Brainard requests more money for Carmel arts center

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Carmel Mayor James Brainard wants to give the Center for the Performing Arts another $840,000 to cover its bills through December—on top of a $5.5 million subsidy he orchestrated last fall.

The latest grant is part of a resolution, which will go before the Carmel City Council Monday, to put $1.62 million into the city’s Support for the Arts Fund.

“We had a huge deficit,” Brainard said of the performing arts center, which is run by a separate not-for-profit organization. “Progress is being made.”

Brainard is requesting the subsidy as interim CEO Frank Basile, also a member of the arts center’s board, prepares to hand the reins to Tania Castroverde Moskalenko on Aug. 13. She succeeds Steven Libman, who resigned suddenly last year.

The arts center will have used the $5.5 million it received as a grant from the Carmel City Center Community Development Corp., or 4CDC, by the time its fiscal year ends June 30, Brainard said. If approved, the additional $840,000 will come from the city's general fund.

Moskalenko, who led the Germantown Performing Arts Centers near Memphis, Tenn., from a $500,000 deficit to a $300,000 surplus, emphasized a need to find private sources of funding to augment more-modest government subsidies.

“It’s so visionary of the community to do this; it speaks volumes,” she said about Carmel’s monetary contributions.

Brainard said his goal is to reduce the arts center’s annual operating subsidy to $2 million a year, though he doesn’t think that will happen by 2013. He said doesn’t know yet how much he’ll request from the council for next year.

One way the city might save the performing arts center money is to take over its janitorial services and pay the utility bills directly.

“We’re paying it indirectly now through that subsidy,” he said.

Brainard’s proposal would mean more money for 16 other arts groups as well. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre would get $190,000, Carmel Symphony Orchestra would get $200,000, and the Carmel Repertory Theatre Inc. would get $150,000.

All those groups are resident companies at the center, paying rent.

The proposed $1.62 million is much more than the council planned to spend last fall. At the time, the council approved $265,000 to support local arts groups, Brainard said.

The bigger allocation is possible now, he said, because the city's tax revenue increased by $6.5 million, thanks to the Indiana Department of Revenue's recently discovered accounting error. 


IBJ reporter Dan Human contributed to this story.



  • Palladian audience
    In one of the first reviews of the first concerts at the Palladian, the reviewer commented that some of the audience clapped after each movement of a symphony as an example. They also walked out after a movement. This indicate to me that Carmel is not ready for such a fine facility. It's really sad that this beautiful facility is having rock and country performers. I don't think Clowes or the Hilbert Center has ever had any, which you would expect at the Fair Grounds and Verizon.
  • BRUCE leaves out facts
    Bruce----I rebut your claim that Carmel "recieved over 12 million more in COIT dollars because of Mayor Brainards leadership" as it is complete folly. The actual fact of the matter is that Carmel receives the extra COIT money because it has FAR more debt than Fishers. The formula the state used to calculate COIT money takes into account debt a muni. has ammassed. The law has since been changed, but Carmel's HUGE amount of debt was grandfathered in and so they receive the extra COIT money. So your great "leadership" increased your massive debt load so the state would give you more COIT money to pay the "minimum payment on your city credit card" Congratulations.
  • That's my boy!!
    Thanks for the comments, Mother Brain...er, I mean Ben.
  • Brainard's Accomplishments
    Ben you may be right. A hundred years from now they will be wondering what all the fuss was about with the Palladium. As far as Keystone and his roundabouts I do agree they save lives, fuel and time over intersections. At maximum traffic flow they don't show much favoritism as to where the traffic flow is heaviest and consequently back up at rush hours. Jams still happen if you live off of a major E/W road it can get pretty dicey My guess is we may be the first city to install a traffic signal in a roundabout.
  • Carmel Can... and didn't.
    The mayor rightly recognized that urban sprawl had its limits and the "attraction" of a suburban community built on a school system wouldn't last. To build a sustainable tax base Carmel would need to grow by annexation and density. The reality and statistics suggested an aging population and families with fewer and deferred children would seek a more urban experience - something Carmel didn't have. The Mayor gets credit for reading the tea leaves correctly. His failure was to venture into building a separatist community that "acts" - and continuosly so - as an island to its own. Building a theatre at the essence of saying "Indianapolis doesn't have a suitable theatre like we're going to build" was a miscalculation that thumbed its nose at all the civic generousity that helped build Clowes, Hilbert and remodel Murat over decades. There was no community concensus or organically built movement to "build an eternally subsidized asset" that was thrust on a region as if it needed or required it. Anyone knowledgeable about theatres knows they are heavily subsidized by either donors or government. A theatre of the size of the Palladium is destined to be subsized as seating dictates hard to sell acts without huge underwriting to offset the loss - even when sold out. The fact the city moved forward without promised donor support (how many times did you need to hear "No" and "Hell No" before you realized you had an issue with donors - other than contractors and subcontractors squeezed in the middle?)is the arrogance of "vision" that creates a divide with our friends to the south of what is now increasingly becoming a "border" war. As a Carmel citizen and taxpayer, I appreciate the progress that didn't compete with the core that makes our region powerful - Indianapolis. But the action to duplicate "subsidized" assets without the power of the people is both prideful and divisive. The challenge now is it is built and will require more local subsidy from general fund and ultimately taxpayers. Our vote was cast by a mayor with a broad vision that hit a sour note on this mess. Color it anyway you want, but this smacks of elitism and a separatist view I'm embarrased by. Power gone too far - and we enabled it. If there is a silver lining to holistic and sustainable region...it is this miscalculation will begin to even out the disparity in property tax between Marion County and Carmel. The difference is Marion County money addresses the needs of the poor and attempts to rebuild broken neighborhoods, welfare and all the other trappings of urban cities Indy's size. Carmel money increasingly will go to feed the Golden Calf called the Palladium!
  • Much Too Funny
    When state or federal agencies want to dump money into a project or support a faltering program, the conservatives in Carmel scream foul, but let the CRC and the mayor direct funding toward the Performing Arts Drain Hole and the same people stop screaming. This is much too funny for words.
  • 4CDC
    Bruce is a member of Carmel's 4CDC that works with the Carmel Redevelopment Commission that has made this incredible mess.
  • Investment
    What is interesting is that because of Carmel’s investments and redevelopment through the arts, there is a direct return the critics never mention. With nearly the same demographics Carmel received over $12 million more in COIT than its neighbor Fishers. This is directly related to Mayor Brainard's leadership. Governor Daniels at the Mayors last inauguration said, "Carmel is a city that every knowledgeable Hoosier should be proud of." I have no doubt that the Governor understands the positive impact that the Performing Arts Center will have for all of Central Indiana. Just as the Carmel Monon Center, the Carmel Arts District and Keystone Blvd have proven to be successful, given a little more time, the Palladium too will be considered a success and a community asset.
    • Discuss more
      We've been discussing this at CarmelChatter.com, hope those of you in and around Carmel will stop by to contribute to the dialogue.
    • To Know The Mayor
      Anyone who could call Brainard "brainless" has not met the man. He is intelligent knows what it takes to run a city like Carmel. Carmel's property taxes are lower than Indy, your streets are in good repair, your round-a-bouts are ingenius, and it is a safe place to live. Before the round-a-bouts, people parished at these intersections, especially on Keystone. If Brainard hadn't re-created Keystone before the interstate once called Meridian goes underconstruction, Carmel would be a grid lock. Much like the round-a-bout construction, time will tell a different tale about the Palidium. It just needs more time. I live in Indy, by the way.
      • I knew it
        Mayor Brainard has truly done some remarkable things for Carmel that have improved the city, but this Palladium I was absolutely positive would be the Big White Elephant that it looks like sitting in the middle of his "vision". Don't keep throwing good money after bad - at least NOT MY MONEY! Thank you, but we've had plenty now, Mr. Mayor!
      • Huh, what?
        And, why is the City of Carmel going to give a gift of $$$ to arts groups that pay rent to the City of Carmel's Redevelopment Commission? By laundering money through these groups it sounds like the City of Carmel's citizens are starting to directly fund the CRC.
      • Told You So
        This is going to be a huge tax hole forever and they will need more and more $$ and it will never make money or break even. If you live in or near carmel your taxes will always be affected by this one building. But the good thing is, you have a Center for the Performing Arts of your own and now you don't have to drive 20 miles to Indianapolis or 5 miles to the klipsh music center. yeah...
      • Harvey F.
        Right you are harvey F. I wonder when the people of Carmel will get enough of Mayor BRAINLESS!Yes you read it right Brainless!
      • Too Much
        The City of Carmel is spending more on the "arts" than does the entire State of Ohio. The State of Indiana spends a little over $4 million per year. The tiny city of Carmel and its 75,000 citizens spend $10 million per year on one facility? -> Unprecedented. The City of Indianapolis spends $1 million per year. This is so out of control it is nearly criminal. Talk about out of control government spending that accomplishes nothing for its citizens; this should be a national story of government abuse. Face it, Carmel's economic development strategy is sucking the commercial tax base dry to provide government subsidized entertainment, art galleries, dining establishments and retail. Yep, that's going to work. BTW, Carmel hasn't paved any streets for the last two years.
      • Agree - good luck to new director
        With a seeming never-ending request for more funding from the city - this has become the perennial money pit of Carmel. I am so disenchanted with the bait and switch/too big to fail mentality of the mayor's administration. I wish the new director the best in making something viable out of this financial mess.
      • Hiding costs
        Brainard is finding every way to disguise how much city money is flowing into the Palladium. As the recent Carmel Performing Arts Foundation audit (the one in the wake of the private investigator scandal) revealed, the foundation didn't even include the cost of the facility (about 10 million a year) in its budget. 4CDC "Grants" are just tax money because it was given to the 4CDC from the redevelopment commission in the first place, because they aren't legally allowed to use that money for operational subsidies. By the last reasonable estimate I have heard worked out, we lost 20 million on the Palladium over the last year between direct city subsidies, 4CDC "Grants" and repayment on the facility which was improperly left out of their budget. Did anyone really know the Palladium was going to cost the city 20 million a year? That is an unprecedented municipal burden for this kind of facility in a city of only 75,000. Good luck to the new director - Brainard put her in a no-win situation that cannot be solved without the reality of massive subsidies.

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