ANNEXATION-CONTINUING THE GROWTH OF FORT WAYNE – Message From The Mayor

An annexation plan that would add nearly 23 square miles and approximately 22,000 people in an effort to continue the growth and positive momentum being experienced in Fort Wayne was announced on March 14.

The North IV annexation boundaries are Gump and Hursh roads to the north, City of Fort Wayne limits to the south, Schwartz Road to the east, and Dunton Road to the west. Portions of St. Joseph, Perry, Cedar Creek, and Milan townships are part of the annexation area.

The proposed North IV annexation is part of a progression of annexations north of the current boundary lines. As the urban area expands and more development occurs, the City gradually annexes to capture the urban growth. State law recognizes that municipalities need a way to capture urban growth that surrounds their boundary lines. For decades, leaders have worked to ensure the City limits reflect the population of the urban area.

The ability to annex recognizes that many residents benefit from a city’s streets, police and fire protection, parks and water and sewer utilities. Annexation also creates greater tax equity because more of the residents who benefit from living near a large city help share the costs of maintaining that city and its services.

This growth plan is an opportunity to enhance Fort Wayne’s position as a leader in providing excellent services to residents and businesses. We must be proactive and innovative to move our community forward in the right direction as a growing and prospering City where individuals, families and businesses want to be. By working together, we can build on the momentum and investment we’re experiencing.

Highlights of the most recent annexations:

*Southwest Extended in 2006; 12.86 square miles; 22,587 residents

*North 1-3 in 2001-2002; 10.57 square miles; 10,689 residents

*Northeast 1-5 in 1990-2004; 7.68 square miles; 23,832 residents

The annexation plan requires approval by City Council. The annexation fiscal plan will be introduced to City Council in late April with possible approval in May. The annexation ordinance will be introduced in May. A public hearing will occur in July with an expected vote on the annexation ordinance to take place in August. If approved, the annexation would go into effect on January 1, 2017. City services to the area would begin at that time.

Public safety services to be provided would include police and fire protection and animal care & control. A new fire station would be built in an area north of Dupont Road and east of Interstate 69 as part of the annexation. Until the new station is in service, the area would be covered by City fire fighters at existing City fire stations near the proposed annexation area. Initially, police protection would be provided by 12 officers in the department’s northwest quadrant. Six additional officers would be added to the annexed area following the completion of the next recruit class that is scheduled to begin in January 2017.

Public Works services to be provided would include snow plowing, leaf pickup, pothole repairs, infrastructure maintenance and investment projects, garbage and recycling collection, and street light maintenance.

The majority of properties in the proposed annexation area are connected to City of Fort Wayne water and/or sewer services. As part of the agreement to connect to City sewer infrastructure, the majority of properties are covered by a document that waives a property owner’s rights to challenge annexation. The documents that contain these waivers can be found at www.acimap.us/SewerWaiver/.

Unlike prior annexations, property tax caps are in place for all properties in the State of the Indiana. Tax caps limit the amount of property taxes to one, two or three percent of the gross assessed value of a property for homestead residential, non-homestead residential and non-residential property respectively. As a result, any possible increases in the tax rate will vary from property to property. It’s projected that one out of three homeowners won’t see any impact because they are already at the maximum property tax cap of one percent. Property owners that haven’t reached the tax cap may experience an increase in their property tax bill after the City rate is applied.

Due to tax caps, other taxing units in Allen County would be affected by the annexation. The property tax impact for the City, other taxing units and property owners would go into effect beginning in 2018.

Highlights of the projected property tax impact:

*City of Fort Wayne – revenues of $10.1 million

*Northwest Allen County Schools – loss of $2.45 million

*East Allen County Schools – loss of $325,000

*Fort Wayne Community Schools –loss of $280,000

*Allen County government – loss of $1.5 million

*Allen County Public Library – loss of $574,800

A series of information sessions have been scheduled to share information with residents and businesses in the proposed annexation area. These meetings will follow an open house format with no formal presentation. Residents and property owners are invited to drop-in during the meeting timeframe and ask questions directly of staff representing City departments.

Open house schedule:

*Monday, Apr. 18 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Omni Room on the garden level of Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

*Tuesday, Apr. 19 from 7-9 a.m. at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Rd.

*Tuesday, Apr. 19 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Rd.

*Wednesday, Apr. 27 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.

*Thursday, Apr. 28 from 7-9 a.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.

*Thursday, Apr. 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Mirro Center, 10622 Parkview Plaza Dr.

Additional annexation information is available at www.cityoffortwayne.org/annexation; via email at cityinfo@cityoffortwayne.org; and via telephone at (260) 427-5429.

Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column.

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Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne’s Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the “Message from the Mayor” column.

> Read Full Biography
> More Articles Written By This Writer