Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett introduced his administration's 2018 budget at the City-County Council meeting Monday night.
This is Hogsett's second budget, and he says it's the city's first "structurally balanced" budget in a decade. That means the budget is designed to sustain balance in the long term.
The mayor's claim ignores one surplus budget from 2010 – his office says it only served as a short-term success. Adopted city budgets have created a deficit in 8 of the last 10 years, at an average deficit of $44 million.
The 2018 budget shows a surplus of $211,007.
City Controller Fady Qaddoura says their mantra while crafting the budget was "Do More With Less."
Qaddoura says expenditures have risen faster than revenues for about five years, and says the city is attempting to fill that gap with personell reductions, renegotiated contracts, updated technology, and by asking agencies to freeze spending where they can.
A significant amount of spending in the new budget is focused on public safety. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is marked to receive $276 million, a $14 million increase over last year.
The city says those funds will allow IMPD to hire 86 new beat officers, to help fulfill the mayor's push for community policing.
"This will take us, by the end of 2018, to the highest number of sworn police officers in a decade," Hogsett says.
Another focus is infrastructure, with $120 million planned for 2018 and over $500 million planned over the next five years.
That money will make a wide variety of projects possible, the city says, to improve streets, sidewalks, bridges, and greenways. A portion of the money is also set aside for street light projects, timed with an expiring contract between the city and Indianapolis Power & Light.
In new revenues, an estimated $20 million will come from increased property taxes (which the city attributes to property values going up), around $20 million will come from the gas tax increase, and around $16 million more will come from storm water fees and new grants.
After Hogsett introduces the budget, the City-County Council will spend two months tweaking it before final approval.