Mayor hopes to shift tax levies, spend $190M for public safety, parks upgrades

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett on Monday announced $190 million in upgrades to government facilities as part of a shift in tax levies.

The majority of the money will go to public safety improvements, which include these:

  • $30 million for a modern Forensics Crime Lab.
  • $40 million for a new Youth and Family Services Center to replace the Juvenile Detention Center.
  • $16 million for an upgraded coroner facility.
  • $7.5 million for a new fire station to replace the one in Broad Ripple.
  • $18 million toward a facility for Animal Care Services. The city says site selection and design is expected to be finalized for the new shelter by the end of 2021, with construction expected to begin in 2022.
  • $9 million for a new Solid Waste Garage to replace the current 70-year-old building.

A large chunk also will go toward parks facilities, which include these:

  • $20 million for Frederick Douglass Park and its Family Center facility, as part of its centennial celebration.
  • $11 million for upgrades to Riverside Park.
  • $7 million for Krannert Park
  • $7 million for Grassy Creek Park.

The money will come from the expiring Pension Relief Fund property tax levy with a new County Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax levy. A news release from the mayor’s office said this money “is available after the 2005 Pension Relief bonds are paid off this year. The rate shift will decrease the average tax burden of Indianapolis homeowners.”

The proposal before the council says, “The County Cumulative Capital Development Fund shall not exceed three hundred and thirty three hundredths cents ($0.0333) for each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation of property in the taxing district. Said tax rate will be levied beginning in 2021 payable 2022.”

The mayor and “supportive community stakeholders” announced the spending at Douglass Park Family Center, said in the release. News 8 showed the announcement live on its Facebook page.

“For a century now, Frederick Douglass park been a significant neighborhood asset, one that our stakeholders hold very dear,” said Barato Britt, president and chief executive officer of the Edna Martin Christian Center, in the news release. “Its revitalization ensures that the citizens of Martindale Brightwood and our surrounding communities have a recreational amenity that serves all, while preserving our neighborhood’s rich history and legacy.”

Steve Quick, president of AFSCME Local 725, lauded the “long-awaited upgrade to our solid waste operations” in the news release.

“Investment in our facilities is investment in our workers,” said Steve Quick, president of AFSCME Local 725. “This long-awaited upgrade for our solid waste operations will be a great improvement for our team, and today’s announcement is highly welcomed by the women and men who work hard every day to provide solid waste service for Indy residents.”

Indianapolis City-County Council introduced the tax proposal Monday night. Another discussion of the proposal is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the City-County Council Administration & Finance Committee meeting.