It's Official: Fort Wayne City Council Passes $180M 2012 Budget

By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

October 25, 2011 Updated Oct 25, 2011 at 11:05 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Fort Wayne City Council approved Mayor Tom Henry's 2012 budget Tuesday evening.

The measure was approved by a vote of 6 to 2.

Republicans Liz Brown and Mitch Harper voted against the budget.

Brown and Harper said the budget has too many flaws for them to support it.

Both said the budget is not a true indication of spending by the City of Fort Wayne and Mayor Tom Henry's administration.

Republicans Marty Bender, Tom Didier and Tom Smith voted for the budget.

However, Didier sand Smith raised concerns about using $3 million in cash savings to balance the budget.

Meanwhile, Bender believes the budget outcome was on target.

"Cutting some of the budgets to maybe to great of an extent. But I think for the most part every thing worked out well. I'm pleased with the outcome. The best thing is there will be no tax increase for any of the citizens of Fort Wayne," explained Republican At-Large City Councilman Marty Bender, who voted in favor of the 2012 budget.

Democrats Karen Goldner, John Shoaff and Glynn Hines voted for the budget.

But Shoaff warned that city leaders need to focus on building and park upkeep because he believes that maintenance of city assets has a direct impact on property values.

Shoaff pointed out that property values are the city's life line because high property values bring in more tax revenues.

Goldner and Hines were in full support of Mayor Henry's budget.

In fact, it was Councilwoman Goldner who first proposed not raising property taxes and filling in that $3 million dollar gap with a portion of the city's cash savings.

Meanwhile, both Hines and Goldner previously told Indiana's NewsCenter that department heads, under the guidance of Mayor Henry had already made deep cuts, months before the budget came before council for final approval.

Democrat Tim Pape did not attend tonight's council meeting.

But by all previous indications, Pape was expected to vote for the budget.

Outspoken Republican Councilwoman Liz Brown was disappointed and visibly irritated with Tuesday night's decision and the entire budget process.

"They've all talked about where can we get leaner but you have to do that homework. That's what we are... we're the legislative body. That's our responsibility. We are the checks and balances on the Mayor's free fall spending. And we didn't do it this year," said Republican At-Large City Councilwoman Liz Brown, who voted against the 2012 budget.

Meanwhile, several council members touched on the 2013 budget.

Some members think money will be tighter then.

Republican 1st District Councilman Tom Smith said next year's council needs to work harder at identifying possible savings.

Meanwhile, others, primarily democrats, are confident in Mayor Henry's long-term budgeting.

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