Commentary by John Accetturo
Carmel is the richest community in Indiana, but does this mean that elected officials and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission should waste taxpayer money? Spending $10 million on the clubhouse at the Brookshire Golf Course and purchasing the Monon Square Shopping Center for $15 million are two examples of waste. My criticism is not of what they did, but how much they spent.
Local media recently reported that Brookshire had an operating loss of $250,000, so why invest $10 million in a new clubhouse with a swimming pool? We already have great pools at the Monon Center. Why not build a $4 million clubhouse? The major beneficiary of this overspending will be the Brookshire homeowners’ appraised value, not all the citizens of Carmel.
The purchase of the Monon Square Shopping Center for $15 million, when the two appraisals on the property were only $11 million, is outrageous. That makes the purchase price 27 percent more than the appraisals. I doubt whether any member of the CRC or city council would have paid such if they were using their own money. Likewise, no bank would loan an individual or business $15 million on property appraised at $11 million. Some elected officials have said others were bidding the $15 million amount. If that was the case, they should have let them buy the property and redevelop it. No sane business person would pay 27 percent more than an appraisal of a property.
It is time for “new management” in the mayor’s office and a city council that will carry on the vision but do it in a sensible way. Rubber-stamping waste by the city council and the Carmel Redevelopment Development Commission just because the mayor wants to do it is unreasonable. Chicago politics needs to stay in Chicago. We don’t need a boss. We need an executive that will ensure Carmel can sustain itself many years from now with good management.
John V. Accetturo is a former member of the Carmel City Council and Carmel Redevelopment Commission.