In a preview of the 2014 budget to be submitted to City Council next week, Mayor Tom Henry Thursday praised the $147 million spending plan as one that, after years of austerity, “reflects the needs, wants and desires of the citizens of Fort Wayne.”
The budget, which must be approved by Council, proposes 20 new police officers, 15 new firefighters, numerous public works and parks projects, $5 million in expense reductions, a 2 percent raise for employees and maximization of the amount of property taxes the city is able to collect. Even so, property owners should notice little or no increase in taxes, Controller Pat Roller said.
The balanced budget reflects Council's decision in July to increase local income taxes by 0.35 percent and preparatory work by Henry's fiscal task force. That preparation should result in a favorable reception by Council, predicted Tom Smith, R-1st. Council has the authority to cut the budget but cannot otherwise change it.
The budget will be available online at http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/smartgov/ by Friday afternoon.
Allen county Council, meanwhile, spent Thursday afternoon weighing six departments' appeal for a total of $1.28 million more than Council originally allocated in its 2014 budget. The Sheriff's Department asked for an additional $793,443, Allen Superior Court $298,536, the Juvenile Center $149,764, the Surveyor's office $29,070, Planning Services $6,521 and the Extension Office $2,470.
Council ultimately approved an additional $269,770 for the Sheriff's Department, the full $29,070 for the surveyor and $6,521 for Planning, $228,000 for the Juvenile Center (which included some security expenses originally requested by the Sheriff), $198,536 for the courts and rejected the Extension Office's appeal.