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The Council Elders
Fort Wayne Reader
The new president of the Fort Wayne City Council is an old hand. And that’s good news.
The Republican-majority council chose Tom Smith (R-1) to be the body’s president for 2009. Glynn Hines (D-6) was elected council’s vice-president. The pair are council’s most seasoned players (both were elected in 1999, although Hines has served longer due to his appointment to the seat following the death of Councilman Cletus Edmonds).
Following a year of mayhem under the helm of earnest-but-often-befuddled former council president Tom Didier (R-3), Smith is viewed as a voice of wisdom with a steady hand. His last stint as council president several years back introduced the so-called “fifth Tuesday” meetings. Traditionally, council does not meet on the fifth Tuesday of any month. However, Smith came up with the notion that even if council did not conduct any official business, council members could still use the fifth Tuesdays to meet and hear from experts in areas like small business development and other important issues.
In one of his first official acts in his new term as council president, Smith asked that council members begin work on the city’s 2010 budget immediately - many, many months ahead of schedule. Although an administration budget proposal won’t likely come until fall (the usual time frame), council members will start interviewing city department heads to begin to assess the city’s money needs in 2010 - a year that the Henry Administration predicted will be extremely tight.
If you have old, unpaid parking fines from the City of Fort Wayne, you have a chance to make good and save a few bucks. City Council approved a measure proposed by City Clerk Sandy Kennedy to waive late fees on parking violations for anyone who pays the original fine between January 20th and February 28th. Council approved the idea overwhelmingly (only Councilwoman Liz Brown voted no) and the mayor has promised to sign the ordinance.
Kennedy estimates there are currently about 50,000 unpaid parking tickets on the books totalling $900,000 in fines and late fees.