BREAKING NEWS : Allen County Councilman Joel Benz plans to accept TRAA executive director position Full Story

Fort Wayne City Council rejects $7 million tax abatement for Amazon following vote

Amazon’s tax abatement was rejected at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting. The proposal failed by a 3-5-1 vote.

Posted: Jul 28, 2021 9:15 AM
Updated: Jul 28, 2021 10:46 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Fort Wayne City Council voted against a tax break for Amazon Tuesday night during their meeting.

The proposal for the $7 million tax abatement for machinery failed by a 3-5 vote, with one council member abstaining.

Here's how everyone on the council voted:

  • Voted No
    • Jason Arp, Paul Ensley, Thomas Freistroffer, Russ Jehl and Sharon Tucker
  • Voted Yes
    • Michelle Chambers, Thomas Didier and Geoff Paddock
  • Abstentions
    • Glynn Hines

Council already voted in favor of a tax abatement this spring for Amazon.

This would have been an abatement for machinery at the U.S. Highway 30 and Flaugh Road fulfillment center.

Councilwoman Michelle Chambers says the vote shouldn't change Amazon's decision to continue its course to Fort Wayne.

"I would encourage any business that's deciding to come to the city don't allow our citizen's tax dollars to be the breaking factor, allow it to be the thing that helps create economic development on based on need. So I am I'm confident that they will plan to come that's what was said tonight. So I welcome them to the city and I'm excited about the opportunity for people that have jobs," Chambers explained.

The tax abatement awarded to Amazon in the spring was $16 million for its construction.

Councilman Geoff Paddock issues the following statement to FOX 55 Wednesday morning following his vote:

"City government acquires most of its authority by enabling legislation from the State of Indiana. Policy granted in 1977, allows us to abate, or phase in, an added tax burden on a business or industry, that is located in a designated area and is bringing in added employment, high wages, and substantial real estate and business equipment.

The abatement on property taxes and on business personal property is for new tax revenue that would not be received if not for the new business or its expansion. This is a tool that was given to us so we could be competitive and score a win over another state. This is part of the economic development policy that I support, and I have worked to make it more accountable and to add a level of compliance.

The ordinance we updated in 2013 and again in 2019 has made the application for tax abatement more stringent. While it should continue to be our policy to grant it, we are also rightly being more vigorous in rescinding tax abatement incentives, when the compliance level is not met. I have voted to rescind dozens of these when the company did not meet the benchmarks we set. We will see this process come before us again soon.

Amazon did not seek tax incentives from the city on the two warehouses that are currently in operation. With this distribution center, the abatement formula was factored into the project so it could offer 1,000 jobs at good wages and benefits. The phase-in before us is important in seeing Amazon move forward with that commitment. The expectation helped them choose Fort Wayne instead of another state.

What we are being asked to do is follow a policy that I believe is good economic development policy. Going through the tax abatement process is rigorous and not inexpensive. In reviewing the score sheet, the applicant either meets or exceeds the requirements that we set in our ordinance. Our reputation as an honest broker may be on the line. If we do not follow through, a city in another state may offer a better incentive and we might lose the next company that wants to bring in another 1,000 jobs.

The phase-in of this business personal property tax helps implement automated machinery and sophisticated robotics that will actually help to solidify these jobs and make them safer and more sustainable for the future, adding longevity to the plant. This is not unlike other tax phase ins that we have granted for BAE Systems, Dana Corporation, Fort Wayne Metals, and Sweetwater Sound.

I understand the hesitation here and the opposition. Like you, I witnessed the former Chief Executive Officer riding in his rocket and spending millions of dollars. The optics are not good, and we are hearing from citizens who are not happy. In fact, they are infuriated. However, our policy must apply to everyone fairly and evenly. The City of Fort Wayne is not writing a check to anyone. We are phasing in a tax obligation that will be paid to us over a period of years, and we are keeping a commitment through this ordinance, that was revised a few years ago.

With my vote, I also add this. I care about the way you treat your employees, the wages you pay, the benefits you provide, and your willingness to be a good corporate citizen. Most important will be how you meet the requirements that accompany this tax phase in. If you do not meet them, we will rescind it.

I believe our policy and how we have administered it over the years, helped this company to factor the size of its operation, the number of employees, and the amount of employee benefits, just like any other similar applications. I will vote yes."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 44°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 50°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 46°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 46°
Van Wert
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 53°
Sunshine and warmer air return to round out the work week, but the warm-up is brief.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events