I understand that Carmel’s debt continues to rise. Is this going to be a burden to our grandchildren?

On the contrary, the investments that the City of Carmel is currently making in its redevelopment areas will be a gift to your grandchildren, not a burden. We invest in our City because we are growing, but more than that, we invest as part of a bigger strategy to attract more corporate headquarters and commercial development, which we are seeing with every new development.

Every time a commercial business moves to Carmel, it pays taxes – those are revenues that help us pay off the debt that we are taking on. In addition, every time employees are hired in Carmel, they begin to pay taxes – not to mention the spending they also begin to do in terms of housing, living, dining, groceries, etc., all of which helps the overall economy remain vibrant.

“Every time a new corporate HQ, new office branch or new restaurant pays its taxes, that is LESS taxes that our residents must pay.”

Think about it: Every time a new corporate HQ, new office branch or new restaurant pays its taxes, that is LESS taxes that our residents must pay. That, coupled with our job situation and our overall quality of life, helps to make your property values even more valuable, a solid investment few would pass up. Our investments – our debt – are similar to a family investing in their homes by remodeling a kitchen or a bathroom. They get to enjoy the remodel, but they also will appreciate the increase in value of their homes. That is a gift to their kids and grandkids, who will reap that increase in value. That same philosophy carries over to the City of Carmel. Our investments today will pay off over and over again with our current and new residents who continued to not only enjoy very low property tax rates, but also higher property values.

It is also important to remember that here in Carmel, we have “diversity in debt.” Our debt is not all about redevelopment, we also have dollars secured through debt invested in stormwater projects, utility projects, road improvement projects – the kind of debt that you might expect to see when you are living in one of the fastest growing cities and counties in the U.S. The City has been forward thinking by investing in infrastructure like this so that as we continued to grow and add jobs, our roads did not suffer and our water system was such that we were one of the only communities in central Indiana to be able to survive the summer drought a few years ago without having to curtail water usage – only because we were smart and upgraded our infrastructure.

The use of debt as a tool for growth must only occur after careful financial analysis and planning. In years such as the present, when general fund revenues clearly exceed all expenditures including debt payments, the City’s rainy day fund should be supplemented to ensure sustainability for those future years when revenues may fall below forecasts. It is our intention that we set a clear path forward for future leaders to follow in making sound fiscal decisions. Making tough choices today, insulates future generations against paying high taxes.

We think it is important, it is smart and it is fiscally responsible.


Authored by Laura Campbell, Ron Carter, Sue Finkam, Anthony Green, Bruce Kimball, Kevin Rider and Jeff Worrell