Notes from the September 21st Fishers City Council Meeting

This post is simply rough notes from the September 21st, 2020 City of Fishers City Council meeting. Topics on the agenda include:

  • A Gold Star Mothers Day Proclamation
  • The Nickel Plate Hotel Properties, Inc.
  • 2021 City of Fishers Budget
  • City of Fishers 2021 Salary Ordinance
  • City of Fishers Code of Ordinances (Animal Ordinance)
  • Planning and Zoning (The 290 unit division on the East side)

Note that I might have misheard items. You can follow the full meeting online once the recording is posted.

Proclamation: Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day

The City presented a proclamation for Gold Star Mother’s and Family day on September 27th, 2020. This is in honor of military families hang a service flag near their front window. The flags feature a blue star for each family member actively serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, a gold star for those soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty protecting our freedom.

The City is honoring those members of our community that have lost a son or daughter in service of our country. The full proclamation is included below.


The Nickel Plate Hotel Properties

Yes, Carmel has a boutique hotel, so Fishers seems to be following along. This project has already been previously approved and moving forward. At tonight’s meeting, the 2019 Project Agreement that provides for Developer developing and constructing a boutique, luxury hotel with approximately one hundred ten (110) rooms in the City’s Nickel Plate District, is presented for an adjusted. Based on the pandemic, the developer is wanting to extend the closing date to June 30, 2022. This closing is fort he hotel parcel, the loan and the ancillary documents being executed. by that date.

North side of 116th Street. Original closing date was December of this year. Construction phase was delayed as well. The day is 18 months, and the construction phase is expected to be 18 months as well.

It was stated by Mayor Fadness that the delay in construction of this hotel is actually a good thing because it will make it easier to do the 115th Street NPT tunnel because they won’t have to build around the building construction. Maple @@@ Development

The Maple Del project is a part of the Nickel Plate District. It is an unincorporated area south of 116th Street of approximately 10 acres and 17 total properties. 14 properties signed land acquisition agreements by July 22, 2019. Demolition began on the vacant lots in January of 2020. One addition property was acquired in April.

This will end up being 190 total units being crammed, err, placed into this area. Three housing styles. Trying to give it a “residential village” type feel. It will include a small clubhouse.

Targeting Millennial and Empty Nesters. Rent about $1.48 so similar to the Depot or a little less. All units are rental units.

There are covered parking garages. One property owner is continuing to stay in their home, but has been working with the developer.

They did consider the houses around the new division to avoid, especially to the west. There are some large trees they are trying to keep, and will supplement with additional ones.

The Maximum Gap coverage is $6.1 million from the TIF over 25 years of capture. The document says they are waving all fees. One of them said “all of the fees are waived”. It sounds like the impact fees are the only ones that should be waived. The development will be annexed into Fishers.

Project motion was submitted, seconded. There was an issue raised about waiving the impact fees. It was stated we waive these fees for the big guys, but not the little guys. The fees are needed to cover our roads and other expenses, so waiving them causes problems. It was also stated that small guys trying to do things in town don’t get fees waived in the same way, which seems wrong.

A couple of council members asked to delay a decision in a month. This would allow for communicating with remaining neighbors to the division and would allow documents to be corrected.

If the property is sold within the 25 years, why doesn’t the City get a cut in the profits since it is putting in the $6.1 million TIF bond. Response was that developer is taking the risk on a developer-backed bond.

One council member commented that this division provides the density they are wanting in the downtown area. He didn’t want to add time to the project.

One council member mentioned that we are doing a lot of rentals. She would prefer to see more smaller homes to be owned rather than more rentals. Home owners have more pride in the community.

A motion was made to delay the project by 30 days. Seconded. Yes (Dela) passed. Nays included Peterson and Weingardt.
Original motion

2021 City of Fishers Budget

General notes on City Budget items:

  • The City of Fishers continues with the highest AAA Bond rating.
  • Mayor Fadness has presented budgets for Fishers for 16 years.
Fishers 2021 Budget
  • Local Option Income Taxes have changed for the positive. I mentioned this in my last post on the City budget.
  • The city started cutting costs earlier this year due to pandemic:
    • $380,000 cut from travel and training budgets.
    • $317,000 saved from parks
    • $400,000 saved in general fund payroll
  • 1.2 million in savings to general fund
  • Health Department. $2 million allocated should be covered by the CARES reimbursement funds. $1.5 million has already been requested with about a million received. More expenses for calls and testing are expected to be covered as well.

Bar on far right is so high is because the City had expected to have a 10% reduction in State Funding. It was assumed the impact on property taxes would not be impacted as much as state wide. In fact, income from property taxes is increasing in Fishers. See my previous article for more information on this.

Changes from previous budget meeting:

(My comment) Pay raises and bonuses. The list is primarily additional costs that would stay continue to be on the books going forward. With the expectation that the hit from the pandemic could still happen – it slow to arrive and slow to leave – it might make sense to hold off on too many ongoing costs. As such, it seems that it would make more sense to hold some of the money for the time that the real impact happens and to avoid adding too many ongoing costs.

The Mayor mentioned keeping a bigger than required cash reserve because the future costs are not know for income and other revenues.

$23 million will be invested in roads this year. About 14 miles of our roads have been paved this year. They’d like to do that as well next year. There is significant road projects on the east and Northeaster side that need to be done. Wheel tax and focus on infrastructure have been important and the Mayor feels we need to keep the momentum going.

Tax Rates

The only city with a lower city tax rate is Cicero. The Fishers tax rate is going up; however, the amount will be offset by a reduction in the County rate making it tax neutral.

Q&A from Public Meeting

Person 1: 39 (?) people have died in Fishers from Covid. Asked about time spent planning health department. Asked about money spent for PPE. Lots of off topic comments. This person tossed out a bunch of comments and (per comments of the council) then left the meeting.

Person 2: Commented that this is a public meeting, so limiting to 3 minutes seems to restrict the ability of the public to comment. Referenced a robust road plan that was mentioned in an article. Asked if the budget existed somewhere. Asked where Covid contact tracers re being covered in the budget. Are there salaries and benefits to those positions? Where are these listed? What is happening with private roads – like Fishers Crossing? Seems like potholes will continue to be there this winter.  Congratulated council for maintaining AAA Budget rating.

Person 3: Was happy about the proposed fire station on the East side. Roads on that side of town aren’t great because there are some narrow roads. Having a fire station out there reduces pull from other fire stations. That will give better response time for that side of town. This will help insurance rates as well for those in the area because of the reduced distance.

With growth, on the eastern side, the amount of people being added, this will be an added benefit.

Person 4: He’s been working on the issue of fire response on that side of town as well for 10 years. His district has 5,000 people per firefighter. The other districts have closer to 2,500 people per firefighter.

Person 5: Is the Geist Green-way part of the budget? (answer: Construction is expected in 2022.) Will Florida Road be widened?  (answer: No)

Councilman Response to Public Comments :

Council member Zimmerman: Didn’t appreciate the comment that implied the City Council and Mayor didn’t care about those that have died or been impacted by Covid. “How is the health of our community? How are people doing?” This was the motive and the initial comments that came up in the meetings from the beginning.

As to BLM, there were meetings, not requests for permissions. It was to talk about how to keep things safe. Meetings were not about controlling the protest, but to make sure they had what they needed and it was safe.

Mayor Response to Public Comments :

You can get a free mask at the Health Department. They might even say Fishers on them.  He will take the barbs and the criticism for the health department.

4,200 phone calls have been answered. He will choose action first. He indicated that health well-being has to be part of our local government.  He is fiscally conservative and doesn’t want to waste taxpayer dollars.

The Mayor and Chief met with the parents and families of the kids wanting to do the BLM protest. How can it be done safely and effectively was the discussion.

Rotary servicing for Northeast areas are upgrades to roads. Road resurfacing will be throughout the City. Roads fall apart in unexpected ways so they don’t want to say specifically which roads.

Private roads don’t really work. They need to see about pulling these into the city so they can be fixed and done. This is a discussion for another day, but something needs to change. The private roads that were approved aren’t operating they way they were expected to.

Comments from Council on Budget

  • Only municipality in Indiana to get a AAA rating.
  • One time $500 bonus is not for elected officials.
  • Property tax increase of 1 cent is offset by county.
  • Only municipality in Indiana to get a AAA rating.
  • One time $500 bonus is not for elected officials.
  • (Vare) Property value is increasing in 2021, so even if tax rate stayed flat, residents are going to be paying more.
  • (Vare) Last year property tax was increased by 2 cents to fix roadways. That was a one-time tax, which happened in 2020. As such, our rate should go down two cents and then up one cent for the health department.  That difference is about a $600,000 coming out of the revenue.
  • (Weingardt) People aren’t complaining about the tax rate, they are complaining about the roads not being repaired.
  • (Weingardt) County is not planning on changing taxes in 2021, so residents of Fishers should see a 1 cent tax decrease at the county level.

City of Fishers 2021 Salary Ordinance

Head count stays the same other than Health Department. Mostly cleaning titles and such. Item will be back in October.

Amendment to Chapter 91 of the City of Fishers Code of Ordinances (Animal Ordinance)

Reference URL:—Current-Version—Ordinance—092120C

Humane Society and the City were working on updating the Animals Ordinance. This project was delayed due to Covid. They hope to bring a more solidified update to the ordinance at the October meeting.

Planning and Zoning

Discussed a number of rezoning items on the Eastern side and some of the history.

Proposal for tonight’s meeting is one that has come up several times before:

This will add 290 housing units. The division is zoned R2, so the number of units was pretty high be default. The 290 isn’t far off from that default. They believe the roadways will support the additional traffic from these housing levels. Roads will be improved over time. Overcrowding of schools has been an issue. Redistricting for the Wayne Township school in 2022 will cause this area to be redistricted anyway. There was a larger number of kindergartners than expected at Southeastern Elementary School.

Comments on the properties from council and such –
(DeReamer) 150 acres minus 61 acres of the property that is not usable for housing is 89 acres at 1.7 units per acre, then that’s 165 total lots maximum. The easements are too short. 10 foot patios push to the easement.

Another indicated that the infrastructure doesn’t seem to support this property at this time.

(Weingardt) Schools being over crowded? Tony Bagato and others have talked to schools and they are fine. They can handle the people. He doesn’t agree with DeReamer’s math on units. The idea that Cyntheanne Road would go through. This has never been on any of the plans. Duplexes were removed from the plans.

My notes stop before the end of the meeting. This post to was made quickly during the live meeting. Some comments might have been misheard and transcribed incorrectly. Please see the of the City’s posting of the meeting online.
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