June 15, 1998
The Ellettsville, Indiana, Town Council met in regular session at 7:30 p.m., Monday, June 15, 1997. Members present were Geraldine McIntyre, Vice President, Donald Ashley, Patrick Stoffers and Gina Hawkins. Geraldine McIntyre called the meeting to order. Donald Ashley gave the prayer.
Victoria Callaghan Castor, Public Policy Manager with Metropolitan Association of Greater Indianapolis Communities (MAGIC) and Cristopher Johnson, Municipat Consultants, special Division of Crowe Chezek gave a presentation to the Council. The six focus counties are Monroe, Porter, Whitley, Hancock, Franklin and Vanderburgh. Senator Vi Simpson and Kirk White are part of the advisory committee for the study.
A Study to Examine Local Government Function and Fiscal Obligation
A cooperative effort of the Metropolitan Association of Greater Indianapolis Comminties (MAGIC), Indiana State Chamber of Commerce, and Representative of Northwest Indiana, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville
Premise of Study: Local Government in Indiana continually face growing pressures from business and citizens to meet expanding needs for services while simultaneously holding the line on tax increeases.
Objective of Study: The project objective is examine current local government function and taxing authority at the township, city/town, and county levels in Indiana to identify savings that, in turn, may be used to enhance current local revenue streams.
Outline of Study: The Study is divided into three phases: (1) the Findings and Analysis phase, (2) the Public Dissemination phase and (3) Advisory Board phase
The Findings and Analysis phase consists of:
(a) Review and documentation of Constitutional and statutory functions of county, township, and municipal government in Indiana;
(b) Identification of duplicated functions and where these duplicated functions might appropriately be performed;
(c) Identification and documentation of costs associated with duplicated, outsourced, or eliminated services to determine average savings to local units of government;
(d) And, an analysis of local taxing authority to determine taxation appropriate to finance the remaining functions of government.
The Public Dissemination phase ensures the findings of this study are made known to local elected and state officials, public interest groups, media, and the general public. This phase will require the consultants to disseminate findings of the project to the aforementioned groups. Additionally, principal researchers must be available to provide public comment on the project as approved by the Advisory Committee to the study.
This study simply poses the question: “how much government is the public willing to pay for?” The comprehensive nature of this question will produce a multitude of outcomes that, in turn, may be utilized by local governments in addressing growing demands by both citizens and business.
The following is a list of some of the foreseeable projected outcomes. This list should not be deemed exhaustive as a variety of outcomes may be difficult to anticipate until completion of the study.
(a) Models of efficient administration of local government function and fiscal obligation. Through a sampling of local governments across the State of Indiana, a series of models will be developed which will provide a blueprint of how and where local communities might implement these efficiency strategies.
(b) Identification of areas in both statutory and Constitutional law requiring legislative action. Oftentimes, local government functions and obligations are a product of the times in which they were developed. Today, however, certain functions may be viewed as obsolete. This study will identify and offer alternatives in addressing those existing antiquated functions.
(c) Support for otherwise unsubstantiated assumptions. This study will provide support for suppositions, beliefs and/or intuitions relating to local government inefficiencies and duplication of function that are referred to but never substantiated.
(d) Other by-products to this study include:
(1) alternative revenue streams to poor relief;
(2) alternative funding mechanisms for schools;
(3) alternatives to the current administration of the property tax and poor relief;
(4) and, an identification of statutory barriers to regional cooperation.
What is COMPLETE?
The Coalition on Monitoring Public Efficiency and Tax Expenditures (COMPLETE) is a coalition that is forming through the efforts of the Metropolitan Association of Greater Indianapolis Communities (MAGIC). The coalition includes individuals representative of Northwest Indiana, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Central Indiana and Evansville. These individuals share a common interest in im0roving the competitive ability of localities in attracting industrial, commercial and residential investment through the creation of a favorable tax climate while providing superior service.
Current members of COMPLETE include:
Darren Bailey (Fort Wayne), Taxpayers Research Association
Carol Blinzinger (Central Indian), Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee
Becky Bonham, (South Bent) St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce
Brian Burton, (State of Indiana) Indiana State Chamber of Commerce
Tory Callaghan (Central Indiana) MAGIC
Mike Cash (Evansville) Metropolitan Evansville Chamber of Commerce
Walter Kirkwood (Central Indiana) MAGIC
Lee Lewellen (Central Indiana) MAGIC
Tom McDermott (Northwest Indiana) Northwest Indiana Forum
Gregg McManus (Evansville) SIGECO
Dewey Pearman (Northwest Indiana) Construction Advancement Foundation
Stacie Porter (Central Indiana0 Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce
Bob Quick (Evansville) Metropolitan Evansville Chamber of Commerce
Jim Ranfranz (Northwest Indiana) Northwest Indiana Regional Planning
Joe Slash (Central Indiana) Indianapolis Power & Light Company
Chris Ternet (Fort Wayne) Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce
Advisory Board to the COMPLETE Study Project:
Currently, MAGIC is in the process of convening an Advisory Board that will review the COMPETE Study Proposals. The Board will also monitor the progress of the study for the duration of the project. Members of the board will consist of academics with expertise relating to projects of this type, local elected officials, state and local elected officials, representatives from selected geographic locations, and economic development and business professionals.
The Town Council appointed Mike Cornman, President of the Council and Diana Evans, Clerk-Treasurer to work with them in providing information needed for the study.
Gina Hawkins made the motion to adjourn. Donald Ashley seconded. Motion passed 4-0.