New mayor means CIB changes are likely

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2016 hasn't even started yet. So who knows what the year's biggest sports stories will be.

Indianapolis Colts fans are no doubt ready to forget 2015 and look forward to 2016. It couldn't get much worse for the Horseshoe Kingdom, could it?

The Indianapolis 500 will run its 100th race in May.

The Indiana Pacers could make a deep playoff run.

The Indianapolis Indians could set yet another attendance record.

One of the biggest sports stories of 2016, though, won't be played out on a field, court or track. It will play out in Joe Hogsett's mind. And there's no doubt Democratic members of the City-County Council are going to try to get in the game.

While Democrat Hogsett, the city's new mayor come Jan. 1, has been busy setting up to take over for Republican Greg Ballard, we haven't heard boo about who he will name to the six of nine Capital Improvement Board positions he appoints.

The CIB owns Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Victory Field and Lucas Oil Stadium as well as the Indiana Convention Center. The board, which primarily gets its funding from a slew of hospitality-related taxes, is essentially controlled by the mayor and is the city's point in dealing with the pro sports teams that play in our taxpayer-funded sports facilities.

Earlier this month at the last CIB meeting of this year, Ballard's appointed CIB president, Earle Goode, warned his fellow members to brace for change. He promised to assist in a smooth transition.

I've already been told changes are coming to the CIB by Democratic City-County councilors. I've been told the new-look CIB will be less cheerleader and more watchdog.

One City-County councilor said he wants to push the Pacers to open their financial books in exchange for the 10-year $160 million subsidy package the team got in 2014.

That ship seems to have sailed.  Still, the tenor of the board appears to be changing.

Democratic City-County councilors, which hold a majority of the council spots, have also hinted the council may seek part of the CIB revenue to deal with things like streets, police and fire services.

One thing is certain: More than one councilor has promised me, with a Democrat as mayor and Democratic majority on the council, CIB income and expenses will be closely scrutinized, as will the board's relationship with the city's pro sports teams.

Hogsett has lots to deal with–naming new police and fire chiefs and other important department heads as well as putting together his staff of lieutenants.

But by mid-January, Hogsett will have to decide who his CIB appointees will be. The current members' terms end Jan. 14.

Likely gone are Ballard's appointees, though the most apolitical among them could survive.

Goode, a long-time community fixture, will almost certainly be replaced.

Hogsett hasn't given many hints about whom he'll name to he board.

When he does, the game is on.

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