City Council Preview: Mayoral veto, stop sign fight and clerk-treasurer report


Hello everyone. I hope you all follow me on Twitter tonight at @adamaasen as I live tweet the City Council meeting at 6 p.m.

For tonight’s meeting, expect some comments — both from the public and from City Councilors — about the controversial comment in the Clerk-Treasurer report released on Monday. I suspect you might even see one councilor “dress down” or “scold” another councilor using this public meeting as the forum.

The Council’s finance committee has met yet so that will prevent many bills from being voted on tonight. A meeting was supposed to occur this Thursday but will be rescheduled because of a fundraiser for the Humane Society for Hamilton County that night. This means we might have to wait for a vote on issues such as municipally backed bonds for Pedcor’s City Center phase two. This also affects the proposal to spend money to fix the reflecting pool.

City Councilor Sue Finkam will also introduce a new ordinance to remove a stop sign at 126th Street and Auman Drive. This stop sign has already generated much controversy with interested citizens sending their opinions in from both sides. It’s likely this bill will be sent to committee, especially with Council President Eric Seidensticker — who represents the affected area — recovering from eye surgery.

Here’s a Carmel resident who is for the sign’s removal:

My husband and I live in the Enclave of Carmel, just off 126th Street.  During morning and evening rush hours it is genuinely challenging for us to exit our subdivision onto 126th.  However, we are very much in favor of the removal of the stop sign at 126th Street and Auman Drive.  As others have noted, the eastbound backup, particularly during the evening rush hour, creates a bottleneck and traffic hazard at Range Line Road. 
There is a very simple solution:
·         Remove the stop sign altogether.
·         At the 126th Street and Auman Drive intersection, add a “No Left Turn” sign for westbound travelers on 126th.
·         At the 126th Street and Auman Drive intersection, add a “Right Turn Only” sign for northbound travelers on Auman.
·         Eastbound drivers on 126th can still turn right onto Auman.
·         Residents on Auman and in the surrounding neighborhood can exit onto Range Line.
·         And the aggravating backup on eastbound 126th is alleviated.
The argument for retaining the stop sign for children’s safety is, in my estimation, a non-issue.  I have never seen children playing along 126th Street.  (By the way, I am a mother, grandmother, and retired school teacher, so children’s safety is a high priority in my book.)
I trust the Council will reach a reasonable and sensible decision regarding this issue.
 Thanks to each of you for your service.

And here’s a Carmel resident who wants it to stay:

The stop sign on 126th is invaluable in allowing us (I, my wife and 2 daughters) to safely cross the street. Truth be told, we could actually use a marked crosswalk in addition to the valued stop signs Mr. Leonard, the Mayor and some councilmembers fail to appreciate but that is an entirely different argument, I’m sure.
Another benefit we enjoy with the stop signs is that not only does it allow us to leave our neighborhood safely, but also to enter safely as well.  It gives the traffic a much-needed pause to allow us to return safely to our homes as we turn in from 126th. Without the signs and especially turning from the westbound lane onto Auman, sudden backups could be generated as my neighbors and I wait for a reasonable opening in oncoming traffic to turn in. These ‘surprise’ backups are much more dangerous and more likely to result in a serious collision than the mild line that seems to be only present during evening rush hour. The familiarity and expectation to stop at the signs has saved many a front and rear bumper as compared to what would happen with hurried drivers not expecting or wanting to stop for a rather inconsequential minute or two. A little less business for the local body shops, but I’m sure they would understand.
Finkam also wrote the following letter about the stop sign:
Recently, you published an article about an ordinance I’m sponsoring to remove the stop signs on 126th Street at Auman Drive.  I’d like an opportunity to address concerns I’ve received from your readers.

I am introducing this ordinance because residents in my district have asked for the stop signs to be removed in an attempt to eliminate unsafe conditions on Range Line Road due to traffic backups. I did not bring this ordinance forth because Slick Leonard requested it. I have never spoken to him, nor does he live in my district.

After careful research with the city engineer, public safety officials and others, the facts support removal of the stop signs. Had the facts told a different story, I would have shared with my constituents that I would not support removing the signs. 

This ordinance will force a public discussion of the issues surrounding these stop signs. The facts, along with neighborhood input, will be reviewed when this is brought before council. That’s how local government works – a proposal is introduced, interested parties weigh in and a decision is made. The process in this case starts November 17.

Some have said sponsoring this legislation is politically motivated going into the primary. Had I wanted to use this ordinance to try to impact primary election results, I would have introduced it after Spring Break right before the primary election. 

I encourage anyone with an opinion on these stops signs to be a part of the process and weigh in by contacting the city council. 


Also at tonight’s meeting, the Carmel City Council will deal with Mayor Jim Brainard’s veto of the proposed conservation district for the Johnson Addition neighborhood. It’s unlikely that supporters will be able to get together five votes — two thirds — to overturn the veto.

Here’s what Mayor Brainard said about his veto:

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The City sent out a follow-up explanation on Monday:

Upon further research, this should serve as a follow up to Friday’s release about the Mayor’s veto. The question was asked: Who was responsible for making sure public notice of Carmel Historic Preservation Commission meetings were properly done?


In April of 2012, the newly formed Carmel Historic Preservation Commission began meeting monthly. The Mayor’s Office ensured the initial meeting was publicly noticed, and the minutes of the April 26, 2012 meeting read in part:

“Luci [Snyder] recommended that Carol [Schleif] follow with the Clerk-Treasurer’s Office to Notice all CHPC meetings, which notice must be sent out at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.”

Additionally, the Commission decided to hire Indiana Landmarks to serve as “contract administrator” and the Mayor’s office was informed that Indiana Landmarks would handle among other tasks the recording of meeting minutes, which Indiana Landmarks began doing in August of 2012.

Here’s the municipal law about dealing with vetoes:

As stated below, once the executive has vetoed an ordinance, it is considered defeated unless the legislative body, at its first regular meeting after the executive has vetoed the ordinance, passes the ordinance by a two-thirds vote. Our ordinance defines a two-thirds vote as five council members voting in the affirmative.

IC 36-4-6-16
Ordinance, order, or resolution; power of city executive to approve
or veto
Sec. 16. (a) Within ten (10) days after an ordinance, order, or
resolution is presented to him, the city executive shall:
(1) approve the ordinance, order, or resolution, by entering his
approval on it, signing it, and sending the legislative body a
message announcing his approval; or
(2) veto the ordinance, order, or resolution, by returning it to the
legislative body with a message announcing his veto and stating
his reasons for the veto.
The executive may approve or veto separate items of an ordinance
appropriating money or levying a tax.
(b) If the executive fails to perform his duty under subsection (a),
the ordinance, order, or resolution is considered vetoed.
(c) Whenever an ordinance, order, or resolution is vetoed by the
city executive, it is considered defeated unless the legislative body,
at its first regular or special meeting after the ten (10) day period
prescribed by subsection (a), passes the ordinance, order, or
resolution over his veto by a two-thirds (2/3) vote.
As added by Acts 1980, P.L.212, SEC.3.

3-20 Voting Requirements for Official Business.
(a) A quorum shall be required for all meetings of the Council in order for the Common Council to conduct any official business. A quorum shall be constituted by four of the members of the Common Council. A simple majority shall be defined as four Council members, except when three members of the Council have voted in the affirmative and three members of the Council have voted in the negative, then the Mayor may vote in the affirmative in order to create a simple majority.
(b) A two-thirds majority shall be defined as five members of the Common Council voting in the affirmative.
(c) A three-fourths majority shall be defined as six members of the Common Council voting in the affirmative.
(`91 Code, § 3-20) (Ord. D-362, § III G III D, E, and F, 3-22-83)


I also hear one topic that will be brought up is the status of the city’s road repaving budget. City Councilor Luci Snyder said there is $4 million the repaving budget for 2015, which is an increase from last year’s initial budget.

She also sent me an e-mail from Dave Huffman, of the Streets Department:

We have two full barns of salt and plenty left to order so there should be no worries there.

 We have about 4 roads left to put surface down that have been milled already.  With that we will have done all the roads on our list except Gradle Dr and Civic Square.  Gradle and Civic Sq is delayed because the pavers will not be delivered until the end of November.   That is too late to start that work so it will be completed in the spring.  We are still doing concrete street road panels now  which we should complete this month.

Any funds not used after Civic Square then I will add more streets to the contractor in the spring or add them to next year’s paving.  If weather permits I’ll add some roads this year.

 It is fair to say that all 3.8 mill will be used for paving.


Here’s the agenda for tonight:

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