Carmel mayor disappointed, not surprised by slash in federal COVID relief funds

0

By Jonathan Matthes and Ann Marie Shambaugh

Carmel will receive approximately $13.6 million less through the federal American Rescue Plan than initially projected, which came as a disappointment but not a surprise to city officials.

The city has been allocated $7.5 million, although initial estimates in early March indicated that Carmel would receive nearly $21.1 million.

“The budget committee released an estimate (in the spring) I suspected was wrong, so we did not plan on spending the money,” Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said. “I’m not happy with the way the formula was done. We’re getting $67 a person, where Gary is getting over $1,000 a person.”

Carmel isn’t alone in receiving less than initially projected. The cities with the three largest deficits between expectations and reality are all in Hamilton County. Fishers is receiving $13 million less and Noblesville is receiving $7.3 million less.

South Bend had the fourth-largest deficit at $4.3 million less, but the city in northern Indiana is receiving $58.9 million in funding, nearly triple what Carmel, Fishers ($6.9 million) and Noblesville ($6.2 million) are receiving combined.

“We received our initial estimates in the March or April timeframe, then we got our final notice from the (U.S. Dept. of the) Treasury after they had changed some designations, and we saw a significant decrease,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said. “And it is a bit quizzical when you look at other communities similar to our size around the state getting 10 times the amount that we are.”

Created through the American Rescue Plan, the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund is distributing $350 billion in relief to various municipalities to help cover COVID-19-related expenses and promote economic recovery. In the March estimates, the three Hamilton County cities were in a population-based category.

But the U.S. Dept. of the Treasury adjusted the designations of some cities, including Carmel, and moved them from a population-based category into a county-based category, leading to the decrease in funds.

“Because our money from community block grants flows through the county, the treasury provided a different designation for us, and that’s what reduced our funding significantly,” Fadness said. 

Despite Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville being the fifth-, sixth- and 12th-most populous cities in Indiana, they will receive the 21st-, 22nd- and 25th-most funding in the state.

“All three of us have been around long enough to not spend the money before you get it. We didn’t have any obligations that we weren’t able to meet, but at the same time it’s very frustrating,” Fadness said.

Brainard said he’s looking at the situation as Carmel receiving “$7 million we didn’t plan on getting.”

“If we had not been told we were getting $21 million, everybody would’ve been thrilled to get $7 million,” he said. “But once they thought they were getting $21 million and it was later reported as $7 million, there was some disappointment.”

Brainard said he’s waiting for final guidance from the federal government on how the funds can be spent before committing them to anything.

Fadness and other city officials reached out to the federal government and Indiana Sen. Todd Young’s office to see if the funding designations can be reevaluated.

How cities compare

The 25 Indiana cities documented in the May U.S. Treasury report of appropriated funds, with each city’s estimated population from 2019.

CITY

Pop.

Expected Funds

Actual Funds

Diff.

Ind. Fund Rank

Indianapolis

876K

237.4 M

232.4 M

-5 M

1

Fort Wayne

270K

50.7 M

50.8 M

+100K

6

Evansville

118K

67.5 M

64.5 M

-3 M

3

South Bend

102K

63.2 M

58.9 M

-4.3 M

4

Carmel

101K

21.1 M

7.5 M

-13.6M

21

Fishers

95K

19.9 M

6.9 M

-13 M

22

Bloomington

86.8K

22.3 M

22.1 M

-200K

11

Hammond

75.5K

53.3 M

51.4 M

-1.9 M

5

Gary

74.9K

83.7 M

80.3 M

-3.4 M

2

Lafayette

71.7K

16.7 M

15.9 M

-800K

16

Muncie

68 K

31.8 M

32.3 M

+500K

8

Noblesville

64.7K

13.5 M

6.2 M

-7.3 M

25

Terre Haute

60.6K

38.2 M

35.9 M

-2.3 M

7

Greenwood

59.5K

9 M

6.6 M

-2.4 M

24

Kokomo

58 K

20.6 M

19.9 M

-700K

12

Anderson

54.8K

23.2 M

23.1 M

-100 K

10

Elkhart

52.4K

19 M

18 M

-1 M

13

W. Lafayette

51 K

11.1 M

11.4 M

+300K

19

Mishawaka

50.4K

12 M

11.9 M

-100K

17

Columbus

48 K

7.8 M

8.6 M

+800K

20

New Albany

36.8K

16.8 M

16.9 M

+100K

14

Goshen

34.2K

6.8 M

6.7 M

-100K

23

Michigan City

31 K

16.7 M

16.5 M

-200K

15

East Chicago

27.8K

33.4 M

31.2 M

-2.2M

9

LaPorte

21.6K

11.7 M

11.5 M

-200K

18


Current Morning Briefing Logo

Stay CURRENT with our daily newsletter (M-F) and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox for free!

Select list(s) to subscribe to



By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Current Publishing, 30 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, IN, 46032, https://www.youarecurrent.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Share.