Carmel Mayor defends property tax hike, raises for employees

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CARMEL, Ind. (Oct. 20, 2015) — Property taxes in Carmel are going up, but the Mayor is defending the increase.

Mayor Jim Brainard said the tax hike comes after property taxes went down in 2013 because of a policy change.

“We’re suggesting the taxes go back to about the 2013 level,” Brainard said.

Under the change, approved as part of the city budget Monday, Brainard said someone living in a $200,000 home will pay around $60 more per year.

The budget also includes three percent raises for almost all city employees and more sizeable raises for several other employees. The city attorney, for instance, is slated to get a 22 percent raise and make $146,000 a year.

“At no time did the city attorney tell us his own salary would increase by 22 percent,” council president Rick Sharp said.

Sharp, who ran against Brainard in the latest election, was one of two councilors who voted against the budget.

“You can only (raise salaries) for so long. This is not a model that is sustainable in the real world,” Sharp said.

Also in the budget are road projects that include roundabouts at 116th and Gray Road, as well as 116th and Hazel Dell Parkway. Brainard also said he has set the beginnings of a new traffic pattern at 96th and Keystone, a project the city has been trying to get moving for years.

It all adds up to what Sharp called too much.

“I felt it was an irresponsible budget,” Sharp said.

Brainard, though, said he believed it was just enough to keep Carmel on top.

“We have things to do in a growing city, investments to make (that) make certain the city stays competitive and that we keep the long-term goal in mind,” Brainard said.

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