Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson has put forward a crime-fighting plan that he says will cost an additional $85 million per year. Putting aside the merits of the plan, it offers further evidence that promises of savings through regionalism are usually overblown.
Indianapolis has long been considered a leader in regionalism efforts and Peterson has been attempting to integrate more services. In particular, he argued that city and county law enforcement should be combined. When he made this pitch in 2005, he said the combination would result in a savings of $35 million.
The savings, in fact, became controversial (4th item), with opponents wondering whether fewer dollars would mean diminished services. But Peterson prevailed last year, and the police and sheriff merged at the start of the year.
Not all of his new proposal goes directly to crime-fighting efforts. There's money for courts and pensions. For all I know, not having studied it, it may be a genius-level blueprint. The total cost, including interest, could be $1.3 billion over 25 years.
That does show, less than two weeks after the local law enforcement departments combined, the notion of saving money is already off the table.