Proposal 289: Opportunity For All Our Citizens

March 29, 2013

UPDATE: On April 2nd the City/County Council’s Administration and Finance Committee passed Proposal 289. Next step: full council meeting & vote on April 22nd

Statement on City/County Council Proposal 289:

Every year, Indianapolis spends millions of dollars on equipment, goods and services to help run our government and build our city.

That’s a lot of money, and as the leaders of the City-County Council we take how we spend every dime very seriously. But we want more value for our taxpayers’ dollars – we want to help local businesses grow and create jobs and opportunities for all our citizens.

This is why we authored Proposal 289 which amends the city’s code to create a program for utilizing disability-owned business enterprises in a similar way the city has programs targeting minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. All are sound programs that reflect the diversity of our community, help new businesses grow and create jobs, and level the playing field.

We feel strongly that Proposal 289 is an idea whose time has come – and is long overdue.

Only 18% of people with disabilities are employed and 70% live in poverty. These workers often face discrimination from employers who may doubt they can contribute in the workforce. But we know this is not the case, and we want to break down the barriers to employment and create a pathway to greater independence.

Proposal 289 is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when everyone focuses on an important goal – helping people with disabilities enter the workforce and to become small business owners.

This proposal will be heard in the Council’s Administration and Finance Committee on April 2 and we hope it will soon become law in Indianapolis.

Maggie Lewis, City/County Council President

John Barth, City/County Council Vice President



March 8, 2013


March 8, 2013



INDIANAPOLIS – As we consider the state of the city in 2012 and look ahead to 2013, we commit to you that we will continue to listen, learn and lead so our community can be a place where everyone is valued, respected and encouraged to achieve their greatest potential no matter who they are or what neighborhood they live in. In 2012 we took action to make a real difference in our community’s quality of life, economic development, and safety – but there is much more to accomplish now, and in the years ahead. On these, and other issues that require our leadership and collaboration, we will work for the people in our community.

Priorities and successes in 2012 included:

Supporting our Neighborhoods:

  • For our Council members, listening to neighbors was not a campaign slogan – it is the very heart of the way we do business – we took our work outside the walls of the City-County Building and into neighborhoods where citizens live. In the last year, we held Council Committee meetings on key issues across the city, including a Community Affairs meeting on vacant land on the near east side and a Public Safety meeting in the Meadows.
  • With wide bi-partisan support, we proposed and passed the Complete Streets Ordinance and it is a leading example of how we do business. The work was done in partnership between the administration and Council. We heard from neighborhood groups at community meetings and met with key community organizations such as Health by Design and the AARP to make this a reality.
  • The Council proposed and passed an enhanced smoke-free policy with bipartisan leadership, despite a mayoral veto. The ban – which strengthens and expands smoke-free establishments to include bars, bowling alleys, restaurants and hotel rooms – had been an unrealized priority of community groups for years. We listened to them, and to representatives of the business and tourism industry that said smoky restaurants and hotels cost us business travelers and tourists. We passed a long-overdue ordinance that protects our health and increases our economic competitiveness.

Focusing on Education:  

  • As promised, the Council in 2012 focused on gathering the public’s ideas on education. We held meetings on education through our Community Affairs Committee – at the IPS headquarters, at libraries, and downtown.
  • As we move into 2013, the Council will work in partnership with leaders in the education field and community groups to help develop a clear vision and plan for education that puts the achievement of every student as a top priority. We must focus on student success for all students, no matter where they attend school.

Unwavering Support for Public Safety:  

  • In 2012, the Council held strong in its commitment to public safety.  Nowhere is that clearer than the budget we championed. Residents will soon see our allocation of $5 million additional public safety dollars making a difference in our city.
  • There is no higher priority than protecting our citizens and we will continue to listen to neighborhoods, residents and the law enforcement community about what is needed to maintain a well-trained, well-equipped force and a system that is agile and responsive to changing needs.

Economic Development:

  • The Council proposed and approved a $2 million neighborhood-focused microloan program and a $1.5 million job-training program that will serve the people in our city who most need it. These programs are the result of listening closely to and allowing for the unique needs of different neighborhoods.
  • The Council proposed and approved a $6 million increase in the IndyGo budget, which will fund more frequent service and new routes. A better-funded transit system helps connect workers with jobs and businesses who need them. We listened to residents and employers and took action.
  • The Council proposed and passed domestic partnership benefits for city/county workers. We believe the ordinance sends a signal across the country that Indianapolis is a diverse and welcoming city that wants to attract the best and the brightest to work at our businesses and to live in our neighborhoods.

As we move forward into 2013, the Indianapolis City/County Council will continue to focus on these priorities – neighborhoods, education, public safety, and economic development. We ask citizens to continue to let us know their ideas – we work for you and look forward to another year of partnership and hard work.