The Carmel City Council is considering $63 million in bonds to fund the closing of gaps in the city’s multi-use path system, Monon Square infrastructure improvements, upgrades to Ditch Road and several new roundabouts throughout town.
The council on Sept. 19 introduced an ordinance to issue Carmel Redevelopment Authority lease rental bonds and sent the matter to its finance committee for more detailed review.
City officials do not expect the bonds to lead to an increase in the tax rate, which is 78.77 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Because Carmel’s total assessed value rose 14 percent in the last year, the city can fund the bonds through a 5 cent special benefits tax that will leave the total tax rate flat, according to Heidi Amspaugh, a financial consultant with Bakery Tilly Municipal Advisors.
“Assessed values and tax rates are inverse of each other, so when AVs go up, tax rates come down,” Amspaugh told the council. “So, there is an opportunity to take advantage of that time and finance projects by levying a debt service tax rate, in this case to keep the city’s total tax rate the same that it’s been over the last five years.”
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said a prioritized project list included with the ordinance contains more projects than the bonds will realistically fund.
The mayor’s top priority on the project list is to close gaps in the pathway system that can make it difficult to traverse the city as a pedestrian or bicyclist. He said Carmel has added more than 200 miles of multi-use pathways during his time in office, but that connecting them seamlessly is a request he hears often.
“Some of these problem areas we just haven’t dealt with yet,” Brainard said.
The projects to potentially be funded through the bond, in order of priority, are:
- The completion of various multi-use paths along existing roads to fill in gaps in the path system
- Monon Square infrastructure improvements
- Ditch Road improvements between 96th and 116th streets
- Roundabout and related improvements at 116th Street and Hoover Road
- Roundabout and related improvements at 126th Street and River Road
- Roundabout and related improvements at 116th Street and River Road
- Roundabout and related improvements at 106th Street and Hazel Dell Road
- Roundabout and north connection and related improvements at Carmel Drive and AAA Way
- Roundabout and related improvements at 116th Street and AAA Way
- Roundabout and related improvements at Merchants Square Drive and AAA Way
- Roundabout and related improvements at 141st Street and Shelborne Road
- Roundabout and related improvements along Pennsylvania Street
A finance committee meeting date has not been announced. The full city council will have the final vote on the bonds.