Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger delivered the annual State of the County Jan. 22 at the Embassy Suites in Noblesville.
Dillinger started the presentation by sharing statistics.
“First of all, we are very solvent. We have over $50 million in a surplus, so we manage our money well,” he said.
Dillinger said the county’s median household income is approximately $90,000, whereas the state average is $57,000 and that the average Hamilton County home value is $240,000 compared to the state average of $130,000.
Infrastructure projects largely dominated the conversation, but other topics included recently passed ordinances and the local income tax for the 911 facility.
Much of the infrastructure discussion revolved around the Ind. 37 thoroughfare.
“The first part of this project is the drainage, and we have been working on that for over a year now,” Dillinger said. “126th Street and State Road 37 is the first intersection, and that broke ground in September. This entire corridor will look more like the Keystone corridor than the 31 corridor. The reason is because we wanted the higher level not to divide our community and our businesses, so 37 will be going under and east-west (travel) will be going over.”
Dillinger encouraged attendees to visit 37thrives.com for updates.
Dillinger also mentioned the 146th Street and Allisonville Road intersection. He said he is uncertain whether 146th Street would travel over or under Allisonville Road once a project was outlined and finished, but construction is scheduled to start in August 2022 and finish in 2023 and cost approximately $25 million.
“It’s imperative we do something big with this intersection,” Dillinger said.
Dillinger also discussed recently completed projects, such as Lowes Way in Carmel, which had a ribbon-cutting ceremony in July 2019, and the Logan Street bridge in Noblesville, which had a ribbon cutting earlier this month.
Dillinger also noted three recent ordinances the county established – an animal ordinance, a junk ordinance and a sign ordinance.
“The animal ordinance was passed because we were getting a lot of complaints from the animal control officer telling us a lot of animals were being left out in below-zero weather and not taken well care of,” Dillinger said. “The ordinance now includes temperature guidelines to protect animals from extreme weather, clearly defines food, water, shelter, space and veterinary care for animals and has stronger penalties for abuse and neglect.”
The new junk ordinance also was passed because of complaints.
“A lot of people weren’t taking care of their property with too many vehicles, and the new ordinance prohibits the accumulation of junk,” Dillinger said.
The last ordinance Dillinger discussed was the sign ordinance, which prohibits the placement of signs in county rights of way, due to the hazardous effect signs have on traffic and line of sight.
Dillinger also mentioned the 0.1 percent local income tax to fund the county’s 911 facility.
“No one likes to talk about taxes, but this is a public safety tax, and it’s a fair way to fund our 911 facility, which is extremely important to everybody,” Dillinger said. “It was necessary because the county and four major cities for the last four years were paying the entire cost for 911 because the northern communities didn’t have enough money in budget to pay for it. We didn’t think that was fair and thought everyone should pay their fair share.”
The tax was unanimously passed and went into effect Jan. 1.