After Fort Wayne City Council decided to raise your income taxes earlier in the year, the city now has funds to pay for capital improvments. Those are things like street and sidewalk repairs and upgrades to local parks and trails.
A comprehensive plan was presented to City Council for the first time on Tuesday.
“We have been neglecting our infrastructure and we've been neglecting our core responsibilities,” said Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd.
Jehl says it's no secret that
Mayor Tom Henry's answer to the infrastructure woes is a five-year capital improvement plan.
"We are in a position now to fund a lot of our streets and roads and transportation,” said Pat Roller, City Controller.
Roller says the reason the city is in a position to start making improvements is because of the recent increase to your income taxes
"I think it’s a good plan. I think it's a solid plan,” said Roller.
“The positives are that we are going to start investing in our infrastructure again,” said Jehl.
But Jehl also see major flaws in the plan--especially when it comes to funding. He opposed the tax hike and says city leaders are beginning a dangerous spending cycle.
“I'm very concerned about repeating the problems that got us into this which was tax, spend and bond.,” said Jehl.
Controller Roller's capital improvement plan calls for a $30 million bond to pay for millions in backlogged road repairs.
“The majority of the public believed that if they were to agree to an increase in income taxes we would be paying as you go,” said Jehl.
The plan as written would require an upfront bond to pay for the road repairs and then the city would use a pay-as-you go spending model.
“It's a blend of pay as you go and bonding,” said Roller.
“To see a major $30 million bond thrown in at the end of that with very little disclosure to the public. I think it is something that needs to be looked at very closely,” said Jehl.
“This is not a new concept and its one we have talked about frequently in the fiscal policy group,” said Roller.
City Council Decided to hold-off before making a decision because tonight was the first time that they had a chance to see the full plan.
Controller Roller says that If the bond is approved, the plan is get funding in order by march and begin work next summer.