Despite some qualms, Fort Wayne City Council moved Tuesday toward approving an Auburn dentist’s request to become part of Fort Wayne in hopes of getting a tax break to start a new practice on the city’s north end.
David Painter, who specializes in sedation dentistry, wants to build a 5,000 square-foot building that would house offices suites at the southeast corner of Coldwater and Union Chapel roads – a chunk of land that currently sits outside the city limits.
Because Allen County officials last year rejected Painter’s request to phase in property taxes on the new building and equipment, he is asking Fort Wayne to annex the land into the city. He would then seek tax incentives from the city. The new request raised eyebrows among come city and county council members.
“To me, this discussion is basically about us giving away something of the county’s that’s not ours to give away,” said City Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, referring to the tax money that would not be generated if the project gets the incentives.
The city also would need to start maintaining part of the intersection that currently sits outside Fort Wayne, a cost of about $55,000 over a 10-year period, according to city planners.
But Rob Young, a spokesman for Painter, said the city and other local taxing units would still benefit from added tax revenue even with the incentives. Over the 10-year tax phase-in period, the city would get about $88,000 in tax revenue from the offices, more than making up for the intersection maintenance costs, Young said.
Once full property taxes kick in, the property would start producing about $250,000 for the city over 10 years, Young said. The undeveloped land currently raises less than $1,000 in taxes over a similar period, city planner Paul Spoelhof said.
“The numbers reflect it’s a positive in the short term and the long term,” said Councilman Glynn Hines, D-6th.
To some County Council members, the city’s possible decision to grant a tax abatement would send mixed signals about local governments’ policy on incentives because county officials already said no.
“It basically puts two local governments against each other,” County Councilman Darren Vogt said last week.
City Council voted 6-2, with one abstention, Tuesday to approve a preliminary annexation plan.
Painter said he plans to invest about $1.9 million in the offices and create between 4 and 10 jobs within five years. He also would keep his current practice in Auburn, he said.