Fort Wayne City Council approves local income tax increase

Photo Supplied / Riverfront Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): The Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday night approved an increase of .13% to the local income tax by a 6-3 vote.

The vote was: Arp: no, Barranda: yes, Crawford: yes, Didier: yes, Ensley: no, Freistroffer: yes, Hines: yes, Jehl: no, Paddock: yes.

That would mean an extra $5 per month for the average Allen County resident, while raising more than $8.3-million for the city per year.

A number of people spoke in favor of the increase at a crowded public hearing before the meeting, citing a belief that the Riverfront project will lead to more jobs, lure more young professionals to Fort Wayne, and spark some population growth.

Opponents of the increase also spoke out, arguing that people are seeing their costs go up enough, and called on City government to make budget cuts instead. Some said the move would actually cause young professionals looking to save money to go elsewhere.

Councilman Dr. John Crawford first floated the idea of a 0.15% tax increase to pay for Riverfront development, as well as sidewalk and alley work, last April. Last month, Councilman Michael Barranda proposed amending that to 0.1%, as well as adding a provision to ensure that 1/3rds of the money brought in by the tax increase will go towards local infrastructure, with the other 2/3rds going to Riverfront work.

Before the final vote, the Council approved an amendment to ensure that none of the money brought in by the increase goes toward a proposed downtown arena.

Councilman Barranda also proposed the Council ask the Capital Improvement Board for an additional commitment to Riverfront funding, “so that the taxpayers aren’t our first resort,” but it failed.

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