January 29, 2021 - Several local business and restaurant leaders today joined Mayor Tom Henry to discuss efforts that would help provide the City of Fort Wayne with additional options for revenue streams for future development projects.
The City of Fort Wayne is interested in obtaining local control through enabling legislation to allow for an additional penny to be added to the food and beverage tax that is collected when people dine out. Legislation is being considered at the Indiana General Assembly that would allow for Fort Wayne and several other municipalities across Indiana to consider the change. If approved by the state legislature, the measure then would go to City Council for approval.
Funds collected through the food and beverage tax are overseen by the Allen County Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board of Managers (CIB). Past projects with funding assistance from the CIB have included Electric Works, riverfront development, The Bradley, the Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Fort Wayne Downtown, and the Skyline Garage to name a few.
The plan would go into effect only after it is determined that the restaurant industry has fully recovered from the current economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the last decade, $1 billion has been invested in projects that have positioned Fort Wayne as a leader in job and business growth, strong neighborhoods, and unique quality of life amenities. Another $1 billion in local investments is projected for upcoming projects such as future phases of riverfront development, the continued growth of the trails and greenways system, the development of an arts campus, the development of the North River property, and commercial and infrastructure improvements identified in the Southeast Strategy plan for southeast Fort Wayne.
In order for Fort Wayne to continue to grow and thrive, additional revenue sources will be needed to help bring future projects to fruition. It’s estimated that the additional revenues collected through an adjustment to the food and beverage tax would generate $6 million annually and provide bonding capabilities of $90 million over a 25-year time period.
It’s estimated the impact would be $33 per year for the average family or $14 per year for the average person.