FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Roughly $235 million is currently being allocated to fund Fort Wayne’s city departments for 2024.
The budget that is set to be approved is on one of the last steps in the process: review by Fort Wayne City Council.
“I think tonight was a beneficial night making sure that we are being good stewards with the dollars,” said 6th District Councilwoman Sharon Tucker. “Overall, I believe that the budget that was presented to us is a sound budget, but there are some things we need to be stewards over.”
On Tuesday, City Council delved into the budget by looking at the largest section of it, which is allocated for public safety.
“Our largest departments came tonight, which are public safety, 2/3 of our budget,” said City Controller Garry Morr.
The police department, fire department, animal control and communications were among those who presented.
Council had several questions for the departments along with praises – especially for the fire department.
“In a time of high inflation … I find it impressive that you are able to maintain your department at full staffing, be able to make the improvements you have and have such a small increase in your budget,” said 4th District Councilman Jason Arp.
Between the departments that presented, one of the more expensive items in the budget is new radios for the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD).
The total cost of the new radios comes out to $7,138,238 in the city budget, covering radios for 500 officers.
Part of the reason for the purchase being in the 2024 budget is that Motorolla will no longer service the particular model of radio the FWPD uses.
“The current radios that we have will no longer be serviced after this year,” said FWPD Chief Steve Reed.
The new radios also come with a set of new features.
“There’s a location feature on it. If an officer goes down, we can find him with these new radios. If they’re in a quote-unquote dead zone where they can’t get the radio to work, it will switch to Wi-Fi and allow that radio to work. Our current ones do not,” Reed said.
City Council will continue to examine the budget presented to them and make cuts as they deem necessary.
According to state law, the budget must be finalized and approved by Oct. 31.
Next Tuesday, City Council will review the budgets for several other departments, including Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation.
The budget is available on the city’s website.