Budget proposal adds 15 firefighters in Carmel

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CARMEL, Ind. – A proposed budget would add 15 firefighters to Carmel’s staff to staff a second ladder truck.

Carmel Fire Chief David Haboush believes this could make response times shorter.

Firefighters in Carmel say they dispatch at least two ladder trucks on working fire calls. Right now, the department needs to ask other cities for help because the city only has one ladder truck.

“I came here almost 30 years ago, and Carmel Clay Township had one ladder truck in service. 30 years later, we still have one ladder truck in service,” said Haboush.

Haboush said population growth in Carmel is making them rely on other cities often. He thinks it is time for his department to grow too.

“By adding this second ladder truck, we are actually going to be doubling our response capabilities,” he said.

Haboush said they already ordered a second truck. Mayor Jim Brainard’s proposed budget includes roughly $1.5 million to hire 15 firefighters to staff that truck. That money would pay for salaries, health care and other benefits.

“This is keeping us ahead of the game, keeping our residents safe and protecting property,” said Jeff Worrell, Carmel City Council President.

Worrell supports the idea because the fire department believes this would improve response and keep people safe.

“The sooner water gets on the fire the less damage is done inside the building,” said Haboush. “The sooner water gets on the fire, the more lives and property are going to be saved”

The mayor’s proposed 2020 General Fund budget is $112,892,631, which is a 10.3 percent increase over 2019. The city has also had to increase funds as 2020 will be the first full year of services to the Home Place area.

With a slight tax decrease, the budget proposal would also hire more police officers and set aside $5 million for road repair and repaving. If approved, the mayor says residents of Carmel will continue to pay among the lowest city tax rates in the state of Indiana.

The council must pass the budget by November 1.

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