INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis and Marion County City-County Council passed its almost $1.46 billion budget Monday night with strong bipartisan support.
Among the top priorities in the 2023 budget were public safety and infrastructure. It calls for big investments when it comes to public safety, with Mayor Joe Hogsett proposing in August the city stick to its plan to invest $150 million in anti-violence efforts over the next few years.
With IMPD looking to fill 200 open positions, Chief Randal Taylor thinks what’s in the city’s budget for 2023 can help make that happen.
Under the new budget, new officers joining IMPD will get a $10,000 signing bonus and start at $61,000 a year.
“It allows us to be competitive with other departments that neighbor us. Everyone is trying to get police officers, big departments, small departments, so we’re trying to be competitive as we can,” Taylor said.
$2 million in next year’s budget will also allow for the creation of an emergency response team made up of only mental health clinicians and health care professionals who will go out on non-violent, mental health and substance abuse-related calls. The team would be used in addition to the existing Mobile Crisis Assistance Team.
“There’s departments in other parts of the country that are trying these things as well and I think that’s another one that’s moving in the right direction. People with specialized training, I think will benefit those citizens we have that are in crisis,” Taylor said.
The budget also tackles other key issues impacting Hoosiers in central Indiana, including roads and property taxes.
On infrastructure, the city plans to invest just over a billion dollars over the next five years.
In 2023, close to $290 million will go to roads, bridges, and greenway improvements across Indianapolis.
The new budget also allows the city to hire, for the first time, a traffic safety engineer to review fatal crashes to see if more could be done to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe.
“To make sure we’re always putting our thoughts around, 'How do we make our new streets as we rebuild them, to be as safe as possible?'” said City Controller Ken Clark.
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The city is also touting the help property owners will be getting to combat inflation that will come in the form of a property tax credit.
If you own a home with an assessed value of up to $250,000, you can expect to get a $150 property tax credit. Homeowners with a house assessed from $250,000 up to $400,000 would get a $100 tax credit.
“We were able to use American Rescue Plan dollars to actually provide that relief to residents so no additional hit to the city or any of the other units who collect property taxes,” said Clark. “They’ll still be able to get their full amount that they would normally get."
City-County Council President Vop Osili said in a statement that the budget passage is an indicator of the city’s commitment to equity because of the budget’s focus on public safety and mental health, as well as infrastructure and neighborhood development.
“I hope we can all continue to work together to invest in our city to ensure that everyone thrives,” Osili said in a statement Monday night.
Only Councilor Ethan Evans, D-District 4, voted against the budget.
“I am supportive of the majority of things we are doing and planning with the city and county,” Evans said, adding that he would still be a no vote. “I’m hoping that, as Councilor Bain has said, going forward, DPW as well, we will be working to improve pedestrian and cycling infrastructure on all the main thoroughfares in the city as well.
“Because we need to reach the goal of what DPW put in the budget program in August that universal accessibility matrix throughout the city and we need to ensure that we have pedestrian safety throughout the city so that we don’t have near the numbers that we are seeing this year of unsafe incidents,” Evans added.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett also issued a statement that said, in part:
“The bipartisan passage of next year’s budget is a major victory for Indianapolis residents, as we invest unprecedented resources towards public safety, chart a bold vision for the future of infrastructure, and enhance quality of life in neighborhoods throughout Marion County.”
(Editor's note: This story corrected a previous version, which erroneously reported a $50 property tax credit for homes assessed under $250,000.)