Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Brainard Prepares Tax, Borrow And Spend Binge To Ring In New Year
Carmel Mayor James Brainard has big plans for the new year when his rubber-stamp council takes office. He tells The Star's Chris Sikich that he plans to spend $217 million over the next three years constructing another two dozen roundabouts and other street and road improvements. He plans to borrow the money by issuing bonds backed by a property tax increase--at least enough to bump those homeowners who have not already reached the property tax caps to that constitutional limit--along with a mix of federal and state funds.
All of those controls the old city council imposed on the Carmel Redevelopment Commission after the council had to bail out the RDC's run-away borrowing and spending with a $195 million general bond obligation backed by property taxes will come to an end if Brainard has his way. Restrictions the council placed on spending by the RDC without council approval is unconstitutional Brainard says. Instead, the council will have an appointee on the RDC, a Brainard stooge, it will have to rely upon to keep the RDC in check.
Brainard also plans to push ahead with his plans to make Carmel a second-class city. The council's size will grow from 7 to 9, and the mayor will get to appoint a controller to manage city finances rather than being bothered with an independently-elected clerk-treasurer. Those changes, however, will have to wait until the next election cycle in 2020.