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.

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2015 Indy Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support

October 14, 2014

2015 Budget Approved with Bipartisan Council Support

Budget address public safety needs, supports schools and protects taxpayers

Indianapolis – Tonight, the Indianapolis City/County Council approved the 2015 budget in a bipartisan vote that included input from both parties. The budget addresses critical public safety issues, 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.”
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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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Tarkington Park Transformation (Phase I)

March 16, 2014

 

 

 

 

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:

Tarkington Park