The Carmel City Council unanimously approved an extra $2 million for road repaving at its June 5 meeting.
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the city is expected to receive approximately $2.2 million in its Motor Vehicle Highway Fund as a result of the gas tax recently approved by the state legislature for infrastructure improvements. Brainard said Carmel should spend the money to keep the roads in good condition before they start to deteriorate.
“If you go back to the Great Recession, we delayed paving some years,” Brainard said. “We are doing better than other areas, but we still aren’t back to where we were, and so we need to catch up. It won’t affect taxes. The funding won’t catch up to the MVH tax coming in until seven or eight months, but that’s OK, we have sufficient funds.”
Brainard said the list of roads to be repaved is not yet available. Dave Huffman, director of the streets department, will assemble the list. Brainard said he doesn’t want political pressure for certain roads to be included.
This will bring the City of Carmel’s total expenditures on paving to around $6 million in 2017, the highest in the city’s history. Brainard said it’s appropriate because the city has grown. He said the city can do regular repaving work instead of pulling out jackhammers and fixing problems to the base, which can be expensive and cause long road closures.
“What could be a $10,000 repair could turn into a $1 million repair if water gets in,” he said.
City councilor Ron Carter said Carmel will spend more on road repaving than the entire city of Indianapolis.
“I think it’s an interesting comparison with the number of street miles we have and the number of street miles that Indianapolis has,” Carter said.
City Council President Sue Finkam said her constituents on the eastside support the move.
“This catch-up is needed,” she said.