Friday, September 17, 2010

More On Property Tax Revenues Now Flowing To The CIB

The Star's Jon Murray picks up on fellow blogger Pat Andrews' recent blog post complaining about an interlocal agreement between the Metropolitan Development Commission and the Capital Improvement Board allowing property tax revenues derived from a TIF to flow to the CIB to the tune of $8 million a year, the first time in the history of the municipal corporation that it has been funded with property tax dollars. Likely Democratic mayoral nominee Melina Kennedy quickly picked up the fumbled ball from Ballard and ran with it:

On Thursday, Democrat Melina Kennedy, who is seeking to challenge Mayor Greg Ballard in next year's election, cited the transfer to the CIB -- set to recur each year -- as Exhibit A of what she considers misplaced priorities.

Other critics have pointed out that the move came as the improvement board has begun sending the Pacers three annual $10 million payments to help pay for operating Conseco Fieldhouse. The CIB also will pay for $3.5 million in arena improvements.

Kennedy spoke before a board meeting of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. The library plans a 26 percent reduction in hours starting Oct. 3 to help close a $4 million shortfall.

"I'm still in shock that the mayor would divert tax dollars to fund the CIB while, at the same time, he's allowing libraries to close," said Kennedy.
Other city-county agencies are facing across-the-board cuts as local income tax revenues plummet and others face reduced property tax revenues because of the state's property tax cap law. Those revenue sources may be off as much as $80 million during the next budget year. City Controller David Reynolds tells Murray the Ballard administration just happened to find this unused pot of money and said, "What the hell, let's give it to the CIB:

City Controller David Reynolds said the TIF money was "over and above" what the development commission needed to meet its TIF obligations, and the visitors association supports Downtown economic development.
The CIB's story is the money was needed to provide a steady stream of revenues for the ICVA despite the fact that it already has that in the form of the food and beverage tax and hotel tax revenues that flow to the municipal corporation each year, on top of the additional car rental tax revenues and the state revenues from the sports tax development area downtown. And then there's that $27 million the CIB is borrowing from the state over a 3-year period. Pat Andrews is correct in her assessment the money is simply being diverted as a way of paying for the $33.5 million give-away to the Indiana Pacers. The CIB's Ann Lathrop responds:
"This is a way for us, at a minimum, to say, 'You're going to get $8 million,' " Lathrop said.
"It's not a way to make it easier to find money for the Pacers," Lathrop said. "It allows us to provide a balanced budget as it relates to everything the CIB does."
Yeah, right. Just one more promise broken by Mayor Greg Ballard. Let's not miss any nails as we tighten down the lid on his political coffin. And while we're on the subject, does anyone else recall that press statement Ballard released where he promised to find money for the libraries to avoid service reductions? So he found money for the CIB, which already benefited from additional revenues from three sources, including a state tax diversion, a local hotel tax increase and new borrowing from the state of Indiana. He still hasn't found any money for the library board, which plans to seek an increase in our property taxes now and just announced a decrease in the hours of operations for library branches. His administration has basically given the green light to both the library and IndyGo to seek property tax increases to fund their operations while he uses this pot of property tax money to fund the CIB with even more money to fund advertising efforts that benefit only a handful of downtown hotels and restaurants. A nice set of priorities you have there, Mayor Ballard.


Downtown Indy said...

The gravy flows freely from the Indianapolis Gravy Train Corporation, er, I mean Capital Improvement Board.

I don't believe Ballard has 'misplaced priorities.' I believe hs has NO priorities -- What is commonly called 'being interrupt driven.' Whomever last left the 25th Floor Catering Office is where the next bucket of gravy goes.

Mmm, mmm, mmm. Ballard's Biscuits and Gravy. They are what keeps the Fat Cats getting fatter.

M Theory said...

This makes me ill as I just coughed up nearly $5,000 cash (with three weeks notice) to shore up the defiencies in my escrow caused by my property tax quadrupling!

I think I literally have pocket change to live on for a month after that.

Yet the Simons, who are billionaires, get a million dollar scoreboard and a multi-million dollar bailout.

I worked day and night that summer of 2007 to help Ballard's victory because I believed him. I believed that he would protect our property. Sadly, he's too dim to protect the citizens. If he was bright, he would have surrounded himself with a kitchen cabinet of the activists who helped him win. We were the ones who had no agenda except to create an honest city. And he all but ignores our advice. Instead he puts his trust in the untrustworthy and self;-serving.

M Theory said...

If Ballard the mayor, were Ballard the candidate....well, he would have led the charge TO AUDIT the CIB!

By the way, dropped a friend off this week at the new airport (which looks from the outside like the old airport). There was very little activity at the airport. I can't believe we needed that new facility. It was like a ghost town.

As I was rounding the bend to leave and get back on the interstate I missed the 25mph speed limit sign as I was focusing on the interstate signs down the road to get in the correct exit lane.

There was a police officer waiting just around the bend where the obscure sign was located. He clocked me going 51mph (safe speed) as I kept up with the minimal traffic flow on the wide four or five line road leading out of the airport.

He was a nice enough cop and represented IMPD well (doing his job). He gave me a ticket on the very day I literally emptied my checking account to the tune of $5,000 to shore up my mortgage escrow account that skyrocketed into arrears due to my property taxes QUADRUPLING and insurance doubling!

I don't have enough money left after taxes to pay the ticket.

Everyone should beware. There is a speed trap at the new airport. I guess the property tax revenues they extort from us aren't enough to feed this insatiable monster they call a "world class city".

Jon said...

It is interesting to note, albeit frustrating, that no matter now much money the CIB pours down the sink hole known as professional sports that somehow it is alright. I've said it before and I'll say it again it is time to disband, dismantle, demolish or destroy the CIB. The only improvement from that August body is on the bottom line of the Simons and the Irsays!

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Actually, Melyssa, if you were west of the airport, you probably were NOT in Marion County, and it should have been an Airport Officer or ISP who gave you the ticket.
Remember, Bart Peterson "gave" the airport to Hendricks County. That's why they have all those huge, new businesses out there, while western Marion County is now a ghost town.