Facts About Carmel Debt

State property tax cap limit of 1% has been circumvented

1) The State of Indiana has capped the private real estate property tax rate at 1%, with increased rates on commercial real property. However, there are other “Ad Valorum” taxes that can be levied against real property. One such tax is the “Special Benefits Tax.” All Carmel real properties were made subject to this new tax as a result of a refinance of Carmel Redevelopment Commission debt through bond debt agreements identified as series 2012A and 2101B. The SBT hasn’t been levied, but seems certain due to structural deficiencies in CRC financial policy.

Levy of new property tax is now the option of bond trustees

2) The Official Statement of series 2012A and 2012B provides that the bond trustee require the Commission to levy the SBT should the Debt Service Reserve Fund fall below the level required. It is not clear, but it appears the Commission may, at its option, levy the SBT. The OS states that the Commission is not required to make payments from the Tax Increment Revenue received by the Commission.

Higher new tax rates are out of property owner’s control

3) Higher new taxes have been contracted as an option of the 2012A and 2012B bond trustee, and perhaps a new taxing authority asserted by the Carmel Redevelopment Commission. Voters have no say in the matter.

Bond principle is not being repaid on major bond debt

4) Principal payments don’t begin until 02/01/2025 on bond 2012A (principal $115,900,000).This is troubling because it looks like a reflection of marginal repayment capacity of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission. Bond payments will balloon by an average of $8.5MM annually starting in 2025. The 2014 Tax Increment Financing Revenue claimed by the CRC is $17,532,007. TIF receipts will need to increase by about 50% to cover just this one bond. If revenues don’t increase at this rate, Carmel property owners are on the hook for the debt.

Current bond debt will not be repaid for over 20 years

5) Current bond debt will require debt service until 2037. The present TIF districts will have largely expired in that time, necessarily decreasing tax revenues. Having to replace TIF tax base as old districts expire, limits the potential for net new revenues. Binding future generations with debt limits their freedom to choose how they will invest. Our children should not be forced to inherit debt for the worn out “vision” of others.

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Constitutional Patriots Meeting

Join us Tuesday, April 28th at 7pm as WIBC radio talk show host, Tony Katz, will be our speaker. Come and enjoy a fun, informative meeting. Doors open at 6:30

Central Christian church, 1242 W. 136th St., Carmel. Entrance in the back.

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Carmel Debt

The Mayor is using phony numbers to cover up the shortfall in re-paying Carmel’s debt. There are roughly a dozen projects throughout the city that are supposed to be generating revenue right now, yet they’re either producing no revenue or are vastly underperforming expectations. When reality catches up to the Mayor’s phony numbers, we’re going to have to plug yet another hole. Watch our new TV ad, and if you agree that it’s time to elect a real fiscal conservative in Carmel go here to donate to help us continue to air this commercial: http://www.rick-sharp.com/?page_id=7.

Also, please go to www.carmeldebt.com for more information on Carmel’s debt

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Constitutional Patriots meeting, Tuesday, Apr. 28th

Central Christian church
1242 W. 136th Street
Carmel, IN 46032

Tuesday, April 28th, 7pm

Please join  us to hear WIBC radio talk show host, author and political commentator. Doors open at 6:30. Refreshments are served.

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The Constitutional Patriots Endorse Eric Seidensticker for City Council


Why Are You Running For Office?
I am running for re-election so that the integrity of the Central District representation will be maintained. I have served to protect the financial and community interests of the city. the city is in a very precarious position that, if allowed to continue in its present direction, would likely be detrimental to the tax base, both to the tax payer and business owner. Longevity of the conservative state is my goal.

What Are Your Qualifications For The Office You Are Seeking?
8 years experience watching the administration make financial decisions that are putting the taxpayer at risk. 8 years of standing up to partial truths by the current administration. Continuing to dig for the truth when common sense points that direction. I know that giving in to the unsupported barrage of how sunny the future will be is not representation but blind support and is the reason we are so leveraged and why so many “projects” depend on Carmel subsidies!

What Would You Like To Accomplish When In Office?
Continue my support of a conservative budget, encouragement of the operating scheme of the free market, support of businesses who provide jobs and needed services to Carmel, support the restructuring of the relationship between the city and the people with transparency and a fair and competitive work environment leading the list. Albeit Council’s limited, I will continue to support an efficient (and cost effective) Parks and Recreation Department (including multi-use paths)

How Do You Define “Fiscal Responsibility”?
Fiscal responsibility is the action of providing necessary and cost effective solutions to the city as a whole, while always being cognizant that the source of funding is not unlimited and is negatively impacted fiscally  every time an unfunded objective is created.

What Will You Do To Promote Transparency To The Citizens When You Are In Office?
Continue my encouragement and support of a list-server concept so that everyone knows (has access to) what’s going on in Carmel. I would support an accrual basis presentation of the city’s financial position. I would support the immediate disclosure to anyone requesting financial/contractual information from any department. I would support quarterly or semi-annual reports by Department heads as to their over/under budget predictions.

If you would like more biographical information on the candidate, please contact us at theconstitutionalpatriots@gmail.com

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The Constitutional Patriots Endorse Luci Snyder for City Council


Why Are You Running For Office?
I an running for re-election because after years on the Council and chairing the Finance Committee for the last 8 of them, I realize that the finances of this city are complex and, I believe, at a critical stage. What protections I used to think were in place were not of use as we found that there were ways around the rules….most of them perfectly legal. For those that were not, the issue was have to stop the behavior. State Board of Accounts, DLGF the Attorney General and finally legislative change. All have been explored. We learned that money budgeted for one use was taken for another….re-paving is a case in point. This office requires diligence and honesty.

What Are Your Qualifications For the Office You Are Seeking?
Every person on the Council brings a wealth of background, the more varied the better. Mine is that of a commercial real estate broker with a knowledge of values, contracts and even negotiating on behalf of the City with developers who, obviously want the best deal for their company while we are representing the interests of the taxpayer. I have served on the board of First Merchants Bank of Hamilton County, board of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce,president of my HOA and currently am a board member for the Humane Society and president of the Carmel Economic Development Commission. With that background I also have working relationships with the private sector as well as local and State officials.

What Would You Like to Accomplish When In Office?
I would like to insure the fiscal stability of the City while moving forward and investing in our growth. With the establishment of the new Stormwater Utility, the money currently secure for its intended purpose, I hope to keep up the infrastructure as the City is aging, to protect the values of our homes. I also value the varied neighborhoods, varied in size and price as our neighborhoods are our strength. I, along with Diana Cordray, put the Rainy Day fund in place. Our target is to maintain a balance equal to 10% of the General Fund budget. We have moved money out of this fund for unexpected expenses but have replenished those funds. I maintain that this money not only keeps our credit rating high as S&P now not only looks at the ability to raise taxes but at liquidity. The Mayor has for 3 years attempted to use this money for operations but to no avail.

How Do You Define “Fiscal Responsibility?”
Simple…..you can’t spend more than your income. You can’t keep borrowing for current projects, assuming maximum income to pay the debt, postponing principal payments, which payments may not be possible if the optimistic projections fall short. This is exactly what happen to the CRC. The Council had to basically become the guarantor for a new $180,000,000 loan which was backed by the residential property owner. The the CRC TIF income failed to cover the debt payment…a residential tax would be put in place. The Council avoided that, we hope, by putting in place a Special Reserve Fund and pledging the resources of the Rainy Day Fund.

What Will You Do to Promote Transparency to the Citizens When You Are in Office?
That is exactly what I have done all the time I have been in office….I don’t just make promises, I stand on a record of transparency.

If you would like more biographical information on the candidate, please contact us at theconstitutionalpatriots@gmail.com

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Candidate Meet and Greet

The Constitutional Patriots will be hosting a Candidate Meet and Greet for all of the Hamilton County candidates on Tuesday, March 17th at 7pm. We meet at Central Christian church, 1242 W. 136th Street in Carmel. Please share with your friends and neighbors and join us for an evening to get to know your candidates.

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Ball State study grades TIFs as ineffective as economic development tools

By Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly – February 5, 2015

An analysis of tax increment financing districts in Indiana counties by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research concluded that they are an ineffective development tool for Hoosier communities.

In fact, the CBER study found TIFs are associated with less employment, less taxable income and slightly higher tax rates and noted the process needs more stringent oversight, Ball State said in an announcement Monday.

TIF districts were created by the Indiana General Assembly in the 1980s and are run by redevelopment commissions. They were designed to allow local governments to redevelop distressed areas by making infrastructure improvements, such as new roads and sewers. TIFs provide incentives to attract businesses or help existing companies expand without tapping general funds or raising taxes.

CBER examined TIF districts in Indiana from 2003-2012, evaluating their impact on capital growth, employment and tax rates in counties.

“Overall, TIFs are not an effective economic development tool,” said CBER director Michael Hicks, who co-authored the study with Dagney Faulk, CBER’s research director, and Pam Quirin, a CBER graduate assistant. “In fact, we found that in the average county, creation of a TIF district led to fewer jobs in manufacturing and retailing as well as a slight drop in the number of businesses.

“This may happen because when businesses start up operations or move into the TIF districts, it shifts the number of jobs while others in the region suffer the job killing effects of higher tax rates,” Hicks said. “TIF districts also have no discernible statistical impact on sales taxes in counties. This may be because retail activity simply shifts from non-TIF districts to TIF areas.”

Local governments appear to be shifting the tax burden from TIF to non-TIF taxpayers to maintain constant levels of public service, Faulk said.

“While we cannot conclusively report that TIFs are the cause of higher tax rates on existing taxpayers, that is a very likely effect,” she said.

Other than increasing the assessed value of property within the districts, TIFs have little impact on economic development, Hicks said.

The report found the state’s aggregate net assessed value in TIFs increased from about $10 billion in 2003 to about $19 billion in 2012.

Researchers also discovered counties are accumulating debt to manage such projects. Indiana’s TIF districts had about 20 percent of the state’s $12 billion outstanding debt in 2013.


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Questions for our Hamilton County Municipal Candidates

The Constitutional Patriots are mailing out a questionnaire to all 95 Hamilton County candidates that are running for office in the May 5th, 2015 primary. This includes Mayors, Clerk-Treasurers and Council members.

The questions are as follows:

1. Why are you running for office?
2. What are your qualifications for the office you are seeking?
3. What would you like to accomplish while you are in office.
4. How do you define “fiscal responsibility”?
5. What will you do to promote transparency to the citizens when you are in office?

Stay tuned for answers from the candidates that return the forms.

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ISTEP Exams Could Feel Like a Marathon for Students

There is a new concern over Indiana’s highly debated and much maligned ISTEP exams. This year’s new test will take students more than twice as long to complete. Shocked educators fear ISTEP will be an endurance test, with smart students failing because of fatigue.

At Beech Grove’s Central Elementary School, Lisa LaFavers is confident her third graders will pass their ISTEP exams, if they don’t pass out from exhaustion.

“They know the content,” she said. “I am confident they know the skills, but the endurance?”

It is a big question. Kids with attention spans of 10 minutes will endure a battery of tests lasting 12 1/2 hours – more than twice as long as last year. The exams are broken into several tests spread over days and weeks. Even so, LaFavers is worried. Are their brains going to be mush?

“By the end of the day, I think they will be mush, yes,” she answered.

Indiana’s Department of Education says the federal government requires that students are tested on the state’s new, more rigorous education standards. The new ISTEP exams require students to do more reading, more writing, more thinking. That adds up to more time.

At 12 1/2 hours, third graders have the longest testing time. The other grades average about an hour less. When Beech Grove City Schools Assistant Superintendent Laura Hammack saw the new testing times, she cringed.

“I don’t want sound dramatic, but it was a shock. We were so, so surprised,” she said.

Hammack is concerned with the possibility of falling test scores, as well as the logistics of administrating the longer exams.

The computer lab at Center Elementary, the principal says, will have to be used every minute of every testing day. Lost teaching time is another issue. ISTEP exams will cut in to as many as 12 school days.

“When we are taking extra hours away from the opportunity for teaching to deliver instruction to the boys and girls, the kids are missing out,” she explained.

None of it seemed to make much sense to parent Jaimie Sunderland. She’s worried about her third grader.

“I am. She will just lose focus and I don’t think she will do as she would normally do,” she said.

ISTEP testing begins in March. Teachers, students and parents will be working longer this year. More testing days means more days and nights of getting students to bed early, well-fed in the morning and into school.

Instead of running a mini, many believe this year’s ISTEP will have everyone running a full marathon.


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