The Journal Gazette
 
 
Thursday, October 14, 2021 6:40 pm

When is a budget cut really a cut?

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

What one Fort Wayne City Council member saw as a cut during a budget meeting Tuesday was seen by another councilman as an adjustment.

The difference in terminology came up during a discussion about an ordinance that would give all city elected officials — the mayor, the council members and the city clerk — a 4% raise. Councilman Jason Arp, R-3rd, suggested an amendment to “change” the raise to 0% for City Council members.

Committee chair and member Glynn Hines, D-at large, said he thinks cuts such as Arp’s suggestion have typically been saved to make during the discussion of budget cuts, which will happen during the council’s next two meetings.

As Hines and Joe Bonahoom, city attorney, discussed the logistics, council president Paul Ensley made a motion — to give it preliminary approval with City Council salaries staying at the same 2021 rate in 2022.

“I wouldn’t call it a cut,” Ensley prefaced. “I wouldn’t characterize it that way.”

Since the raise isn’t approved yet, Ensley doesn’t see it as a cut. Similar confusion over language came up during the Allen County Council budget hearing in September.

The Allen County Sheriff’s Department received $1.6 million of its $2.6 million budget appeal. Since the $2.6 million appeal wasn’t approved by council to begin with, it was seen as giving the department less funding than it asked for instead of a $1 million cut.

The motion to approve the raises with City Council left out failed with a 2-7 vote; Ensley and Arp were the two to vote in support. The raises were given preliminary approval for all elected officials — City Council members included — with an opposite 7-2 vote.

Nothing in the 2022 budget — raises included — will be official until the 2022 budget is adopted at the Oct. 26 meeting.

dfilchak@jg.net


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