Comments From Council Vice President Barth at the Signing Ceremony for the Indianapolis Pre-K Program

December 11, 2014

Below are the comments made by Council Vice President John Barth at the signing ceremony for the Indianapolis Pre-K Program on December 11, 2014:

Today’s launch of the Indianapolis Pre-K program represents the best of  government: strong policy that will bear fruit for generations, coming as the result of a true community effort.  We are here because elected officials of different parties, community non-profits, and business leaders came together to address a serious problem. There is an alarming increase in child poverty in Indianapolis – nearly a third of our kids live in poverty. The increase in poverty didn’t happen for a single reason, and there is no single solution. Action on many fronts is required, and today we take a bold step. It is clear by nearly every measure that access to high quality early education puts kids from families in need on the path to a better life. That is why we act today – it is a big step, but it is not a victory lap. The Indianapolis pre-K program won’t solve child poverty in Indianapolis, but it is a good foundation for what Council and the Mayor can do together to support  families. The opportunity to lead the effort for quality pre-k and seeing it pass overwhelmingly on December 1st was one of my proudest days on the Council. Today I am pleased to stand with the Mayor as he signs it into law. Let’s keep our expectations high. This is just the beginning.


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.”


Councilors, State Rep. Work for Cleaner and Safer Rentals

May 21, 2014

For Immediate Release
May 21, 2014

Media Contact:
Angela Gonzalez

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.


Lewis and Barth Re-Elected as Council President and Vice President

January 28, 2014

Lewis and Barth Re-Elected as Council President and Vice President


January 27, 2014

Lewis Elected to serve Third Year as Council President; Barth Set for Second year as Council Vice President

INDIANAPOLIS – This evening, the Indianapolis City/County Council elected leadership for 2014. District 7 Councillor Maggie A. Lewis was re-elected as Council President for her third year and At-Large Councillor John Barth was re-elected as Council Vice President for his second year.

“I am humbled that my colleagues chose to re-elect me as Council President,” said President Maggie A. Lewis, “I’m looking forward to 2014 and keeping the Council focused on our priorities of public safety, neighborhood improvement, and jobs.”

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve a second year as Council Vice President,” said Councillor John Barth, “I will continue to work with President Lewis and all Councillors to achieve results for the people of Indianapolis.”


Statement on Bi-Partisan Resolution Opposed to HJR-6

November 12, 2013

Statement from Indianapolis City/County Council Vice President John Barth on Proposal 354 – Bi-Partisan Resolution Opposed to HJR-6 Passes Council 22-6.

“I am proud to be a member of this bi-partisan effort to send the clear message that Indianapolis is a welcoming city to live, work, and play. Simply put – we want and need to attract and retain residents who will join us in working to make our city the best it can be – everyone is welcome. I thank my proposal’s co-sponsors, Councilors Adamson, Hunter and Mansfield and my fellow Councillors who supported this resolution tonight. We also appreciate the Mayor’s decision to support our efforts.”

RELEASE: 2014 Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support

October 15, 2013

October 14, 2013

2014 Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support
Budget adds 80 IMPD Officers, Supports Schools and Protects Taxpayers

Indianapolis – Tonight, the Indianapolis City/County Council approved the 2014 budget in a bipartisan vote that included input from both parties. The budget adds 80 needed officers to the IMPD ranks, but holds the line on taxes and protects critical school funding. “I am pleased we came to a bipartisan agreement that serves our entire community,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis. “A budget that improves public safety and protects taxpayers is a win for all our residents.”

“Throughout the budget process, the Council majority and Mayor’s Office worked together,” said Council Vice President John Barth, “From the beginning, the Council’s goal has been to support IMPD officers while minimizing the impact on taxpayers. We were able to do both with this budget.”

Mayor Ballard’s original proposed budget raised property taxes by eliminating the Homestead Tax Credit – which would have meant higher tax bills for residents and a loss of revenue for schools. The budget negotiation focused on finding another way to pay for additional police officers. To fund a class of 30 IMPD officers in addition to the 50 already in the budget, the Council and Mayor agreed to tap a $5.7 million fund for legal expenses for the Citizens Energy Utilities transfer that had reverted to the City and to use $6.9 million from the fiscal stability fund.

In addition to passing the budget, the Council introduced a proposal to create a bipartisan study commission to determine the appropriate and necessary number of IMPD officers and to review and analyze long-term funding options. “Public Safety Director Riggs and his team have laid the groundwork for us to build on, which will allow us to to take an in-depth look at cost projections and staffing models so we can do needed long-term planning” said Vice President Barth.


Council Committee Advances Graffiti Proposal

July 23, 2013

Press Release

Council Committee Advances Graffiti Proposal
Sponsors Work to Support Neighborhoods; Reduce Crime

Indianapolis – Tonight the Indianapolis City/County Council’s Rules and Public Policy Committee advanced a bi-partisan proposal to reduce and remove graffiti in Indianapolis neighborhoods.

Proposal 52 will now go before the full City/County Council on July 29, 2013. The bi-partisan proposal is co-sponsored by At-Large Democrats Zach Adamson, Pam Hickmam, John Barth and Republican Jeff Miller. “This proposal is a great example of bi-partisian team work,” said Adamson “and shows what can be done when we work together.”

Council Vice President John Barth said “this proposal is aimed squarely at giving neighborhoods an important tool to improve the quality of life in Indianapolis. I’m hopeful the full Council will pass Proposal 52. We need to make our neighborhoods safer and more inviting.”