Carmel City Center bonds could come up for a vote


Members of the Carmel City Council are saying that it’s likely that municipally backed bonds for the Carmel City Center phase two could come up for a vote at the Dec. 15 meeting.

On Dec. 11, the Finance, Rules and Administration Committee voted to recommend full council approve for up to $20 million in bonds to finance a parking garage, which would be repaid using tax increment financing.

The Land Use, Annexation and Economic Development Committee is expected to vote on the matter right before the Council meeting.

Corrie Meyer, director of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, said Pedcor, the developer of the City Center project, would like to see what the Council decides before proceeding. It’s been proposed that a new four-story parking garage be constructed to serve new developments. The garage would have at least 620 parking spaces with 75 percent dedicated to the public, according to the CRC. The cost could be anywhere between $14 million and $20 million.

The CRC describes phase two of City Center as $80 to $100 million in private investment, which will create 10 buildings totaling 575,000 square feet.

Meyer said nobody has confirmed with her that it will come up for a vote.

City Councilor Rick Sharp, who heads up the land use committee, told Current that he still has concerns, especially about a Special Benefits Tax being attached to the bonds as a layer of protection.

The parking garage will be paid for through bonds obtained by the city instead of the developer, because Meyer contends that the city can get a better interest rate. She explains that the SBT is only used a “credit enhancer” to get a lower interest rate and the savings allow for further development.

Meyer points to several layers of protection, which include a reserve fund, developer guarantees and much more before a situation such as the Special Benefits Tax would ever be considered.

The city would own the garage, but Pedcor would pay to maintain it.

Sharp and other members of the City Council have expressed skepticism. Debate has continued through the media with Clerk-Treasurer Diana Cordray sending a letter out to the press asking for an audit to determine the risk of a Special Benefits tax.


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