INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Monday night, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard presented his 2014 budget proposal to the City-County Council.
“Our future looks promising,” Ballard said. “But we must stay prudent and make wise fiscal decisions that encourage Indy's long-term, accelerated growth."
The city and county budget calls for spending of roughly one billion dollars. But, it comes with a “structural deficit” that is estimated at $55 million.
Ballard said what he presented in the council chamber "sets the stage for future growth." But, economic conditions require the city to “hold the line on spending.”
Ballard said his budget is balanced and does not contain an income tax increase.
It does, however, contain two tax changes.
Ballard would like the council to reconsider an end to the local homestead tax credit, an idea the council rejected recently. He said, by ending that credit, the city could generate an extra $11 million for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“We should not be using our scarce income tax dollars to pay property tax bills that are already capped by the state,” he said. “We should prioritize those funds to provide for the operation and growth of IMPD.”
Ballard also called for a change in the taxing district for IMPD. When the police merged with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, several years ago, the new department gained more responsibility without an additional source of funding.
Money for the new department came only from people in the old city limits. Ballard said the taxes should now come from everyone served by IMPD. He said that would raise an extra $1.3 million for the department.
Mayor Ballard said more than 90 percent of all revenue goes to public safety and criminal justice. But, he added, his plan still fulfills the city’s commitment to parks, to crime prevention and “maintains our competitive business environment.”
Ballard said his plan even “leaves us with a little money in the bank at the end of next year."
He ended with an appeal to the chamber controlled by Democrats.
“My team and I look forward to working with you on this responsible budget for a strong Indianapolis."
The huge number of tree limbs knocked down Kokomo when two tornadoes hit the city three weeks ago are starting to disappear.
Police dispatchers around Central Indiana reported a number of vehicle slide-offs occurred Monday morning.
Part of the Monon Trail will be closed Monday morning.