Carmel could borrow $42m to address flooding issues
Heavy rainstorms pummeled the Midwest during the recent holiday season, causing flight delays and property damage throughout. In Carmel, it led to the familiar sight of flooding on some older streets, such as Emerson Road near the Carmel Arts & Design District.
But now the Carmel City Council is looking to borrow $42 million to address flooding citywide.
In July 2014, the Carmel City Council passed an ordinance to establish a storm water utility that would assess a $5 a fee to all households and then use that money for improving drainage — nothing else.
The city council appointed itself as the board to manage this new utility, which was expected to bring in around $3 million a year in revenue, about enough for one major storm water project a year, depending on size and scope. Recently the council handed control of the utility to the Board of Public Works.
More than a year later, some residents say they haven’t noticed much improvement.
Bruce Kimball, a newly-elected city councilor who represents the Emerson Road area, said he’s spoken with some of those residents and he believes help is on the way. That’s because $42 million in drainage improvements are included in Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard’s new proposal for more than $200 million in new projects he announced just before Christmas.
Brainard plans to tackle storm water infrastructure projects in Foster Estate and Old Town Carmel, along Range Line Road and at the Monon swale. There are also plans to make drainage improvements in subdivisions that include Carmel Meadows, Carmel View, Cedar Pointe, Concord Village, Crooked Stick, Crooked Stick West, Green Tea Estates, Harrowgate, Ironwood, Jordan Woodlands, Village of Mount Carmel and Wilson Village.
Kimball said he expects quick action because Brainard has proposed using a bond to start on these projects and then using the annual revenue from the city’s storm water fee to repay that bond. That way multiple projects can be addressed immediately instead of waiting to do just one project a year as revenue comes in.
“Since there’s a stable revenue stream with the storm water fee, using a bond to start on these projects is very safe and a wise move,” Kimball said.
Project Components and estimated cost
Road Reconstructed Storm Sewers $18 million
Small Structure Replacement Program $12 million
Monon Swale / Regional Detention $4.5 million
Small Structure and Culvert Lining $2 million
Rangeline Road Drainage Improvements $500,000
Foster Estates Detention $400,000
Subdivision Drainage Improvements (Jordan Woodlands, Concord Village, Carmel Meadows, Harrowgate, Cedar Pointe, Green Tree Estates, Crooked Stick and Crooked Stick West, Wilson Village, Carmel View, Village of Mount Carmel, Ironwood) $4 million
Old Town Drainage Improvements $600,000
Total Estimated Cost = $42 million