As part of our effort to educate the public we invite elected officials to share their concerns with respects to fiscal issues. We are thankful County Councilor At - Large , Rick McKinney has submitted this rebuttal to the false claims made by Carmel Mayor Brainard about the County Council during the Mayoral debate on April, 16, 2019 .
Recently , 2 of the 4 City mayors in Hamilton County have compared their cities’ debt levels per capita to that of Hamilton County government’s: the problem is both Mayors used incorrect numbers for the County, indicating the County’s debt level was much greater than their own cities as justification for their debt.
Being a Hamilton County Council member for the last 23 years and one who has closely paid attention to controlling the County’s debt level, I immediately recognized the Mayors’ erroneous comments. I contacted both individually and after their research confirmed the County’s debt level per capita was much less than the cities, I was assured they would not repeat their claims.
The bottom line for me , in deciding whether to issue debt via bonds or pay cash for a project, has been to first determine if the project is a “need “ or a “want”. The County government is currently in outstanding shape, given our financial reserves that are unencumbered and not pledged for anything. How did this occur?
One only needs to examine the makeup of the fiscal bodies of the cities versus the County’s: an overwhelming majority of the City Councils’ are supported and funded during their election campaigns by the Mayors and contractors doing business with the cities, while the majority of County Council are self funded or receive contributions from a few individuals or companies with no support from the County Commissioners or vendors doing business with the County.
When the fox is inside the henhouse, don’t be surprised when there are less eggs for breakfast... or make sure you elect those who will spend taxpayers’ funds wisely. Sincerely, Rick McKinney