...or, requests/suggestions for the local use of "stimulus funds."
We pulled off the Internet what is apparently the official wish list of the City of Indianapolis. It's worse than we thought.
The items are divided into five categories, showing the suggested project, the estimated cost and the number of jobs expected to result therefrom. We have no information on the prospective longevity of those jobs.
The largest category includes a list under "Community Development Block Grants" (CDBG) with nineteen projects, totaling $159,254,000. Under CDBG items, the projection is for 710 jobs - a cost of $224,300 per job.
This category includes the goodies we can't afford to do ourselves, but, what the h..., this is someone else's money so let's have at it. It starts small - $1,000,000 for "bike lanes" and 5 jobs - but scanning a few more items down the list brings us to $50,500,000 for "cultural trail bike paths and pedestrian ways." (Our emphasis.) This one predicts 150 jobs. Quite frankly, we have no idea of the functional value of a "cultural trail" nor do we understand the priority of that kind of expenditure considering the over-all fiscal picture in this city.
In an "Energy" category we have $6,000,000 for promotion of "green" buildings (we prefer red brick), energy "audits," energy efficient streetlights, energy efficient city vehicles, etc.. We get 30 jobs for these bucks.
The "Public Safety" category includes three projects for a little over $2,000,000, including "shot spotters" and street cameras. We have no idea what shot spotters are, but one of the five jobs estimated goes with that deal.
"Transit" is an interesting category. Nine projects total $20,350,000 for 66 jobs. As far as we can tell, the only direct expenditure on actual transportation equipment is $600,000 to "Replace ten supervisor vehicles with domestic hybrid sedans...." (Our emphasis.)
The last category is "Water" which includes three projects for sewer system improvements. Here we have cost estimates at about $78,800,000, providing 370 jobs. We cannot find fault with efforts to renovate the antiquated system with which we now struggle. Perhaps, though, some attorney could enlighten us as to what the "Federal consent decree projects" are, which amount to $24,424,500 within that total of $78 million.
We rounded off the total costs at $266,522,000 with 1,181 jobs. That comes out to something over $225,000 per job. Is that a reasonable figure? We don't know. Nor do we know how many of the jobs will extend beyond the physical completion of a project.
Is there a question then, for any permanent employees, as to the source of funds to cover that increased payroll? Is this a repeat of the concept of building a huge, palatial stadium without anticipating that the larger building will cost more to operate? Shouldn't we be taking a look at this part of the equation?
Or are we stuck on the idea that we can't do for ourselves anyway, and that Uncle Santa is our only hope? Was that really the thought behind so much of the campaign rhetoric?