Tuesday, July 11, 2017 1:00 am
Focus on rivers, too
I think it is wonderful that we as a community are continuing our focus on riverfront development and am in full support of a slight income tax increase to further that effort.
I am concerned, however, about one aspect of the long-range plan for the riverfront, and that is our focus on the rivers themselves. If we don't continue to clean up the riverbanks, the aesthetics of the bridges and the rivers themselves, the riverfront efforts will be diminished.
As a member of the original riverfront committee, I recall that in originally establishing a budget, we allocated $600,000 a year to support a riparian manager, necessary equipment and labor to make sure the river experience was a positive one. This is not a one-time expenditure but rather must be a continuing effort.
Rivers don't take care of themselves. I am hoping and assuming that there is still a desire to make this an ongoing commitment and continue the focus on the rivers and not just the riverfront.
City taxpayers take hit, millennials still move on
For decades City Councils and mayors have failed to maintain roads, sidewalks, alleys and drains, keeping taxes low. Not maintaining infrastructure is negligence; it costs more to tear out and rebuild than a good maintenance plan. Diverting taxpayers' money for yearly maintenance, they have siphoned off more than $139.4 million over the past 25 years for economic development.
Now City Council and the mayor are requesting to increase the local income tax by about $6 a month, $49 a year per family. Have you heard the saying “death by a thousand cuts”?
This diverted/spent $139.4 million is about $539 per person ($2,156 per family). Creating a problem over decades does not make them the savior or the people with a solution.
The 0.15 percent increase in the local income tax will only fund the first phase of riverfront development. Phases two and three will require another $100 million. This is equal to $400 more per resident or $1,600 per family. If seniors on Social Security are exempt from the local income tax, the cost can be much higher per family.
The local income tax may be a small $6 per month per family, but it's on top of $3,756 your household already spent – and they want more. If the city had come to you for a $3,756 contribution for economic development, would you give it? Do you have other needs with a higher priority than economic development?
This goal is to attract growth – talented people, more specifically, millennials. These are my kid's ages. I was once young. I never worked more than five years in a row with any one company. I liked every place I worked; it was hard to leave; but after improving things, I needed more of a challenge and left each one.
What is the definition of talented people? I have worked in a lot of places, and talented people look more at the task than the location. They want a challenge. So what is to challenge these talented people in Fort Wayne? What happens when millennials get married and have kids or move to greener pastures?
What comes first: talented millennials or jobs/entrepreneurs/companies? We know at least Fort Wayne taxpayers come last, and they pay the bill.
I agree with Arthur Hall (Letters, July 2) about the “have to have” and the “nice to have,” but he could have gone further.
We have a City Council that on paper is Republican-dominated, but only a couple represent those views (less government, lower taxes). And John Crawford needs to admit he's no Republican. Our mayor is looking for his legacy by spending our money.
This city is more than a few blocks downtown. If his highness wants more money, take a pay cut. He isn't worth more than the governor or the mayor of Indianapolis.
I hope voters remember those who vote for higher taxes.