Carmel mayoral candidates look beyond debt dilemma

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) – The battle for mayor in Carmel features two Republicans who have deep roots in the city.

Jim Brainard attempts to make a sixth run in office, while City Council President Rick Sharp hopes to replace him.

Sharp announced his bid for mayor in January following the growing speculation over the city’s rapid rate of redevelopment that could put property owners at risk of having special benefits tax levied.

An analyst told 24-Hour News 8 that Sharp entered the race at a significant financial disadvantage.

Brainard has long contended that Carmel’s debt load remains at a manageable level. He chalked the criticism up to politics.

The city has grown dramatically during the Brainard administration, and he’s proud to say those have been years of good management.

“Taxes are less today, for many home owners, than they were 20 years ago,” Brainard said. “What else can you say that about?”

Sharp said Carmel’s spending has over-extended the city. But the bills might not come due right away.

“He voted for almost all of the debt and all of the budgets up until recently and in the last year and a half has changed his votes,” Brainard said.

None the less both candidates have big plans for what is next for Carmel.

Brainard said he plans for more construction projects in downtown and road improvements on major city streets.

Sharp said he plans to bring new jobs to the city and to not neglect the older neighborhoods that could turn to blight with new projects.