Thursday, September 04, 2008

ballard keeps COIT money but won't hire more cops

if you've been clinging to the hope that mayor ballard and council republicans would repeal last year's county income tax increase—you know, the one they campaigned against—perhaps it's finally time to abandon that fantasy:

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will not try to hire 100 sworn officers that were promised last year when the City-County Council raised the county income tax.

Instead, city officials said Wednesday, the department this year spent the amount of money it would have cost to hire those officers on immediate needs not covered in the 2008 budget: retirement benefits, overtime, fuel and contractual raises.

Next year, Public Safety Director Scott Newman said, the department plans to hire 40 civilian public assistance officers. The new, lower-paid positions would handle less-difficult duties such as vandalism and accident reports, allowing sworn officers more time for bigger challenges.

far from being the unaffordable tax hike that ballard and friends portrayed it as, the COIT increase turns out to have been too small, such that it doesn't bring in enough money to cover the expenses it was planned to... and that's not even counting the police pensions it was also supposed to cover. (ipopa thinks he knows why the public safety budget is a mess: expensive micromanagement.)

of course, some of us have known all along that the increase would never be repealed, because despite what ballard said on the campaign trail, the city desperately needed the money. but if there was ever any doubt, this story should squash it. this announcement officially kills two pillars of the ballard campaign: that the COIT increase was bad, and that he would hire more cops. (hiring rent-a-cops and calling them cops doesn't count.)

1 comment:

Steph Mineart said...

Love the passive voice headline on that Star article -- and it doesn't really spell out the issue very well, does it? It would be nice if they specified who did the diverting of funds.

Skimming through the comments (a dangerous undertaking, I know) makes it apparent that the average reader didn't exactly see the two broken campaign promises, and some are still blaming Peterson for how the money got spent, even though he's no longer in office. I realize that Star readers tend to have reading comprehension issues, but that article seems careful to walk around Ballard.