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The week ahead
Fairfield project hearing: 4 p.m. today, SCAN, 500 W. Main St.
Northwest Allen County Schools board: 7 p.m. today,
NACS board room, 13119 Coldwater Road
Common wage discussion: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Citizens Square
Fiscal strategy meeting: 8 a.m. Thursday, Chamber Building,
826 Ewing St.
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A public hearing on proposed state funding for The Courtyard, a $5.2 million residential complex for young adults, is today. The project will serve those who “age out” of foster care.

Next step for Fairfield project

A public hearing is set for today to hear comments on proposed funding for a $5.2 million residential project for at-risk young adults.

The Fort Wayne Plan Commission approved plans in October for The Courtyard, a two-story building at the site of the former Duemling Clinic at the northwest corner of Fairfield and Home avenues. The 36-unit facility will serve those who “age out” of foster care at 18. The Courtyard will offer counseling, job/life skills courses, assistance with obtaining a high school/GED diploma, parenting education and other services.

Biggs’ Ideal Suburban is builder and property manager, while Delphos, Ohio-based SAFY (Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth) will operate the program. SCAN, the regional child abuse prevention agency, will own The Courtyard and is the applicant for funding through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Construction is expected to begin later this year. Leasing would start in 2014.

The project is primarily funded by federal grants; the city is contributing $475,000 and the state $377,000.

NACS technology

Northwest Allen County Schools board members will hear a presentation from financial advisers today on how to pay for needed technology upgrades.

Earlier this year, a consultant advised the district on what improvements are needed to meet the state’s new online testing mandates. It did not make recommendations on hardware and software.

Superintendent Chris Himsel said earlier this month that options include refinancing current debt, using short-term loans or asking taxpayers to support a referendum. Another option is to do nothing, but the district’s taxpayers, who enjoy some of the county’s largest tax breaks as a result of property tax caps, should consider the implications of failing to make the needed investments.

Almost 50 percent of property tax revenue that would go to the district will go uncollected as a result of tax caps.

City budget

City officials and members of the Fiscal Policy Group Mayor Tom Henry created last year to deal with 2014 budget challenges are holding a meeting Thursday to explain the city’s financial status to local business leaders.

The group has been working for months to come up with a strategy to deal with a budget shortfall caused primarily by decisions, including tax caps, made by state lawmakers. City Council will soon have to decide whether to make sharp cuts to city services, raise taxes or some combination of both in order to balance the budget.

City leaders hope that by keeping residents and community leaders informed about the problem, they will get feedback about what cuts will be tolerated or how much more people are willing to pay to keep current service levels.

Common wage

For the past couple of years, City Council members have used fifth Tuesdays, when there is not a regularly scheduled meeting, to more deeply discuss an issue of concern. On Tuesday, council members plan to discuss a state law that regulates how common construction wages are set.

The law calls for a local board to determine wages for public construction projects using a prescribed process that is supposed to ensure wages accurately reflect the local common wage.

Many conservatives dislike the common wage law because they believe it leads to inflated wages and adds unnecessarily to the cost of taxpayer-supported projects. Proponents think it ensures workers are paid a fair wage, which boosts the local economy.

Guest speakers at the meeting will include representatives from city and county government, construction trade unions and Associated Builders and Contractors.

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