- $5.7 million just sitting in an escrow fund leftover from the deal to sell the water and sewer utilities to Citizens Energy several years ago;
- $6.9 million borrowed from a "fiscal stability fund" that currently holds about $80 million; and
- $2.4 million from the city's rainy day fund.
UPDATE: The council voted to approve the budget tonight by a vote of 26-2. Councilors Robert Lutz and Christine Scales voted against its approval. Interestingly, the engrossed proposal voted on by the council omitted the language retaining the homestead property tax credit, a difference of about $11 million. There was no debate on the budget's passage, which is quite telling given that it's the most important vote council members make during the year.
The only debate occurred over the passage of the CIB's budget, which came in response to comments by Councilor Frank Mascari in opposition to their budget because it includes more subsidies for the Pacers. Naturally, Bob Grand's stooges on the council, Aaron Freeman and Ben Hunter, spoke up in defense of the continued subsidies. What really upsets me is the disingenuousness of councilors' explanations for their actions. Repeatedly, there is reference made to binding agreements and state laws that tie the hands of the council, specious claims that the council illegally sought to impose a PILOT on the CIB, and that the agreements with the sports team requires these subsidies.
The CIB had a long-term, binding lease agreement with the Pacers, which required the Pacers to pay all maintenance expenses on Banker's Life Fieldhouse. Herb Simon threatened to break that lease agreement with the City, for which he would have been subject to draconian penalties, unless the CIB agreed to fork over tens of millions of dollars to his team annually. Ostensibly, these payments are to cover the maintenance costs on Banker's Life Fieldhouse, which the Pacers were contractually obligated to pay since they pay no rent and retain all of the revenues the facility generates. These numbers are inflated. It doesn't cost that much money to maintain Banker's Life Fieldhouse. Besides, the CIB had already been paying for any extraordinary capital expenses for improvements to the facility and continues to pay those extraordinary expenses, even after handing out $10 million a year to the billionaire Pacers' owner.
As to the PILOT, the council had statutory authority to impose a PILOT on the CIB since its inception. Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse are used exclusively for the benefit of the for-profit businesses of the Colts and Pacers. Go anywhere else in the state where publicly-owned property is being used exclusively by a business for its personal business use and property taxes are levied upon those businesses. That's the law. That's what is required by the Indiana Constitution. Only in the Twilight Zone known as the CIB is it considered anathema to make a private business pay property taxes on publicly-owned property used for private purposes. The CIB and the Pacers, which both pass out a ton of free tickets to state lawmakers just like they do for council members, convinced the legislature to pass a horrible law that repealed the statutory authority of the council to collect a PILOT on these facilities. What else is new? Our state legislature could care less what the Indiana Constitution requires or whether taxpayers are treated fairly under our state's tax laws. As long as everyone is getting their free tickets to the games, everyone at the State House and the City-County Building is happy. The council voted to approve the CIB's budget on a 19-9 vote.