Carmel bond bank story inflammatory, off base

March 12, 2016

We were disappointed at the tone of the article last week, “Bond Bank will manage Carmel debt” which I believe was filled with inaccuracies and language that sounded more like opinion, rather than professional fact-based reporting. Taxpayers deserve to have the record straight. To start, the article questions whether the City of Carmel’s newly established bond bank could be created without approval by our City Council. Indiana state statute reads “In a city (defined as 2nd class earlier) there IS established a local public improvement bond bank…” (IC 5-1.4-2-1). There is no requirement for approval by the city’s fiscal body. The bond bank is created by state statute.

In your story, you cite a city which apparently passed a redundant, useless ordinance, while Carmel is seemingly criticized for knowing the law and following it. Carmel shouldn’t be criticized by the IBJ or one of its “experts” simply because another city in Indiana made a different choice.

The article as it was originally written—and eventually changed after we objected—gave readers the impression that Carmel’s creation of the bond bank was done incorrectly and possibly illegally. There was not enough research done to verify this inaccuracy. This kind of inaccurate reporting can have a negative impact on the sale of our bonds if it is read by investors and rating agencies.

Then there is this inflammatory line: “Carmel doesn’t appear to be playing by the rule book so far.” Is this sentence an editorial or a news article? And why the sub-headline “Trouble Ahead?” This strikes us as a sensationalist attempt to earn more clicks online. In every aspect, the city of Carmel followed state statute.

The fact is city financial advisors were able to consolidate 17 different bonds totaling over $200 million into a single bond issue through the new bond bank. This larger bond issue will attract interest from a larger pool of investors, which translates into lower interest rates.

The estimated savings: more than $3.3 million over the life of the bonds, or $2.5 million in today’s dollars. There will also be efficiencies and savings in legal and financial fees.

Carmel is being innovative, following Indiana law and will save taxpayer dollars with the bond bank. This article went far beyond reporting what we did and is as close to a negative editorial as we have seen in a so-called “news” article. We are deeply troubled by the tone and fear it has done real damage to the city’s reputation.


James Brainard
Carmel mayor

Christine S. Pauley
Carmel clerk-treasurer, executive director of Carmel bond bank

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