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Sue Finkam

Source: WISH-TV / other

CARMEL, Ind. — It’s been six months since Sue Finkam took over as the mayor of Carmel.

The city boasts many things as it continues to grow in southern Hamilton County, but that growth is now creating a few problems that the city is having to get creative to solve. One of those problems is the availability of affordable housing.

“I think what’s been surprising … is how truly a national problem this is,” Finkam said on All Indiana Politics. “The fact that we have not been building enough housing stock either for rent or for sale is coming to fruition here as well.”

Housing prices in Carmel are certainly well above what you might be paying for a home throughout the rest of the Indy Metro. It’s not a surprising fact as Carmel has developed a reputation as one of the safest communities in the nation, and because of that, many people want to live there.

Finkam said it’s a good problem to have that so many people want to move to her city, but once there people are not leaving either which means the availability of housing runs thin.

Still, she is confident she and her staff can find the solutions as she has worked through her first six months. Finkam is coming up on planning her first budget proposal for the next fiscal year, in which she is warning city leaders of a few changes.

“We are changing the process of our directors of getting an X-percent directive if a budget increases to zero-based budgeting,” she said. “If you have an important project or initiative you have to justify the increase you ask for. You won’t just get a 3-percent increase directive year-over-year.”

Finkam took over as mayor of Carmel after her predecessor, Jim Brainard, decided not to seek re-election. Brainard had been the longest-serving mayor of any city in Indiana after 28 years. Finkam also said she is inspired by the number of young women who are looking up to her.

“I’m surprised about the number of young women, like middle school age, who are super excited about having a female in this role,” Finkam said. “It’s surprising because we’ve had two other female mayors before.”