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Plan to bridge city budget gap sets sights on Capital Improvement Board

Safety of CitizensLucas Oil Stadium

A plan to patch Indianapolis’ $65 million budget shortfall by charging the Capital Improvement Board is meeting with controversy.

Democratic City-County Councilor Brian Mahern is putting together a proposal to charge the Capital Improvement Board for the city services it uses. The CIB oversees the convention center, Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Mahern said the CIB will have $67 million in its account at the end of next year. He pointed out that the tax revenue from the CIB from hotels, food and beverage sales, rental cars stays with the group. With the city being down 100 police officers with budget issues, Mahern said the CIB idea is a possible solution.

“It would be irresponsible to not think of that,” Mahern said. “When you think of how much cash balance is there at the end of next year when they absolutely consume public safety services and don't pay any property taxes.”

Reaction among other councilors is mixed.

“What people are saying right now is A, they need to see the details or B, we cannot risk bankrupting the CIB,” said Republican City-County Councilor Jeff Miller.

The idea comes just a few years after the city helped save the CIB from bankruptcy. Mahern’s idea to charge the board for city services met a skeptical response from several event planning leaders, who wrote a letter to the editor.

“We respect these Council members' desire to increase funding to public safety; however, we believe taking funds from the Capital Improvement Board (CIB) is not in the city`s best interest,” the letter said.

The full plan will be revealed during a committee meeting on Thursday.

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