|Mayor Greg Ballard|
Perhaps, just as bad, the Mayor appears to be just mouthing talking points that don't really answer the questions asked. Murray attempted followup questions to clarify but just received more of the same.
Question (from @kmosier86): Why can the city afford a cricket field but not pay for raises for police officers and firefighters?
Answer: Oh really? Are we there still? (He was referring to frequent criticism of the $6 million World Sports Park project.) It’s one-time infrastructure money that hopefully will produce revenue for the city, and the other is an ongoing expense that has to come from revenue for the city. It’s apples and oranges completely.The claim that the City's taxpayers haven't subsidized the Pacers, but rather the Pacers have subsidized the City, is outrageous. We taxpayers built Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers get to play in that building rent-free. Yes, the Pacers pay to run the place. But what the Mayor leaves out is that the Pacers get 100% of the revenue off of the building all year round. We taxpayers get nothing. Now the Mayor and his CIB pals are having taxpayers pay to operate the building while the Pacers get 100% of the revenue. Indianapolis subsidizes its sports franchises more than any city in the country and yet Ballard doesn't believe those subsidies are big enough. Outrageous.
Tell me again, why is it wrong to put playing fields on a park? That’s what we’re doing, and out of one-time money.
Q (from The Star): For some folks who aren’t necessarily familiar with city finances, it raises a question of priorities. Is that a valid question?
A: No, it’s not a valid (question). Do you want me to shut down the park system? I mean, that’s kind of what they’re saying here, right? “We don’t want parks. Everything has to go to this other thing.” Of course we want parks, and we will continue to develop parks. But when we have one-time money from this (RebuildIndy) fund, we have to use it for capital projects.
Q (from @uselessnote ): What’s your justification for raising taxes, cutting services and giving the Pacers an operational subsidy despite the team’s new NBA revenue and other sources?A: I would tell them that services are better than they’ve ever been – the Mayor’s Action Center, snow removal, I could go on and on. Again, people do not understand that it’s not all one pot of money. It’s different money. Nobody wants to admit this, but the fact is that the Colts don’t run Lucas Oil Stadium. The Pacers do run Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the Pacers paid for the running of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, on their dime, for 10 years. Show me another city in the nation where that was true.
They did that for 10 years, and then they finally said, “We can’t do that anymore. We’re losing too much money.” And it is our fieldhouse, and we should have been running it for 10 years. That’s what this is about. Everybody thinks we subsidized the Pacers. The fact is the Pacers subsidized the city for 10 years. That’s what happened – they ran our fieldhouse for 10 years.
Q (from The Star): This is the fourth year of a $10 million annual offset that the city is paying to the Pacers. Is that the new paradigm – should people expect that to continue?
Well, we think we’re pretty close to a deal so I don’t want to screw that up. I think we’re pretty close to a deal that will be fair to everybody.
The lengthy interview is worth reading.