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Council-Mayor fallout continues with failed veto

Posted at 10:07 PM, Sep 14, 2015

Indianapolis City-County Council Democrats failed Monday night to overturn a veto of their own attempts to return money to IMPD moved by Mayor Greg Ballard.

The ongoing row between the council and mayor involves $6.8 million Ballard moved out of IMPD's budget. Democrats allege Ballard did so inappropriately, and that it's preventing the city from hiring more officers.

A Ballard spokesman said the money was used to pay back a loan to hire more officers in 2014.

The council and Ballard have clashed several times this year, most recently over the Vision Fleet and BlueIndy electric car contracts.

MORE | City-County Council files lawsuit over Vision Fleet electric vehicle program | City trying to adapt to critiques of BlueIndy electric vehicle program

Democratic Council Vice President John Barth had strong words for the mayor at Monday's meeting.

"Let's say the truth: One person – Greg Ballard – is stopping us from hiring new officers," Barth said.

Council President Maggie Lewis, also a Democrat, issued the following statement after the veto failed:

"Public safety has and will always continue to be the priority of the City-County Council. That is why the Council in 2014 voted to implement a public safety tax increase to fund new IMPD officers and to train and equip them."

"In May 2015, the administration decided to unilaterally transfer $6.8 million dollars out of the IMPD budget, circumventing the Council's authority and clear intent to hire more police officers and to provide critical equipment and training."

"Recently, the Council voted overwhelmingly to reverse the Mayor's transfer and put the funds back into IMPD to fund essential public safety services. Unfortunately, the Mayor made the decision to veto this action."

"Tonight the Council unsuccessfully attempted to overturn the mayor's veto. This decision, while disappointing, reaffirms our belief that public safety is not priority number one for this administration but will not deter our efforts to find the resources IMPD needs to protect the safety of our residents."

"The Council will continue to focus, as we have for years, in ensuring IMPD has the dollars needed for staffing and equipment. With his veto pen the mayor -- and only the mayor -- stands in the way of supporting IMPD."

The council previously overrode a mayoral veto in April of a $4.7 million allocation for IMPD.