Mayor’s 2019 $1.2B budget sails through City-County Council

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  - A 24-0 vote sailed Mayor Hogsett's third city budget passed the city-council unanimously on Monday night.

His highest budget as mayor features increasing money for public safety and infrastructure while cutting or freezing spending in most other areas.

The city will spend $126 million on transportation infrastructure, up from $98 million in 2018, next year.

With all of Indy's pothole problems this year, the spending will pay for road improvements across most council districts.

“We’re playing catch up and it's time to have some game changing mechanisms so that we’re actually ahead of the ball this time instead of running behind every time the weather turns," councilor Colleen Fanning (R)-district 2 said.

Fanning, whose district includes Broad Ripple, an area highly plagued by pothole issues, added that the increase in money is much needed, however she says more can be done to address the city’s backlog in infrastructure needs.

“I’d like to see us bond more into the future, really think outside the box in terms of getting more dollars from the state, but yea, we just need to spend more money on infrastructure before the gap widens even further," she said.

As Indianapolis is currently outpacing its 2018 record murder rate, Hogsett's budget aims increase IMPD's officer count to 1,743 officers by the end of next year. That's up from 1,712 which were budgeted this year. $700 million is allotted to improve public safety.

This comes at a time cities like Seattle have tried to lure IMPD officers away from the Circle City.

“We’ve got more officers than we’ve had at any time I’ve been on the council. We’ve got more money going into crime prevention grants which is a big thing for the community," councilor Zach Adamson (D)-district 17  said.

This was Hogsett's first budget to pass unanimously; 2017's was a 18-7 vote and 2018's was 21-2.

“We can be proud that the budget is balanced. The challenge that we’ve had is that it’s never enough to address all the needs," Adamson said.

Mayor Hogsett's office sent the following statement after it passed:

“Last year, a broad bipartisan majority of the City-County Council passed the first balanced budget our city had seen in years. Tonight, thanks to the strength of our local economy and the support of the entire city-county council, we have once again passed a budget that increases neighborhood investment and prioritizes taxpayer-friendly policies over partisanship.

The 2019 budget fully funds two new IMPD recruit classes, increases investment in community-based violence reduction strategies, and funds $126 million in road, bridge, and sidewalk infrastructure projects next year. Further, the Council has helped launch the Indy Achieves initiative, which will ensure that every Marion County resident has the high-quality degree or credential they need to compete in a 21st Century economy.

I value President Vop Osili’s leadership, as well as the thoughtful deliberation shown by caucus leaders and committee chairs over the last two months. Indianapolis residents should applaud the votes cast by each and every city-county councillor, who continue to show that we work best when we work together.”

Indianapolis City-County Council President Osili sent to following message after the budget passed:

"I commend my fellow Councillors for their diligent bipartisan work over the past two months reviewing and approving Mayor Hogsett’s comprehensive budget proposal. Members of every Council committee spent many hours listening to presentations from city and county departments while digging in to the details of every element of the Mayor’s budget to ensure our residents get the best value for their tax dollars. I am very appreciative of the hard work Mayor Hogsett and his administration put into this budget plan, and proud that the Indianapolis City-County Council has now passed two consecutive structurally balanced budgets. More than that, I am pleased that this budget reflects strategic investments in public safety, infrastructure, and education that will benefit Indianapolis residents for years to come."

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