel prices are well above the $.25/SF tax being proposed. So is Bottleworks. Higher costs are just a fact of the economy.

  14. Please correct me if I have this wrong, but it seems we are planning to collect extra taxes from the people and businesses who are already doing their part to keep downtown Indy vibrant. They are doing this by living there, working there and employing people there. Doesn’t this proposal seem to be a little bit counter-productive? Isn’t it in ALL of our best interests to have a dynamic downtown Indy?

    1. A dynamic Indy is the goal!! The proposed tax will help property owners by providing extra security and additional cleaning services in a more economical and global property format, as well play a role in solving homelessness. otherwise property owners find themselves having to pay for security and cleaning and chasing homeless off their property. This is the world we live in, you can pretend there are not homeless people who need help, or that you can get real estate cheaper somewhere else, but it is a self-leveling market. Safer areas just charge more – because they are suburban and perhaps safer. Invest in your community – help improve where you are – support the downtown mile square.

  15. It’s so funny to read conservative suburbanites rant and rave on here. You all complain about cleanliness and homelessness, then complain when the city wants to raise taxes to help solve the problems. I guess it shouldn’t be shocking considering Republicans in Congress think you can cut taxes to magically increase revenue.

    1. They just love to complain. You’ll never get a sound, reasonable idea from them, just endless griping.

    2. Disagree here! Solid GOP voter, but understand homelessness and addiction. I also love the my city and the downtown and willing to make a stand defending it.

    3. How has it worked for the cities in your beloved California, Wesley?

      I mean, you left us bumpkins in the dark, but thankfully the progressive minded readers of the IBJ still look to CA as the land of milk and honey and seek to emulate it. The constituents of Gavin are so much more sophisticated than all those flyover conservatives.

      Has Los Angeles been able to curb its occasional outbreaks of typhoid or leprosy?

  16. I am hoping this “fee” applies to the numerous state and federal government buildings, monuments, churches, and other not-for-profit properties.

    With Indy’s Payroll and Gas taxes subsidizing the rest of the state, it seems unfair for the city to tack on extra fees, but that’s the reality that comes from the state house.

    1. The State should reimburse Indianapolis lost tax revenue through a mechanism like what Wisconsin has.

  17. Downtown special taxing districts are the norm in America. Indianapolis is the largest city in the country without one. This district was going to be approved regardless of who was elected mayor.

    What’s disturbing is that it took a special act of the state legislature to allow the city to set this district up without property owner approval. The previous failure to get the district approved by property owners shows that the people who in theory have the biggest stake in downtown, its property owners, are unwilling to invest in downtown’s upkeep. This is a bearish signal in my view.

    For those who don’t want the state to have a say in running this district, keep in mind that Indy already had the authority to create it on its own with property owner approval. It couldn’t pull it off, which necessitated this special purpose act of the state for the exclusive benefit of Indianapolis – no other Indiana cities can do this. Had the city simply taken care of its own business like every other major city in America has managed to do, it would have been able to run its own taxing district without any state involvement.

    1. It requires 60% of the property owners to give their blessing to create an economic development zone. I kind of doubt the IEDC got approval from 60% of the property owners to create LEAP but that’s another discussion. I’d also love to know how many of those property owners are from out of state. But, another digression.

      I guess I’m old fashioned – I like the idea of elected officials not having to go grovel a second time to implement taxes as they see fit. I believe that if they raise taxes too high, they will be recalled at the next election. I recall in 2007 when Indiana’s legislators saw Bart Peterson get the blame for Indiana’s property taxes being made accurate and giving some people high bills; they snapped to action in the 2008 session and got the constitutional amendment train started right quick before their next election. Funny how responsive they can be sometimes, isn’t it?

  18. The homeless issues and crime isn’t unique to only downtown Indianapolis but a troubling trend nationwide and every major city. I know we’re already over taxed in America but consider this. Switzerland has one of the highest taxing system in the world but the quality of life there is second to none. They have better school systems, better roads and health care and very very low crime rate than any city in America. Yes you pay extremely tax rates but residents say it’s worth it to live the quality of life they have there. So basically folks, we can’t complain about what’s all wrong with our city and think it won’t cost to improve the city no matter what plan you come up with, it all has to be funded in some way. Some one has to do the dirty work to make the city feels safe and look clean and you’re going to have to pay for such a service. There’s no way around it. The city isn’t going to improve for the better with just prayers and wishes. ITs going to take work. Faith without work is dead!

    1. Ah yes, another glowing idealization of Europe. There are a lot of other things Switzerland has that America doesn’t. You are aware that the entire nation can seal itself off from the world in the even of an emergency, right? And, since it’s commitment to neutrality means they chose not to participate in military (mis)adventures, they’re not spending their vast storehouses on nation-building nonsense like we are. Thus, a lot more of the Swiss confederation’s public money goes to the Swiss themselves. They’re not even part of the Eurozone! (A huge chunk of our nation-building nonsense is going to a country run by a literal clown several hundred miles east of Switzerland.)

      Aren’t you supposed to tell us how we should be more like Denmark, or Sweden, or (most hilarious of all) Iceland, “the happiest country on earth!” Given that Iceland is also among the most homogeneous, what ARE you suggesting we do with all those teeming huddled masses yearning to be free?

      Maybe we can try to be more like Liechtenstein too.

  19. Let me guess, the missions (all wheeler missions inside the square) are except from the tax yet they are the one’s that foster the homelessness, the drugs and the problems that are an everyday occurrence downtown. Not a day goes by that an ambulance and police car aren’t sitting outside the mission on East street due to a problem inside. Sell the prime real estate locations and move the missions outside the city. You can increase the size of your housing unit by 20 fold with the money generated (you can take care of more people and that’s what you want, right?) The problems will start to disappear in the city and be isolated to your own island where the tax payers won’t be hampered with these issues!

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