Public Safety: Please share your vision for Public Safety under your administration.
I’m exceptionally proud of our public safety departments that I’ve had the pleasure to work with for over a decade. Since taking office in 2012, I have been committed to providing world-class public safety services to residents, businesses and visitors. My vision is to instill a spirit of performance, communication, cooperation and efficiency from Day One. Like my overall vision for the community, I’ll use data, invest in people and deliver exceptional services to ensure we have the safest, most secure city in America.
Below is a plan I presented to our police and fire departments. It would be reviewed and revised with their input during the transition period and beyond. Close communication and trust are paramount to an excellent relationship and high performance.
FIRST UP Establish Mayor’s Advisory Council on Public Safety with involvement from the Carmel Police Department, Carmel FOP Lodge 185, Carmel Fire Department, IAFF Local 4444, City Judge, Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Hamilton County Emergency Management.
PERSONNEL Hire, retain and develop key talent who can elevate Carmel’s public safety performance: • Prioritize physical safety and mental health above all else. • Appoint public safety leaders who possess the ability to lead with integrity, communicate effectively, engage the community authentically and operate departments that are transparent and efficient. • Ensure salaries and benefits are among, if not the best, in Indiana commensurate with the quality of service provided to the Carmel community. • Amplify recruitment efforts to boost candidate sourcing and fill our talent pipelines with dedicated, community-oriented public safety prospects. • Ensure each public safety worker has access to a personal development plan to maximize skills and opportunities within the department. • Maintain an open door with employees and leadership.
RESPONSE AND INVESTIGATION Provide exceptional response to, and investigation of, public safety incidents: • Maintain minimum staffing levels for effective operations. • Provide exceptional training, equipment and supplies to provide a high level of service to the community. • Develop a plan to add a seventh fire station to ensure response times remain within range. • Use data and smart technologies to enhance operations, push innovation and reduce the cost of service delivery.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND EDUCATION Provide public safety education to residents and businesses to keep people and property safe: • Develop online curricula for businesses and families. • Ensure school resource officers have the tools and training they need to maximize the value delivered to the school district, students and families.
TRUST Maintain a high level of trust in our ability to deliver world-class services: • Build strong relationships through proactive meetings with key stakeholders including the public, businesses, schools, faith-based organizations, visitors and peer county, state and federal agencies. • Maintain a high level of public safety visibility throughout our community, including maintaining the take-home vehicle program, to increase touchpoints and build long-standing relationships with community members. • Expand the online transparency portal for public safety personnel so the public understands how funds are spent and why Carmel is continually ranked as one of the safest cities in America.
Roads & Infrastructure: Please share your vision for Roads & Infrastructure under your administration.
I’m proud to have always been a strong supporter of first-class infrastructure over my 12 years on the city council. I would advocate for continued strong investment in these areas, focusing on extending our trail network, and reconstructing roads like East Main Street and others that continually break down due to not having curbs and drainage. I would also prioritize an additional White River Crossing at 106th street if feasible and extend 96th Street west of Westfield Blvd. to add additional business frontage on I-465, in a way that thoughtfully integrates with existing houses. Furthermore, I would collaborate with the State of Indiana to improve its roads where they impact Carmel (primarily 465), and with Hamilton County to put into place effective improvements along 146th Street on the east side that preserve our neighborhoods, reduce noise, improve paths and improve safety for motorists.
I would also evaluate the implementation of Vision Zero or a similar program to ensure safe, healthy mobility for all. Whereas we have a very safe community now, many of our residents do not feel safe biking or walking our heavily traveled streets and roundabouts.
If we can improve the perception of pedestrian and cycling safety, we can also increase utilization of these modes of transportation, improving resident health, sustainability efforts and social interaction. I will also work to budget grade-separated crossings wherever possible for the Monon Trail and increase our budget on crosswalk solutions. Lastly, since transportation is such a large percentage of our annual budget, we will create a Transportation Advisory Council to review how proposed transportation projects impact budget, traffic, safety and quality of life.
Economic Development: Please share your vision for Economic Development under your administration.
As a candidate for Mayor, and as a sitting city councilor, I believe that economic development is essential for building a strong and vibrant community. Businesses come to Carmel because of our low taxes, educated workforce and high quality of life. We must create an environment that encourages businesses to continue to invest in our community and create good-paying jobs for our residents. This means supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as attracting larger companies to our area.
We cannot rely on the IEDC or site selectors to refer companies to us for consideration. We need to take a proactive and aggressive approach in short- and long-term economic development planning, including business recruitment and retention, to attract high-quality jobs, and increase corporate investment in our community to support city priorities.
To do this, we need to separate the economic development functions from community relations and redevelopment and create a focused, data-driven economic development department to hunt for key businesses that complement our already high-quality industries in the city. This department would be led by a highly skilled economic development professional, who can not only utilize data to find companies looking to grow or expand, but also someone who can lead initiatives to retain and support our existing employers. This professional would also collaborate with other economic development professionals and organizations, as well as policymakers, to ensure Carmel is adequately represented statewide.
Redevelopment would continue to play a key role in our community. It has proven to be an excellent tool for our growth and prosperity, and we should continue its steadfast use as an incentive.
Finally, I would appoint a small business liaison to help onboard and support our city’s small businesses (like signage, water/sewer utilities, etc.). Inherent in this role would also be to work with local organizations and OneZone Chamber of Commerce to create a program that will better position local small businesses to compete for city contracts.
By fostering a strong and diverse local economy, we can create more opportunities for our residents and build a better future for our community.
Quality of Life: Please share your vision for Quality of Life Amenities under your administration.
Developing a community with a high quality of life for its residents is critical to attracting talent, visitors and growth. Recently, Michael Hicks wrote an article and said that a team of researchers found that Indiana's "measure of quality of place was strongly correlated with faster population and job growth."
Carmel has heavily invested in amenities for over 20 years. I would like to continue with that investment and to do so, I would ensure that we:
Have the discipline to ensure our fiscal house is in order to fund important quality of life initiatives. Keep our neighborhoods, parks, and schools safe by supporting our police and first responders.
Make smart investments in infrastructure to support our neighborhoods and ensure pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Find a solution to fill our parks funding gap, to ensure our parks are well-maintained and can finish parks in design and development, to provide residents and visitors with continued award-winning recreational opportunities.
Budget for additional paths and trails to enhance and encourage outdoor enjoyment and multi-modal transportation options.
Encourage diverse events and social activities for residents of all ages.
Continue the arts grants and investment in public art. I would work with our arts organizations to determine how we can collectively make them more successful so they can flourish. I would like to bring more citizens to the discussion to complete a Performing Arts Strategy and Public Art Master Plan.
Empower active aging in our community. As the senior population continues to grow in our city, we need to ensure our physical environment (including our neighborhoods) is accessible, appropriate and affordable social activities are offered and we use technology to keep seniors engaged and involved.
Engage all members of our highly diverse community that create opportunities to learn about other cultures, faiths, food and families. A whopping 102 languages, from 78 different countries, are spoken in the homes of kids that attend Carmel schools. We must ensure we are truly designed to be an international city. Many opportunities exist to improve in this area.
Partnership with OneZone Chamber of Commerce: How will you work with OneZone Chamber to ensure a thriving business community?
OneZone has been a valued partner of the city of Carmel for many years. Under Jack’s leadership, with board support, the chamber has delivered even more value to our city. I believe we should increase our financial support of this organization. Additionally, I would take a direct role in collaborating with the chamber, alongside key directors in my administration, as the relationship demands executive support.
Are there any critical issues that were not asked on the questionnaire you would like to add?
City Services: As it pertains to the delivery of services, I want Carmel to be known as the best run city in America, by evolving into an agile, data-driven, customer-obsessed municipal machine.
Moving forward, in addition to the economic growth opportunities discussed above, we need to: 1) have a clear understanding of our expenses, including short- and long-term maintenance needs that are not currently quantified; 2) have short- and long-term plans for revenue replacement should threats to our LIT, property tax or TIF come to fruition; 3) invest in people and systems that can perform data analysis to best understand how we can serve our citizens; 4) invest in smart technologies that will help us deliver services more efficiently.
Regional collaboration: I believe that as a region we should come together to discuss potential solutions. In the past, Carmel's mayor often did not participate in collaborative groups, such as the Central Indiana Council of Elected Officials. I will gladly participate to lend my energy and experience to the conversation. Each city and county in the region bring strengths.
Identifying skilling up opportunities, continuing to keep the cost of doing business in Indiana low, and directly targeting Hoosiers who are at the prime age or life stage to return to Indiana for jobs would be good tactics to jointly employ.
However, it should be noted that collaboration should not occur at the expense of Carmel taxpayers. Collaborative opportunities should be welcomed when they do not interfere with Carmel’s success.
As a leader who values integrity, honesty, and relationships, I believe that I have the qualifications and experience necessary to help write Carmel’s next chapter and I am excited about the opportunity to serve as your next mayor. I look forward to earning your trust and support.