FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The debate over whether or not to raise the local option income tax in Allen County continues. Tuesday night the Henry Administration gave its two cents on a proposed plan that wouldn't raise tax
On Tuesday, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry reemphasized the importance of supporting a fiscal policy plan aimed at positioning the City of Fort Wayne for future growth and success.
What the fiscal policy plan presented to City Council would do:
*Add 20 more police officers
*Add 15 more firefighters
*Funding for street and road improvements without having to borrow money
*Funding for neighborhood curb and sidewalk projects
*Funding for enhancements to Parks facilities
*Property tax relief for homeowners
*Small increase in income tax in order to continue with important, necessary services for the community such as Crime Stoppers, Safety Village, Police Athletic League, and parade security to name a few.
"We must invest in our community, our children, and our grandchildren," said Mayor Henry. "Now is the time to build for the future, strengthen our neighborhoods, and ensure we remain a livable City with all the services our citizens expect and deserve."
Property tax caps implemented by the Indiana General Assembly have created a loss of $53 million in revenue to the City. As a result, Mayor Henry started a Fiscal Policy Group in 2012. It developed a framework of ideas to save the community money and bring in additional revenue to help meet the financial needs of the City.
"We must be a leader. We're competing in a global economy. Our recommendations have received bipartisan and public and private sector support and will move us forward in a positive direction that sustains our tremendous quality of life and encourages job and business growth," said Mayor Henry.
Right now, Allen County's income tax sits at 1%. The plan proposed by the City would raise it to 1.5%. City Councilmen Russ Jehl and Mitch Harper oppose the plan. At last week's meeting they said there are other options available to the City besides raising taxes. Jehl and Harper said the city can reduce spending by $6.4 million, we'll have $2.7 million more in the bank thanks to expiring debt obligations, and we already have more than $6 million banked due to increasing property values.
If the City raises the tax, Jehl and Harper said the average family will have to pay $200 more a year.
The City Administration doesn't believe their plan of using money from the Legacy Fund and other areas would be sustainable.
"We think that they had a little bit of a misunderstanding on some of the issues that will indeed make it sustainable. It's not just a one year fix. It's a long-term fix. And it's a long-term fix without raising income taxes," Councilman of the 2nd District Russ Jehl explained.
"We think from our perspective we've presented a plan that will answer the needs of the community now and in the future. Now it will be up to city council to debate all of the proposals," Spokesperson for the City John Perlich said.
So where do we go from here? "It's very complicated but basically first we have to decide what it is that we absolutely need. If we decide that we have to put more money in roads then we have to provide that funding," City Councilman At-Large John Crawford said.
Either way council members know they won't be able to please everyone. "We either have to do some big cuts which people won't like or we're going to have to raise taxes a little bit which people won't like."
City Council will make the final vote on Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
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A Fort Wayne man was arrested after he apparently threw an alcoholic drink on his pregnant girlfriend and then hit her in the ear while her two small children were asleep in the home.
Police have charged six people and are still looking for one woman they believe is living in the Fort Wayne area. She faces meth dealing charges.
A Fort Wayne man is facing eight charges after he spit on a police officer who arrested him. He also spit on nurses and other officers while being treated at a local hospital.
Fort Wayne area firefighters, police officers, and EMT's are competing in the annual Battle of the Badges blood drive this holiday season.
Indiana residents receiving food stamps will begin receiving their monthly benefits on new dates under a state law approved earlier this year.
Police have identified a person of interest in Sunday’s stabbing outside of a home on Bluebird Court, off of St. Joe Road.
Police in Indianapolis say a seventh-grade boy has died after apparently collapsing and being found face down in the snow.
Police are looking for a white man who is 6'0" to 6'2" with a thin build they say robbed a CVS in November. He may have been driving a gray or dark green Ford SUV.
Police from several agencies have responded to multiple crashes overnight due to slick roads from a wintry mix that moved through the area late Sunday and early Monday morning.
A rural Angola man faces six felony charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman.
A local family wants help in making sure their loved one's murderer stays in prison.
Police said a man barricaded himself inside of a home on Genessee Avenue early Sunday morning for more than two hours after threatening to commit suicide.
Detectives believe a three-year-old boy may have shot himself at a home in Indianapolis Saturday night. Police said the shooting appears to have been accidental.
There will be several holiday-themed events this weekend in the Fort Wayne area, including Christmas displays, children’s parties, visits from Santa Claus, and more.