Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard is proposing a $177.4 million city budget for 2023, which is a little more than 3 percent larger than the 2022 budget. The general fund, which pays for the majority of city business, is proposed at $129 million.
Much of the spending growth will occur through cost-of-living adjustments and other compensation boosts to help city employees manage rising inflation.
The city council held workshops Sept. 22 and 23 to publicly review the budget with department heads. Most of the discussion centered around line items or costs that are new or changed significantly from the 2022 budget.
Items in the proposed budget that differ significantly from the 2022 budget include:
- A 5 percent cost-of-living adjustment for city employees, plus a one-time 3 percent bonus to help keep pace with inflation
- A 9 percent increase in health insurance costs, with a similar jump expected in 2024 to keep pace with rising rates
- Adding six police officers and one caseworker position to the Carmel Police Dept.
- The addition of $20,000 to the Mayor’s Office budget to cover costs that include a carbon credit study and a public arts consultant
- An additional $70,000 for city events (recently added events include Brews on the Boulevard and Art in Autumn)
- The human resources department plans to convert a management position to a coordinator position to facilitate training for city staff and provide other forms of support. The department continues to search for an outside firm to provide additional diversity training, as previous attempts have not been successful.
The council is expected to introduce the proposed 2023 budget at its Oct. 3 meeting. State law requires the budget be approved by the end of October.