FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Fort Wayne City Council members made just over $444,000 in cuts to the city’s 2022 budget before approving it last night.
While initially looking at a much higher amount of cuts to the tune of over $30-million, those proposals were quickly whittled down after more than a dozen were withdrawn before the meeting even got started, according to the Journal Gazette. Councilman Russ Jehl said he changed his mind on seventeen cuts he had initially proposed.
The largest portion of proposed cuts was more of a proposed deferral anyway: Councilmen Jehl and Paul Ensley said they didn’t want to include $30-million in American Rescue Plan Act funding until a clear plan for the money was in place, but that request was also withdrawn.
One of the biggest cuts was to the Public Works Division: $150,000. Ensley says it was targeted at the Solid Waste Department over ongoing issues with trash collection.
Another $140,000 cut was made for the Department of Planning Services director’s salary. That job is currently vacant anyway.
The City Budget’s final price tag is $290-million. Mayor Tom Henry issued the following statement last night:
“We work each day in Fort Wayne to bring services to residents and businesses of our award-winning city in a fiscally responsible manner. Tonight’s passage of the 2022 City of Fort Wayne budget positions our community for sustained growth and success. The focus on investments in neighborhood infrastructure, public safety, and parks is what the public told us they want to see tax dollars invested in. We continue to overcome challenging circumstances as a result of COVID-19, and I truly believe our best days are ahead of us.”