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On February 22, 2021, Mayor Hogsett announced the $190 million Circle City Forward initiative. The initiative will boost the City’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by investing in public facilities located throughout Indianapolis. Circle City Forward projects will be funded by transferring the levy capacity of the expiring 2005 Pension Relief bonds tax levy to the County Cumulative Capital Development Fund tax levy. As a result of the 2005 Pension Relief bonds being paid off, the projects will not require any new net taxes on Marion County residents.
The Circle City Forward project will be split up into 2 separate phases. By unanimous approval on September 27, 2021, the City-County Council passed Special Ordinances 8 and 9, 2021 (Prop. 251 & 252, 2021, respectively) to authorize the issuance of bonds to fund the Circle City Forward initiative. In November of 2021, the Bond Bank issued $36,265,000 of tax-exempt bonds to finance Phase I of the Circle City Forward initiative. $18.5 million of the 2021E bonds will go towards City G.O. bonds to construct a new Indianapolis Fire Department Station 32 in Broad Ripple and a new Department of Public Works solid waste garage. Another $25 million in Parks District Bonds will go towards Indy Parks projects at Krannert, Grassy Creek, and Riverside Parks. The 2021E bonds will be secured by a pledge of ad valorem property tax revenues and the City’s G.O. pledge. The 2021E bonds were given a AAA rating by Moody’s.
Phase II includes a new Coroner’s facility, upgrades to Frederick Douglass Park, a Youth & Family Services Center, a new Forensics Crime Lab, and a new Indianapolis Animal Care Services facility. On September 27, 2021, the City-County Council unanimously approved Special Ordinance No. 16, 2021 (Prop. 253, 2021), which authorized the City to enter into a lease agreement with the Building Authority for all the projects. The Building Authority will issue $110 million in bonds for the construction and upgrades of the facilities with a security of the lease agreement and G.O. pledge for the Coroner’s facility. Douglass Park, Youth & Family Services Center, Forensics Crime Lab, and Animal Care Services facility will be secured with the lease agreement and a pledge of Local Income Tax revenues. Phase II projects are expected to be financed in 2022.