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Break-in damages building, but not the church within

Recently, some thieves broke into our church building, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Harlan. Some cash was taken, some doors and door jambs broken and some glass shattered. Many comments afterward included, “How can they break into a church?”

They didn’t break into a church – just a building. The people who make up the family of God, the congregation of Holy Trinity, are the church. And they didn’t break us. We were already broken…and forgiven and renewed by the death and resurrection, love and grace of Jesus Christ. And Christ calls us to offer love, grace and forgiveness in his name.

So to the folks who entered our building illegally: First, thank you for not defacing or destroying the symbols of our faith. Though if you had, they are just symbols and not our faith itself. Secondly, you are forgiven. What you did was wrong, but we all sin and are in need of forgiveness. Lastly, we invite you to come back – this time through the unlocked front doors, as a child of God, like all of us in need of hearing the good news Jesus Christ brings us. We invite you to join us for something to drink, for a meal and especially to worship with us the incredible Lord who saves us all.

We are praying for you.

REV. AMY BEITELSCHEES-ALBERS Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Harlan

Responsible alternative to call for tax hike

The city administration is calling for a 0.5 percent income tax increase, raising local income taxes for both city and county residents by 50 percent. We have provided an alternative framework to deal with the city’s structural deficit and neglect of its core responsibilities.

A 0.5 percent hike in LOIT would reduce the average Fort Wayne working family’s take-home pay by $200 or more a year.

The city has a $6.5 million structural deficit; circuit breakers limit property tax revenue; cash reserves are low; and streets, parks, police and fire have suffered neglect. Commendably, all parties seem serious about tackling these challenges.

The solutions can come from a combination of the following:

Spending cuts (Fiscal Policy Group presented $6.4 million)

Expiring debt obligations ($2.7 million improved cash flow)

Reductions in debt principle ($21.6 million annually)

Increasing property values, growth coefficient ($6.2 million currently “banked”)

New state funding ($2.1 million annually for streets)

Other revenues coming online ($+/-3 million- PILOT, Legacy annuity and interest)

Balance transfers (cash reserves bolstered by $3.5 million CEDIT uncommitted)

Structural reforms (for example, common wage policy)

These solutions ensure the city’s budget lives within its means, and pass on a well-maintained city to our next generation.

The call has been to panic and raise LOIT. Raising income taxes is always a “convenient” solution; a fiscally responsible plan is always more difficult. Let’s take positive, responsible steps first. We don’t support a LOIT increase because it will hurt hardworking families and is not merited.

RUSS JEHL City Council, 2nd District MITCH HARPER City Council, 4th District

D.C. know-nothings’ luck is running out

Never have so many been paid so much to know so little.

President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Press Secretary Jay Carney and now IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller have en masse been awarded the Sgt. Schultz (“I know nothing – NOTHING!”) Award, resplendent with the Will Rogers Cluster (“I only know what I read in the newspapers”).

And talk about lucky timing for Obama’s re-election. Between the truth about Benghazi and the stand-down order, the IRS’s snooping for years and the AP phone records scandal – good thing none of this came out before the election. Obama sure is lucky; I wonder if he bought a Powerball ticket?

BRUCE CYNAR Leo-Cedarville