Monday, July 28, 2008

City's Finances Still Look Bleak

Even after a record 65% increase in the City's income tax, property tax increases and a $1 billion pension debt bailout by the State of Indiana, Indianapolis is still operating in the red according to the Controller for the City of Indianapolis. The City will even have to take out a $150 million loan just to make it through the year. Budget forecasts for the next few years look even worse with expenditures expected to surpass revenues in the foreseeable future unless drastic changes are made. This is what happens when you live beyond your means for so many years. The opening of the $700 million Lucas Oil Stadium this month and the demolition of the RCA Dome (despite owing $70 million on it) to make way for a $200 million convention center expansion are emblematic of the recklessness with which the City has continued to borrow and borrow beyond our means to repay it. According to the numbers released by the Ballard administration today, expenditures for the 2008 budget are far exceeding the budget approved by Mayor Peterson and the Democratic-controlled council last year--at least $30 million. With a source of revenue yet to be found to finance the operating and maintenance expenses for Lucas Oil Stadium, the City is facing a much worse financial crisis than people were led to believe during last year's budget debate.

5 comments:

Money77guy said...

The problem was the convention center should have been built first. The Lucas Oil Coliseum (opps didn't I mean stadium)will bring no real job growth or outside visitors to the city. One good convention brings more money into the economy then all of the home Colts games combined. Remember if you want to use the tax payed for and maintained stadium you have to pay Irsay for the privilege. How insane is that! Oh well at least we do have the Super Bowl to get a little of that cash back!

Eclecticvibe said...

So where do we look for leadership in the budget crisis? The Democrat administration started it, and the Republican Administration seems to just continue playing the game. Could it be the same interests control the administrations, regardless of party affiliation?

Money77guy said...

Add in over 800 million for the Water Company and the city is spending like a drunken sailor on shore leave!

Dee said...

Well, there is a lot of talk about the city budget, and none of it is any good. How will this affect those of us in EMS. For starters, we see the city tightening the purse strings on everything from overtime, fuel, equipment, take home vehicles (for the higher ups) to staffing.
One area that might rile a few feathers is when they start looking at duplicate services. I know what you are thinking, we really don't want to go there, but if we have our information right, there may be something to this. Health and Hospital Corporation is mandated to provide EMS service in all of Marion County. That is not to say each fire department is not free to provide it for themselves if they wish, but they are not required to. No where is it written that IFD has to provide ambulances. By operating ambulances, IFD is billing for the service they provide, but by being a fire department, they cannot be a for profit business. So, IFD is running ambulances, eating up a huge piece of the budget, but cannot do better than break even.
Wishard hospital can make a profit, and hold onto that money. The money could also be used to help finance the hospital, therefore decreasing the dollars needed from the city/county to pay for indigent care.
Then there is the billing end. If we are not mistaken, Wishard was granted special status a few years back in a bill, sponsored by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN), that allowed it to bill medicare/medicaid at a higher rate. We have also heard that Wishard is eligible for certain federal grants for indigent care that the fire department is ineligible to receive.
Lastly, there is the IU School of Medicine. They pump a lot of dollars into Wishard, money that might not be there if EMS was taken over by IFD.
Say what you want, but in times of budget crisis's, you just never know. Talk all you want about service, hiring, training, response; but when it comes down to it, WAS has been around for a long time and IFD EMS is still very new.
We know there are going to be some upset people over this one, so let us have it. Just remember, keep it clean.

Stay Safe
Dee

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

I've been told repeatedly by a trusted source that Jackie Nytes was cooking the books and that the water deal was dirty and not for the benefit of the people.

I'll never forget calling Jackie Nytes in April 2007 to ask for an audit of the city's books. She tried to shoo me away by saying they've gone over the whole thing with a fine tooth comb, there was no money to save, and that our democrat controlled council was on top of things.

That's when I explained further who I am and how much time and money the city was spending (wasting) on its politically motivated lawsuit against me.

Thanks Peterson for the mess you left the people you were supposed to be serving.

I appreciate Ballard making this matter open and known to the public. I hope this openness continues.
--Melyssa