Ballard, Council Come to Agreement on Budget Plan
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and leaders of the City-County Council have come to an agreement on the city's budget.
The agreement still requires approval by the City-County Council, but allows for the restoration of $32 million in County Option Income Tax revenue to fund county offices for 2013. The mayor's office says both parties are also committed to cutting operational spending in 2013 by 5%. The Capital Improvement Board will pay the city $5 million for public safety this year. And there will be an increase of 2% in the car rental tax and 4% in admission tax. Those will go into effect March first.
A bipartisan commission will be formed to make a recommendation on the elimination of the Homestead Tax Credit, which will bring in an additional $9 million to the city in 2014. That elimination was a big point of contention among council Democrats during budget negotiations in 2012. The mayor and council leaders will also hold monthly financial meetings under the agreement.
“I view budgeting beyond just one year, and this compromise puts the city in a much stronger fiscal position in 2014 and beyond,” said Mayor Ballard in a statement. “We still must do some heavy lifting to control spending, find new efficiencies and address our public safety/criminal justice system, but this agreement will provide the City the resources it needs to continue funding critical operations.”
The mayor's office says the agreement will produce a $12 million annual revenue increase beginning in 2014, will leave a 'manageable' $6 million budget deficit in 2014, and will leave the city with $42 million in operating reserves at the end of 2013.
"The agreement we have reached exhibits a true collaborative effort," City-County Council President Maggie Lewis said. "I look forward to working more closely with the Mayor administering the city’s finances over the coming year. Our agreement strengthens our partnership with the CIB and identifies fiscal resources needed to address public safety concerns, which were central to the budget that the council passed."