Monday, September 17, 2007

Council Can Only Muster 0.1% In Budget Cuts

The Democratic-controlled council promised to take a hard look at the 2008 budget proposed by Mayor Bart Peterson (D) after they rammed through a $90 million a year, 65% increase in the county option income tax, but in the end the council could only must up a little more than a $1 million in cuts, or about 0.1% of the $1.05 billion budget. The council is scheduled to vote on the 2008 budget at tonight's council meeting. You pretty much knew what the council was capable of doing when you listened in on the library's budget and heard one member suggest the library find a way to spend less on paper towels and toilet paper for the bathrooms as a way of reducing its budget. According to the Star's Brandon O'Shaughnessy, the council budget hearings produced a mere $1.2 million in budget cuts.

Mayor Peterson reportedly reduced $13 million in the budget before presenting it to the council. That was largely accomplished by implementing a hiring freeze and delaying purchases of new equipment and materials. In other words, none of the reductions will affect long-term spending patterns by the city. The Mayor will boast that the overall city budget is only increasing slightly this year, but he won't mention that a $35 million reduction was achieved off the top because last year's budget included a one-time payment to the state to cover the county's child welfare debt.

Meanwhile, tax protestors visited the home of Mayor Peterson yesterday, but the Mayor didn't come out to chat with them. They are particularly miffed that Peterson is taking credit for the public pressure they brought about through several property tax protests over the summer, which led to Gov. Daniels' decision to order a reassessment of property in Marion Co. The Star's Cordell Eddings writes:

"The man wants to sit and bald-face lie that he is responsible for the reassessment. It was us that generated the reassessment. And he wants to take credit for it? I think not," said Jeff Hays, 47, who, like the mayor, lives in Washington Township. He held a sign with a picture of Peterson with an elongated nose, titled "Bartnocchio," in a reference to the storybook character Pinocchio, whose nose grew when he lied.

He had nothing to do with the reassessment."

The protesters called for the mayor to come out and talk -- noticing every movement in the curtains of the home's front windows.

"Bart, we are waiting. We know you're in there," somebody yelled. "You've got to come out sometime, Bart."

Mayor Peterson's campaign manager, Mike O'Connor, defended the Mayor's misleading ad. "Clearly, we wrote that script, and we are comfortable with the facts in the ad," O'Connor said.
"In our society, everyone is entitled to express their opinion. But just because they have an opinion doesn't make it a fact. The mayor was out front calling for a reassessment way before action was taken."

On the point of the reassessment order, it is important to point out that the new assessment will in all likelihood produce little or no changes in most homeowner's tax bills. By ordering a reassessment, Gov. Daniels only deferred the real pain most homeowners will feel when their actual tax bills for this year come due early next year. In a sense, the Governor in one fell swoop did more to boost the re-election campaign of Mayor Peterson than anything the Mayor has done this year to help his own re-election. Some critics think that is by design given how Gov. Daniels has done absolutely nothing to help the campaign of Greg Ballard as he sits atop millions of dollars for his own re-election. Some Republicans in Marion County may not forgot Daniels lack of effort here in Marion Co. in next year's gubernatorial race.


Anonymous said...

It is rumored that some of the mayor's "cuts" were in his office, by some off his staff being moved to his campaign staff...and will eventually be back. If this is true, then some of his "cuts" are just temporary....
Is this rumor factual, Mayor????????????

Wilson46201 said...

Daniels may have seriously burnt himself by postponing having to pay for the 2007 increase until 2008. The 2008 tax bills will be substantially the same as the original high 2007 ones plus those deferred 2007 increases will also come due. Double whammy! It's doing to be gruesome during the 2008 election year but the pressure was relieved during the 2007 municipal elections. I'm not sure Daniels thought it through but Peterson owes him bigtime!

Anonymous said...

I've heard that the CCC is revisiting the 65% vote again tonight. A possible re-vote. Is this true? If so can Carson cast a vote without hearing the public testimony?

Anonymous said...

Wilson, I think you need to get your vision checked. This article is about the CCC and its supposed budget cuts. It has nothing to do with Gov Daniels. You need to leave the "spin" to your washer, it does a much better job!

Anonymous said...

Copied from another blog,
Anonymous said...
regarding "If Greg Ballard is the answer we are really screwed! This guy could not run a Hot Dog Stand! Let alone the 13th largest city in the USA.
Here's a are evidently for Peterson, so chew on this..your mayor is President of the League of Cities...just think what the USA would be like if all the cities modeled themselves the same way he runs this city.....God have mercy.

Anonymous said...

One of the FEW times I will agree with Wilson - "I'm not sure Daniels thought it through but Peterson owes him bigtime!"

Pike Voter

Bart Lies said...

1 million is only 1/10th of 1 percent

1 billion = 1000 million

Anonymous said...

Bart lies is right...its worse than we thought ..Looks like they could only come up with one tenth of a percent

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks, Bart Lies, for correcting my mathematical error.

Anonymous said...

I'm angry about tax increases, too, and I've weighed in with my elected representatives and the mayor.

I attended two of the rallies, one at the Governor's Residence (I use that term loosely) and one at a church.

But never in my wildest dreams would I protest at the Mayor's home on a Sunday morning.

Completely and utterly without class.

Bart Lies said...

Why is that 'without class'?

Remember, this is the guy who locked people out of a 'proper' meeting place in the CCB by stuffing his own people in the room ahead of those who had stood in line for an hour or more. Talk about lacking 'class'.

And by the way, tonight is another 'proper time and place', as the CCC will be voting on our taxes again tonight.

Be there. Showing up two times at rallies is hardly demonstrating a commitment to the cause.

Anonymous said...

BL, you have no idea how many times I've called my council members, state legislators, and the mayor. How dare you question my commitment to any "cause." I prefer logical arguments, letters, phone calls and direct conversations with decision-makers, and facts, to emotion, inaccuracies and tacky Sunday AM lurking.

And if you have to ask why it's classless to show up at the mayor's house to protest on a Sunday morning, you have none.

God I cannot wait until Nov. 6. What are you gonna do after that?

Anonymous said...

"God I cannot wait until Nov. 6. What are you gonna do after that?"

Call Greg Ballard "Mayor" that's what.