Mayor Henry proposes 2021 budget and impacts from COVID-19

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Mayor Tom Henry proposed the 2021 budget for the City of Fort Wayne. It includes some cuts, but remains balanced.

The city said creating this year’s budget was challenging due to ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said, “Under the direction of City Controller Garry Morr the budget was designed in a way to continue to provide essential services to residents, neighborhoods, and businesses while also setting aside funds to be able to address future financial uncertainties as a result of the pandemic.”

The way the city plans to keep the budget balanced is to reduce costs by delaying non-critical projects, and reducing operating operating expenditures. The city will have no travel and hold open certain employment positions longer.

The city expects revenue reductions via gasoline taxes and vehicle excise taxes. Income taxes are also projected the decrease significantly in 2022.

The city hopes to put itself in a good position for the 2022 budget.

Despite preparing for lost revenue, the city is fulfilling a request from city council and residents of Fort Wayne.

In the 2021 budget, the mayor proposed enough funds to cover the cost of 100 body cameras for the Fort Wayne Police Department. The money will cover the physical cameras, the storing system and one civilian position to manage the body camera program.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department plans to add two new engines to replace existing ones. Additional funds are proposed for academy classes, and improvements to live burn training.

The mayor said the city will commit $27.7 million in neighborhood infrastructure projects. This includes $23.8 million for streets and roads, $2.5 million for sidewalks and alleys, and $1.4 million for bridges.

“We recognize 2020 has been a challenging year so far, and we know there will be more uncertainty for the foreseeable future as a result of the pandemic. However, by working together, our community has stepped up and supported one another, and as a municipality, we’ve been able to continue to serve the public without interruption,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m encouraged with the budget that’s been put together for 2021. It strikes the necessary balance of making meaningful investments to enhance Fort Wayne while at the same time helping to ensure that funds are set aside to respond accordingly during these unprecedented times.”

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