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 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:
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.
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.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.
"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."