During this campaign, we’ve made choices about which ideas to promote. Public safety has dominated the agenda because we can’t be a successful city until the violent-crime problem is solved. We must be safe, and we must feel safe.
There is, however, a lot more to being mayor. This week, I’m sharing five initiatives we’ll advance immediately in January 2024. There are more we’ll discuss next year. I selected these five because they suggest the imagination and innovation that will be the hallmark of the change I aim to bring.
First, a Shreve administration will come alongside seniors and others victimized by rising assessed property values to enable them to freeze their property taxes until they sell their home. The program would create a Freeze Fund by using the city’s bonding authority. Each year, the amount of tax above the frozen level would be paid by the fund. When the home is sold, the money is repaid to the fund from proceeds of the sale.
It’s simple, easy and fair. It encourages, instead of discourages, rising property values. And most important, it makes it possible for seniors to stay in the neighborhoods they have loved and been part of their whole lives.
Second, I’ll assemble a blue-ribbon panel to review our city’s public transportation model, with an eye toward better, higher technology that’s flexible and assures service to those who most need it—while saving taxpayers up to $30 million annually. Our trunk line “mass transit” is an antiquated concept.
We can do better. Information technology exists to support a door-to-door public transportation model. Indy should have the best and most modern public transit in the country.
Third, using the mayor’s authority to charter schools, we will pilot four “micro schools” in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods. They will serve 25 students at each location. Technology can enable individualized instruction for every single student. In addition to their core mission of providing high-quality education, these schools will become the nexus of a variety of social services, especially early childhood education.
Fourth, when the city and county merged via Unigov, there was a companion bill that passed the Legislature called “minigov.” It recognized that, while Unigov would foster efficiency and a coordinated vision for a vibrant metropolis, the best government is that which is closest to the people. So, minigov gave certain powers for land use and zoning to neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, the idea was never adopted by the new City-County Council. It was a good idea, and we should do it! Additionally, I propose we take, say, 10% of public works funding and let neighborhoods decide how to spend it. Residents know which sidewalks need to be built or replaced better than a bureaucrat downtown. When local neighborhoods have a real ability to govern, more people will be engaged in civic life.
And, finally, something that might be a small but impactful policy involves fallen leaves. Raking is great exercise, but bagging is a pain. Literally. It’s also terrible for the environment—all those plastic bags going into the trash. Hundreds of cities vacuum leaves from the curbside and recycle them. If I am elected mayor, rake or blow your leaves to the curb—but you are done bagging them.
There’s much more behind each of these ideas. Learn more about them at my campaign website.
We must be innovative at every turn. We must tackle giant issues, as well as simple ones. We must see far over the horizon—and right in front of our noses. We can embark on a new beginning in Indianapolis. We just must have the courage to embrace change. It’s time.•
Shreve is the Republican candidate for mayor.