City Controller Pat Roller and I recently discussed the City of Fort Wayne’s proposed budget for 2016.
The balanced budget for 2016 continues my commitment to providing needed services to residents, neighborhoods, and businesses. The budget also reflects our position as a leader in economic development, job growth, strong neighborhoods and quality of life amenities that make Fort Wayne a destination place for families and businesses.
I continue to be encouraged by the positive momentum and unprecedented excitement we’re experiencing in the City of Fort Wayne. Leadership and a commitment to being fiscally responsible have positioned our community for continued success. Our 2016 budget places a strong emphasis on moving Fort Wayne forward in the right direction as we invest in public safety, infrastructure and parks to make our City the very best as a national leader as we meet the needs of residents, neighborhoods and businesses.
The property tax supported budget, also known as the Civil City budget, totals $155 million. This budget does not include Fort Wayne City Utilities, which has its own budget funded by ratepayers.
2016 budget highlights:
*Academy class for the Fort Wayne Fire Department to hire 33 new firefighters. Ten of the recruits will be funded by a federal grant. The remaining 23 firefighters will be funded as part of the 2016 City budget.
*Continuation of commitment to neighborhood street, road and sidewalk improvement projects – $22.8 million.
*Investments in maintenance projects in City Parks – $3 million.
*Utilize the State of Indiana’s allowable tax levy to assist in preserving funding to provide essential services.
The 2016 budget is a continuation of the work performed by the bipartisan Fiscal Policy Group created by the office. Two years ago, Fiscal Policy Group members, City Council, and neighborhood and business leaders, and I worked together on the passage of a financial plan to save money and bring additional revenue to the City. The results have included an increase in the number of police officers and firefighters, record amounts of neighborhood street, road, and sidewalk improvements and needed enhancements and maintenance to City Parks.
Fort Wayne and cities and towns across the State of Indiana continue to face budgetary challenges. Property tax caps have forced local governments to fund essential services with less revenue. Fort Wayne’s proactive approach to enacting successful financial strategies to ensure sustainability and viability now and in the future has lessened the negative impact in our community.
The budget is available online at www.cityoffortwayne.org/smartgov/. City Council will be discussing the budget over the next several weeks and will take a final vote on the budget in October.
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