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City Council creates study committee for legacy fund process

The newly formed committee of three city council members, which also sit on the Legacy Fund Committee, will look at the process and help define some rules for the committee that determines if a project is worth receiving legacy funds.

Posted: Jun 11, 2019 10:44 PM
Updated: Jun 11, 2019 10:46 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Fort Wayne's city council formed a committee to reevaluate how the Joint Legacy Fund Committee works.

The newly formed committee of three city council members, which also sit on the Legacy Fund Committee, will look at the process and help define some rules for the committee that determines if a project is worth receiving legacy funds.

This is something the Legacy Fund Committee has been asking for.

"Our committee really needs those kinds of projects," said Stacey Smith, chairwoman of Legacy Fund Committee.

Fort Wayne's legacy fund was created by selling the electric utility to Indiana Michigan Power.

The money from that sale is in a fund to be used on transformational projects across the city.

However, the process has evolved over the years and now the committee tasked with making recommendations to city council is looking for more guidance.

"We don't want to bring people forward and approve their projects and tie up their projects with proposed funding that may never get voted upon," said Smith.

The account has reached nearly $34 million but officials don't want it to dip below $30-million so the interest can fund projects for years to come.

The problem is Electric Works has already been promised $10 million at the end of the year, meaning Science Central's request for $500,000 for a new planetarium has been repeatedly pushed back.

"This problem with Science Central has been disappointing because honestly, it is $500,000," said Smith.

That's why councilman Michael Barranda wants to create a committee to study the legacy fund committee.

"We don't know exactly what that recommendation means. Does it mean we think it is a nice project? Or we think it is a nice project if it dips below $30 million, or it is a nice project either way. There is just a lot of questions that need answered," he said.

The newly formed committee won't make any final rules, only recommendations so everyone is on the same page when a project reaches city council for final approval.

The study committee is expected to make its recommendation early next year.

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