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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:00 am

City will move forward by working smarter

Tim Smith

Fort Wayne, it's time to expect more. It's time for Fort Wayne to move to the next level. We can and will accomplish this by being smarter, safer and stronger. Let's start with being smarter.

Smarter contracts: How many times are we going to sign a bad contract? Red River Waste Solutions. North River development property. City health benefits.

Every dollar we spend on a bad contract is a dollar that comes from our wallets. If I am elected mayor, Fort Wayne will negotiate smarter contracts and get better deals. No more garbage collection issues. No more purchasing property that has environmental contamination. No more bad deals for public employees' health benefits that were resolved12 years too late. Think about it: For 12 years we have spent $50 million cumulatively more than we should have for city employees' health insurance.

Smarter budgets: When was the last time anyone heard of Fort Wayne's annual budget staying level from one year to the next? How often do we hear about new taxes and new regulations?

After speaking about zero-based budgeting for months, I am pleased that others have finally joined the conversation. Starting at zero is what we do in private business, where every dollar spent must be justified (not just new dollars). This confirms every dollar spent is absolutely necessary.

But zero-based budgeting is not enough by itself. If zero-based-budgeting is joined by zero-based regulation, then we gain an advantage against other cities competing to attract new businesses as well.

If we can reduce our expenses and hold the budget level, we can begin to reduce our taxpayer liabilities that have grown since 2008 from $600 million to $1.1 billion. We must tighten our belt and work harder.

This is what successful businesses do. Isn't this what we all do as families? Our grandparents did it before us, and theirs before them. It is part of how Fort Wayne's prior generations endured and thrived.

For almost 25 years, as a trained corporate executive, I have been finding ways to eliminate expenses while enhancing services. Using this experience to streamline processes, merge parallel departments and eliminate waste, the city of Fort Wayne will save millions. This is part of what effective leadership does every day.

I heard a perfect example of government waste at someone's door the other day. The city did some maintenance and had to reseed the ground. They have now done it four times because they tried to do it at the worst times of the year, each time wasting our money. How many times across the city does this happen every year?

Smarter vision: For too long, the current leadership's focus has been tax and spend. Instead of this philosophy, we need to bring new and even bigger businesses to Fort Wayne, not more taxes, to grow our revenue base.

When we have a chance to pursue a new opportunity for our city, the default should not be raising taxes. The default should be bringing even bigger businesses to town.

As the second-largest city in Indiana, we should begin to act like it. No excuses.

What Fort Wayne needs is an experienced business executive in its mayor's office. I have honed my professional ability to prioritize and execute my duties so that my employer benefits. MedPro is one of the smartest companies in the world. It is why Warren Buffet owns it.

Now, I am going to do this for the city of Fort Wayne. Expect more, my friends, because when I am elected to the mayor's office, we will never be the same. For starters, our city will be a lot smarter.

Tim Smith is a candidate for the Republican nomination for mayor of Fort Wayne.