Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sources Say Former Houston High School Principal Cherry Failed to Report Allegations Against Choir Director

Earlier today, I posted the strange tale of the two "separate" scandals at Houston High School--When Truth is Stranger than Fiction GMSD Scandals 101

I am filling in some missing pieces in the timeline that may help explain the connection between the suspension of HHS Choir Director Billy Rayburn and the subsequent resignation of Principal Kyle Cherry. This additional information is based on conversations that I have had with two women who have direct knowledge concerning a recent allegation involving Dr. Rayburn and a female student.

According to one of the women, on April 2, she reported to Mr. Cherry that her daughter had been subjected to private comments by Dr. Rayburn of a sexual nature. Mr. Cherry told the mother that he would turn this information over to the GMSD Human Resources Department. The other woman with whom I spoke understands that, after the mother had reported the incident to Mr. Cherry, HHS employees questioned a few students about the incident. The mother followed up with Mr. Cherry, who told her that he was then ready to report the matter to GMSD HR. 

Several days elapsed, and, hearing nothing further, the mother decided she needed to call GMSD HR herself. She was surprised and angered to hear from HR that it had not recently received any report of a case involving sexual statements by a teacher at Houston High School. On April 9, the mother, accompanied by a friend (the second of my two sources), detailed for HR the incident that her daughter related to her. The HR Department suggested that the mother talk directly to Dr. Rayburn, but also gave her the option of filing a formal report. The mother felt uncomfortable with speaking directly to Dr. Rayburn, and opted for filing a formal report. Dr. Rayburn was suspended without pay on April 11, and the investigation began. The two women now understand that the GMSD HR investigation has been expanded to include incidents involving other students.

Friday, April 27, 2018

When Truth is Stranger Than Fiction--GMSD Scandals 101
Our illusions about our City and our "Excellence Always" motto have been severely tested in the last week by the various revelations about our GMSD school system. I don't cover the school system much in Shining a Light, due to lack of time. And now, I don't need to cover it, because the news channels and newspapers have done a great job making Germantown the laughing stock of Shelby County. By the way, we rightfully earned it! 

Since truth is stranger than fiction, I will just put some of the various news sources here, mostly in chronological order. I won't comment further until we know more. I feel I have to report on this, even though I have nothing meaningful to add to what has already has been reported. This is an "accumulation of information" post, for posterity.   

First, on April 19, it was revealed to us that an unnamed teacher at Houston High School was under investigation. All the students at Houston apparently knew everything about this, but nothing had surfaced in the news about the details.

On Monday, April 23, the Commercial Appeal reported that Kyle Cherry had abruptly left his job as principal the previous Friday. He cited overwhelming stress as the reason for his departure, according to GMSD, although his hand written note did not include that revelation. 

The name of the teacher under investigation is revealed on April 26. William Rayburn, the Tennessee Teacher of the Year for the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts, was accused of kissing and touching students. I have learned from other sources that Mr. Rayburn was hired after leaving Briarcrest School under questionable circumstances. The April 11 memo from Mr. Manuel:  

This article mentioned the strange timing of the resignation of Mr. Cherry juxtaposed with the news that the choir director's investigation. This article mentions that Mr. Cherry had been reprimanded for going to a female staffer's home in August, and that the police had been involved. 

Later on April 26, some jaw dropping information was revealed about an incident that occurred August 1, involving Kyle Cherry. The police were called by the 19 year old daughter of a co-worker (really a subordinate) of Mr. Cherry. She reported strange noises and a prowler. The police came and found flip flops, a ladder up to her window, and a cold beer in the back yard. She claimed that the person looked like Mr. Cherry, and the police report stated that the mother tried to shush her daughter from talking about Mr. Cherry.

It was revealed that there was an "internal" investigation of this matter, which involved a reprimand which was essentially a warning not to do this again, signed by Mr. Manuel.

Mr. Cherry says he was trying to get the attention of the girls' mother. He said they were more than just friends, but in all reports of the incident they deny having a sexual relationship.  She and Mr. Cherry had had dinner together the same date as this incident. The police report states that the mother did not want to file charges because of fear of losing her job.  Mr. Cherry apologized to the woman the next day and said he was inebriated at the time of the incident. 

Channel 5 was also coming out with various reports on these incidents. Mr. Cherry agreed to a couple of interviews where he explains that alcohol and stress created the situation in August. 

The above is yet another news story about the incidents. It reveals that Kyle Cherry received $25,000 severance pay when he left. We were told by a newspaper reporter that Jason Manuel stated that was money that was available when any high level employee chooses to leave the district.

8. Former Houston High Principal Resignation Unrelated to Choir Teacher Investigation 

Mr. Cherry says he has been contemplating resigning for months, and his resignation has nothing to do with the investigation of the choir teacher.

9. Here is the communication that parents received from Jason Manuel about the investigation of the teacher, dated April 26:   
GMSD has stated that the "kissing" of students by Mr. Rayburn was on the forehead of students after choir competitions. The other allegations are being investigated.

10. Germantown Schools Chief Speaks Out About Houston High Scandals  

Apr. 27--From the above we learn that Superintendent Manuel would have to "check the records" to find out when he first learned about allegations against the choir director, but he stated that he takes allegations like this seriously. He says they were reported to Germantown Police and to the Department of Childhood Services. WREG said the Germantown Police had no record about Rayburn, and he stated it was told to the policeman assigned to the school. He said he would contact the police directly. 

11. Germantown Supt. Speaks for First Time Since Teachers Suspension and Principals Resignation 

Apr. 28 Last Update: When asked about the $25,000 in separation money given to Mr. Cherry:  "Our legal counsel has now recommended that we get a separation package or agreement really to protect the district from future litigation or concerns,” Manuel said. 

12. Germantown's Schools Head Addresses Upheavals at Houston High

April 27: ""We conduct rigorous evaluations of all our administrators, and I believe that Mr. Cherry was having difficulty balancing his job expectations with his personal life," said Superintendent Jason Manuel." 

For my subsequent posts on this matter, please see 

Former Houston High School Prinicipal Fails to Report Allegations

Jason Manuel Wants New Contract from GMSD Board

Incompetence Evident in Handling of GMSD Scandals

Monday, April 16, 2018

City Projection of Capital Costs related to Development

The apartment moratorium announced by Mayor Palazzolo last December had as its stated purpose the study of the fiscal impact of the City's newly approved and planned multi-family developments. Although complete cost/benefit studies obviously should have been done prior to any approvals, at least now one City spreadsheet has surfaced which details water and sewer capital/infrastructure costs. I broke the spreadsheet into two pieces for readability. The spreadsheet indicates a total of over eight million dollars is planned for meeting water and sewer infrastructure needs in both the Western Gateway and Forest Hill Heights area. 

Below are the sewer and water capital costs required for  recently approved or planned Smart Growth developments, along with smaller lot residential developments, and I have included a brief discussion: 

1. Sewer

In the above image, the white background indicates future planned sewer projects, while those with the gray background have been completed. As you can see, the City needs over one million dollars worth of sewers in the Forest Hill Heights area, thanks to the new residential developments in the area.

I also find it interesting that two million dollars is being planned for sewer improvements for the Western Gateway. To my knowledge, there have been no formal submissions for development in that area, but the planned expenditure for sewer improvements indicates a likelihood that plans are in progress. In fact, the buzz is that the owner of Carrefour, the shopping center at Kirby Parkway and Poplar, is working on a major redesign which will transform it into a mixed-use development. 

 Click here for the Western Gateway Small Area Plan.   

The conceptual plan for Carrefour from the Small Area Plan:   

Another thing to note from the sewer portion of the spreadsheet is the Miller Farms Pump Station construction, which was completed at a cost of over one million dollars. A source told me that this project was deemed necessary due to past proposed plans for the Arthur property (land west of the Apple store). These plans never came to fruition. Did we, the taxpayers, pay for a pumping station that, in the end, was not needed? The City needs to be mindful of the possiblity that some projects do not get off the drawing board, because the taxpayers do not want to foot the bill for unnecessary sewers or pump stations. 

2. Water


We know about the water tower being planned for a "park" by the new school on Forest Hill. Unfortunately the residents in the area were not consulted during the decision making process, nor were they even told of the plans. They only learned about it through documents that were obtained from the City, and they understandably are distressed about the possibility of having a large water tower looming over their expensive homes. I cannot say that I blame them. Will the "park" at the new school site include a walking trail around a fenced water tower? Time will tell. I don't know a lot about water towers, but I do have some questions. When I look at a map, it seems to me that the area may be closer to adequate Memphis and Collierville water sources than Germantown. Would it make sense to consider having new developments in Forest Hill Heights purchase water from Memphis or Collierville?  City developments south of Winchester already purchase their water from MLGW. If we do need to provide water to this area, could we explore other locations for the water tower, areas that are not in the backyard of million dollar homes?  Do we need a water tower in any case? Aren't there other alternatives to water towers? I don't remember seeing water towers in Memphis, for example. I don't know the answer to these questions; I am merely posing them. Another publication The Germantown Journal has given us more information about water towers in Germantown.

While I know little about water towers, I do know how to use a calculator, and the planned water projects alone just for the Forest Hill Heights area are over $5,000,000. Since capital projects such as these are just one part of the cost related to residential development, it is easy to see how the $85,000 City-commissioned TischlerBise Fiscal Impact Study found that both "status quo" and "dense" residential development has a negative fiscal impact.

3. The above spreadsheet does not include school construction cost, which obviously cannot be ignored. I will discuss school construction costs in a future post.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Restrictive Covenants Must be Disclosed to Planning Commission in Rezoning Decisions

Just in case there are any City officials unaware of this, in rezoning property, any restrictive covenants, including those between two private parties, must be disclosed to the Planning Commission. 

Here is the relevant document, found on the City's website:  

Planning Commission Checklist for Rezoning Decisions 

As indicated in Alderman's Open Records Request Yields Key Forest Hill Legal Documents and Minutes from BMA Meeting Help Derail Zoning Changes, Aldermen Barzizza and Massey both had to make requests of the City just to discover 1) the mere existence of a covenant between the neighbors and Ruleman in early 2006 and 2) minutes of the 2006 BMA meeting where the covenant was discussed. 

The covenant on the Forest Hill Reaves property was deemed "theoretical" by the Director of Economic Development, apparently without asking a City attorney, and was not disclosed to the aldermen. Obviously the determination on whether a covenant is enforceable or not should be done with a thorough search of the files, and made by an attorney. 

How can anyone argue that this information should not be disclosed to the aldermen before voting on the first two readings of the rezoning? Although the enforceabilty of the covenant may be contested by the developer, that is no excuse for failure to disclose the covenant. 

And, even if the City Attorney gave an opinion that the covenant was not enforceable (and I have seen nothing that indicates that he has given such an opinion), the covenant should have been disclosed. It was a promise to the citizens, who had every reason to believe that the agreement that they were entering into eleven years ago was made in good faith. How could a promise to the citizens, read into the minutes of a BMA meeting, be deemed irrelevant? And, it really isn't the City employee that should determine the relevance in any case. The City employee should give the Planning Commission all information, and the Planning Commission and the BMA should decide its relevance.

I have seen the argument made that if a covenant is deemed to be between two private parties, it need not be disclosed to the City officials who vote on a project. As you can see by the document above, any restrictive covenant must be disclosed to the Planning Commission. Obviously, the elected officials who vote on the rezoning should have been informed of the covenant.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Minutes from 2006 BMA Meeting Help Derail Zoning Changes on Forest Hill Reaves Property

At last night's executive session of the BMA meeting, we learned that the attorney for Duke, the developer of the Reaves property, had requested that the third reading of the proposed zoning changes be removed from the agenda.The proposal, which would change the zoning from estate one-acre lots to one-third acre residential lots and subject the property to a possible PUD with even smaller lots, had previously passed the first two readings by a 3-2 margin (Aldermen Owens, Gibson, and Janda in favor, Aldermen Massey and Barzizza opposed). 

This was the second BMA meeting in a row at which the third reading was removed from the agenda. At the executive session of the March 26 meeting, city attorneys recommended the removal of the third reading because Alderman Massey had uncovered a covenant on the property through an open records' request.  Even though a signed copy of the covenant was in the City's files, the administration had failed to disclose it, labeling  the document "theoretical". Apparently, this was done without first consulting City attorneys.  

On this occasion, it was Alderman Barzizza, rather than Alderman Massey who requested records from the City-- specifically, minutes from three 2005-2006 BMA meetings.  

The January 9, 2006 minutes specifically refer to the covenant. Not only that, these minutes reveal that the City was instrumental in negotiating the covenant. (see yellow highlighted section below): 

The above disclosure was apparently enough to convince Duke's attorney to suggest that the developer meet with the citizens and try to come to a compromise. Mayor Palazzolo, an alderman at the time, was in attendance at the 2006 meeting. 

Even though they had been apprised that the measure would be pulled from the agenda, a few Forest Hill citizens felt that it was important that they appear at the meeting, and speak during the Citizens To Be Heard session. I especially enjoyed listening to the passionate speech of one of our younger citizens. Mayor Palazzolo, even before any citizen had spoken, forcefully announced that no clapping would be allowed, or he would clear the chambers

Channel 13 ran a story on the new developments in the case, and interviewed the young citizen who spoke: Link  

On a different note, you surely have to love election years. I am happy to report the administration is paying attention to at least some of the public's wishes. The BMA approved Item 9 on the agenda, a resolution stating that both the extension of Forest Hill Road over the Wolf River and the realignment of Germantown Road "will not be implemented by the Board." While this resolution falls short of asking the MPO to remove from consideration these items for the projects listed in its Livabilty 2050 Plan, the resolution is still welcome news, and will likely give the citizens a little breathing room before these two projects are resurrected.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Alderman's Open Records Request Yields Key Forest Hill Legal Documents

It is a sad state of affairs when an elected official must resort to an open records request to obtain information relevant to the issues upon which he is required to vote. Elected officials, in this case an alderman, should not be forced to jump through hoops to find important documents. But that is exactly what happened in the saga that I describe in this post. Certain of our City officials, it seems quite clear, have forgotten that they work for us, the citizens. 

The document at issue here substantiates the claims of Forest Hill homeowners that a promise was made to forego, for a specified period, certain rezoning of the Reaves property.  Little did the citizens know, while they kept insisting to the City the promise had been made, that the document, a covenant signed by the owners of the property at the time, was sitting right there in the City's own files! But for Alderman Dean Massey's open records request and ensuing fortuitous developments, we would never have known about this covenant. It was because of the discovery of this covenant that the third and final reading of the proposed ordinance to change the zoning of the Reaves property, originally scheduled to be held on March 26, was delayed until this Monday, April 9. This delay was discussed briefly in Forest Hill fights back at last night's BMA meeting

Now that the truth has been uncovered, how will the BMA decide the zoning issue currently before it - namely, whether the Reaves property should be rezoned from one-acre estate lots to one-third-acre residential lots? I guess we will find out Monday night on this matter's third and final reading. 

I will now attempt to reconstruct the events leading to the discovery of the covenant and the decision to delay the rezoning vote:

THURSDAY, MARCH 22: Faced with the third and final reading on the Reaves property rezoning issue, coming up at the Monday, March 26 BMA meeting, Alderman Massey, on his “Massey for Germantown” Facebook page, posted a “document dump” of a portion of the material that he obtained through his open records request. 

Unlike most other city officials, who rebuffed Forest Hill residents' claims that they had been promised that the subject property would not be rezoned, Alderman Massey had actually listened to them. He felt an obligation to investigate his constituents' concerns. Suspecting that the City had not been forthcoming, he had pursued an open records request. Posting the documents on Facebook on Thursday was necessary because Alderman Massey had received a massive amount of information, and he did not have time to research everything. In his post, he put online for citizen perusal those documents he considered to be the most promising.  

One particular document, a portion of what then appeared to be an unsigned covenant dated December 2005, caught the attention of a number of Facebook readers. This partial document appeared to be a promise by the previous owners of the Reaves property (the Rulemans) to forego, for twenty years, any further rezoning, in return for their neighbors' agreement to withdraw opposition to certain zoning changes that the Rulemans wanted to pursue at that particular time. Because this covenant is one that "runs with the land", it was to be filed with the Shelby County Register.

When I first saw the document on Thursday, I realized that, if this covenant were actually enforceable, it would be a game changer for the soon-to-be-proposed Duke development on the Reaves property. This was clearly an issue that the citizens of the Forest Hill area needed to examine with their neighbors and attorneys. 

FRIDAY MARCH 23: One Facebook reader whose attention was grabbed is Forest Hill area resident "Burt Lester" (pseudonym). Burt called Alderman Massey, but Mr. Massey was unable to provide any additional information at this time.

SUNDAY MARCH 25: At church on Sunday, Burt spoke with his next door neighbor, a long-time resident of the area, about the document. As it turned out, Burt's neighbor recalled the covenant, and was subsequently able to locate a version of the document with more pages attached.   

At this point in the timeline, those of us who had seen the covenant did not know if the Rulemans had signed it. It was only later that we learned that Alderman Massey, upon his further review of the documents he had obtained from the City, had been able to find the Rulemans' signatures. As signatories often do with legal documents that go back and forth between lawyers, the Rulemans had signed their names on a separate signature page. 

At the end of this brief timeline, I will link the document and briefly discuss its provisions.


Burt, Alderman Massey, and others  determined that the covenant had not been filed by the Rulemans, the parties responsible for filing the it with the County. [Note: Covenants like this are recorded because subsequent purchasers of the property must be notified of the restrictions so that they will be bound by the terms of the covenant.] 

Burt called a City official and asked that the BMA defer that night's vote in light of the recent discovery of the covenant. (At the time of this call, Burt had not yet become aware that the Rulemans' signatures had been found.) This official told Burt that the covenant was not legally enforceable, and said that the vote would go ahead that evening. It was Burt's impression from this conversation that the City had only recently been made aware of the covenant from either the Massey for Germantown Facebook page or Burt's call to this City official. In fact, as we now know, the City had surely long been aware of the covenant, as evidenced by the fact that Alderman Massey had obtained it, including the page with the Rulemans' signatures, directly from the City's files. This is borne out by the discussion that took place that evening during the Executive Session:

What we hear, with some difficulty, in this audio: 

1.City Attorney David Harris stated that the covenant had just come to his attention. He felt that the best thing to do was to defer the vote on the rezoning of the property until all parties could assess the legal ramifications of the covenant. 

2. Alderman Massey then revealed that he had obtained the signed covenant directly from the City’s own files, and asked why the residents had not been informed about the covenant before their votes on the first two readings.  

3. Director of Economic Development Cameron Ross answered Mr. Massey by saying, first, that the Rulemans had never built their planned subdivision on the property, and, second, the covenant had not been properly filed with the County Register of Deeds.  Mr. Ross then offered his opinion that the covenant was a mere “theoretical” document.  

As a citizen, I find Mr. Ross' response to Alderman Massey quite troubling. I say this for three reasons. First, Mr. Ross is not an attorney, and, as best I can tell, he never consulted with the City's attorneys until the document was discovered by Alderman Massey. Second, Mr. Ross should have told the aldermen about the existence of the covenant, regardless of his view that it was merely "theoretical." After all, the residents had insisted all along that a promise had been made that the Reaves property would not be further rezoned. Mr. Ross should have disclosed the existence of the covenant, whether or not he believed it is enforceable. Finally, the aldermen absolutely should have been made aware of the covenant, regardless of whether it turns out to be unenforceable. The Aldermen's vote on an issue of vital importance to their constituents might well have been influenced by the fact that those constituents had received a firm promise on which they had reasonably relied.

TODAY:  The document's legal status is now in limbo. 

Here is a link to the covenant—  

For ease of reference, here is one relevant page:


As stated previously, a covenant like this one "runs with the land." This means, as I understand it, the covenant's promises apply not only to the owner signing the covenant, but also to all subsequent purchasers of the property. The covenant in question states that the Rulemans will not seek any additional rezoning for at least twenty years if the residents withdraw their opposition to the particular zoning the Rulemans were contemplating at that time and if the Rulemans, in fact, were granted the rezoning. Additionally, the covenant states that between years 20 and year 50, two-thirds of the residents of the area would have to agree to a zoning change in order for a rezoning to occur. At year 50 (2055), the agreement ends.  

After obtaining the rezoning they were then seeking, the Rulemans closed on the property in February 2006. The zoning changes that the Rulemans obtained as a result of their agreement with their neighbors included a commercial project (where Millenium Furniture is now). The Rulemans never completed the residential subdivision to which the residents had dropped their objections.  The property was later purchased from the Rulemans by Mr. Reaves.  


Unfortunately, the Rulemans failed to record the covenant. Whether Mr. Reaves knew about the covenant at the time he purchased the property, whether the covenant is enforceable in any event, and whether the Forest Hill residents have a claim against persons other than the current owner are questions that I cannot answer. I do know, however, that the residents, acting in good faith, received a promise on which they were counting. It is not their fault that they find themselves in this position. Surely, the aldermen who voted for the change on the first two readings - Aldermen Owens, Gibson, and Janda - will, now that they have finally been made aware of the covenant, pay heed to these facts when they decide this issue on Monday evening. 

One would think that, in light of the covenant given to the Forest Hill residents, these aldermen would need a particularly strong reason for taking an action that squarely contradicts the promise the residents received in 2005. And, as I have previously pointed out, no such strong reason exists. As I explained in Forest Hill Reaves Property - Costs, Benefits, and the City's Fiscal Health, the findings of the City's own taxpayer-funded TischlerBise Analysis demonstrate that there is no sound fiscal reason to increase the residential density in the area. Quite the contrary! Furthermore the City has undertaken no other study in an effort to show a fiscal justification for increased residential density   

I will be very interested to see how these three aldermen vote on Monday evening.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

City Fails to Perform Cost Benefit Analyses of Residential Projects, Despite Taxpayer-funded Fiscal Impact Study

Governmental decisions, just like those made in the private sector, should be grounded in appropriate decision-making models. The gold standard is a cost/benefit analysis.   

In their recent decisions regarding future residential growth, the City's leaders have, from what I have learned, apparently paid no heed to a cost-benefit analysis, or any other sound model. This was confirmed for me by the City's response to a recent open record's request. I will give you the particulars concerning this request below, but first I should provide a little background.

In my blog post of March 24, No, New Dense Development Will Not Help Keep Our Property Taxes LowI discussed the July 2016 $85,000 taxpayer-funded TischlerBise Fiscal Impact Analysis. The TischlerBise analysis shows that residential development of all types negatively affects the City's fiscal health. In a subsequent post, Forest Hill Reaves Property, Costs, Benefits, and the City's Fiscal Health, I used the findings of the City-commissioned TischlerBise analysis in a model that focused on the proposed zoning change for the Reaves property on Forest Hill Road. The third and final reading for this proposed zoning change will likely take place at the coming BMA meeting Monday. The model I presented demonstrates, per the findings of the TischlerBise analysis, that the negative fiscal impact of the smaller-lot zoning change under consideration is greater than the negative impact that results from maintaining the current estate-sized zoning. I therefore concluded that, accepting the findings of the $85,000 taxpayer-funded study, keeping the existing estate zoning for the Reaves property would be best for the City. 

The City's constant conclusory refrain extolling the virtues of mixed-use development and the buying habits of millenials is worthless when not supported by solid evidence. Sound bites in praise of "walkability" and "live, work, and play" are no substitute for elementary fiscal analysis.

Now, I will turn to my open records request:

As you can see, I asked for any cost-benefit analysis performed by city staff, outside contractors, or citizens, examining any and all residential projects proposed since 2016. I also asked for any analysis performed by the City using the findings of the TischlerBise analysis.  

Here is how the City responded: 

As you can see, the City checked the box that provides that "no such record(s) exists or this office does not maintian record(s) responsive to your request." I can only conclude that the City is eschewing the $85,000 taxpayer-funded TischlerBise analysis because it does not like its findings. Furthermore, it seems quite clear from the absence of any records submitted in response to my request that the City is not using any alternative analysis.  


A municipality's failure to apply sound fiscal priorities can lead to a bad outcome. Take, for example, Carmel, Indiana, a city that our leaders touted as a model for future development.   

Indeed, our leaders were so impressed with Carmel that they took a field trip there in 2016.  I remember the photo ops!  

A Look at Carmel, Indiana and Germantown Smart Growth  

Here is Carmel's mayor speaking about future growth: 

“The city still has a few pockets of potential land to develop into residential uses,”  [the Mayor] said. “But most of our future growth in populations is more likely to come from vertical expansion in the central part of our city as we encourage mixed uses and multiple levels in new construction designed to create more residential density and vibrancy in our rapidly growing redevelopment areas.”  

Carmel Leads the State in Population Growth  

Note how Carmel's mayor, in the above quote, is pushing for high-density residential development. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?   

You may be wondering how this has worked out for Carmel. While its citizens like the taxpayer-funded amenities, Carmel is now ill-positioned to weather any economic downturn, and its high debt level (close to a billion dollars) has led to  a downgrade of Carmel's credit rating. 

Carmel's Debt Rating Dips as its Debt Rises