I was surprised to read recently that Mayor Greg Ballard has spent the money earmarked for the 100 new police officers to cover other expenses. He says this was necessary due to an "underfunded budget."
The 2008 city budget is available for the public to access on the city's Web site, www.indygov.org/eGov/City/Controller. It shows:
» The 0.65 income tax increase provided $80 million of new revenue for the city's budget.
» Cuts made by Mayor Peterson during 2007 left an extra $13 million in city coffers at the end of that year.
» The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department budget, as passed by the council and signed into law by Peterson, allocated more than $8 million for salaries and $1.1 million for benefits (page 73 of public safety budget) to hire 100 officers.
The budget book calls out this funding and outlines the increase of 100 full-time Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department uniform personnel (page 28 of the Executive Summary).
First of all, Davis must have slept through last year's budget debates. One of the complaints against the Peterson administration was his failure to hire those additional 200 police officers which had been funded under prior budgets. She is wrong on the amount of money projected to be raised from the income tax. It was $90 million, not $80 million as she writes. And her claim that Peterson's budget cuts last year left a $13 million surplus is simply not true. Peterson failed to budget for over-time pay for public safety workers and scheduled pay raises. He omitted critical vehicle replacement costs. At the same time, he went on a flurry of contract signing in an attempt to reward political cronies and make Ballard's budget woes worse. And the list goes on. The bottom line was that Ballard took office with at least a $26 million hole in the budget because of the fraud Peterson and the Democrats perpetrated on the public last year when it passed the budget. Peterson masked the dire financial straits the city was facing after eight years of his governance. That's the reason Ballard doesn't have money to hire 100 new police officers and Davis knows it.