INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)– The mayor’s fiscal budget proposal, presented to the City-County Council on Monday, hits on four main areas; expansion of the violence reduction strategy, infrastructure investments, education, and property tax relief.
The $1.4 billion budget proposal for 2023 includes a $100 million increase in spending from the last fiscal year.
In a Tuesday morning interview on Daybreak, Mayor Joe Hogsett gave an overview of what his proposal entails.
“The important thing is, is that for six consecutive years, we’ve had a fully-balanced budget and that has put the city of Indianapolis in a very advantageous economic position to make investments in ways that perhaps other cities our size are not able to make because of COVID-19,” Hogsett said. “So, we are investing this year not only in more public safety and anti-violence efforts but also in our roads, our bridges, our sidewalks…and, for the first time in many, many years, we’re actually offering the people of Indianapolis a property tax break next year.”
In the mayor’s proposal, IMPD has the authorization to hire up to 1,843 officers. It also focuses heavily on police recruitment, upping first-year officers’ pay to more than $61,000, including a $10,000 signing bonus.
“The hope is that it’s going to encourage new officers, but also lateral officers, to come over. We’re already seeing an increase in that,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.
Hogsett on Tuesday emphasized the importance of dedicating some of the budget to community-based violence prevention programs.
“No one knows their neighborhoods better than the neighbors themselves. And as I’ve said many, many times over the last few years, our public safety challenges cannot be resolved by IMPD alone. It takes a community to make our community safer and I think the investments that we’re making in our community and neighborhood organizations are really starting to pay dividends.”
Hogsett also wants to dedicate some money to the newly-created mental health emergency response team.
The mayor’s proposal also laid out a massive five-year, $1.158 billion infrastructure plan. Streets, bridges, trails, and sidewalks will get $849 million of that, and $309 million allocated to drainage, dams, levees, and culverts.
“All of those are important not only to the residents who have to get from point a to point b in safe and secure ways, but it also improves the quality of place and the quality of life that we enjoy,” Hogsett said Tuesday.
On Monday, Dan Parker, director of the city’s department of public works, said: “The mayor has made this a priority, and we’ve moved from a situation where in 2016, we invested about $100 million in transportation and stormwater combined. Next year we’ll invest about $400 million in transportation and stormwater combined.”
The mayor’s proposal lays out a one-time property tax credit for Marion County single-family homeowners.
Properties worth $0 to $250,000 will receive a $150 one-time credit on their bill. Properties worth $250,000 to $400,000 will receive a $100 credit.
“Understanding the challenges Marion County residents are facing with inflation and gas prices, it seemed like a critical way to give back to residents while understanding the challenges they’re facing, while also understanding the city’s continual financial stability, which allows us to do something like this,” Taylor Schaffer, the mayor’s chief of staff, said.
The 2023 fiscal budget makes a commitment to education as well with a $1 million investment in the new Circle City Readers program, which partners with community organizations to provide science-based reading tutoring to K-3 Marion County students.