Indianapolis City-County Council unanimously passes $1.561 billion budget
Indianapolis City-County Council approves 2024 budget
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 2024 Indianapolis and Marion County budget of more than $1.561 billion passed Monday night in a unanimous vote.
The budget is the largest in city history, and was a 6.7%% increase from the 2023 budget. The proposed spending includes the largest Indianapolis police budget to date, coming in at nearly $324 million, a 3.4% increase from 2023.
Chief Randal Taylor of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said, “That money, even though a lot of time people do not like to hear about an increase in budgets, is going to go a long way. It’s helping out our officers and helping out the community. A lot of that money is going for new officers and their salaries.”
There was concern from Council Minority Leader Brian Mowery about police recruitment and staffing levels. “I think it’s finally time where rubber meets the road when we start talking about recruiting and retention efforts, especially with IMPD,” the Republican said. “We have given eight years now of supportive budgets only to have fallen short.”
Taylor said this is a nationwide issue. “Unfortunately, all of the chiefs there are dealing with the same types of issues, finding those qualified individuals. It’s no secret we’re down a couple hundred officers. We’d like to find those people but we’re going to do our best to find them.”
The budget also focuses on infrastructure and includes a 5% increase for the Department of Public Works and allocates $232 million to the department.
“As part of the complete streets initiative that the council passed last year, all of our projects incorporate pedestrian safety elements, bike trails, sidewalks, things of that nature,” Brandon Herget, Public Works director, said. “So as we continue to deliver on those capital investments those are going to include the necessary pedestrian elements to keep that safe.”
The Office of Public Health and Safety is set to get more than $30 million with permanent funding built in for the Violence Reduction Strategy and Peace Keepers Program.
The 2024 budget is the city’s seventh balanced budget. In his August speech, Democrat Mayor Joe Hogsett noted the city is using revenue growth to fund this budget and not tax increases. Hogsett and Republican mayoral election opponent Jefferson Shreve each released a statement after the budget passed.
Tonight Mayor Joe Hogsett highlighted the City-County Council’s unanimous passage of the 2024 City-County operating budget. It represents the seventh straight balanced budget, each created and passed with broad bipartisan support. This evening’s vote represents the third budget passed with unanimous support during Mayor Hogsett’s time in office. All of Mayor Hogsett’s budgets have been approved without a tax increase or the selling of public assets.
“I want to thank President Osili, Vice President Adamson, Leaders Lewis and Mowery, and all councillors for their significant collaboration and support of our spending priorities,” said Mayor Hogsett. “The passage of this budget is a major victory for Indianapolis residents, as we invest unprecedented resources towards law enforcement and public safety, reinforce our commitment to community-based violence reduction, transform infrastructure at the large-scale and community level, and improve neighborhoods throughout our city.”
The first budget since 2019 without significant federal COVID funding support, Mayor Hogsett’s proposed 2024 budget accelerates the city’s momentum, prioritizing key investments in law enforcement, violence reduction, infrastructure, and neighborhoods to make Indianapolis safer and stronger. The total budget is more than $1.5 billion dollars and features the following:
- The largest IMPD budget in history at $323 million, including increased first-year salaries to nearly $72,000, an 85% increase from 2016 and one of the highest starting salaries in the Midwest. It also includes a 3% raise for veteran IMPD officers, and investment in technology and equipment for IMPD, including dashcams and drones, and an expansion of license plate readers and public safety cameras.
- A continued commitment to community-based violence reduction, including funding to expand the Clinician-Led Community Response program to East District with 24/7 staffing. It makes Mayor Hogsett’s gun violence reduction strategy (“Peacemakers”) a permanent program in the annual budget, from its original temporary federal funding source. And it includes funding to reach 60 beds at the Assessment & Intervention Center, representing a doubling of capacity at the 24/7 mental health and substance abuse response facility.
- An expansion on the Mayor’s 5-year, $1.2 billion infrastructure plan. That includes funding to support “Community-Powered Infrastructure” improvements to neighborhood infrastructure and pedestrian safety. It also includes $25 million in funding for residential streets, totaling over $100 million for residential streets in the past three years.
- Increased parks maintenance budget to build on the historic $80 million grant from Lilly Endowment for parks capital improvements, and funding for public safety cameras in 9 Indy Parks locations. It also features a $2 million in fiscal package for BNS to improve alleys, the first designated funding for alleys in recent memory. And it includes an anti-displacement pilot program in the Riverside neighborhood to limit the impact of rising assessed values, helping keep longtime neighbors on fixed incomes in their homes.
- Funding to create a new disparity study conducted by the Office of Minority and Women Business Development, updating 2019’s disparity study and putting the office on track to update studies every five years. It also creates an Office of Equity, Belonging, & Inclusion to enhance City-County efforts to ensure the local government reflects the people it serves.
Mayor Joe Hogsett
Upon the City-County Council’s unanimous passing of the 2024 City-County operating budget, Jefferson Shreve released the following statement:
“I’m glad to see the increased funding for public safety, but no amount of money is going to make Joe Hogsett an effective mayor. His budgets pass every year, without better results.
We’ve had the budget for a fully staffed police force; yet we’re 300 officers short. 800 have left, deciding they don’t want to work for him.
This is not a fiscal issue, this is a leadership issue. Mayor Hogsett’s had eight years — it’s time for a change, and I look forward to leading our city under this budget.”