Commentary by Bill Hammer
Listening to the recent concerns about the Carmel Redevelopment Commission and debt reminds me of the tale from India of the blind men and the elephant. One blind man touches the elephant’s leg and says the elephant is like a tree; another touches its trunk and says the elephant is like a snake.
That’s what you call not seeing the big picture.
Much has been made of the fact that the TIF revenue projections for 2015 appeared to fall about $80,000 short of the amount needed for TIF debt service. The TIF produces sufficient funds to cover this debt service, but significant amounts are deposited into reserve funds. As of the March 2015 Report to the city council, $3,830,734 were in these reserves. Also overlooked is the fact that the CRC has significant other revenues, such as funds from rents, land sales, the recent settlement of the Palladium litigation. The March 2015 CRC Report to the city council also shows that there is an additional $4,849,153 in other unrestricted, non-TIF funds on hand.
The CRC budget is in the black: Here are a few points to consider …
- The 2015 TIF revenue estimate is based on the Umbaugh Report and is quite conservative.
- The Parkwood area TIF funds, which are being used to fund CRC reserves, continue to grow thanks in part to new projects like The Drury Inn.
- The CRC budget has not projected additional land sales in 2015 into the “other revenues.” It is likely the CRC will sell the Party Time site in 2015, and has a $1.7 million offer in hand for another parcel. These become part of “other revenues” that are being ignored by some.
Rest assured, the CRC’s funds continue to be on track or ahead of track for the $27 million surplus projected by the Umbaugh Report. As has been repeatedly stated publicly, a Special Benefits Tax will not be needed. The Special Benefits Tax is simply a stand by tax to secure a lower interest rate, and is not anticipated to ever have to be levied.
I hope this serves to provide Carmel residents with the big picture as to the healthy status of the CRC finances.