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Public input 2.0

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-09-01


Public Input 2.0

The Allen County Commissioners are taking to the Internet to gather more public input on local government reorganization/consolidation. An online poll will record responses for the next month or so.

Commissioners will combine the data gathered through the unscientific poll with the responses received during a series of public meetings on consolidation. Nearly 500 people attended the four public hearings. County commissioners also accepted written comments. The feedback will then be incorporated into the commissioners’ response to the Fort Wayne City Council concerning Resolution R-37-06. That resolution asks Allen County to join Fort Wayne in creating a 15-person committee to study the issue of local government reorganization over a one-year period.

The poll (at www.allencounty.us) asks four questions and, in most cases, gives several response options. The questions are:

1. Do you believe that the current structure of local government is an obstacle to our community’s progress and economic development?

2. Do you support the creation of a committee for purposes of studying reorganization of local government?

3. How large do you believe that such a committee should be in order to represent all interests that should be involved in a discussion of government reorganization?

4. Where do you live? (Only responses from Allen County residents will be considered.)

”The Commissioners have worked hard to get a comprehensive snapshot of the community’s sentiment on this important issue,” said Commissioner Marla Irving. “An online poll provides yet another tool for bringing the public into this discussion.”

DEMOCRATIC THEATRE
On September 20, Allen County Democrats will screen the second in a series of three films as part of its Movie Fest 2006. The free screenings began August with the showing of “OUTFOXED,” a documentary on media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s impact on journalism via Fox News. Next up is the September 20th screening of “Bush’s Brain,” a documentary about conservative political guru Karl Rove. The festival wraps up October 18 with “The War Room,” a look inside the 1992 presidential race.

The films, at downtown’s Cinema Center, 437 E. Berry Street, begin at 6:30 p.m. Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Kevin Knuth calls the festival a fun way to attract more people to his political party. “This is also a great launching point for the Young Democrats. They have been building the foundation for their organization and I have no doubt they will see their membership grow from these events,” Knuth says.

BUDGET BALANCE
Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard is proposing a new city budget that boasts the lowest city property tax rate since 1964. The city tax rate is estimated to drop 21% from 2006. The owner of a $100,000 home would see an estimated 34% net reduction in city property taxes (from approximately $377 to $249 - a $128 decrease).

Highlights of the proposed 2007 budget include a request for 20-new police officers but no additional non-public safety personnel. The total 2007 proposed property tax supported budget is $143.1 million, an increase of 8.2% from the approved 2006 budget. The increase is largely due to higher health insurance and energy costs. The total budget (which includes City Utilities) is $172.7 million.

“We are working to reduce the tax burden on taxpayers while providing excellent services to residents,” said Mayor Richard. “We appreciate the bipartisanship approach with City Council to be fiscally responsible and maintain a disciplined budget that meets the needs of our growing community.”

The proposed budget will be presented to Fort Wayne City Council at its September 5 meeting.

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