The theme of Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard’s State of the City address can be summed up in his opening line.
“The State of the City of Carmel is tremendous,” Brainard said Oct. 10 before a packed audience at Ritz Charles in Carmel.
He cited recent awards such as No. 1 Best Suburb to Live in America (niche.com); Best Place to Raise a Family in the Midwest (yahoo.com) and No. 1 Safest City of Raise a Child (safewise.com).
Brainard said he was humbled to be delivering his 24th State of the City address. Having survived a primary election challenge, Brainard is running unopposed for his seventh term as mayor in November.
Brainard said the road to Carmel’s success hasn’t always been easy.
“But you can see how our plans are all coming together now, particularly in our Central Corridor – along Range Line Road and the Monon Greenway,” Brainard said. “Instead of a rundown and underused center of Old Town Carmel, we have a vibrant and thriving mix of residents, corporate offices and small businesses that are finding out quickly that Carmel has a strategy in place to support our local small businesses, offer different types of housing and constantly attract more jobs and talented workers, all of which makes us a stronger, competitive city. I want to remind you that we have accomplished many of our strategic goals while property taxes decline. In fact, we continue to have one of the lowest property tax rates in all of Indiana.”
Brainard said there are some who question the level of debt carried by the city. He said those critics fail to mention the level of revenue the city has and the small percentage of debt paid by residential taxpayers.
“We are a growing city, and we have been for the last 24 years, and that means we still need to invest in building new and safer streets, sidewalks, storm sewer and drainage systems, parking structures, parks and trails and all the other things that cities build,” he said. “We do these things to meet the needs of a population that has exceeded 100,000 at night and more than 125,000 in the daytime.
Brainard said the city revenues are more than sufficient to cover annual debt payments and that the city will end 2019 with more than $40 million in reserves.