This week, the Indianapolis City-County Council received the 2024 proposed city budget. It outlines planned expenditures totaling the city’s highest yet at $1.5 billion.
Notably, a record-breaking $323 million allocation was earmarked for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. It comprises the largest part of the city budget at about 21%.
The budget is focused on public health and safety, violence prevention, criminal justice and infrastructure and neighborhood investments.
“We are living through one of the most consequential eras in city history. 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,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett during his budget speech before the City-County Council.
Continued three-year $150 million anti-violence plan
For the first time, the city is integrating the Hogsett Administration’s three-year anti-violence strategy, unveiled in 2021, into its operational budget.
Previously, the funding for this plan relied on $150 million sourced from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.
The proposed anti-violence plan is approximately $4.5 million. The objective is to establish it as a permanent fixture within the city’s annual budget.
The Office of Public Health and Safety‘s funding encompasses $1 million for the new clinician-led response team, along with funding for the permanent continuation of the Peacemaker Program.
Efforts centered on reducing community-based violence, such as a program targeting youth through group intervention, will receive more than $4 million.
Moreover, programs offering educational and employment opportunities to young individuals will receive financial support.
A total of $1.8 million is designated for the purpose of transitioning the Community Justice Campus’ Assessment Intervention Center into a 24-hour, 60-bed facility.
This funding aims to address mental health and substance abuse issues among individuals seeking treatment at the center.
The intended outcome also involves a significant increase in violence reduction grants, which would transition from an annual allocation of $3 million to a substantial $15 million.
IMPD equipment upgrades, pay raises
The 2024 proposed budget emphasizes prioritizing officer recruitment. Under the budget, first year officers will receive an annual salary of $72,000 and second-year officers $75,000.
Officers in their third year and beyond will benefit from a 3% cost of living adjustment. IMPD has had an 86% increase in pay since 2016; the current salary is one of the highest in the Midwest.
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Included within proposed IMPD spending are provisions for cost-of-living adjustments, adding dash cams for police vehicles, laptop upgrades to equip officers with more sturdy devices in cars, and new protective gear, helmets, license plate readers, and public safety cameras.
This also includes purchasing new pursuit-related vehicles, K-9 vehicles and trucks, totaling $5.9 million.
Additional funds dedicated to public safety will be directed toward recruitment of deputies for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
The budget proposes an increase in funding for city infrastructure development, directing $1.2 billion over the span of five years.
Hogsett said the city can achieve this without imposing any tax hikes on the residents of Marion County.
$325 million will go toward roads, bridges and greenway improvements, including $6.3 million in pedestrian safety.
This year’s budget encompasses a $25 million allotment for enhancing residential streets.
A pilot program aimed at property tax relief established exclusively within the Riverside neighborhood as a result of gentrification displacement in the area is also a component of the budget.
The Office of Equity, Belonging and Inclusion
Additionally, the proposed budget would grant funds to the newly proposed Office of Equity, Belonging and Inclusion.
The proposal to establish this office was approved by the Administration and Finance Committee of the Indianapolis City-County Council Aug. 16.
The full council must approve the proposal to create this office Sept. 11.
If established, the office will exist within the Office of the Mayor and is set to receive more than $600,000 from the city budget if it is passed in October.
The City-County committees will deliberate and vote on the 2024 city budget proposal in mid-October.
Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON