The follow is a guest post by Megan Robertson. Robertson is the campaign manager for the re-election campaign for incumbent Mayor of Indianapolis Greg Ballard (R).
In 2007, our city faced many serious challenges. A review of the Indianapolis Star in October of 2007 outlines the problems facing our city back then – rising crime, abandoned homes, skyrocketing property taxes AND an increase in income taxes, crumbling streets and sidewalks and no plan to address it all.
Then we witnessed the biggest political upset in Indianapolis history. Mayor Greg Ballard, a 23-year veteran of the US Marine Corps, came to office, rolled up his sleeves and took on all those challenges. He started by putting taxpayers first, bringing fiscal responsibility and sound financial management back to city government.
Mayor Ballard acted quickly to bring responsibility for public safety back to the Mayor’s office. Four years later, overall crime is down 7%; property crime is down, and violent crime is down. In fact, 2009 and 2010 had the lowest number of murders in 15 years. With a military background and experience in recruitment, Mayor Ballard is leading the most comprehensive and important reforms of IMPD – implementing long overdue performance evaluations and merit-based promotions to professionalize the police department, as many departments across the country have done for years. Mayor Ballard is committed to community policing and is investing in high-quality police officer training and new technology to help fight crime.
While other cities across the country have raised taxes, cut services or laid off police officers and firefighters in this tough national economy, Indianapolis stands in contrast. We have improved city services and protected our public safety budget – all while property and income taxes are lower.
Four years ago, Greg Ballard campaigned for property tax reform, and as Mayor, he led the charge at the city level by publicly supporting property tax caps at the statehouse. Governor Mitch Daniels has applauded Mayor Ballard’s role in this critical issue. With property tax caps now in place, 98.5% of city homeowners’ property taxes are lower than in 2007, with the average homeowner seeing a one-third reduction.
Despite the worst national economy since the Great Depression, in 2010 we had the single greatest year in attracting new job commitments and capital investment to our city. Indianapolis attracted more new job commitments in one year than Melina Kennedy recruited in 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 combined – and that was in a good economy. We are setting the stage for job growth and nearly 13,000 more people are employed in our city since January.
Our potential for growth is receiving national attention. Forbes recently named Indianapolis the #1 Next Big Boom Town in the Midwest, the Wall Street Journal ranked us in the Top 7 cities for business start-ups and Newsweek says we are among the Top 10 cities best poised for economic recovery.
Fiscal responsibility and a commitment to improving our infrastructure help position Indianapolis for the future. Through RebuildIndy, neighborhoods are benefiting from significant improvements to streets, sidewalks, and bridges. We are also removing thousands of unsafe, abandoned homes and buildings, including Keystone Towers and Winona Hospital. The value of these projects is not only about better infrastructure, but it is also public safety. Additionally,we have increased connectivity, created a bicycle-friendly city and we are becoming more sustainable.
Mayor Ballard has expanded charter schools to meet the demand and provide better opportunities for more students in our city. He supports education reforms which put the students first and bring greater accountability to our schools because everyone deserves a good education.
We have made a lot of progress but there is more work to do. That’s why I ask for your support for Mayor Greg Ballard on Tuesday, November 8.