City Council passes local income tax increase

FILE: Fort Wayne's downtown skyline

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Fort Wayne City Council members voted 6-3 Tuesday night to approve an increase in the local income tax.

The proposed increase had been 0.15 percent, but was amended to 0.13 just before the vote.

The money will be used to fund riverfront development and pay for sidewalk and alleyway repairs. The hike will go into effect October 1.

The council spent about two hours discussing the ordinance in committee and approved several amendments. In the end Councilmen Jason Arp (R), Paul Ensley (R) and Russ Jehl (R) voted against the ordinance.

Before a vote happened there was a second public hearing about the proposed tax hike. It was standing room only just like the first public hearing two weeks ago.

“Our ultimate reaction [is] we’ll hold these people accountable,” Graham Renbarger said who is against the ordinance. “What they did it’s not in the best interest of the people that’s for sure.”

“I think the business community in particular got behind this,” John Burda who is in favor of the ordnance said. “I think there’s a lot of momentum for that. I think there’s a lot of concern about attracting people to Fort Wayne, and I think developing a natural resource like the rivers is important in bringing people to town.”

Councilmen Jason Arp (R-4th), Russ Jehl (R-2nd), and Paul Ensley (R-1st) voted against the increase.

Mayor Tom Henry released a statement following the vote:

Tonight’s vote by a majority of City Council members to adjust the local income tax to fund future phases of riverfront development and invest in neighborhood sidewalks and alleys is a win for our entire community.

It’s a next step to help ensure we continue to experience momentum with a thriving downtown, strong neighborhoods and a positive business climate with job growth and expansion projects as a point of destination city.

I applaud Councilmen Crawford, Didier, Freistroffer, Hines, Paddock and Barranda for demonstrating leadership in supporting a plan that will enhance our ability to move Fort Wayne forward in the right direction.

The tax increase will likely mean an additional 60 dollars per year for a household earning approximately $49,000 per year.

Council discussed a 0.1 percent increase, but that amendment failed.