FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Mayor Tom Henry and City Controller Garry Morr officially introduced the City of Fort Wayne’s proposed budget for 2021 Thursday.
Creating the 2021 budget was unique and challenging due to the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
Under the direction of City Controller Garry Morr, Henry said the balanced budget was designed "in a way to continue to provide essential services to residents, neighborhoods, and businesses while also setting aside funds to be able to address future financial uncertainties as a result of the pandemic."
Morr said the City is in a position to have cash reserves to be able to respond to emergencies to continue to meet the needs of the community in uncertain times.
The highlights of the 2021 budget include:
- Continuation of commitment to neighborhood infrastructure projects with a planned investment of $23.8 million for streets and roads, $2.5 million for sidewalks and alleys, and $1.4 million for bridges.
- The Fort Wayne Police Department:
- will have 480 officers patrolling
- FWPD plans to add 100 body cameras for officers and a civilian position to manage the body camera program.
- FWPD is also planning to have a lateral officer recruit class in 2021.
- The department is proposing an upgrade to their Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
- The Fort Wayne Fire Department:
- To add two new engines to replace Engine 16 and Engine 18.
- Two academy classes are planned to include 18 recruits in each class.
- Improvements to the live burn training facility would allow the FWFD to add a three-story apartment building simulator.
- FWFD is also looking to enhance and make continued investments in its specialty team training.
- Parks and Recreation Department maintenance projects to total $3 million.
- The property tax supported budget, also known as the Civil City budget, totals $186 million.
This budget does not include Fort Wayne City Utilities, which has its own budget funded by ratepayers.
“We recognize 2020 has been a challenging year so far, and we know there will be more uncertainty for the foreseeable future as a result of the pandemic. However, by working together, our community has stepped up and supported one another, and as a municipality, we’ve been able to continue to serve the public without interruption,” Henry explained. “I’m encouraged with the budget that’s been put together for 2021. It strikes the necessary balance of making meaningful investments to enhance Fort Wayne while at the same time helping to ensure that funds are set aside to respond accordingly during these unprecedented times.”
Henry’s administration will present the budget to City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The full budget is available online here.