September 21, 2023 - Fort Wayne’s fiscal health remains in strong position as Mayor Tom Henry and City Controller Garry Morr today announced the proposed 2024 budget for the City of Fort Wayne.
Plans call for investments in neighborhood infrastructure improvements totaling $47.6 million when combined with enhancements through the Parks & Recreation Department and a southeast Fort Wayne plan through the Community Development Division. In addition, proactive investments in public safety will help ensure that Fort Wayne is the safest community possible.
2024 budget highlights:
*Balanced budget with a 4.6% reduction in the City’s tax rate
*Continuation of commitment to neighborhood infrastructure projects with a planned investment of $44.6 million, which includes $33.2 million for streets, roads and bridges, $9.3 million for sidewalks and alleys, and $2.1 million for trails. The proposed list includes the Leesburg Road extension with a roundabout at Main Street and Leesburg Road, concrete street rehabilitation on East Cook Road, improvements to the Bluffton Road Bridge and Goeglein Road Bridge, and trail expansions on the Pufferbelly, Covington Road, and Liberty Mills Road trails.
*The Fort Wayne Police Department will have its 68th recruit class that will keep the budgeted number of officers patrolling City streets to protect the public at 500. The FWPD will expand the drone as first responder program. The FWPD will also receive new hand-held radios for officers, as well as additional moving radars for increased traffic enforcement.
*The Fort Wayne Fire Department plans to add five new engines in the first quarter of 2024. The 96th recruit class is planned and will bring the number of firefighters to 375. Planned drone technology will assist fire investigators at emergencies to aid in gathering data and temperature analysis on hazardous materials releases, hot spot determination during large fires, and photo documentation.
*Investments in maintenance projects through the Parks & Recreation Department will total $3 million. There will also be improvements to Franke Park, Brewer Park, Packard Park’s master plan work will continue, and there are plans for renovations to the Mechanic Street Bridge at Swinney Park.
*The City’s information technology department will have cyber security as a focus
*Utilization of the State of Indiana’s allowable tax levy to assist in preserving funding to provide essential services
*The property tax supported budget including LIT – public safety, also known as the Civil City budget, totals $235.1 million. This budget does not include Fort Wayne City Utilities, which has its own budget funded by ratepayers.
“Fort Wayne is a city on the move that’s experiencing growth and success like never before. I’m encouraged by the proposed budget for 2024 as it demonstrates how well we’re doing financially, and the best days are ahead of us,” said Mayor Henry. “Fiscal discipline and management are critical as we work with residents, neighborhooods, and businesses to invest in projects and initiatives that will make a lasting and meaningful difference. My administration and I look forward to a positive dialogue with City Council as we come together with a common goal to make Fort Wayne the best city possible to live, work, and play.”
Examples of positive indicators moving forward:
*Local assessed valuations on properties continue to rise – 11 consecutive years
*Steady revenue growth has allowed the City to maintain a very strong fund balance over the past several years
*Through strong fiscal management in partnership with City Council, the City has sufficient cash reserves to be able to respond to emergencies in uncertain times
Mayor Henry’s Administration will present the budget at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26. The budget is available at http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/smartgov.
Fort Wayne continues to be a consistent award-winning community in multiple categories through an ongoing commitment to engagement, innovation, and performance. Fiscal responsibility is a best practices measurement that has helped Fort Wayne achieve national recognition.
Highlights of 2023 awards for the City of Fort Wayne:
*7th best run city in the country by WalletHub
*5th most affordable city in the country by U.S. News & World Report
*33rd best place to live in the country by U.S. News & World Report
*15th best place to retire in the country by U.S. News & World Report
*4th best city in the country for most affordable housing and job openings by Go Banking Rates
*3rd top hidden gem city in the country for homeownership by Lending Tree
*10th best city in the country for remote workers by The Wall Street Journal
*2nd top emerging housing market in the country by The Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com
*7th lowest cost of living city in the country by Niche