Indy Connect hosts informational meeting following township decisions

By Anna Skinner

Despite the postponement of voting for a potential referendum that would implement a 25-cent tax per $100 earned, Indy Connect hosted an informational public meeting June 30 at the Bridgewater Club in Westfield.

Cindy Benedict, project manager for Indy Connect, presented on the proposed mass transit plan and updated the public on the cancellation of the vote. The next possible referendum would be in 2018 at the earliest, as a referendum must be added to a general election ballot.

Benedict also answered questions from the public that attended.

“If you compare us to competing cities, every competing city was investing in transit,” she said.

The Hamilton County Transit Forum approached Clay and Washington townships in May to determine if they were interested in voting on a referendum. The votes were required by July 15 to make the Nov. 8 ballot, and both townships agreed to vote in June.

On June 28, Washington Township unanimously approved adding the referendum, but Clay Township decided against voting on whether or not the referendum should be put on the ballot, pushing the next possible vote to 2018.

Benedict said Clay Township felt the process was too rushed to make an educated vote.

“Did it feel rushed? Yes. Was it rushed? Yes,” she said. “The other piece we told them was we don’t have time to do a lot of community education yet … Tonight was the first of many that were planned.”

Benedict said although the vote has been delayed, public meetings and studies will continue.

“We can have an income tax from 10 to 25 cents per dollar,” Benedict said, answering the question many public members had regarding raising the tax in the future. “Twenty-five cents is the max, we have no opportunity to change it. It’s set.”

Benedict did add that the law requiring the maximum of 25 cents per $100 could always be changed, therefore allowing for a higher tax.

“If you quit investing in infrastructure, infrastructure crumbles … We have to live within the means of the tax. We don’t have any options,” she said. “It’s like any infrastructure investment … There’s no doubt you’ve got to make smart choices, live within your means and project well.”

For more, visit indyconnect.org.