As an official non-mayor of Carmel, you can rightly celebrate the passing of another year.
It marked the 20th anniversary of the first attempt by City Hall to meddle in the commercial life of the city — the first tax incremental financing bond issue to rescue Merchant’s Square. To celebrate, a friend and I visited the Square and counted 22 empty storefronts.
Old 2016 also marked the 21st anniversary of Carmel’s first roundabout — at River Road and 131st Street (later renamed Main Street). The first 60 roundabouts are credited with reducing injury accident rates — 6.8 percent of the population in 1996 to as low as 1.9 percent in 2010 (72 percent drop). Since then, injury accidents have invovled 2.2 percent of the population.
Total accident rates haven’t changed at all — 23.7 percent before and an average 23.5 percent over the last 10 years and 24.8 in 2017. Nor have fatal accidents changed — 1 or two, sadly, every year except for 5 in 2007.
In 2018, property taxe rates stayed at 0.788 — up 82 percent from 2007 or three times the cumulative increase in the consumer price index.
Debt reached $15,107 per person in the city or $42,000 per household.
And the ratio of Carmel’s $1.4 billion total debt to $143 million income was 9.72 to 1 compared with the Federal debt-income ratio of 6.29 to 1.
As for amusement, we learned the Center for the Performing Arts averages 467 patrons in its combined 2,300 seats since it was built and that 42 percent of its revenue comes from government grats, gifts and donations.
True to form, the City Council ended the year providng $125,000 for seed money for an international film festival, bringing to more than $1 million dedicated to festivals and snazzy events.
Can’t wait to see the deficit spending , subsidies, silly sculptures and a brand, new $125,000 Monon Blvd. bocce ball court will look like in 2019.