June 13, 2017 - Fort Wayne City Councilman Dr. John Crawford, Fort Wayne City Council President Tom Didier, Fort Wayne City Council Vice President Tom Freistroffer and City Councilman Glynn Hines today provided an update on the proposal to invest in neighborhood sidewalks and alleys and riverfront development through an adjustment to the local income tax.
An ordinance to increase the local income tax by .15 percent is scheduled to be introduced at tonight’s City Council meeting. A public hearing and City Council discussion on the proposal will occur on Tuesday, June 27. A second public hearing and continued City Council discussion and final vote are scheduled for Tuesday, July 11.
A change to the local income tax could generate the necessary money, $9.6 million per year for the City of Fort Wayne, to advance phases two and three of riverfront development, add new sidewalks throughout Fort Wayne and address areas of Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools that lack sidewalks for children. The plan would also allow for expanding the maintenance program for existing sidewalks and repairs to alleys throughout the City.
Neighborhood sidewalks and alleys highlights:
- Investment of $40 million over the next 10-15 years into sidewalks and alleys
- Build 40 miles of new sidewalks for connectivity from neighborhoods to schools, adding to the 1,600 miles of sidewalks in Fort Wayne
- Repairs on existing sidewalks – up to 200 additional projects with property owners
- Invest in and increase life span of the City’s 150 miles of alleys
- 24 elementary schools with neighborhood to school sidewalk connectivity needs have been identified and 63 neighborhoods with alleys in need of improvements have been identified. A complete list can be found at www.cityoffortwayne.org/sidewalksandalleys.
- If the proposal is approved, several neighborhood sidewalk and alley projects would begin in 2018
Riverfront development highlights:
- Riverbank stabilization - $4 million investment beginning in 2018
- Riverfront Phase II - $25 million for continued development of public spaces between the Wells Street and Ewing Street bridges with possible construction beginning in 2019
- Riverfront phase III - $50 million for development of public spaces between the Ewing Street and Van Buren Street bridges with possible construction beginning in 2024
- Phases II & III will expand public amenities, increase flood capacity of public space, & create private development sites near the river
Mayor Tom Henry was a guest at today’s news conference. Mayor Henry supports the proposal as a way to continue the positive momentum and investments being experienced in Fort Wayne and position the community and region as a point of destination for job and business growth by providing the public with unique quality of life amenities and strong neighborhoods.
The average household with an income of $49,000 would see an increase of less than $6 per month or roughly $70 per year if the local income tax is adjusted by .15 percent.
Dr. John Crawford summarized, “Fort Wayne and Allen County have and would continue to have the lowest income tax rate of almost all surrounding counties at 1.50%, even below the state average of 1.59%. This would not affect those on fixed incomes, as individuals on Social Security would not have their income taxed under this proposal. If the local income tax increase is enacted, the Fort Wayne City Council plans to introduce a concurrent ordinance stipulating the usage of the revenues from it may only be used for sidewalks, alleys, and riverfront development. This helps move Fort Wayne – neighborhoods and downtown – forward.”