Pike Residents Concerned over CIB Problem

(posted Apr 10)

Replacing Capital Improvements Board members is a message that one Pike Township resident wants Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams to relay to the Mayor.

Williams listened to residents' concerns at the Pike Township Resident Association's April 8 meeting. The city is facing a potential $77 million shortfall if the Pacers require the CIB to cover their operating costs at Conseco. This compounds the problem of the shortfall to cover operating expenses of Lucas Oil Stadium.

Williams said Mayor Greg Ballard is working on a solution but has not disclosed it to him as of date. He doubted if raising the income tax will be part of the solution. "Raising the county income tax is not in his mind." He said "The solution will make some people happy and some people sad."

Williams said this is not the time to place blame for the financial crisis.

Bruce Blair said the system is broken when taxpayers owe more now on the RCA Dome than when it was built. He said the heart of the problem is coming from the CIB members and it is time to clean house. He recommended cleaning house once the problem is cleared up.

State Representative Phil Hinkle said there is much more "animosity" towards Marion County by the other 91 counties than there has been in the past. He said they are not interested in bailing out the county or raising taxes. Hinkle said he has not been privy to the leadership discussions, but he thinks legislators will have a "meltdown" over the $1.5 billion unemployment problem and CIB. He expects those two issues to require a special session.

Barry Stern complained about businesses pleading guilty to zoning violations rather than getting a variance. Scott Rosenberger said that zoning violations often become the cost of doing business because of the length of time to process a case. He said stiffer fines might be needed to discourage violations.
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Williams said revising zoning ordinances is a delicate balancing act because it can impede those following the law.

Williams also discussed shopping in the Lafayette Square Area even though he and his wife reside in Wayne Township. "I am planning a family reunion at Xscape. I have ten kids, so by 2011 I'll be ready for it," he quipped.