Friday, April 02, 2010

Will Ballard Use Citizens' Money To Balance City Budget?

Mayor Greg Ballard maintained in his initial announcement of the proposed sale of the water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy that all of the cash proceeds of the sale would be plowed into new sidewalks and street improvements. More recently, Ballard conceded he may use some of the money to pay for a new data processing system for public safety and fund economic development efforts. Ballard's administration has been spending like drunken sailors recently despite predictions that state reimbursement adjustments to the city will leave the city budget with a hole of $20 to $30 million. Ballard recently obtained council approval to spend $27 million on the purchase of new public safety vehicles, which effectively drained the city fund from which the funds are being appropriated. The administration claims the purchase will actually save taxpayers in the long haul.

7 comments:

Downtown Indy said...

So this must mean we don't have $15M to hand over to the Pacers.

interestedparty said...

This morning on the radio I heard a story about Charlotte NC having a deficit at around $85 million and all the cuts in services and necessities they were going to have to enact. Very scary. I hope Indy is not falling into the same hole.

Indy Student said...

Wow, I must've missed that Council vote.

I remember when the budget was presented, Ballard and his supporters were talking up about how he's going to be able to hire 25 new police officers with brand new card and pay for their training, and it'd be covered!

But then they were turned down from that grant to fund the vehicles, and recently, they shut down the IMPD helicopter.

If I recall correctly, these new LEO are being paid for by federal money. What happens when that money vanishes? Will Ballard have the political will to correct his spending spree by firing these IMPD officers, or transferring funds within the IMPD budget to cover their salary? Or will he continue to sell off city-county resources and gut other departments such as parks just so he can claim he's tough on crime?

Had Enough Indy? said...

Be afraid whenever they say "fund economic development efforts". That's anything from Ballard's trips abroad to more money for the CIB or ICVA.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Answer to the question: Mayor Ballard will so spend CitiZens' money, if he can get away with it.

indyernie said...

Those of you who think Ballard is spending like a drunken sailor are just wrong.
Those trips to other countries where not vacations they were working trips. Ballard is trying to bring business to Indy.
We could go back to how it was under Peterson HUGE deficits, HIGH crime and a bankrupt city.

Indy Student said...

Ernie, Peterson passed balanced budgets just like every mayor before and after him. Budgets must be balanced as required by law. The phrase Ballard has been using is "honestly balanced budgets", but it's not quite that.

Ballard has played with the numbers in the budget just like Peterson. He factored in a grant for the purchase of IMPD vehicles that the city didn't have a chance of getting, and certainly wouldn't have covered 25 new cars that are needed for the new LEO. Despite an increase in IMPDs budget, their helicopter is now unfunded and can't be used.* Just like Peterson, Ballard hasn't stopped relying on a massive amount of federal funding for his budget, which is a scary thought considering the federal government's current financial situation.

*Now if the helicopter is worth keeping or not is a good discussion to have. But it shouldn't be cut in a sneaky way so that IMPD had no idea until a month or so ago.

As for the homicide rate, it's going down nationally. That's hardly something that can be soley contributed to Ballard.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/01/AR2010010101829.html

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/02/14/imaginary_fiends/

The problem in this city now is the violent crimes that don't result in homicides, and the abandoned buildings. And unfortunately, those using abandoned buildings often aren't reported.

This is not necessarily the fault of Ballard, but it's unfair to think that we were living in a gang-run city 3 years ago and we're in a utopia now. There's still plenty of work to be done, and I'm not convinced (though I hope and want to be proven wrong) that Ballard has it in him to get that job done.