August 8th, 2019
County Council Tees Up a Contentious Public Budget Hearing
As area schools begin another year (Hamilton Southeastern yesterday and Carmel Clay Schools next week), a gentle reminder to be more mindful as you get behind the wheel of your vehicle. Road construction continues, and folks get frustrated … but it’s no time to pass a school bus. Drive defensively and slow your roll! And do NOT read 3 for Thursday while driving!
Breaking News from the County Seat . Yesterday’s budget hearing of the Hamilton County Council could not exactly be described as smooth sailing, according to our friends at the Hamilton County Reporter . There were definite winners and losers among the county’s non-profits, with the Youth Assistance Program coming out ahead with three new advocate positions funded at $240,000. Meanwhile, neither Conner Prairie nor the Hamilton County Leadership Academy received a single penny of requested support from the Council. While Councilman Brad Beaver shrugged it off as “a tough vote, people get mad, and it doesn’t matter,” we’re willing to bet that the public hearing on the budget (set for September 4 at 7 p.m.) will be a fiery affair. 
It’s Easy to Be Green . Hamilton County residents and businesses have a path to reducing their carbon footprint (and their energy bills!) with the introduction of a solar panel co-op that allows for a “group rate” installation. A similar co-op in Indianapolis already has nearly 70 participants. Registration ends Oct. 31; the actual installation process from start to finish takes six to nine months. Meanwhile, the city of Carmel and Mayor Jim Brainard received some good national press for its environmentally friendly initiatives including a $3 million investment in solar power – that came in handy last spring amid storm-induced power outages. The headline, “This Mayor Puts ‘Conserve’ Back in Conservative” reflects his belief that despite current political rhetoric, cities need to be addressing climate change now. “Conservatives think of themselves as not being reckless, but it would be reckless to ignore what the majority of the world’s scientists are telling us about climate change. We see the impacts in our weather every day.”
What is THAT? While we’re all “tech-cited” about the prospect of 5G (because who doesn’t want their Fortnite access in a nano second?), the reality of what the future literally looks like is beginning to hit home. The technology relies on a series of small towers (versus the traditional large cell tower) to bring services to the masses. About 70 5G small cell towers have been installed in Fishers, many protruding from existing light poles. And, there’s not much Fishers can do about the aesthetics. The Indiana legislature over-ruled home rule during the 2018 session, enabling providers to erect the small cell towers in public rights of way and commercial corridors outside the scope of municipal ordinances. Last fall, the Federal Communications Commission piled on, limiting how much local governments can charge providers for application fees while pushing for quick permit approval. Yes, it beats the “dial up” of 1999 and is needed as more businesses rely on “the cloud” and SAAS. But you’d think they’d figure out how to make a not-quite-so-controversial presence. Stay tuned.

Plus One . Feeling sick? According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network , b eing a Hoosier may be bad for your health as its policy makers fall short on supporting measures like underage access to tanning beds, cigarette taxes, screening for several different types of cancer and Medicaid access. They are – as is OneZone – hopeful the report can spawn some action during the 2020 session of the General Assembly.