Lest we succumb to bitter despair over seemingly endless examples of petulant bickering that prevent Republicans and Democrats from cooperating to achieve the best-possible outcomes for their constituencies, let the following news release headline offer some hope: Mayor Ballard, Council President Lewis, and Caucus Leadership reach Budget Agreement. The compromise, according to the Mayor's Office, restores about $32 million originally proposed to be cut from county offices such as Prosecutor's Office and the Sheriff's Department. In addition, both sides agreed to operational spending cuts of 5 percent for 2013 and to engaging in monthly financial meetings between Ballard and leaders from both Council caucuses. Car rental and admissions taxes will increase 2 and 4 percent respectively, generating about $10 million in increased revenue. Leaders are also working toward long-term solutions for perennial public-safety funding issues. The agreement, according to the Mayor's Office, "will produce a $12 million annual increase in general fund revenue beginning in 2014, leave the City with a manageable $6 million gap between estimated spending versus revenues for 2014, and leave $42 million in operating reserves at the end of 2013." In a statement issued applauding the cooperation of the city's leadership, Scott Miller, president and chief executive of the Indy Chamber, said: "This is proof once again that we as a community can tackle tough issues by working together for the betterment of our city."
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