Mayor announces establishment of Carmel Fund during State of the City address


Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard used his State of the City address to announce the launch of the Carmel Fund. He said the fund has been made possible through a major gift from the Paul and Judy Estridge family Trust Foundation.

“This will be an endowment fund to benefit the City of Carmel in perpetuity,” Brainard said during his Oct. 10 address at Ritz Charles in Carmel. “This community fund will be managed through the Legacy Fund, the community foundation serving Hamilton County. We are extremely grateful to the Estridge family for this support that will help nonprofits in Carmel or that benefit Carmel residents. Beyond that, because of the long-term aspect of this fund, there are no specific stipulations on how the earnings are to be used because we cannot predict future needs. In addition to the leading gift, I am proposing the city match additional donations to the Carmel Fund up to $50,000. This will create $150,000 that can positively impact our local community.”

Also during the address, Brainard said city officials asked the Indiana University Public Policy Institute to study the economic impact of Carmel redevelopment efforts and update its findings since its report, which covered the years up to 2013. The new study encompasses 2014 up to the end of 2017.

“We are excited to report that their findings support our belief that the way we are building is fueling our success,” said Brainard, who plans to seek a seventh term in 2019. “The investment the city has made has attracted roughly half a billion dollars of private investment within a few miles of City Center. ‘Business Insider’ listed Carmel’s City Center as one of three American neighborhoods that are emerging as economic powerhouses.”

Brainard said much has been discussed about the city’s debt and the way infrastructure projects are financed.

“Most of the debt that the city carries is for projects that make our transportation network more efficient, our network of storm and sewer drainage systems better and our utilities more capable of handling additional demand,” Brainard said. “We always balance our annual budget. We never borrow money for operating expenses, and our debt is reasonable when one considers the level of revenue the city receives from this ever-growing, vibrant commercial and residential population. We have a multi-year fiscal plan and model all major decisions and their future impacts.”