Carmel is raising the bar for companies seeking tax incentives.
The Carmel City Council updated its guidelines for approving economic development incentives for businesses Monday night—boosting the average employee salary threshold from $45,000 to $90,000.
Council member Luci Snyder said she believed $45,000 was “far too low” and supported increasing the average salary level expected of new companies.
The guidelines also specify that companies must invest at least $35,000 in capital improvements and create 275 jobs.
“The city of Carmel tries to help businesses when possible,” council member Sue Finkam said. “However, we want to do that with a careful hand.”
Carmel is already known for being selective with tax incentives. Mayor Jim Brainard has consistently said the city’s school system, current tax structure and high quality of life should be enough incentives to attract businesses.
And he could be right. Cureatr, a New York-based mobile healthcare coordination company, recently announced it had opened offices in Carmel, and Technology consulting firm GyanSys Inc. recently investment millions of dollars in a new headquarters in Carmel. Neither business received local tax incentives, although GyanSys did receive state incentives from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
“We don’t need to do much tax abatement to be competitive,” Brainard said.
In 2014, Carmel terminated a 10-year personal property tax abatement agreement with Pharmakon LTC Pharmacy after the company did not file annual compliance reports with the city.
“We’re not just handing out money like candy on Halloween,” Finkam said at Monday’s meeting.
The changes were approved unanimously.