The Journal Gazette
 
 
Monday, April 06, 2020 1:00 am

A more united city

Vital functions continue uninterrupted

Garry Morr

As we all are aware, the economy has changed dramatically in recent weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, it's critical for your local government to be prepared for challenging situations such as this. We also must have personnel and resources ready to respond accordingly to serve and protect individuals, families, neighborhoods and businesses. The City of Fort Wayne is committed to meeting the needs of the public.

As city controller, it's the responsibility of my team to work with Mayor Tom Henry, City Council, and city division and department heads to ensure we have the financial capabilities to continue to provide essential services the public expects and deserves. Please know we have dedicated elected officials and city employees working around the clock to keep Fort Wayne moving as much as possible during this most unique and unfortunate time.

We're in a sound fiscal position to withstand the stress that COVID-19 is putting on resources everywhere. Your city government will be able to weather this storm, but there's no doubt the city's budget is being affected. Our largest source of revenue, property taxes, will take a significant hit by the delay we will see in receiving payments.

There are a lot of uncertainties. However, the steps we've taken will help our city to continue to run without interruption.

We took immediate action to curb operating costs and are focusing on essential expenditures only. We monitor city government revenue daily and have directed divisions and departments not to hire any new employees at the current time. We also eliminated business travel.

Fortunately, we're able to continue to compensate all city employees as our workforce continues to do everything possible each day to carry out the duties the public has entrusted to us. Essential services such as police and fire protection, water and wastewater plant operations, neighborhood code compliance, garbage and recycling collection, and 911 and 311 services continue to be in place and are performing admirably.

In addition, we're examining the many projects that have been planned to enhance our community to determine which initiatives will have to wait and which ones will continue as planned.

We also recognize that family budgets and businesses, large and small, are going through uncertain and painful times. We feel for the companies that have had to close and the men and women who have lost their jobs. In partnership with Allen County government and Greater Fort Wayne Inc., we're in regular communication to strategize and determine how we can assist those going through financial difficulties.

A resource page has been created at cityoffortwayne.org to help anyone who may need personal or business assistance. Several organizations and agencies are included on the resource page to reflect the various levels of need in the community.

COVID-19 has placed hardships on everyone, but I know our community will continue to respond in an optimistic and forward-thinking manner. Collectively, we care too much about one another and the well-being of our city to let fear and suffering take over. Together we will come through this stronger, more united and more thankful than ever before.

Garry Morr is controller for the city of Fort Wayne.


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