Fight continues over CRC budget

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By Adam Aasen

A week after the Carmel Redevelopment Commission chose to not present its budget to the Carmel City Council, debate continues about whether the council gets to approve its budget.

Recently, the Indiana State Legislature passed a new law governing redevelopment commissions, putting in several new requirements for transparency and working with city councils.

Some City Councilors believe the law means the council now gets to control the CRC’s budget, but others – including Mayor Jim Brainard – believe that it’s clear that the law asks for “oversight” but not “approval.”

Both sides are meeting with attorneys to solidify their legal interpretations, but Brainard feels confident in his interpretation.

“The legislature did not intend that the council ‘approve’ every expenditure of redevelopment commission but rather ‘review’ the budget that is presented,” he said. “In fact, the bill originally said ‘approve’ and after discussion and a request from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns the word ‘approve’ was removed and replaced with ‘review.’”

CRC Executive Director Corrie Meyer said the reason approval wasn’t written into the law is because “because the CRC would have no purpose for existing. It would be a redevelopment department rather than an independent commission.” By making it an independent commission, it removes politics from playing a role in decision-making.

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