Live: City Council notes – 8/25/2009

The Fort Wayne City Council

Notes from tonight’s City Council meeting.

This live post was updated frequently throughout the City Council meeting.

Public hearing has commenced.  Before the start, Council President Tom Smith asked for a poll of those who intended to speak.  The majority of those responding indicated they were speaking in favor of the purchase.  My apologies in advance for any misspellings of names.

1) Rich Davis, of the Downtown Improvement District, is currently speaking.  He is talking about the positive benefits of reusing the building.  Average downtown Fort Wayne employee spends $2,900 annually in the downtown.  In favor.

2) Opposed.

3) Marilyn Moran-Townsend – Local Government Efficiency Task Force dictated co-location of police a year ago.  Three reasons for to purchase: 1.  City and County can continue to co-locate functions.  2. Increased customer efficiency.  3.  Co-location of police can pay off in better working relationships and working together.  Good benefits of good government is often difficult to quantify.  In favor.

4) In favor.  Interested in government consolidation.  Only support the move depending on where the co-location of police occurs.  Should be in the City-County Building.

5) In favor.

6) Marty Pastura – YMCA.  If police station moves out, police will have a precinct in the new Y.  Makes sense.  In favor.

7) Not necessarily in favor or against.

8) Anthony Ridley, President of Renaissance Pointe Neighborhood Association.  In favor.

9) In favor.

Observation – Most are addressing the issue of moving the police department downtown.  The issue is a bit bigger than moving the police department downtown.

10) Making point of taxpayers improvements already put into it due to the Library’s relocation there while work on the main branch went on.  I believe we have come to the time where we either accept or declare a 5 year moratorium  on discussions concerning this building.  In favor.

11) In favor.

12) In favor.  Describing himself as a 35 year advocate of downtown.  Activity in the building makes strong statement on redevelopment of downtown.  The infrastructure in downtown is adequate.

13) Rosie O’Grady, Co-Chair of Northwest Partnership.  85% agreed it was the thing to do.  30 members were present.    In favor.

14) Don Schenkel, President of Chamber of Commerce.  In favor.

15) Opposed.

16) In favor.  Not sure about the co-ownership portion of it.

17) In favor.

18) In favor.

19) Lockwood Marine.  Building has a  lot of problems.  HVAC problems and floor issues.  Has anyone done a thorough look at the building?  Space is more than double that what is needed for City Police.  Price negotiated not realistic given current market conditions.  Questionable use of economic funds.  Major asset being removed from the tax rolls.  Opposed.

20) In favor.

21) Ben Eisbart.  There are times when you have to take seize the opportunity. In favor.

22) John B. Kalb.  John is giving a history lesson.  Questioning the use of bond money as the revenue source for purchase of a building.  Opposed.

23) Kelly Updike, Embassy Theatre.  In favor.

24) Cal Miller.  Unfair to characterize this as 11th hour.  Let’s make the decision or move on.  In favor.

25) Nancy Chamberlin, FWPD.  In favor.

26) Councilwoman Liz Brown is reading a letter from Steve Brody, consultant.  In favor.

27) Opposed.

28) Opposed.  Needs to be a variety store again.  Put a water slide in the building.

29) Jeff Pruitt.I have a hard time imagining this is going to foster cooperation between the City aand County.  Does not make economic sense.  Minimize the cost by seeking another revenue source – not the CEDIT bond. Opposed.

30) William Larsen. Opposed.

31) Lives in Bowman, Indiana? In favor.

32) Not in favor or opposition.  Questioning parking.

33) Ranting about the police force’s performance.  Opposed.

9 opposed, 1 undecided (although he sounded more opposed), 1 not really in favor or against and 22 in favor.

Committee Session reconvened at 6:50 pm.

“Prior Approval” requests:

City Engineer David Ross is talking about the reduction in costs associated with projects as construction companies are looking for work.

South Anthony is approved.

Wells Streetscape project: Initiated by request from Wells Street Merchants in 2006.  Majority of funding from Community Block Grant and CEDIT and CEDIT Bond dollars.  Key Concrete low bidder.  Project will complement improvements made by existing businesses.  Councilman Didier is voicing support of project and Judi Wire.  Councilman Pape is asking when it will begin – Thursday this week, completion November 30th.

Councilwoman Liz Brown asking how much street work only would cost, guessing inthe area of under $200,000.  Replacement of sidewalks, drainage issues are also going to be replaced.  How did the street rank?  Does carry 16K vehicles  a day.  Were businesses or neighborhoods asked to help bear with costs?  No to the best of Shawn’s knowledge.

Councilwoman Goldner asking about amenities removed.  Brick crosswalks were removed from project.  Russ Garriott – always billed as an alternative.  Costs.  Also North River Area not developed.  When and if it is developed, some enhancements to go with might be appropriate.  Councilwoman Goldner is questioning if the businesses were brought into the discussion of what would be removed.  Russ is responding meetings have been scheduled.

Councilman Tom Didier is talking about sidewalks and how long they’ve been there.  He is voting yes.

All in favor except for Councilwoman Liz Brown.

Winchester Road flood fighting.  Combination of flood control for roads and utilities.  Passed.

Z-09-07-16

House will be purchased for returning soldier who is disabled.  The house is ready for wheelchair accessibility.  Had been a doctor’s office and been substantially modified.  Passed.

Renaissance Square purchase

Councilman Tom Smith: who will be in charge of the project?  Controller Pat Roller – haven’t gotten that far yet.

Councilman Glynn Hines: asking about genesis of the project.

Councilman Tim Pape: How adequately have we inspected.  Controller Roller: Did have architect evaluat the soundness of the buliding.  There are some HVAC issues that have been identified and budgeted for.  We have the funding and can phase in repairs as necessary.  There was nothing unexpected about the building.  (7:28)

Councilman Tom Didier: Why $7 million in improvements.  Roller: It was the items that need immediate attention.  Doing what we need to, to get in the building.  Didier: People were in support of the purchase as long as it was for co-location of police and Sheriff.   How serious is the City and County about co-locating? If I vote yes, the County needs to realize how much they need to work with the City.

Councilwoman Karen Goldner: CEDIT funds can be used for purchase of buildings.  She has recieved about the same number of pro and con for the project in emails.   “Important to let citizens of this community know that considerable thought went into this.”  Administration has looked at many other possible locations.  This is the cheapest to do of any of the feasible options.  We need to responsibly provision the police department.  Just the fire issue scares me to death (of the existing Creighton facility).  Deadlines are needed to move projects ahead.  Driving factor is the police department.  The administration has structured the building to reduce property tax expenditures.  Had the Mayor not held this, there would have been crticism for not engaging the County.

It is important to note: The Lincoln Museum Lease is only for that portion of the building they occupied – not the entire building.

Councilman Mitch Harper:  Asking for clarification of who the lease is with and I missed it.  Talking about the funding source.  How hard is the $7 million?  Roller: it is a hard cap.  We have a history of bringing projects in on budget.  Harper is asking if this came before the Capital Improvement Board.  Roller is saying.

Councilman John Shoaff: Not sure we should feel under the gun to accept the deadline.  Two negative concerns that need to be addressed: “This is not economic development” and “Loss of property tax revenues.”  “Is it a proper use of economic funds?”

Final vote, in both the Committee and Regular Sessions:

Bender: yes
Brown: yes
Didier: yes
Goldner: yes
Harper: no
Hines: yes
Pape: yes
Shoaff: no
Smith: no

Final vote 6-3, passes.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The more I watch Council, the more I’m convinced of a deep-seeded resentment for anyone who does not agree with their agenda. Tim Pape stated that people who are against things are critiquing the “process” and can not conceive the merits of the argument. Karen Goldner says that those who oppose ideas are being fashionable since they can not grasp the ideas at hand. And Karen promised FREE PARKING at the new building. Liz Brown went out of her way to pat herself on the back for all the work she did on this project. Too bad, she waited until tonight’s meeting to bring that information forward.
    Buying the building may be a good idea. But it sure looks like it’s being crammed down our throats, just like the Calhoun Street “Improvement”.

  2. We are glad to start the improvements on Wells !We have worked for 5 years to improve this area. Elated almost all of City Council understands the need to reinvest in our heart of the city corridors. Perhaps we are on track with revitalization!

  3. Well Judi should be elated! Another million dollars of improvments for free!
    Liz Brown is right in voting Nay as to the Barrett Law. The participants should have some skin in the game!

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