“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.”
Council Vice President Barth recently announced a plan for major improvements to Tarkington Park, located at 39th and Illinois Street. The concept behind the $5 million investment is to jump-start development in the historic business node, while making transformative improvements to the park that will benefit all the region’s neighborhoods (30,000 people live within a 15-minute walk). This is Phase I of an eventual proposed redevelopment of all of Tarkington Park. Proposal 77, the funding vehicle for part of the project, will be introduced to the full Council during the March 17th meeting. A rendering of the park improvements is below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – MARION COUNTY CITY-COUNTY COUNCIL 2014 BUDGET PRIORITIES
FROM PRESIDENT MAGGIE A. LEWIS AND
VICE PRESIDENT JOHN BARTH
INDIANAPOLIS – On Aug. 19, 2013, Mayor Ballard will present the sixth budget of his administration, the 2014 spending plan, to the Indianapolis City-County Council. This presentation will kick off the challenging process of crafting the new budget. As the 2014 budget deliberations begin in earnest, it is important for the Mayor and City-County Council to make their priorities clear. Looking ahead to the needs of the city in 2014 and beyond, we have listened carefully to our constituents and will adopt a budget that aligns spending with the critical needs of residents living in neighborhoods all across Indianapolis.
We make this commitment to our citizens: We will continue to listen carefully to your input and every neighborhood will get city government’s full attention.
Our priorities for 2014 include:
Solve the Public Safety Crisis Now:
The Council will continue to make identifying resources to add needed IMPD officers a top priority. Public safety is the number one quality of life issue for residents. By the city’s own estimates, the IMPD is nearly 700 officers short for a city of our size. This is devastating for both the morale of IMPD and for underserved neighborhoods that are seeing firsthand the results of this staffing crisis.
Abandoned property and land is a serious problem in Indianapolis neighborhoods. Not only are these abandoned properties a blight, they attract criminal behavior that can further harm neighborhoods. The Council will push for the development of a comprehensive solution to address the pervasive problem of abandoned houses.
Engaged residents are critical to keeping the city safe and the Council will continue to invest in community-based crime prevention efforts.
Make Neighborhood Development and Services a Priority:
The Council will work to ensure that our parks – important community assets – have the funding they need to serve as a positive place for families to gather. In recent years the Indy Parks budget has suffered disproportionally with pool closings and programming reductions. Parks are essential to keeping neighborhoods strong – from providing young children a place to learn to swim to serving as a place for teenagers to enjoy healthy and safe activities. In short – parks matter.
The Council will seek additional funding to ensure the Indianapolis Library system is on firm footing for 2014 and beyond. Our libraries are much more than a place to borrow a CD or a book. They are a source of community pride, serving as a hub for neighborhood association meetings, job search resources, and opportunities for lifelong learning.
Focus on Education:
Strong schools are the key to Indianapolis’ future and a good education should not be dependent on zip code. Because nine entities can charter schools in Indianapolis, the city has seen a fractured approach to planning new charter schools with two charter schools within blocks of each other on North Meridian Street. The Council’s Community Affairs Committee is taking the lead in working with charter authorizers to ensure that neighborhoods are part of the planning and selection process for new charters and the locations where they will be operated.
As we move to advance the 2014 budget, the Indianapolis City-County Council will focus on these priorities – public safety, neighborhoods, and education. We also look forward to a thoughtful and reasoned discussion with Mayor Ballard about his priorities in the coming weeks.
During this budget process we encourage residents to contact your City-County Councillors and let them know what budget priorities matter to you and your neighbors. To learn more, please visit the Council website on indy.gov.
For Immediate Release
Charter School Authorizer Accountability the Focus of Community Affairs Committee Meeting
Indianapolis – The City-County Council’s Community Affairs Committee will meet on August 15 to discuss charter school authorizers, whose role is to approve and oversee charter schools. Currently, nine entities across Indiana are able to authorize schools in Indianapolis, including Ball State University, the Indiana Charter School Board, the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office and others.
As more authorizers have come online in the last few years, some concerns have been raised that the growing number of authorizers could diminish the high quality of charters in Indianapolis. The committee will discuss those concerns and potential solutions.
“The promise of charter schools is accountability that leads to better results for kids,” said Community Affairs Committee Chairman John Barth. “The goal of this meeting is to consider how to ensure that only the highest quality schools are operating in our city.”
The meeting will include a panel discussion featuring local and national education leaders:
Amos Brown, Director of Strategic Research, Host, Manager & Editor, Radio One
Amanda Fenton, Director of State and Federal Policy, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Caitlin Hannon, Commissioner, Indianapolis Public Schools Board
David Harris, Founder & CEO, The Mind Trust
Terry Ryan, Vice President for Ohio Programs & Policy, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
All interested citizens are encouraged to attend.
Date: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Library Services Center, 2450 North Meridian Street
Vibrant neighborhoods are the key to our city’s future. On Monday, July 29, 2013, Councilor Barth’s “Art for Neighborhoods” proposal will be introduced to the Indianapolis City/County Council. Proposal 230 creates the Art for Neighborhoods program, aimed at empowering residents to bring art and public space beautification to their neighborhoods. Learn more about how the Art for Neighborhoods program supports economic development, improves public space, and promotes investment in community building by watching this Prezi.
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.”