Council Passes Pilot Program for Access to Quality Pre-K

August 19, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2014

Contact:
Denise Herd
317-796-0514
Email: denise@herdstrategies.com

Council Passes Pilot Program for Access to Quality Pre-K
Council Funds 770 High Quality Slots

Indianapolis – Tonight the Council approved funding for a pre-K pilot program, which will add over 700 new pre-K slots for Indianapolis children.

The funds will be granted by the United Way to highly qualified providers of early childhood services within Marion County who will use those funds as their 50% match for the State of Indiana’s Early Education Matching Grant program.

“I very much support Proposals 162 and 163,” said Council Vice President John Barth. “We want to ensure this funding truly does make a difference. Access to quality pre-K instruction can provide at-risk students the jump start they need to succeed in grade school, throughout their school years, and in the workforce.”

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Open Letter on Covanta from the Recycling Industries Coalition

August 6, 2014

Below is an open letter from The Recycling Industries Coalition (RIC), a group of organizations and corporations who have been engaged in the business of recycling for over one hundred years, expressing their strong concern about the Mayor’s Advanced Recycling Center proposal that will be before the Board of Public Works on Wednesday, August 6th.

Open Letter to the Mayor, City Council and the Board of Public Works


Mayor’s Recycling Contract Has it Backwards

August 4, 2014

Fine Print: $4M annual penalty through 2028 for improved service; city pays 70% of firm’s taxes

Indianapolis – Mayor Ballard’s proposed city recycling contract with Covanta has already drawn criticism as a step backward in efforts to improve recycling. It does not include glass, makes paper nearly impossible to recycle, and estimates show only an 18% recovery rate for recycled material, far below other Indiana cities and leading cities nationally. But there are some stinging financial burdens that make this a doubly bad deal for Indianapolis.

“Review of the contract fine print shows if the city finds a better way to recycle more material Indianapolis will have to pay Covanta $4 million a year through 2028 as a penalty,” said John Barth, Council Vice President. “Personally, I believe in our city and its residents – and I am confident we can find new ways to improve recycling in Indianapolis. But under this contract, our achievement would come with a penalty. We should reward ingenuity and innovation, not penalize it.”
And if that wasn’t enough, the city will also be obligated to pay 70% of Covanta’s property taxes for the life of the contract – in addition to the 100% we already pay for their current facility.

“The mayor’s proposed contract with Covanta is ‘lose-lose’ for the people of Indianapolis. To pick up the tab for 70% of Covanta’s tax bill on top of being penalized for performing well on recycling is a bad deal.”

The contract also discourages promoting recycling by reducing the city’s profit sharing if recycling curbside collection goes up more than 5% from the year before.
The Public Works Board will vote on the Mayor’s recycling proposal on August 6, 2014.
“I urge the mayor to hit the pause button on this backward looking contract that could cost the people of Indianapolis $4 million per year for improved service. I know we can do better – for taxpayers and for the environment,” said Barth.
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Community Affairs Committee to Focus on Indy’s Recycling Program and Cleaner Energy Options

July 16, 2014

Community Affairs Committee to Focus on Indy’s Recycling Program and Cleaner Energy Options

Indianapolis – The Community Affairs Committee of the City-County Council will meet on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. in the City-County Building to discuss ways the City can improve its recycling program and insure a future with cleaner energy options.

The Committee will review Indianapolis’ current recycling program, discuss the Mayor’s proposed contract with Covanta for a “dirty” materials recovery facility, and hear presentations regarding innovative approaches and best practices in recycling across the United States. In addition, the committee will also hear a resolution encouraging Indianapolis Power & Light Company to commit to a plan to stop burning coal in Marion County by 2020 and to invest in greater amounts of clean, renewable energy, reducing toxic emissions at the Harding Street plant.

“The goal of the Council’s Community Affairs Committee is to bring key policy issues to our city’s neighborhoods. I’m excited to use the Committee as a forum for residents of the city to learn more about efforts to improve the environment insure a better quality of life for our citizens,” said Committee Chairman John Barth.

Chair Barth invites all citizens to come and share their thoughts on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will be held in the Dr. Beurt R. SerVaas Public Assembly Room on the second floor of the City-County Building, 200 E. Washington Street.

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Council Democrats Propose Initiative to Stabilize Neighborhoods and Reduce Crime

June 25, 2014

Council Democrats Propose Initiative to Stabilize Neighborhoods and Reduce Crime

Indianapolis – Today Democratic members of the Indianapolis City/County Council announced a new initiative that will bring vacant properties and empty lots back to life and provide rent-free homes for public safety officers, including IMPD Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies. The proposal will be introduced at the July 14, 2014 meeting of the Indianapolis City/County Council.

“Blighted homes and empty lots are more than an eyesore that decrease property values. They attract vandalism and other crime that can affect the entire neighborhood,” said Councilor John Barth. “What better resident of a rehabbed house in a high-crime area than an IMPD officer or a Sheriff’s Deputy whose presence will strengthen a neighborhood.”

With Indianapolis’ current murder count at 75, the city has the highest murder rate at this point of the year dating back to 2008. At the current pace, the murder count is projected to hit 162, or 19.19 deaths per 100,000 people. This initiative is aimed at reducing crime and stabilizing neighborhoods by encouraging IMPD officers and Sheriff’s Deputies to live in redeveloped or newly constructed houses on vacant lots in high crime areas, where they can reside for two years rent-free.

“Indianapolis neighborhoods have suffered far too long from the ongoing violent crime wave,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “This proposal will be the cornerstone of the Council’s plan to ensure IMPD and Sheriff resources are where they are needed the most – close to home.”

The program – called “Safe Neighborhoods Now!” – will begin as a pilot to test the effectiveness of the concept. The first pilot round of housing will be developed in partnership with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Community Development Corporation (MFCCDC) in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood. The program will construct or rehab up to five houses in high-crime areas of the city, partnering with different Community Development Corporations, using $1,000,000 in funds repurposed from Rebuild Indy.

At the end of an officer’s Safe Neighborhoods Now! two-year residency, the officer will be offered the opportunity to buy the house. This will create a permanent public safety presence in the neighborhood and put the house back on the property tax rolls.

Marion County Sheriff John Layton stated, “I support community policing, neighborhood preservation, and better compensation for our law enforcement officers. Thus, the Council’s proposal seems to be a win-win-win situation. Therefore, I look forward to working with the Council and other public safety officials, throughout the legislative process.”

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Statement from Councilor Barth on the passage of Proposal 77

June 3, 2014

“I’m very pleased that Proposal 77 passed the full Council tonight. The investment in Tarkington Park is especially important. The park is a key element of the community’s desired revitalization of the area which has long suffered from crime, disinvestment, and population decline. Area neighborhoods have worked together to craft comprehensive plans to reverse the decline and promote reinvestment – with a focus on transforming a long underutilized Tarkington Park and encouraging redevelopment around the park. I believe that the implementation of the park plan is vital to leveraging additional private investment in the area which has had its share of challenges in past decades but, with the revitalized Tarkington Park as the cornerstone, is ready to return to thriving and vibrant neighborhood center that it once was.”


Councilors, State Rep. Work for Cleaner and Safer Rentals

May 21, 2014

For Immediate Release
May 21, 2014

Media Contact:
Angela Gonzalez
angela.gonzalez@indy.gov
317.327.4231

Councilors, State Rep Work for Cleaner and Safer Rentals
Focus on Common Sense Landlord Accountability Program

Indianapolis – Indianapolis City-County Councilors Zach Adamson, John Barth, and Jeff Miller have teamed up with State Representative Justin Moed to introduce a proposal to the Council to create a landlord registration program with the aim of ensuring safe, accountable rentals for Indianapolis residents.

“The goal is to give Indianapolis residents, neighborhood associations, and city officials a resource to go to so they can identify the landlord if the grass is not being mowed, the grounds are covered with trash, the property is covered with graffiti or something else has gone wrong at the rental” said Councilor John Barth.

In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly passed a moratorium taking away the ability of cities to regulate landlords and rental property. However, thanks to the work of State Rep Justin Moed, Indianapolis can now establish a landlord registry and enact accountability measurers under House Enrolled Act No. 1403 effective July 1, 2014. “The need for a registry was clear from going door-to-door and listening to my constituents and neighborhood leaders” said Moed. “While most landlords are responsible, too many Indianapolis residents are at risk because of the few landlords who are not.”

If passed and signed into law by Mayor Ballard, the new ordinance will require between July 1, 2014 and January 1, 2015, an owner or landlord of a rental unit to submit their registration to the department of code enforcement (DCE) and pay a nominal $5 fee.

“Currently landlords are unregulated and identifying the landlord when there are problem rentals can be difficult, especially when they don’t live in Indiana” said Republican Councilor Jeff Miller. “This proposal aims to provide a tool to hold negligent landlords accountable for problematic properties that are hurting tenants and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

“Its no surprise that the three members of the Council who are former neighborhood association presidents are the sponsors of this proposal,” said Democratic Councilor Zach Adamson. “As with the graffiti abatement program, we continue to work together in order to provide tools for neighborhood groups and individuals to use to make their part of Indy a better place.”

This proposal will be introduced to the Indianapolis City-Council Council on June 2, 2014 and will be heard in the Rules and Public Policy Committee at a date to be scheduled.

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