Carmel City-Council members vote to approve last-minute budget fix

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CARMEL, Ind. (Dec. 14, 2015) - Monday evening, Carmel Council members voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve a last minute plan for paying off bills before the end of the year.

Last week, the council voted 3-3, shutting down a plan that would have taken $2.9 million from the general fund to pay for a bond. The city was required to pay the bill before the end of the year.

Council president Rick Sharp (R) voted against the measure, citing concerns of the city's general fund going into zero for the beginning of 2016.

“Several of us on this council when it comes to fiscal policy are quite conservative and none of us were consulted," Sharp said.

The city scheduled a special council session on Monday, coming up with a plan to pay the millions of dollars in bond payments before the end of the year deadline.

$2.9 million will be borrowed from the Carmel Development Council. Council members voted 7-0 Monday evening to approve the measure. It will go into effect once signed by Carmel Mayor James Brainard. The mayor is returning from an overseas trip and wasn't available for comment.

Council member Ron Carter says that if he were present for the vote last week, the special session wouldn't have been necessary.

“There was no need for this to happen. If I had been in town we would have had a 4-3 vote in favor," he said, referring to vote in favor of taking cash from the general fund.

Carter says the argument among council members is about politics and not where the funds are coming from.

Both Carter and Sharp agree, though, the city isn't facing any financial burdens.

“We’re not going broke. It was a question of where the money was and how to get it and apply it," Sharp said.

“We’re one of the wealthiest cities in the state. Our finances are managed extremely well. We have a very low tax rate. We’ll be in very good shape at the end of the year and even better shape next year," Carter added.

At the end of the year, the city's general fund will stand at over $1 million.

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