Tracking Your Tax Money

Published 02/12 2014 10:30PM

Updated 02/13 2014 08:53AM

 Fort Wayne City Council approved an increase to the local option income tax in 2013.   

 “What that did was allow us to add an academy class for police an academy class for fire, more funds for streets and roads and more funds for parks,” said John Perlich, City of Fort Wayne. 

Perlich says the revenue from the LOIT increase would fund a class of 15 new firefighters.   

“I think its important to point out that at no time did we believe that public safety was at risk back in the summer or moving forward,” said Perlich. 

However, if you remember, leader with the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Union were heated over the proposed 2014 budget--saying that  the city slashed its funding and that publics safety was at risk.    

The 2014 budget passed, and Rusty York was moved from the Chief of Police and appointed to the position of Director of Public Safety.  York was tasked with reevaluating the needs of the fire department. 

“The staffing levels of the fire department were examined and we realized that we were going to need an additional 9 firefighters  to make up for retirements and resignations,” said York.   

Tuesday, City Controller Pat Roller asked The City Council to free up $800,00.  ($400,000 from the Parks Department and $400,000 from Public Works).  That money would then be transferred to the fire department.    

“I don’t think the fire union was right or wrong or the city was right or wrong. It was just at the time those are the numbers we felt comfortable with,” said Perlich.   

 However, there’s one problem, only half of the $800,000 that the city is scrambling to collect was approved.  Meaning $400,000 is still needed to properly man and operate the fire department.  So where’s the city going to get the cash?

“It’s possible that we could bring it back to city council and say we’d like you to consider this again taking $400,000 from parks.  We might look at other city departments as well,” said Perlich. 

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