The City Council tonight approved by a 6-1 vote an ordinance giving itself greater authority over the Carmel Redevelopment Commission.
The council approved amendments to the ordinance that created the CRC in 1989, adding text requiring the commission to get approval from the council before taking on new debt. Previously, the CRC only had to seek the council’s OK for municipal bonds, but the approved amendments now require the commission to bring before the council all forms of new debt – such as installment purchase contracts or notes of participation.
“I do believe the action we’ve taken tonight might be the most important we’ve done in my time on the council,” Council President Rick Sharp said.
A recent financial report from the CRC shows the commission has issued nearly $249 million in debt, though slightly more than $140 million was not approved by the council.
Councilman Ron Carter, former CRC president and the only councilor to vote against the changes, said he is not opposed to the council overseeing the CRC’s finances as long as politics are not involved.
“(Before 1996) Nothing was happening on Main Street. Nothing was happening on Range Line. And if we had not had a revived redevelopment commission, nothing would have happened,” Carter said. “It is my hope my fellow City Council members, especially those who have not served on the CRC, will come to understand this and will act as a true partner in the ongoing redevelopment of our city, and not as an impediment.”