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Hogsett unveils 2022 budget

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Mayor Joe Hogsett proposed the 2022 budget during a city-county council meeting Aug. 9. The $1.3 billion budget includes an historic amount earmarked for violence reduction, and also incorporates millions of dollars accrued from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).

Some of the deadliest weeks of the pandemic, Hogsett said, were due to lives lost from gun violence, not COVID-19.

“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” Hogsett told the council. As of Aug. 4, there have been 156 homicides in Indianapolis. To curb the violence, Hogsett proposed $33 million from ARP funds over the next three years to go toward modernizing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and adding 100 new officers to the force.

The funding would go toward license plate readers, 22 new civilian public safety officers to focus on non-emergency situations, a virtual training system, community cameras and mobile trailer cameras with gunshot detection. For the first time in history, however, the city will not fund any privately-operated prisons, Hogsett said.

“I definitely think [the budget] will make a difference,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. “The only way we’re going to make a difference is by joining hands and working this stuff together, and this budget is doing just that. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes it will bring.”

Over the next three years, $30 million would be allocated for mental health services for juveniles and adults. This includes in-school mental health services and violence prevention programming, the creation of an overdose treatment center and mental health support for the Juvenile Detention Center.

“The 2022 fiscal package introduced tonight by Mayor Hogsett outlined bold investments designed to make Indianapolis a safer, healthier, more equitable city while providing the support needed for residents and businesses to continue an ambitious recovery from a tumultuous 2020,” city-county council President Vop Osili said in a statement. “As the council holds hearings on the proposed investments over the next two months, I look forward to discussing in detail plans to expand and improve affordable housing, mental health services, and neighborhood infrastructure as we target the root causes of inequity and violence. I want to thank Mayor Hogsett and his administration for their hard work crafting a budget that reflects our shared priorities and envisions an Indianapolis with an increasingly bright future.”

 Hogsett said the budget, if approved, has the potential to change the lives of Indianapolis residents for years to come.

“Tonight, we have the opportunity to lead, not follow,” Hogsett said. “This plan once implemented will save lives. This plan, once funded, will make our city safer.”

Not everyone in the community agrees.

When the additional funding for IMPD was announced earlier this summer, Indy10 Black Lives Matter organizer Jessica Louise told members of the public safety and criminal justice committee the policing budget should only be increased when “we have exhausted all other options to help and heal” Indianapolis.

“Pour resources into our community,” Louise said, “not our cops.”

While a large portion of the proposed 2022 budget would go toward violence prevention, Hogsett also emphasized the need to address the root causes of violent crime, many of which were exacerbated by the pandemic.

With $5.5 million slated for reentry services, including the creation of a dropout recovery high school in the Twin Aire neighborhood and the expansion of the Keys to Work program to employ 75 to 100 people, the city is hoping to increase resources and curb the unemployment rate that hit historic rates during the pandemic. Further, $6 million would be allocated to increase food access throughout the city and $20 million for affordable housing.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

What other councilors are saying:

Councillor Maggie Lewis: “We thank the mayor for presenting a budget proposal that highlights the critical needs of our community.

During these most uncertain times with the effects of Covid-19 still affecting many of our residents, we must all remain steadfast in our efforts to ensure the proposed budget will achieve the mayors goals of enhancing our neighborhoods, strengthening services provided by city-county government agencies and placing our city on a pathway towards economic recovery.
Additionally, maintaining our goal to keep our spending down will ensure that the commitment of no tax increases for those who live and work in our city will be achieved.

We invite the community to attend the upcoming budget hearings to learn how your tax dollars will be allocated within our various city agencies. This is your budget and we are committed to developing a budget that is balanced, holds the line on taxes, protects our reserves and equitably addresses the needs of our entire city.”

Councillor Leroy Robinson: “Tonight, Mayor Hogsett unveiled a package of unprecedented investments in public safety, one that I believe will stem the current tide of gun violence and help secure a peaceful future for all Indianapolis residents and our visitors. The proposals outlined by the Mayor and his staff offer a balanced approach that includes funding for both law enforcement and community-based strategies to reduce and prevent violence. As Chairman, I am personally eager for the Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice committee to learn more about the administration’s proposals to provide the resources IMPD needs to combat violence, expand gun violence intervention programming, establish a centralized emergency management system, make capital improvements within our public safety agencies, and more. I look forward to a thorough discussion with my Council colleagues on each of the initiatives presented this evening.”

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