The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 11:32 am

Verbatim: City’s fiscal health in strong position as Mayor Henry and Controller Morr announce 2022 budget

Highlights include record investment in neighborhood infrastructure and continued enhancements to public safety and parks

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Fort Wayne’s fiscal health is in strong position as Mayor Tom Henry and City Controller Garry Morr today announced the proposed 2022 budget for the City of Fort Wayne.

Plans call for record investments in neighborhood infrastructure improvements, totaling $41.5 million when combined with enhancements through the Parks & Recreation Department. In addition, a continuation of proactive investments in public safety will help ensure that Fort Wayne is the safest community possible.

2022 budget highlights:

*Continuation of commitment to neighborhood infrastructure projects with a planned record investment of $38.5 million, which includes $29.1 million for streets, roads and bridges, $6 million for sidewalks and alleys, and $3.4 million for trails.

*The Fort Wayne Police Department will have 485 officers patrolling City streets to protect the public. An academy class is planned to include 30 recruits. The FWPD will fully implement the body camera program. There will also be an expansion of the Air Support Unit and Downtown Bike Patrol.

*The Fort Wayne Fire Department plans to add two new engines to replace Engine 18 and Engine 12. An academy class is planned to include 21 recruits. A new Fire Station 14 will be built at the southeast corner of East State Boulevard and Reed Road. The new construction will replace the existing Fire Station 14 located at 3400 Reed Rd.

*Investments in maintenance projects through the Parks & Recreation Department to total $3 million

*Utilization of the State of Indiana’s allowable tax levy to assist in preserving funding to provide essential services

*The employee health insurance program will see a savings for taxpayers of $2 million

The property tax supported budget, also known as the Civil City budget, totals $189.7 million. This budget does not include Fort Wayne City Utilities, which has its own budget funded by ratepayers. 

“Our proposed budget for 2022 positions our community for current and future success. I’m impressed with how we’ve come together to continue to meet the needs of residents and businesses without interruption during a pandemic,” said Mayor Henry. “The state of our local finances is strong, and we’re committed to making lasting and meaningful investments to move Fort Wayne forward in a positive direction.”

Budgeting is unique and challenging due to COVID-19. The 2022 budget was designed in a way to continue to provide essential services to residents, neighborhoods and businesses while also setting aside funds to be able to address any future financial uncertainties. Through strong fiscal management in partnership with City Council, the City has sufficient cash reserves to be able to respond to emergencies in uncertain times.

Examples of positive indicators moving forward:

*Local assessed valuations on properties continue to rise

*Steady revenue growth has allowed the City to maintain a very strong fund balance over the past several years

Mayor Henry’s Administration will present the budget to City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 5. That evening will also be the start of budget hearings.

The budget is available at http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/smartgov.

Fort Wayne has become an award-winning community in multiple categories through a commitment to engagement, innovation and performance. Fiscal responsibility continues to be an area that has helped Fort Wayne achieve national recognition.

Highlights of awards for the City of Fort Wayne:

*All-America City award from the National Civic League

*3rd best run city in the country by WalletHub

*2nd most affordable place to live in the country by U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-2022 Best Places to Live rankings

*3rd top emerging housing market by The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com

*9th best city in the country where young people are buying homes by SmartAsset

*17th best city in the country for work-life balance by SmartAsset

*Indiana’s best city to buy a home by Insurify

*8th best city in the country for remote work by Virtual Vocations

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