Carmel City Council discusses land purchase for new parking garage


The Carmel City Council met Dec. 5 to discuss a land purchase, funds for the Carmel Fire Dept. and more.

WHAT HAPPENED: The Carmel Redevelopment Commission asked the City Council for permission to purchase land at Main Street and the Monon Trail.

WHAT IT MEANS: The CRC has to get approval from the City Council for any purchases greater than $25,000, and this land is valued at $1.47 million. The 1.68 acres will be used for a parking garage to support the new mixed use development proposed by Chuck Lazzarra, owner of Ritz Charles, who owns the land. CRC Director Corrie Meyer said the Lazzarra family is adamant that a public green space will be made available for events like Jazz on the Monon which is often held at this site. She said tax increment financing would be used to construct the parking facilities. Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider suggested that the item go to committee and the council agreed. It will likely be voted on at the Dec. 19 council meeting so the matter can be finalized by end of the year.


WHAT HAPPENED: The City Council approved a transfer of $8,000 to the Carmel Fire Dept. for instructional fees and uniforms.

WHAT IT MEANS: The instructional fees, which total $5,000, would go to a program called the peer-support unit, where firefighters are trained to help other firefighters who are dealing with issues, such as stress, psychological concerns or behavioral problems. Carmel City Council President Ron Carter said, “Think about the firefighters in Oakland,” referring to the deadly warehouse blaze that killed more than 30 people. Carter said there’s a toll that the job can take and he commended CFD Chief David Haboush for this proposal. Haboush said there’s a stigma about going to counselors for some, so the peer-to-peer approach is a better option for some.


WHAT HAPPENED: The City Council voted unanimously to create new rules for trucks driving in roundabouts.

WHAT IT MEANS: Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he received an e-mail from an out-of-state truck driver who said there should be an ordinance that allows truck drivers to deviate from the lane in which the operator is driving to the extent necessary to approach and drive through a roundabout. Large trucks sometimes need to take up both lanes and deviate from the original lane when traveling through a roundabout, and this law says that other motorists must yield to truck drivers as they travel through both lanes. “This is what’s great about government,” Brainard said. “These ideas can come from anyone and if it’s a good idea, we’ll make it into a law.”


WHAT HAPPENED: The City Council voted to adjust the levy limit to recover up to $190,000 in tax shortfalls in previous years.

WHAT IT MEANS: The council made this adjustment because the city didn’t receive as much tax revenue as projected. Curt Coonrod, a financial consultant for the city, explained that the city would raise the property tax rates by half a cent up to one cent per every $100 of assessed value to raise up to $500,000. This doesn’t affect property taxpayers already at the cap. The previous year, the City Council approved a much larger increase of 7 cents per $100 to address a $5 million shortfall. The City Council debated whether the money should be taken from savings instead of raising taxes. Councilor Sue Finkam proposed an amendment for an amount of only $190,000 and that amendment was passed. Coonrod said that amount would mean the rate essentially remains unchanged.