Are Any Ideas Off The Table In Spending $75 Million Fort Wayne Windfall?

By Maureen Mespell
By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer

January 13, 2011 Updated Jan 13, 2011 at 7:10 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne's deputy mayor insists nothing has been ruled out for how a $75-million windfall could be used by the Henry administration.

Mayor Tom Henry is inviting suggestions from the public.

In fact, ideas are flooding in from citizens.

City officials say the 311 switchboard is being overrun with calls, and they are asking people to hold off on communicating ideas for a few weeks.

Mayor Henry on Wednesday announced creation of a special task force to investigate options for spending the cash that came from light lease payments made by Indiana-Michigan Power over several decades, added to dollars paid by I & M for future rights to the city's electric infrastructure.

If you split the money among the city's 250,000 residents, everybody would get a $300.00 check.

Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy says it's not the administration's place to shoot down any ideas this early.

Beth Malloy/Fort Wayne Deputy Mayor: "There are some parameters in the trust that talk about being long lasting and a legacy for the city. One of the first things that the committee will be doing is establishing those parameters."

We asked Malloy how distributing money to citizens would create a lasting legacy.

Malloy: "Again, the parameters... I don't know, that will be a part of the definition of how they come up with the parameters for this."

Malloy says in selecting the 15 people to serve on the legacy task force, the Henry administration strived to get representation from a variety of interests, including education, the arts, financial experts, and from city council.

She says they started with 60 to 70 names, and whittled the list down, concentrating on candidates who were both qualified and covered multiple categories.

The city is requesting that citizens wait until early March to contribute their ideas for how the $75-million should be spent, when the task force gets fully established.

For more information, you can visit www.LegacyFortWayne.org.

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