...otherwise known as the City-County Building in Indianapolis. We’ve wound up in the land of Oz where everything is manipulated by the man behind the curtain!
Big news in this morning’s paper about the budget the Wizard (in from Oz) is submitting for approval by the munchkins of the City-County Council (CCC). We can only say, they would be wise to ignore that man behind the curtain. (That’s the opaque curtain behind which he makes all the major financial decisions for the city.)
We’re told immediately, in the second paragraph of the article, that "The budget is only a smidge higher than last year’s budget but calls for $18 million in cuts to the Department of Public Works...." (Our emphasis.)
In discussing "needed" tax increases, the following statement is presented by assistant mayor Vaughn.
"We don’t have a lot of options available to us to raise revenues....The other option is to cut services...That's when you get to the point of cutting trash services and things like that.
The Council president is quoted as saying, "We look forward to a thoughtful, open and reasoned debate with Mayor Ballard...." (Our emphasis.) This with a man who refuses to disclose any details of a half billion dollar public construction project! You can’t ignore the man behind the curtain if you are really so naive as to suggest "open and reasoned debate" with him. (We don’t really believe she is naive.)
And of course, none of these thoughts take into consideration the mayor’s proposal that the civil city budget begin to take on educational functions on the distant premise that public safety will, somewhere down the road, be a direct beneficiary.
Given the history generated by politicians - and alleged civic "leaders" - in past decades, it is hard to believe that anyone who can read believes that a taxpayer will actually see improvement in the city’s fiscal picture, or in improvement in delivery of city services, even with tax increases. It will be more of the "same old, same old." They’re already preparing us with reference to "cutting trash services" in addition to public safety problems if said taxpayer won’t dig deeper into the bank account.
It is absolutely amazing that these people are so brazen in their statements - and actions. We would suggest an option or two which should be staring them in the face.
Audit every TIF district and function to see why the program contiues to be a burden on, instead of an asset to, the city's financial position.
Go to the legislature in January and submit a bill to disband the CIB and place all revenues now going to that body in the hands of the CCC, to be used for legitimate municipal functions. Concurrently, insist on renegotiation of all contracts with professional sports franchises, particularly and specifically with the Pacers.
We’ll ask the question one more time. Which is more important to the city, $18 million for public works, or $16 million for a basketball team?
Time to pull back the curtain? Time for truth and transparency?