City Budget to Raise Property Taxes

By Rachel Martin

September 25, 2012 Updated Oct 18, 2013 at 11:13 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – More tax hikes for Fort Wayne residents as City officials presented the 2013 budget to City Council Tuesday night.

The city presented its 2013 budget to Fort Wayne city council Tuesday night. The city budget is $139.8M—up $5.4M from last year. Although officials say a lot of cuts were made, there is still an increase in the budget. That means an increase in property taxes.

City Controller Pat Roller says property taxes are used to fund the city's cash reserves, which supports services like the local fire and police departments. However, Roller says public safety is one of the areas to take a budget cut.

“We are going to be able to continue to provide services to the City of Fort Wayne,” said Roller. “That is going to get more difficult in future years, and we are at a crossroads on how do we want to operate our city in the future.”

Roller says there are too many unknown variables to determine what the final tax increase will be. However, Roller estimates that someone with a $100,000 home will pay about $25 more a year, which equals out to about $2.15 more a month.

Roller says with current cash reserves, the city can make it through 2013, but the Tax Reform Bill of 2008, which put a cap on property taxes, will make it hard to salvage funding for public safety in 2014 by limiting the amount of tax levy, or the amount of taxes collected.

“The city’s been fiscally conservative for a lot of years and we’re coming to a crossroad. It will be up to Council to determine what’s the best financial road to take,” she said.

A public hearing, where residents can voice their opinions, concerning the budget and tax increase will be held Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m. in the Citizen’s Square basement. City Council is expected to make the final vote Oct. 23.

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