Q&A: Get to know the 5 at-large candidates running for Carmel City Council


Five candidates are running for three at-large positions on the Carmel City Council in the Nov. 7 municipal election.

Republican Jeff Worrell, a retired entrepreneur who has served on the city council since 2016, is the only incumbent at-large councilor seeking reelection. Republicans Matt Snyder, a Clay Township board member and civil engineering consultant; and Rich Taylor, vice president of a construction company and president of the Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation board; and Democrats Sara Draper, a volunteer guardian at litem; and Jake Madore, a tax manager; are also on the ballot.

What are your top three campaign issues?

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1. Council decisions should prioritize resident input and center climate change, to ensure all can thrive in Carmel

2. Fiscal responsibility and transparency is key, with investment prioritized overspending

3. I will be an accessible councilor and rebuild the trust lost by the many residents who currently feel ignored

Madore: Smart development; fiscal responsibility; balance and common sense

Snyder: Ensuring the health and safety of all citizens by ensuring our first responders are the best trained, best equipped and best funded; promoting and maintaining our world class infrastructure, including everything from our water, sewers and roads to our parks and trails; prioritization of budget items to ensure needs are being addressed before wants.


Fiscal management: Reducing debt and prioritizing investments in public safety, infrastructure, and greenspace.

Smart Development – Promote greenspace and quality of life that support home values and long-term stability.

Transparency – Strong oversight by responsive elected leaders. I support implementation of a more user-friendly document portal to access public documents.

Worrell: Education, public safety, responsive government

Jake Madore

What are Carmel’s greatest strengths? Where do you see areas of improvement?

Draper: Carmel is a vibrant, increasingly diverse city, with our crown jewels the world class parks, excellent schools and wonderful community gathering spaces. Many residents are concerned about the city’s financial health, amount of debt and how developments are approved. Greater transparency, especially around the CRC, is needed to build trust.

Madore: Strengths: Carmel Clay Schools, EMS, and the parks department. Improvement: Fiscal transparency. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to fight the city over Access to Public Records Act violations, and I’m asking the city to rightfully hand over public documents related to the Doug Haney settlement and the Hotel Carmichael financials. Indiana law requires this.

Snyder: Carmel’s parks, roads, trails, and other quality of life amenities are all world class. As a city we can never be finished and must push forward to be “cutting edge” in everything we do. We also need to continue to put public safety and our infrastructure at the forefront of our budgeting priorities while not leaving behind other critical path line items.

Taylor: Carmel excels at providing parks and city services that improve the quality of life for all residents. Carmel needs to develop a comprehensive asset management plan to budget and forecast for future needs. This will ensure the city can properly maintain what has been built.

Worrell: Carmel’s greatest strength are its people. I am often reassured by the people of Carmel when they apply their time, talent and resources to make things happen. I think we can always do better at collaborating with our citizens as we approach new ideas and set the path our community will take.

How would you describe Carmel’s financial health? Why would you describe it that way?

Draper: S&P rates Carmel’s bonds Investment Grade AA, implying the city can continue to cover its current debt, but in 2017 Carmel was downgraded from AA+. Therefore, incurring more debt should be approached cautiously, and we should prioritize investment over spending (e.g. infrastructure over sculptures). Waste should be minimized.

Matthew Snyder

Madore: Factually, our financial health is not as strong as it once was. When Standard & Poor’s downgraded Carmel’s credit rating they wrote to the city that they were concerned that Carmel’s “crowded budget,” “high fixed costs” and “heavy dependence on sometimes more volatile tax-increment revenues” would leave us vulnerable.

Snyder: Carmel is in a strong financial position and the rating agencies agree. We have among the lowest tax rates in the state. With this said, I do believe it is time Carmel started focusing on long term planning and asset management. The downside to developing so much, so fast is that it tends to all need maintenance and repairs about the same time.

Taylor: S&P issued a recent report stating Carmel “remains a pillar of credit strength.” I believe smart fiscal planning is needed. I recommend the following steps:

1. Conduct capital asset planning study

2. Develop a long term asset replacement plan

3. Use the data to inform the annual budgeting process

Worrell: Carmel’s financial position is the envy of communities across the country. Anyone who believes that Carmel is not well positioned with low taxes, a $12 million dollar rainy day fund and $9 million in excess revenues at year’s end is misinformed. I will continue to be a good steward of tax dollars while providing a high level of service and maintain our excellent AA credit rating.

What should be the city’s role in supporting its senior citizen residents and their needs?

Draper: PrimeLife is a vital resource for our senior citizens, and our council must work to identify funding sources so it can survive. Seniors’ housing needs should be prioritized to allow them to remain in the community. Carmel should be a city where all can thrive, from cradle to grave.

Madore: The city should support seniors through investments in accessible services like affordable transportation, community centers and active aging programs. Partnering with local groups for healthcare, social activities and engagement is vital for their well-being.

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Snyder: For over a decade I have promoted the support and funding of our senior services centers, such as PrimeLife Enrichment. In March, I spearheaded the creation of the Committee for Senior Services. This committee, formed under the enumerated powers of the parks director, is the first step to analyzing the needs, wants and gaps Carmel may have supporting our largest demographic.

Taylor: Carmel must provide more diverse housing stock to ensure seniors have affordable options and we must maintain low property taxes to reduce the cost of homeownership. Matthew Snyder and I have created a Committee on Senior Services to identify gaps in services and support the needs of senior residents.

Worrell: As a past board member of Primelife Enrichment, I have an appreciation for the importance of this facility. I support funding this facility as well as working with them to secure private funds. Support for housing that is appealing to empty nesters has also been a priority for me as I consider future development in Carmel.

How would you determine if you would support a development project?

Draper: I will consider proposals case by case. I will seek the input of residents directly impacted by a project at the beginning of the process, and learn from subject experts about the implications of the development, before making a decision. I will transparently explain how and why I reached my decision to constituents.

Madore: My determination process would be very different from what we have seen lately. I would expect the proposal to have community support, impact studies, green initiatives, no new debt, room for workforce housing and that the required impact fees are actually paid to the parks department.

Snyder: I take a very pragmatic approach. How does this development better the lives of our fellow citizens? Does it only elevate the lives of a specific demographic? For me it must have an economic development factor that makes it a complementary force for Carmel’s already thriving economy. It must not drain more than its fair share of resources. We have built so many apartments so fast, with many more already approved, that I believe moving the focus to retail, business and owned unit development is the most prudent course until solid studies specific to Carmel are completed. In short, let’s be patient.

Taylor: I will evaluate each project based upon its merits and how the development affects infrastructure and congestion. I support a comprehensive housing study to identify the needs of the community and ensure any future development doesn’t compromise current neighborhoods or what makes Carmel special.

Worrell Headshot

Worrell: I take each project and consider its merits on a case-by-case basis. I use facts, data and temper the emotion surrounding it. I seek the best outcome and what’s in the best interest for our community, neighbors and land owners. Carmel doesn’t have the same development opportunities we did five or 10 years ago. We should be targeted and intentional with every project.

What do you most want voters to know about you?

Draper: I will not be outworked. I have reached 9,000 voters at their doors and met with 200-plus community stakeholders to listen and learn from them so I can lead effectively. I’m the first Democrat endorsed by the Carmel FOP. As my only job, council would be my sole priority.

Madore: Voting for tax professionals, such as myself, is our best opportunity to protect the taxpayers of Carmel. I studied tax law at IU, and my career is built around keeping the government from overreaching and overtaxing my client, and I believe we need this skill set on council to protect us from waste.

Snyder: I love our city. I’ve never had any desire to leave. I was born here, went through our amazing Carmel Clay Schools (Go Hounds!) and I have worked hard to be able to establish a home here with my beautiful wife of nearly 9 years, Ashlee. We have a daughter, Charlie (5) and son, Benjamin (4). I hope to continue my servant leadership on the city council so that I can continue to ensure a wonderful community, not only for my children, but for all of Carmel.

Taylor: I want to ensure that Carmel remains one of the best places to live in the country. My wife Lauren and I have lived in Carmel for 18 years and have been blessed with two beautiful children, aged 8 and 4. As a husband and father, I want my family to live in a safe community and for my children to have access to some of the best schools in the state and country. Carmel has done a tremendous job of providing this for me and my family, and I will work to ensure that our city continues to thrive for years to come.

Worrell: As a longtime resident, business owner and community leader, I believe that I can continue to contribute my skills, experience, and passion to help ensure that Carmel continues to thrive and be one of the best cities in the nation. I am a problem-solver and collaborator who has a record of accomplishments and a servant leadership style that prioritizes transparency, taxpayer protection, and community-focused solutions.

How can voters learn more about you?

Draper: DraperForAllCarmel.com, (317) 661-1331, [email protected]

Madore: VoteJakeInCarmel.com

Snyder: SnyderForCarmel.com, 317-372-3082, [email protected]

Taylor: TaylorForCarmel.com, 317-324-8691, [email protected]

Worrell: Jeff4Carmel.com, [email protected]