COUNCILMAN’S CORNER

Fort Wayne’s city election campaign is in full swing as everyone is aware. So far the campaigns for city council and city clerk and mayor have been fairly civil. Hopefully that will continue to be the case. It appears to me that to date there’s been a good discussion of the issues. As you know, Fort Wayne’s municipal elections are now fairly close—Tuesday, Nov. 4th, to be exact. Don’t forget to make sure you’re registered to vote! If you would like a mail-in voter registration form or absentee voter application, call or email me and I’ll make sure you receive one.

By the time you read this column, City Council will have voted on the $170 million city budget after cutting some expenditures. The budget brought to council by the Mayor was very tight and for that reason Council’s cuts probably won’t amount to over 1 % at the most. Happily Mayor Graham Richard has managed tax dollars well and we have a $23 million financial safety net that will prevent a major city tax increase at this time. If you recently heard that local government had increased taxes by $7 million that was COUNTY COUNCIL, not City Council or the Mayor of Fort Wayne. In mentioning County Council’s recent tax increases I’ll be the first to admit that Allen Co. government is burdened with the massive responsibility of financing our county courts and correctional facilities—an expenditure which now amounts to over 2/3 of the entire Allen Co. governmental budget. The Mayor and City Council have once again made sure that any property taxes financing the CITY budget are well below the maximum allowable level.

Unfortunately, the rejuvenation of Southtown Mall has become an issue in the city election. I continue to believe that Southtown still has a good chance to survive as a major south side regional shopping center. I’m proud of my vote to support the city’s plan to put together a public-private partnership to bring Southtown back to life. The current owner of Southtown has continually allowed the shopping center to deteriorate. Menard’s has agreed to open a store at Southtown as part of Fort Wayne’s plan to rehab the mall. From 500 to 800 jobs will also be created! I only wish that the mall owner would put all of those dollars into improving Southtown that he’s now spending to pay lawyers to fight the city’s plan to save the mall. Support of the plan to save the mall should be bipartisan—as it was when City Council voted yes by an 8-1 margin. If you want Southtown to come back, keep the pressure on all Democratic and Republican candidates to finish the job that Mayor Graham Richard and the City Council have started.

Give me a call or send me an email regarding any issues you’d like to discuss. I’m usually working on dozens of requests at any given time and I appreciate your patience. Don’t forget to register to vote!

 

Tom Hayhurst
4th Distr. City Councilman
432-8418
tom.hayhurst@verizon.net

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Tom Hayhurst

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