Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ballard Solution For IndyGo: Borrow From Peter To Pay Paul

If I didn't know better, I would think Greg Ballard is really former Mayor Bart Peterson. Ballard has come up with another budget gimmick to put out the fire brewing among users of the IndyGo public bus system after his administration proposed route cuts, para transit cuts and fare increases to fill a budget hole of more than $3 million. A press release explains Ballard's plan to borrow from Peter to pay Paul:

The proposed short-term solution leverages existing dollars from a number of sources, including IndyGo’s existing general operating balance, the rebalancing of IndyGo’s revenues in 2011 between operating and capital, the use of a $5 million line of credit, and other IndyGo reserves. The stop-gap measure would be used to prevent fare increases and route terminations through 2011.
A stop-gap measure to avoid cuts through 2011. In other words, we're not going to deal with this problem until after the next election. Ballard told the media he thinks that a regional approach is needed as a long-term solution. In other words, he wants the taxpayers in the surrounding counties to join Marion County in paying a new tax to fund a regional transportation system. It's the Chicago Way.

Ballard recently announced an unspecified plan to plug a hole in the library board's budget to prevent the closure of six branches, largely in economically-challenged communities. Ballard's administration has gotten an earful lately from a disconcerted public which is wondering why Ballard is doing back flips to find the money for a $15 million a year subsidy for the billionaire Simons and their Indiana Pacers while basic services are being cut. Ballard is simply trying to tamp down the firestorms at IndyGo and the library through next year's election with these band-aids so he can do what he really wants to do and give more money to the Pacers. He recently announced a $10 million plan to turn Georgia Street downtown into an entertainment area as part of the City's preparations for hosting the 2012 Super Bowl using federal funds. So much for Ballard's promise not to use taxpayer dollars on the Super Bowl. If someone could explain to me the difference between Ballard's policies and Peterson's policies, please do so. Had enough, Indy?

UPDATE: Here's another observation about our Mayor's priorities. It's Memorial Day Weekend but only one-third of the City's pools will be opening. The remainder will open in June. Ballard decided to permanently close two pools. And while his parks department made some much-needed improvements to other pools, the City last year made those renovations during an already shortened summer season of operation in order to avoid opening them to save additional money. It truly reflects the low priority he gives to common people in comparison to the always first-served billionaire sports team owners and their sports palaces.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Glad you have got Ballard's number, AI. It is way beyond time for a website named, or maybe,

Mike Kole said...

Well, you can't have it both ways. You can't decry funding IndyGo and then have an update on closing pools and say Ballard's got it in for the little guy or is only serving the millionaires in sports. Doubt many of the latter are riding the bus.

Not to say that IndyGo shell games shouldn't be opposed. They should. Raising the fares to cover more of the operating costs was a good idea, and the right solution to the funding problem.

Brizzonator said...

WOW, I have a solution for the Mayor... How about selling INDYGO to Citizens Energy and then hiding the true costs of INDYGO in higher water and Sewer Rates.

Does this Mayor not realize that most of us who pay FEDERAL INCOME TAXES would rather pay higher taxes COIT,Property Taxes (which we get a Fedaral Tax Duduction for and saves anywhere from 15% to 28% vs water and sewer which we do not get anything for?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Mike, I'm not decrying funding IndyGo or raising the rates. I'm decrying the priorities of this administration and the budget gimmicks he is using to make you think he has a balanced budget when he doesn't. It's more credit card financing just like we had under the Peterson administration. This mayor raised taxes, borrowed money and increased spending to fund the sports stadiums while making the biggest cuts in the parks department in modern history.

interestedparty said...

The swimming pool issue is truly sad. I'm sure when the pools were built and opened for the first time, there was celebration in neighborhoods which saw welcome amenities and services for youth and adults alike. In the long hot summers, a swimming pool can be the thing that makes the weather bearable, and makes constructive memories for young folks and brings relief for their parents that there is a safe zone for their children. To take pools away or diminish them, while using the $$$ to provide extra entertainment for the idle rich or idle rich wannabees, is so frustrating to those of us who remember when "neighborhood" was a basic entity and meant we belonged to a real community.