The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 29, 2019 6:03 pm

Candidate calls for change on infrastructure spending priorities

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

A Republican candidate for Fort Wayne's 5th City Council district on Wednesday called for City Council to revamp how it identifies infrastructure spending priorities. 

Taylor Vanover, who hopes to unseat Democrat Geoff Paddock in November, said he wants to include neighborhoods and business districts in an effort to spend $20 million in infrastructure-specific projects separate from priorities identified by the city administration. Under Vanover's plan, each council member would be in charge of about $2.2 million to put toward infrastructure-related projects.

"Council must become an active part of the budgetary process by working with neighborhood associations and business districts to rank and suggest projects months in advance of the mayor's budget proposal," Vanover said in a news release. 

Vanover's proposal involves each council member working with neighborhood associations and business groups every year in March and April to identify projects that could be submitted to the city in May. The $20 million proposed would be evenly divided between the districts and at-large members. 

"After viewing the budget process, it was clear that council has essentially become a rubber stamp and not an integral part of the process," Vanover said in his release. "Citizens are better served by their elected representatives as opposed to detached staff."

Paddock responds

It has been brought to my attention that an item mentioning my opponent and a plan for neighborhood spending, is posted in Political Notebook on line. I was not contacted for a comment on this subject. I would point out that my opponent was contacted for a response when I issued a statement in support for Electric Works, last month.

I would appreciate it if you would include this in the political notebook article for Sunday's paper. If not tomorrow, please add it next Sunday.

"When I took office in 2012, the city spent about $6 million on street resurfacing and other neighborhood improvements.

I worked with Mayor Henry and my colleagues on a bi partisan basis, to increase that funding to over $30 million in 2018 and over $30 million in 2019. In addition, we are spending over $100 million this year on city utility projects, including the Combined Sewer Overflow Project, that will divert waste from our rivers and greatly reduce basements backups. This is a strong commitment to neighborhoods.

With a strong cash balance, I will look for more funds for neighborhood improvements, including brick street repair, which I have championed for several years. State law allows local governments to spend so much, and we must not short our public safety--police and fire--with the limited funds we have in our city budget."

Geoff Paddock

Fifth District City Council.

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