The October Fishers City Council Meeting will be held on Monday, October 11 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. In order to submit a comment, you need to designate the date of the meeting that you want to comment on. Look at the public meeting calendar. Then, complete the online Public Comment Form. Select “City Council” and that will open a comment box for you to type in. Submit your comments by NOON on Monday, the day of 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.
- 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.
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.a. Nickel Plate Trail update. I requested a breakdown of the trail construction expenses. I expect to receive this financial report and a construction status report during this agenda item.
6.b.Health Department update. This agenda item will include Fishers’ current COVID community risk rating and COVID update. Please get vaccinated!
7. 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.
8. 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. This is the final vote to approve the 2022 Budget.
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 Lannan has provided a good summary of the proposed 2022 budget and there is a topline infographic to review.
Here are 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 is helpful for Fishers residents who have received noticeably higher property tax bills as home values increase. It is important to note that the decrease in tax rate will not offset the increase in home assessed value for many residents. For many, annual property tax bills will continue to rise.
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. The city has received $6.9 million in American Rescue Funds. I have since learned that the decision on how this money is spent is entirely Mayor Fadness’ decision, with no approval needed from City Council.
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
Grants for local Non-Profit Organizations to better serve our community has been zeroed out of this budget. In the past, these funds were awarded to organizations to serve our community. I have been disappointed with the selection process for these grants in the past. However, support for our non-profits today is crucial. The good news is that the mayor has decided that $250,000 will be dedicated to non-profit grants from the American Rescue Plan funds.
9. 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.
10. 2021 GO Bond (General Obligation Bond). This is an action to take out a loan for $4.8 million for road improvements and trail/path connectivity. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
11. Sewage Utility Rates. The City of Fishers is purchasing the Fishers assets of Hamilton Southeastern Utilities, the sewer utility. Now, the rates for the new sewer utility need to be determined. The City of Fishers promised not to increase customer rates to pay for the purchase of the utility. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
12. Fee Updates. Several city departments are changing their fee $ amount that citizens pay for services. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
13. Council Committees. The Rules Committee is making a recommendation to codify how city council members serve on committees and how city council appointments are made to city boards and commissions. I do not support the recommendation because it:
- Removes the Non-Profit Grant Committee as a standing committee. This is the committee that awarded the city grants to non-profit organizations.
- Removes the vote of the City Council to approve which City Council members get to serve on which standing committee. This recommendation gives the Council President full authority to fill the standing committees.
- Removes the vote of the City Council to approve which City Council members get to serve on non-standing committees. This recommendation gives the Council President full authority to fill the non-standing committees, like Plan Commission.
- Removes the vote of the City Council to approve the City Council’s appointments of citizens to boards and commissions. This recommendation gives the Council President full authority to appoint these citizens to boards and commissions, like Plan Commission.
On a positive note, the recommendation states that one member of the minority party gets to serve on the Finance Committee. This is a big change, no Democrat has been allowed to serve before on this committee that advises the City Council on all financial matters.
Planning & Zoning
14. Fiscal Plan and
15. 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.
FINAL READING is the final vote.
16. Park Impact Fees. First Reading is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter. Every five years, the City is required to evaluate the Park Impact Fees and update them if necessary. The City assesses these fees not from current residents, but from the developers that construct new residences in Fishers. The revenue generated from these fees from developers funds Fishers parks services for the new residents that join our community.
|current fee||proposed new fee|
|Single-family detached home||$1,667||$3,492|
Nearby communities’ current park impact fees for a single-family detached home:
Westfield – $1,427
Noblesville – $1,546
Carmel – $4,882
17. Kincaid PUD. Highline at Delaware Park. The proposed 26-acre development is six buildings including 280 apartments, 18,600 square feet of 1st floor restaurant/commercial/retail space and an additional 4800 square feet of restaurant space. The location is the south of 106th Street, between Lantern Road and Kincaid Blvd. https://goo.gl/maps/8RWrTXG6P6KEGbRb7
This action is creating a new zoning district to accommodate the project. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
The city is going to take out a $10 million loan (bond) to help finance the project. The bond will be paid back over 25 years with the proceeds from the Tax Increment Finance arrangement. Envoy, the developer, expects to invest $52 milllion into this project. State Senator Scott Baldwin who represents Fishers is the CEO of Envoy. Envoy will create a sidewalk (pedestrian trail) around the perimeter of the development and a road that connects Lantern Rd to Kincaid Blvd (Pearl Street). I note that these infrastructure improvements are enhancements to this development area specifically.
18. Bel Canto rezoning was removed from the agenda?
19. Rezoning Lehman PUD. 15 acres for 35 single-family homes by Pulte. Property is located on the south side of 126th St, between Allisonville Rd and Lantern Rd. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
20. Nickel Plate Trail Overlay. As a result of resident meetings with property owners along the trail, the City of Fishers is proposing a Nickel Plate Trail Overlay to allow single-family properties the ability to make backyard improvements that will allow them to properly interact with the trail based on their needs and preferences. The overlay includes the following allowances for those along the trail: Additional accessory structure square footage, Additional impervious surface coverage, Additional fence height for fences with architecture features. Staff believes these additional allowances will ensure property owners along the trail can either properly screen the trail for privacy or interact with the trail as they see fit. FIRST READING is the first, but not final, consideration of a matter.
21. Amendments to UDO (Unified Development Ordinance). This amendment would prohibiting commercial signs within the I-69. Commercial signs are defined as ‘a sign whose display area is sold or leased’, (b) Creating standards for projecting signs that would be permitted in lieu of a wall sign,
22. Unfinished/New Business.
23. 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.