Aug 15, 2023 - News

Hogsett pitches $1.5 billion city budget

Photo illustration of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, with radiating lines.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios; Photo: Jeff Haynes/Getty Images

Public safety is taking center stage in Mayor Joe Hogsett's proposed 2024 budget.

Driving the news: Hogsett presented his $1.56 billion spending plan with a record-high allocation for IMPD to the City-County Council last night.

  • He also proposed the creation of a new office of equity, belonging and inclusion and a pilot program to ease the property tax burden on longtime residents in gentrifying neighborhoods, which would start in Riverside.

Why it matters: The budget makes major investments in public safety during a time when violent crime is trending down but continues to dominate headlines — and the mayoral race.

  • "We are living through one of the most consequential eras in city history," said Hogsett, who's running for a third term. "How we lead, how we invest, how we plan in this time will determine our city's future to a large degree. And despite our challenges, we must be bold — because we are also living at a time of tremendous opportunity."

The other side: Republican candidate Jefferson Shreve said he agreed with the focus on public safety but said some of the investments were overdue.

  • "I don't think people in Marion County generally feel safer," he said. "It's important that we fund those resources to protect citizens not just from violent crime, but on property crime levels too."

The intrigue: The budget is set for full council approval in mid-October, about one month before the municipal election, if everything stays on schedule.

By the numbers: IMPD's proposed budget of $323 million — up $10 million from last year — would be the largest ever for the department.

  • It includes a 3% cost-of-living raise for officers, as prescribed in the collective bargaining agreement.
  • The department plans to buy 750 dashboard cameras for patrol cars, new ballistic gear and 300 police cruisers to replace aging vehicles.
  • It also would expand the community response team that is dispatched to 911 calls dealing with mental health to divert those needing treatment into a care facility rather than incarceration.

The big picture: Criminal homicides from January to July were down 12% over the same period last year.

Yes, but: Homicide rates still haven't returned to 2019 levels, before the pandemic-related spike in crime.

  • "In no way are we declaring victory," Hogsett said. "Downward trends aren't the same as meeting a goal."

Context: The city is in the midst of a $150 million three-year anti-violence plan funded by American Rescue Plan dollars.

  • As those pandemic-era funds run out, Hogsett is proposing to make initiatives like the Peacemakers gun violence reduction program a permanent part of the city's operational budget under the Office of Public Health and Safety.
  • The OPHS budget would grow by 41% under Hogsett's plan.

Separately, Hogsett introduced a nearly $1.17 billion, five-year capital plan to address transportation and stormwater needs, including his previously announced plan to invest $25 million in residential streets and $2 million in alleys.

What's next: Departmental budgets will be reviewed by council committees over the coming days and weeks.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say Mayor Joe Hogsett's five-year capital plan is $1.17 billion, not $1.7 billion.


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