As we move into our second year in office, I thought I would share with you some information that I found interesting about Wayne Township and Wayne Township government. Wayne Township was officially organized in May of 1824.
Our township government has been in continual operation since its organization, providing numerous services for residents for the past 184 years. While the focus of these services has changed and continues to change, I always remind my staff that we are here to serve the public just like the pioneers who originally formed township government.
Townships are tax-supported with the largest amount of the township budget coming from property taxes. One testament to the efficiency of township government is that statewide less than three percent of property taxes go to support townships.
As Township Trustee, I serve as the executive for Wayne Township. The fiscal body of Wayne Township is our Township Board, consisting of three members.
Those Board members are Tony Henry, Chair; Pat Turner, Secretary and Maria Parra, Finance Board Chair. The Trustee and Board are elected every four years.
Our boundaries include all of Waynedale and much of the city of Fort Wayne. Wayne Township encompasses 42 square miles with a population of 111,000 people.
Indiana’s ninety-two counties have 1,008 Townships, with Wayne Township being one of the largest in the state. Because our township is so large, we have an elected Assessor, Bev Zuber, in addition to a Trustee. The Assessor’s Office is separate from ours and is located in the City-County Building.
The responsibilities of townships are controlled by Indiana law. A major focus of a large township such as ours is to provide services to help the poor. Approximately sixteen percent of the residents of Wayne Township are below the federal poverty level.
We assist those in need in many ways in addition to emergency help with housing, utilities, food and other basic necessities. For example we are working hard on trying to get our clients job-ready and finding them jobs.
Some of you may remember the Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department, which was housed beginning in 1942 in the fire station on Old Trail Road next to Scott’s grocery. That Department, formerly a function of Wayne Township government, was established in 1940.
In the 1980s, the Southwest Fire District was formed, and Wayne Township turned over fire protection duties to that district. Wayne Township still owns the fire station and leases it to the fire district.
Last Summer I had the opportunity to tour the fire station and training facility, and was especially excited to see the 1941 Wayne Township Fire Truck just obtained by the Southwest Fire District.
As we look forward to new challenges in 2008, it also is interesting to review the long history of our Wayne Township government.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
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