Monday, February 04, 2013

Council Democrats Offer Face-Saving Funding For The Meadows

Democrats on the Indianapolis City-County Council, still stinging from criticism over their intentional killing of a proposal to create a TIF district for one of the City's poorest and most blighted African-American neighborhoods in the City at the same time they approved a new TIF district for some of the City's most wealthy and developed neighborhoods, tried to save face by throwing a bone to the Avondale-Meadows neighborhood. Council Democrats want to tap $3 million in RebuildIndy funds to help finance construction of a new grocery store near Keystone Avenue and 38th Street. Mayor Greg Ballard and Republican council members have to date taken the position that the RebuildIndy funds can only be used for street, sidewalk, sewer and other infrastructure improvements. The Democrats' proposal passed the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee on a 5-3 vote with all Republicans voting no.

Councilor Christine Scales (R), whose district includes much of the affected neighborhoods, along with Councilor Steve Talley (D), had been pushing for the creation of a TIF district that could be used to finance projects like the proposed grocery store. Councilor Talley, without any warning to Scales, abandoned support for the TIF at the same council meeting where Democrats approved the massive new Midtown TIF that includes Butler-Tarkington, Meridian-Kessler and much of Broad Ripple Village, more affluent and developed areas that are ill-suited for a TIF area, a move that will have a severe impact on property tax revenue for IPS and other local governmental entities dependent on property tax revenues for their funding. I suspect that Democrats anticipate that Mayor Ballard will veto the proposal if it makes it to his desk. A spokesman for the Mayor's office told the Star he is skeptical of the proposal.

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