September 9, 2016 - Leaders from the City of Fort Wayne, City of New Haven, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne Community Schools, East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools came together today at Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s office to voice concerns about a proposal that could negatively affect services provided to the public and schools and increase taxes for some homeowners.
A resolution has been introduced at City Council that would eliminate the business personal property tax on new business equipment. The resolution is scheduled to be discussed at City Council meetings on Sept. 13 and Sept. 20 with public comment at both meetings.
The plan could save select businesses from paying certain taxes, which would shift the tax burden to local governments, schools, and homeowners. Taxes collected on business personal property total over $51 million per year countywide to help fund police and fire protection, neighborhood infrastructure improvements, enhancements to parks and assist school systems to educate children, provide bus transportation, and other important education initiatives.
Although personal property taxes would be incrementally rolled back under the proposal, the plan provides for no designated mechanism to make up for the loss in revenue. Because of property tax caps, homeowners whose taxes are below 1 percent of assessed value could see a tax increase while also experiencing a reduction in services that those taxes pay for.
Highlights of the projected property tax impact when fully implemented:
*City of Fort Wayne – loss of $15.4 million in annual revenues
*Allen County government – loss of $6.6 million in annual revenues
*Allen County Public Library – loss of $2.5 million in annual revenues
*Fort Wayne Community Schools – loss of $7.9 million in annual revenues
*Southwest Allen County Schools – loss of $1.7 million in annual revenues
*East Allen County Schools – loss of $1 million in annual revenues
*Northwest Allen County Schools – loss of $1.7 million in annual revenues
*City of New Haven – loss of $791,000 in annual revenues
*Homeowners who’ve not reached the property tax cap – two-thirds of homeowners countywide would see a collective increase of $7 million in property taxes
“Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana are experiencing positive momentum, excitement, and investments like never before,” said Mayor Henry. “It’s taken leadership and a commitment to being fiscally responsible to collectively get us to this point. We’re moving in the right direction. Now is not the time to change course and put our future at risk.”
Leaders today called on City Council to vote against the proposal to ensure essential services continue to be provided to residents and children and protect homeowners from having to pay higher property taxes.