Fishers proposed 2024 budget totals $164 million


The proposed City of Fishers 2024 budget includes a half-cent property tax reduction, and uses some of the city’s approximately $73 million in reserves for special projects, such as a grant program for local teachers. 

CIF COM 1129 State of city2
Mayor Scott Fadness

City of Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness and his administration presented their 2024 city budget to the Fishers City Council Aug. 21. During a media opportunity earlier that day, Fadness said the city is in a strong financial position. 

“It’s been a decade of being very disciplined financially about what our plans are and trying to adhere to best budgeting practices,” Fadness said. “This budget reflects not only historic investments in our neighborhoods, but also a good tax policy.”

The property tax reduction would bring Fishers’ rates to .7065 cents per $100 assessed value, keeping them the lowest in Hamilton County. Fadness said the city has been lowering property taxes for the past couple of years, and the proposed reduction would bring the city below its 2020 rate. 

He said the city can afford to lower property tax rates because of increased development throughout the community, and rising assessments. However, he predicted that assessments will start to plateau, with single-digit increases expected in the coming year.

The 2024 spending plan calls for $129 million for operating and capital expenses, and $35 million for debt service, totaling $164 million. Compare that to the 2023 budget, which totals $144 million. 

Some of the additional expenses for 2024 are new police officers, new firefighter positions, extended longevity bonuses for both police and firefighters, new parks department staff and new positions in the Department of Public Works.

Fadness said the budget also includes $3 million for fleet equipment, but a lot of that will go toward one new ladder truck for the fire department. 

“The last ladder truck we bought several years ago was probably around $900,000,” he said. “And this year, a new ladder truck costs $1.8 million (and) it takes three years for delivery. So our fleet prices have gone up significantly. And this is true in every city; we’re not unique.”

Fadness said the proposed budget uses about $12 million of the city’s reserves for one-time costs. 

“It really focuses on three main areas — expanding trail conductivity and engagement to neighborhood and community vibrancy, and the third one is innovation in our schools,” he said. 

To address trail connectivity, Fadness said he wants to spend $2.2 million on sidewalks and trails to ensure pedestrians can walk safely through as much of the community as possible. He also proposes a $100,000 “trail node” adjacent to the Nickel Plate Trail at Hub & Spoke, which will provide public restrooms. 

“There are no public restrooms on the Nickel Plate trail today, and we have thousands of people using it on a weekly basis,” he said. “We’re really grateful that Delaware Township is looking to put bathrooms at 131st Street. We think (also) having some on the southern side of our trail section makes all the sense in the world.”

To address neighborhood and community vibrancy, sidewalk and street repairs are planned, he said, and he wants to nearly double in one year the amount of sidewalk repairs done over the past five years. 

Fadness also proposes increasing the neighborhood matching grant program. Through that program, the city has traditionally offered $100,000 annually for matching grants that go toward neighborhood improvement projects. The 2024 budget increases the amount available for grants to $750,000, and makes it an 80/20 split rather than 50/50. 

To encourage innovation in public schools, Fadness said the budget proposes $500,000 in grant money for Fishers educators with ideas about improving education. 

“We know that our teachers have great ideas; we also know that they’re resource constrained,” he said. “Well, we as a community have been fiscally responsible and we have the opportunity to support them.”

Fadness said the intent is to have that grant program led by a committee of retired educators.

The 2024 budget will be reviewed by the city’s finance committee, with the first committee meeting set for 5 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater pavilion. The budget will come back to the council for a first reading and public hearing on Sept. 21. A second public hearing and adoption of the budget is scheduled for Oct. 9.