- City Spending was not put in budget. While the former mayor tried to claim he kept spending under control (despite increasing known spending by over $300 million in his two terms), it has become clear those claims were an election year ploy. Multiple areas of known spending were simply not put in the budget and claimed to be spending cuts, including:
- $10.5 million in scheduled DPW transportation infrastructure improvement (road maintenance)
- $4.2 million in IFD overtime
- $2.8 million in scheduled labor contract increases with the Sheriff's office
- $128,000 in scheduled labor contract increases with the Department of Public Works
- $65,000 in scheduled labor contract increases with the Department of Metropolitan Development
- The City borrowed to pay for operating expenses. Borrowing money for a government to undertake capital projects, major construction, or a long-term project is a common and accepted practice in municipal government. In the past administration, however, the city began borrowing money to pay current operating expenses. Notably, operating expenses for the pre-1977 Police and Fire Pensions were paid through bond debt for operating years 2005, 2006, 2007, and part of 2008, totaling $100 million dollars. In addition, this debt will cause the city to pay $40 million in interest through 2021.
- The City let contracts expire at the end of 2007 that could have saved millions. While Mayor Ballard did not take office until January 1st, the past administration failed to inform Ballard's transition team of many expiring contracts which terminated in December, before Mayor Ballard had any authority to act upon them. Most notable, the past administration let a fuel hedge fund expire. That fund would have let City and County vehicles pay only $2.65 for gasoline in 2008. Instead, the City was forced to acquire a new contract that costs more than a dollar more because of the volatility in the markets.
- Late property tax bills have delayed expected revenue. Due to the inability of County Assessor Greg Bowes and the Township Assessors to properly assess property to the standards of the DLGF, the City has had to borrow in order to cover budgeted expenses. This has caused an additional $8.5 million in interest costs in 2008 alone.
- Inefficient management of government institutions. There are many inefficiencies still remaining in our city government. Notably, Jail I, operated by the Sheriff's office, costs taxpayers $107.33 per day per offender. Jail II, which is privately operated, only costs taxpayers $42.13 per day per offender. Even the state maximum security facility at Wabash Valley costs taxpayers around $62 per offender per day. Clearly, Sheriff Anderson is running an inefficient operation that would fail if it were a private business.
Monday, August 11, 2008
John Responds To Ballard's Budget Proposal
Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John gives his take on Mayor Ballard's proposed 2009 city budget. John blames the city's current budget woes on Mayor Bart Peterson's "lack of political foresight" and "crass political calculations." To back his view, John cites the following: