Friday, June 05, 2009

CIB To FMB

About the only thing I liked about Gov. Mitch Daniels' announcement yesterday on his plan to dump the CIB and replace it with a new locally-controlled Facilities Management Board (FMB) was his concession that the CIB has been over-spending. "Embarrassing" is the word he used to describe it. The data his administration gathered from the cost of running convention centers and stadiums in other cities confirmed the CIB's outlandish expenses:

Stadium
Lucas Oil Stadium
» Comparable revenue: $9.5 million.
» Comparable expenses: $29.6 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $3.09.

Reliant Stadium, Houston
(similar size; also has retractable roof)
» Comparable revenue: $12.2 million.
» Comparable expenses: $19.3 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $1.59.

Convention Center
Indianapolis
» Revenue: $5.8 million.
» Expenses: $19.7 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $3.42.

Denver
» Revenue: $10.8 million.
» Expenses: $14.3 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $1.32.

Pittsburgh
» Revenue: $6.7 million.
» Expenses: $9.8 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $1.46.

Atlantic City, N.J.
» Revenue: $6.5 million.
» Expenses: $9.9 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $1.52.

Columbus, Ohio
» Revenue: $8.9 million.
» Expenses: $9.9 million.
» Expense per dollar of revenue: $1.12.

When the Star attempted to contact CIB Vice President Pat Early, a CPA who has been on the board for 17 years, he responded that he was in Florida and had not been briefed on the new proposal. At least Gov. Daniels' administration did something Early and the CIB hadn't bothered to do in its decades of existence and analyze its costs to figure out if the facilities could be managed more efficiently. Because of the late date of this announcement, Councilor Joanne Sanders notes the council will only have about 10 days to consider the plan before having to act on it. Ballard seems to think he'll have support to raise $12 million in new taxes: hotels, car rentals and admissions. CCC President says his members aren't committed to the plan yet.

A Star editorial weighs in on the plan and urges the General Assembly to embrace it. It's a little short on detail on explaining why it's such a good plan. It relies less on higher taxes and revenue diversions and more on cuts is about all the editors can muster to make the argument. Transparency in the operation of the new board is an open question. I really think we've been taken for a ride all along. First, I believe the CIB exaggerated the true extent of the Lucas Oil Stadium expenses. Irsay's letter to Colts fans said as much earlier this year, but the media ignored it. Of the $47 million deficit the CIB claimed, $20 million was attributed to LOS, while another $15 million was self-inflicted in order to give $15 million a year more to the Pacers. I'm not buying the fact that this plan saves money when it hasn't even been proven that the deficit as projected by the CIB's leadership is based on hard numbers.

Like I said yesterday, it's all smoke and mirrors. I expected better of Gov. Daniels. This plan reflects his desire to help out his old buddy Jim Morris earn a big fat bonus from the Simon family for suckering the government into giving the greedy billionaires $15 million more of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Jim Morris got a big laugh and a big pay check on the Indianapolis Water Company deal that's left the City saddled with nearly a billion in debt. He'll have another laugh on us while playing cards with his elitist buddies at the country club. Gov. Daniels ought to be ashamed of offering a deal that gives $15 million of our taxpayers dollars away to the State's wealthiest family at a time others are suffering and sacrificing so much.

4 comments:

jabberdoodle said...

Any idea how or why the ICVA ended up getting the millions more they wanted PLUS a seat on the new board?

I can't figure out what Daniels and Ballard accomplish by merging the CIB with the Indy Bldg Auth. That puts both the ICVA and the state with a say in City matters through their seats on the board. I don't see what it really contributes to the fiscal health of the old CIB operations either. And it pulls the operation of City buildings at arms length from the Mayor and City Council when they are now directly in charge - albeit there is a regular board, it is not a municipal corporation.

Old_Grouch said...

"I can't figure out what Daniels and Ballard accomplish by merging the CIB with the Indy Bldg Auth."

How about further obscuring the extent of the professional sports subsidy?

Paul K. Ogden said...

Old Grouch has a point.

Actually I think the new board pulls control away from the council more than the mayor. The mayor has always dominated these appointed boards.

Downtown Indy said...

Funny story today about the big neon sign on LOS fritzing out over and over. Forrest Lucas is 'peeved' he says.

I remember the past news accounts of the local outfit building them and how proud they were of their terrific design and construction. Whoops.

TOo bad we don't have the money to fix it. Forrest should ask for his money back.