FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne City Council President Jason Arp’s proposal to cut Mayor Tom Henry’s operating budget did not advance at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Arp announced the proposal ahead of the meeting. In statement he said the budget would not be restored until “all of the information requests have been fulfilled.”
Although Mayor Henry recently answered a list of questions previously posed by Councilman Arp, Arp and WANE 15 have requested video evidence from the Oct. 8 crash, which still has not been released.
Here is Councilman Arp’s full statement regarding the city budget:
“At tonight’s Council meeting I am putting forth cuts to the Mayor’s operating budget. As City Council President, I have been working with our attorneys and staff to ensure questions related to the incident that occurred October 8th have been answered. Many of the questions we have asked were answered in a timely manner, however we have asked that the video evidence from the night of the event be preserved for Council’s review in order to conclude our inquiry into the matter. We have been told that the video evidence will not be available until the case is closed upon sentencing. While I have confidence that our request will be granted in a timely manner, I am requesting a cut of the Mayor’s Office operating budget. The budget would then be restored once all of the information requests have been fulfilled. Budgetary action is one of the Council’s few means of recourse to ensure accountability. We are hoping we will know the week of November 9th and that we will be able to promptly restore these budget items.”
Arp was the only one in favor of the proposal. It did not receive a second from another council member, which was required for it to advance.
Multiple council members, including Geoff Paddock and Michelle Chambers, expressed their feelings on the proposal at the meeting and felt that it was not necessary.
“I will not support any effort that would hold the Mayor’s office or his staff or his operations hostage,” Paddock said.
Chambers said she would not support a proposal that would use the budget as a “weapon.”
“I don’t believe that it is our place to leverage and weaponize a budget to deal with a situation that is not related to the budget,” Chambers said.
Tuesday’s meeting concluded with the passage of the city’s 2023 budget. Mayor Henry released a statement after the meeting that said:
Fort Wayne continues to experience growth and success, and tonight’s passage by City Council of the budget for 2023 demonstrates we’re positioned for even better days ahead for our community. Fiscal discipline is critical as we work together to meet the needs, wants and desires of residents, neighborhoods and businesses. We’re looking forward to a productive 2023 with initiatives planned for every quadrant that will make a lasting and meaningful difference. Next year will bring record investments for neighborhood infrastructure and a continued commitment to public safety and our parks. By working together, we’ll be able to continue the positive momentum that we’ve built in Fort Wayne as a point of destination to live, work and play.