The September Fishers City Council Meeting will be held on Monday, September 20 at 7pm at City Hall. I warmly encourage you to participate.
How to Observe and Participate in the City Council Meeting at City Hall
- The meeting will be held in-person and will be open to in-person attendees.
- A video of the meeting will be broadcast live at http://tinyurl.com/CityOfFishers starting at 7pm on Monday so you can watch from home. This is a way to observe the meeting only.
- In-person attendees are welcomed to address the City Council during any Public Hearings during the meeting – and during Community Comment, which is held at the end of every meeting.
- Fishers residents are also welcomed to submit public comments electronically prior to the meeting. All comments submitted before the meeting will be presented to City Council members. These comments are not read aloud but become part of the official meeting minutes. The Public Comment Form is live on the website right now. Select “City Council Meeting” and that will open a comment box for you to type in. Submit your comments by NOON on Monday, the day of the meeting, so they can be distributed before the meeting.
- Community Comment at the end of each City Council meeting is always open for your comment on any Fishers topic. This is an “open mic” opportunity for 10 Fishers residents to address the City Council for up to three minutes each. The council members are not required to resolve or respond to your comments at that moment. Usually, pathways are identified for follow-up and additional dialogue.
- Meeting agendas and past meeting minutes can be found here, under City Council tab.
- Past meeting videos are supposed to be posted within 48 hours of the meeting. You can find the videos in the City of Fishers YouTube channel or in the Agenda Center. Click on the TV icon under the “Media” column.
City Council Meeting
The City Council Meeting agendas are available here, under the City Council header. Each agenda has items on it that appear in blue. These are links to open the supporting documents.
Here’s a rundown of this meeting’s agenda items and my interpretation of them.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT NOTE: A COVID Community Update is not on the agenda but I have submitted a standing request for a brief Fishers Health Department update to be a part of each city council meeting, so that we are all aware of how our community is doing right now. Fishers’ current COVID community risk rating is now Orange – Level 3 Significant. Last month, the rating had just been increased to Yellow – Level 2 Moderate from Green – Level 1 Low. According to the Fishers Health Department on Sept 14, COVID case rates are 7-1/2 times higher in unvaccinated individuals than vaccinated individuals. Please get vaccinated!
5. Finance Committee Report. The Finance Committee is charged with advising the City Council on matters concerning the general financial operations of the City. Therefore, I look forward to the Finance Committee’s presentation at each month’s City Council meeting. Since City Council is responsible for fiscal oversight, this monthly report is very important – but usually is brief and informal.
6. Consent Agenda. There are two items on the Consent Agenda.
Item a. is approval of last month’s City Council meeting minutes.
Item b. transfers funds. These actions transfer funds within the city budget, which is needed periodically. The transfers do not adjust the bottom line at all. This is a transfer of dollars from one budget category to another to avoid a negative balance in a category.
The Consent Agenda is a grouping of routine reports that should be approved in one swift action, instead of approving each one separately. I believe that all items included on the Consent Agenda should be approved as presented and approved unanimously. If not, the item that requires a revision, abstention, or other action needs to be removed from the Consent Agenda and considered as a separate voting item
7. Authorizing Acquisition of Sewer Works from Hamilton Southeastern Utilities. Second Reading and Vote.
Last month, the City of Fishers announced its intent to purchase the Fishers assets of Hamilton Southeastern Utilities, the sewer utility. This agenda item is consideration of a sewer revenue bond (loan). The city’s purchase of the sewer utility from Hamilton Southeastern Utilities will be paid for by a loan that is paid off by the payments from customers who use the utility. Once purchased by the city, all wastewater collection and treatment will be consolidated and all customers will now have one point of contact for this service. The City of Fishers does not anticipate increasing customer rates to pay for the purchase of the utility.
Current in Fishers article – https://www.youarecurrent.com/2021/07/15/fishers-intends-to-purchase-portion-of-hse-utilities/
City of Fishers website – https://www.fishers.in.us/1348/Hamilton-Southeastern-Utilities-Acquisit
8. Resolution for New Fire Station 97. A new Fire Station will be built in 2022 to serve the growing far east-side of Fishers. A $9.4 million bond (a loan) will finance the construction and equipment for this new fire station. The loan will be paid back by the city’s property tax revenue. The Redevelopment Commission and Redevelopment Authority has already approved this. This is the final step to issue the bond next month and get construction started. I whole-heartedly support this new fire station and its financing. I am eager to provide better emergency services to our neighbors in this part of our city.
9. Resolution for State Road 37 construction payment. This is a request for an early approval to take out a loan (a bond) to pay for the costs associated with the next wave of the SR 37 road construction project. This fits the financial approach to pay for cost overages that Mayor Fadness laid out last November.
Reports submitted by the City of Fishers Engineering Department show the total State Road 37 project with a total estimated cost of $168.9 million. The original budget was $124 million. The estimate is now $44.9 million over the original budget (+26%). The City of Fishers is planning to pay a total of $32.2 million. The original contribution from Fishers was to be $12 million. That’s $20.2 million over the original budget (+68%).
Ultimately, Fishers is planning on paying $32.2 million for a project that cost $168.9 million.
The entire SR 37 project from 126th-146th is projected to be completed by the end of 2023.
10. 2022 Budget. The municipal budget not only sets the city’s priorities for the upcoming year it also sets the property tax rate for citizens. I agree with our local news blogger, Larry In Fishers, who encourages residents to participate in the city budget process.
2022 City Budget Details
You can find information about the 2022 budget on this city webpage. I would point you to the 2022 City Budget Presentation and the September 8: 2022 Departmental Budget Presentation. It is also valuable to view the 2022 Budget Discussion about Capital and Debt, but this is difficult to access. Open the Sept 15 Finance Committee Meeting minutes and click on the CLICK HERE link in the middle of page 1.
In addition, Larry has provided a good summary of the proposed 2022 budget.
FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter. The final vote of the 2022 Budget will occur at the City Council Meeting on Monday, October 11.
Here are some my takeaways:
For six years in a row, the City of Fishers raised the property tax rate on residents. This year, I am happy to see that the property tax rate is proposed to be slightly lowered for 2022. This provides some relief for Fishers residents who have received noticeably higher property tax bills as home values increase.
The budget proposes a 4% raise for every city employee. Please note, this includes City Council Members like me, too. More detail on this in the following agenda item.
I think that a $41 million in cash reserves that is projected by the end of 2022 is extreme. Over $10 million will be added to the cash reserves by the end of this year. Mayor Fadness stated that part of the reserves can be used to finance some of the costs of a new proposed Rec Center and new City Hall/Arts Center. Details of this financing will be discussed when the vendor proposals are reviewed, the scope finalized, and budgets determined.
I wish that the recommendation for the American Rescue Plan funds would have been included in this budget discussion. I advocate for some of the ARP funds to be dedicated to strengthen small businesses and support the good community work of our local non-profits. Fishers will receive $6.9 million from ARP. This is the new plan that provides direct relief to citizens, local governments and schools to contain COVID-19 and rescue the economy. The $6.9 million that the City of Fishers will receive must be spent by Dec 2024 on specific things only:
- Grants to assist small businesses, non-profit organizations and industries impacted by the pandemic
- Reimbursement and expenses related to COVID-19
- Water, sewer and broadband projects
Once again, I am very disappointed by how the City of Fishers notifies citizens about the budget process and how they can participate in it. This year, the City fulfilled the requirement of issuing one public notice and also briefed local reporters about the budget. That’s it. In August, a social media effort and a postcard mailing to Fishers households was promised to notify the public but was not implemented. Taxpayers should be invited to the annual city budget review by the city.
The public has one chance to provide feedback on the 2022 Budget. The public hearing occurs immediately after the Mayor’s presentation at the City Council meeting.
A PUBLIC HEARING means that any resident is invited to comment on this topic. This is the only opportunity to make a comment and address the City Council on this specific matter. Fishers residents are welcomed to submit comments for the public hearing on this matter electronically prior to the meeting. All comments received by noon on Monday on the day of the meeting should be presented during this part of the meeting and will be part of the meeting’s official minutes. The Public Comment Form is live on the website right now.
If you do attend the City Council meeting in-person, you may comment on this matter during this part of the meeting. The City Council President will open the public hearing by asking if anyone would like to speak. If no one indicates that they want to speak, the public hearing can be closed quickly. So, please indicate immediately that you have something to say when the public hearing is opened. Otherwise, you may miss your chance.
11. Salary Ordinance. The proposed 4% salary increase for each city employee, including elected officials, is detailed in this worksheet. Each city position is listed with the new biweekly salary. I support a 4% raise for each of our city employees who work hard for our citizens. Please note that the raise also includes city council members, like me. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
Planning & Zoning
12. Voluntary Annexation. The Cove at Thorpe Creek is a proposed development by Fischer Homes of 192 new homes. The Cove at Thorpe Creek includes both the east side and west side of Florida Road. Two lots with a total of 107 acres need to be annexed to implement this development.
When a property owner located in an unincorporated area would like to be annexed into the City of Fishers, a public hearing is held at a city council meeting to discuss. Many times, a property owner wants to improve the property and/or start receiving city services. Fishers has so many unannexed parcels that our incorporated city map is sometimes called “swiss cheese.” In general, an annexation is a positive action for both the city and the property owner.
FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
13. Unfinished/New Business.
14. Community Comment. All comments submitted through the online are supposed to be provided to the city council members before the meeting and become a part of the meeting’s official record. The Public Comment Form is live on the website right now. Select “City Council Meeting” and that will open a comment box for you to type in. Submit your comments by noon on Monday, the day of the meeting, so they can be distributed before the meeting.
If you have any comments or questions, please send them my way. Email is a good way to get a hold of me.
Thank you for reading all of this. 🙂
Special Note: The next City Council Meeting has been rescheduled to be held one week earlier than usual. The October City Council Meeting will be held on Monday, October 11, 2021.