The mayor’s office presented its 2019 budget proposal to the City-County Council Monday night. The council also passed a proposal that recognized gun violence as a public health issue, and it approved local tax revenue bonds to fund public transportation.
For the second year in a row, the mayor’s office offered a balanced budget. Mayor Joe Hogsett says it is fiscally responsible, but not timid.
"We have taken meaningful steps to focus on equitable economic growth so that Indianapolis all resident benefits from the rising tide of our growing city," Hogsett says.
The plan prioritizes investment in public safety, community development and infrastructure. Hogsett says, when he took office, many roads and bridges in the city had not been repaired since before he was born.
"The projections at that time showed that only $39 million would be available in 2019 for our roads, our streets, and sidewalk projects. It was a bleak outlook," he says.
The 2019 budget includes a $126 million investment on bridges, roads, streets, and sidewalks. Six street teams for road maintenance are also funded in the proposed budget.
The new budget also contains plans to fund more than 100 new police officers and to replace all IMPD surveillance cameras.
IMPD also plans to implement a new surveillance program that will allow them to access video feeds from businesses and use video analytics.
Other proposed budget items include a disparity study, new IndyParks positions, and $2 million for scholarships through the Indy Achieves program.
Gun Violence Recognized as Public Health Issue
Gun violence is now recognized as a public health issue, after the council passed a non-binding resolution Monday.
Ahmad Moore came to support the proposal with his daughter and members of his church. He says violence is a real problem in the city.
"If you don’t be the change, if you don’t make your voice heard, then you’re basically saying that you agree with the way things are," Moore says.
One of the councilors who introduced the proposal, La Keisha Jackson, is victim of gun violence herself. She says violence spreads like an infection.
"If gun violence isn’t a health issue, why are so many people dying?" she says.
Jackson says labelling gun violence and violent crime as a public health issue may make it possible for the city to qualify for federal money to fight the problem.
WFYI's Carter Barrett contributed to this report.