Monday, February 02, 2009
City Facing Huge Budget Shortfall
Apparently, our City-County Council didn't approve a budget for this fiscal year that is anywhere close to being balanced. WRTV's Jack Rinehart reports that IMPD is facing a $5 million deficit, while the fire department is about $3 million short. "The funding crisis was discovered when the City-County Council passed the 2009 budget and lawmakers realized that the year included 27 pay periods, instead of the usual 26," Rinehart says. By next year, city officials expect the shortfall to reach $30 million annually. Remember how that 65% increase in the local income tax was going to pay for 100 more police officers? "For IMPD, the shortfall could impact the hiring of more police officers, layoffs of civilian employees, cuts in training and cutbacks in overtime traditionally used for extra neighborhood patrols," Rinehart says. All agencies are being asked to find 5% reductions by Mayor Ballard. Negotiated contract increases for police officers well above the rate of inflation, of course, will not be touched. Why pray tell would our city piss away $5 million in brand new spending on useless crime prevention grants when we're facing this big of budget hole?