Amendments to tax abatement code on website for citizen scrutiny

City Councilwomen Karen Goldner, D-2nd and Liz Brown, R-at-large, have completed a draft to amend the current Municipal Code Chapter 153: Planning and Development, Designation of Economic Revitalization Areas and the Granting of Tax Abatements. The two freshmen council members publicly announced the formation of their ad hoc team earlier this year to bring forward suggested changes to the City'€™s tax abatement program.
In keeping with the pledge to the community and other council members to make these proposed changes, they also want to offer citizen input. Therefore, the councilwomen are placing the draft documents on the city'€™s website.

“Councilwoman Brown and I were both interested in creating a more balanced approach to the way Fort Wayne grants tax abatements; several months ago we began work on these amendments,” stated Goldner. “Economic development is a critical function of local government. We believe we'€™re on the right track to ensure that we continue to make Fort Wayne a good place to start and expand business. But in order to come up with the best proposal, we hope that citizens will give us their thoughts, too.

“Tax abatements are economic development tools that local governments can use to grow businesses in their communities without investing more tax dollars in those businesses.”  Brown said. “Our changes to the tax abatement application process will make it more transparent for our taxpayers, interested businesses, as well as, our government officials.”

The documents on the website will include an Executive Summary of the amendments as well as the “red-lined” copy of the city code with the proposed changes. Other documents will include the new Tax Abatement Review System which the city will use to determine the years of abatement given on real and personal property investments. Citizens visiting the site will be able to follow procedures for providing suggestions and comments.

The general public has until Friday, October 10 to submit their comments via the website. If residents wish to mail their comments, they may do so by sending them to: Fort Wayne City Council Office, One Main Street, Room 290, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802.  All submissions will be reviewed and a final ordinance should be introduced to the full City Council before the end of 2008.