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The Journal Gazette

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Thursday, September 12, 2019 1:00 am

Road fund mistake to cost city

May see 8% drop in money; Marion County to benefit

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Millions in road money will shift from cities and towns around the state to Marion County after state officials recently found an error in the distribution formula.

State Auditor Tera Klutz sent a memo to local units Monday saying cities and towns could see an 8% drop is road funding starting in January. It is unknown what the total shift is statewide in dollars.

“Cities and towns in every county will be impacted,” she said. “The important part was that they are all in budget prep right now so it's important for them to know.”

Klutz told The Journal Gazette on Wednesday that the Indianapolis fire special service district is considered the population of Indianapolis for purposes of certain distributions, including the Motor Vehicle Highway Account. But in preparing for 2020 census updates, the office realized that district expanded in the mid-2000s with several township mergers but the population was never changed in the formula.

Klutz said she hopes to have the numbers certified for January distributions.

The Motor Vehicle Highway Account consists of fuel taxes and other fees and is distributed to cities and towns based on population. Counties are not affected because their formula is based on road miles and vehicle registrations.

The Local Road and Street Account also is impacted but only to shift dollars within Marion County.

Fort Wayne spokesman John Perlich said the city still hasn't received official notification of changes. But based on the memo it could cost the city between $800,000 and $900,000.

“The city is in a healthy financial position, so residents and neighborhoods would not see any changes in our ability to do local infrastructure projects,” he said. “We have the financial resources to do the projects we intend to do regardless of any possible changes from the state.”

nkelly@jg.net