Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carmel, IN - WTF???

I just found an infuriating website - Stimulus Watch. You can search through the projects submitted against the economic stimulus package by state, city, keyword, etc.

So, I started scrolling through Indiana, and couldn't help but notice that a HUGE amount of projects were for Carmel, Indiana.

The total cost of projects submitted for Indiana is $2,598,965,295.

The total cost of projects submitted for Carmel, Indiana is $428,450,000, or about 16.5%.

Now I understand that all of these projects are for road improvements, and I understand, being from 'round here, that the traffic in Carmel is a right mess. There's no sense in trying to drive anywhere on the north/northeast side of Indy between 7 and 10 am, and between 4 and 6 pm. You won't get anywhere fast. I get it.

But why is a relatively small (of 68,677 according to a special 2007 census), rich (the median income is approximately double the average median income of the rest of the state) city requesting such a gigantic percentage of Indiana's share of the stimulus package?

Surely Carmel, where the average home value is $254,458 (over double the Indiana average), has the tax base to fund its own stinking road projects.

This is the local equivalent of Beverly Hills asking for 16.5% of the money to help California. Carmel is one of the nicest cities in the state.

I thought this money was supposed to help people who need help. The more I learn about the nuts and bolts of the stimulus package, the more incensed I become. I understand that these projects are proposed, and not yet funded, but I still find this grossly irresponsible on the part of the Mayor of Carmel's office. Wouldn't this money be better spent in more needy areas of the state? How about Elkhart, where the unemployment rate is 17%? Or Marion, IN, where the unemployment rate was a staggering 11.3% as of December '08? Carmel's unemployment is 4.4%. I think they're ok. Selfish jerks.

When we get home later, I'm going to write a letter. I'll cc the Mayor of Carmel... Who should I send it to, though? The governor? The president? ACK!

I know this is a Mommyblog, and this is clearly not about the babies, but if we're going to saddle my children with an unpayable amount of debt, I would at least like to see that money go to worthy causes - to helping people in true need. It makes me insane that the rich are going to get richer, again, as always, and the poor are going to get screwed. As always. After all, Elkhart isn't on the list of Indiana cities requesting funds. Nor is South Bend. Maybe all the projects for that region are in Mishawaka? I don't know, but it's maddening. Mishawaka only (only!) requseted $38 million, or 1.4%. My head is going to explode.

Am I reading this wrong, or is it really this nauseating???


Anonymous said...

From what you've told me, my gut reaction is that the folks in Carmel were savvy enough to request funds for everything they could think of. I believe your letter should go to everybody *but* the leaders in Carmel, asking why they let this opportunity slip through their collective fingers and neglected to request funds.

Brandon Stenger said...

Don't bother sending it to the Carmel folks. All they will tell you is that the money is going to pay the newly hired road crews. They've surely got their rationalizations firmly in place.

john said...
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