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Henry, council set for Oct. 30 Legacy debate


Mayor Tom Henry is scheduled to present his plan for the $75 million to $80 million Legacy fund at a special fifth Tuesday meeting of the City Council on Oct. 30.

Mayors have rarely appeared before the council, but the fifth Tuesday sessions are discussion and brainstorming meetings where official action doesn’t occur.

Though some council members served on citizen committees weighing how the money should be used, this is the first public discussion between the mayor and council members on using the money. And between Henry and the nine council members, there could well be 10 different goals.

Council and budget

Don’t be surprised, though, if the council starts talking about the Legacy money from the lease and sale of City Light to I&M sooner, during budget sessions that begin today.

Republican council members John Crawford, Mitch Harper and Russ Jehl have said the city should keep property taxes flat in 2013 and make up any shortfall with cash reserves and/or Legacy money. So they may well request some Legacy money be used for property tax relief.

The proposed 2 percent pay increase for city employees may be another focal point, though the council already signaled approval earlier this month by voting in favor of a union contract with a 2 percent raise for 2013.

In some ways, Councilman Tom Smith said, this year’s budget meetings will be a warm-up for next year’s meetings on the 2014 budget, when the city’s finances are expected to be much tighter.

City Controller Pat Roller will present the budget to the council at this evening’s meeting. The council is tentatively planning on reviewing the budget Oct. 2-4 and Oct. 9-11, with the public hearing Oct. 9 and a final vote Oct. 23.

Social Security

Richard Mourdock’s views on Social Security have become a key issue in his race against Joe Donnelly for U.S. Senate, and each camp has taken some liberties in describing the other’s position. In his latest ad, Mourdock’s campaign brings out the candidate’s father to defend his son, saying Mourdock wants to protect Social Security and Medicare.

Mourdock has not said he would eliminate Social Security, but he did – in an April appearance before the Madison Tea Party in southern Indiana – suggest that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are unconstitutional. “I challenge you to find words (in the Constitution) that talk about Medicare or Medicaid or, yes, even Social Security.” A few days earlier, in a debate with incumbent Richard Lugar, Mourdock said: “Social Security is something that needs to be protected.” But he also said the retirement age must be raised and that younger people “have an obligation to save for themselves.”

Last November, Mourdock said 2013 benefits should be reduced to 2010 levels, a cut one analyst said would cost a typical senior $2,000.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461-8113 or by email,