Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Indy Council Strikes Down Homestead Tax Credit, Fountain Square EID, Sends Graffiti Ordinance Back To Committee

Fountain Square
On Monday Night, the City-County Council met, and I think the meeting just ended a few minutes ago.  In all seriousness, it was a very long and contentious meeting that ended with a few mixed results from my perspective.

First of all, the Fountain Square Economic Improvement District failed miserably.  The final vote on that was 22-7.  Support had eroded over recent times, and it just seemed like this one was doomed to fail from the start of the debate.

The proposed graffiti abatement ordinance also stalled and is heading back to committee for further work on the ordinance.  The Council bogged down over the $50 fine in the bill as well as a few other issues.

On the positive side, the City-County Council stopped Mayor Greg Ballard's proposal to do away with the Homestead Tax Credit to give the city a boost in funds.  Opponents argued that the removal of the credit would not only raise property taxes but harm Marion County's public school systems of millions of dollars in funding.  The tax credit survived by a  vote of 18-11.

Republican Councillors Aaron Freeman, Bob Lutz, and Christine Scales joined the Democrats in opposition to the plan.  In response, the owner of IndyPolitics.org, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz reported that Ryan Vaughn, the Mayor's Chief of Staff told him to expect big time budget cuts.

Hopefully, the Mayor will take his cricket field right off the top, but I'm not holding my breath.

Beyond all of this, I sometimes get a little annoyed with members on both sides of the aisle.  There is a genuine lack of collegiality between some members and others.  For some, it seems like opening up their microphone is a moment to say something snarky about the other side.  That's pretty sad to me.

I know that President Maggie Lewis has a tough job sometimes trying to lead that Council.  I certainly wouldn't want her job.  She does it well.

The next meeting of the Council is August 19.

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