Archive for October, 2014|Monthly archive page

Ask your Councilor — where is the money going?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

disappearing money

At 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 13, the City-County Council will hold its final budget meeting. That meeting will determine funding for city agencies, including Animal Care & Control. The council will also vote on allocating $1.7 million in taxpayer money to fund an early childhood education program promoted by Mayor Ballard.

Early childhood education is important, but the state, NOT the city, is responsible for education funding. This proposal takes funding away from agencies and services for which the city IS responsible.

Like fixing potholes. Sidewalks and streetlights. Public safety. And of course, IACC.

What’s happening in our city?

Intake at IACC has gone up (1,083 more in 2013 than in 2012). With increased service calls, an overextended staff, open administrator and veterinarian positions, and a budget so tight it does not even cover food for the animals, the budget needs to be increased. Instead, the city proposes cutting it even more ($185K+).

Why is there never enough money for the essentials, but there’s always money for downtown improvements, sports franchises, and contracts for major campaign contributors?

Here are a few reasons why.

$160 million in taxpayer money is being spent over 10 years to subsidize the Indiana Pacers.

$12.6 million in taxpayer money has been committed to no-bid contracts for the proposed Criminal Justice Center project, for which there is no appropriation in the budget (a violation of Indiana law).

$30 million in taxpayer money has been committed to private developers for the Criminal Justice Center.

$6 million in taxpayer money went to the Indianapolis Sports Field (aka the cricket field).

$6.3 million in taxpayer money went to subsidize a private developer’s parking garage in Broad Ripple.

$5 million in taxpayer money went to IUPUI — a private entity — for improvements and maintenance on the Natatorium.

And now, $1.7 million in taxpayer money is proposed to fund pre-K education for which the city is not responsible.

Demand to know why

Let’s let our city officials know we’re paying attention. E-mail your City-County Councilor before Monday’s budget meeting and demand to know why Indianapolis can spend taxpayer money on sports franchises, no-bid contracts and pre-K education which is NOT the city’s responsibility while trying to cut the budget of IACC, for which it IS responsible.

A sample e-mail:

Dear Councilor [name],

As your constituent, I am deeply concerned about our city’s constant willingness to spend taxpayer money supporting sports franchises, lucrative no-bid contracts for private developers, and projects like pre-K education — which is NOT the city’s responsibility — while proposing to cut the already insufficient budget of Animal Care & Control. The city is obligated under its Municipal Code to provide adequate funding for IACC. The current budget does not even cover food for the animals.

I urge you to demand that the city fulfill its financial obligations before spending taxpayer funds on projects for which it is not responsible.

[Your name]

Not sure who represents you on the Council?

Go to this page to find your City-County Councilor:

You will need to enter your address and click on “locate”. Then select “My Elected Officials”. A large list will come up; your councilor is among the first shown.

If something happens to you, what will happen to your pets?

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

wistful puppy

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you have at least one family member with paws. If the unthinkable should happen and tomorrow is your last day on earth, what will happen to your pets?

No one wants to think about such things, but that’s the reason we have life insurance and make a will. Yet dogs and cats wind up in shelters every day because their people died without providing for them.

Now’s the time to be sure that doesn’t happen to yours.

Pet parents often assume that if they die or become incapacitated, a loved one would look after their pets. Don’t assume. Confirm with that person that they will commit to becoming a pet guardian. Be sure they’re okay with having you put the information in writing, complete with phone numbers. Then keep it with your important papers where the person who would handle your affairs can easily find it.

If you have a will (and if you don’t, you should!), ask your attorney to include a pet trust. This provides funds from your estate to care for any pets you leave behind. Even if a trusted friend or family member has agreed to give your pets a home, you can make things easier by helping with expenses.

If you don’t have someone who’s agreed to be your pet guardian, you can specify in your will that your personal representative contact a volunteer rescue group to foster and rehome your pets. You can even note that he/she should contact move to ACT for a timely recommendation. This prevents a well-meaning but uninformed executor from taking your pets to the Humane Society or IACC on the assumption that they will be adopted.

Lawyers and estate planners also recommend that everyone have a Power of Attorney, a legal document that appoints someone to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated. You can include in this document authorization for your representative to pay care expenses and arrange foster or new homes for your pets if you become unable to care for them.

None of us wants to think about our beloved pets alone and frightened in a shelter. Takes steps NOW to assure that doesn’t happen. You’ll sleep better.