City Council notes – 10/20/2009

The Fort Wayne City Council

Notes from tonight’s City Council meeting.

Councilman Tim Pape is delivering his report on his time as Council appointment on the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Alliance.

Councilman Pape thinks there should be more City Council members serving on the board.  He is talking about the interaction between difference agencies involved in economic development in the area.  They spend a lot of time evaluating their success.  He feels we lag behind the rest of the nation in having land available, either through out right purchase or having control, for potential developers/employers.  There is a lot of things going on right now.  For the record, he has had perfect attendance at the meetings as well as being on-time.

Passed unanimously.


Cindy Joyner is in front of Council from Neighborhood Code Enforcement.  42 properties are on the contract.  Trying to work with owners and surrounding neighborhoods to see if there is interest in rehabbing some of the properties.  Contractors have 60 days from signing to complete the demolition.  She will wait 60 days before signing off on any of the demolitions.

Liz is asking how many are in the pipeline?  Demolition hearings start in December.  1,100 properties reverted to the County last year, 500 have structures on them.  We have plenty we need to take down.  Their budget for this is $500,000, this is for $231,646.36 for 42 structures.

Marty Bender is asking if it would be better to use just one vendor.  Cindy is responding it helps to keep the bids low, knowing there is competition for the work.

Karen Goldner – asking about when the boarding and clean-up contracts were split up, if that’s affected the amount and price of work.  Cindy – we’re operating at about a third of what it cost before.  This results from splitting up the contracts.  Karen – will things heard in December come down this year?  Probably not.  Hearings take a little longer.  Notifications need to be sent out once the hearing is held.

Tim Pape – what’s the expectation once the 42 houses are down.  Cindy – 60 days to take them down.

Glynn Hines – used to leave fall-out in basements.  You are still allowed to leave a part of the demolition in the basement.  When lot restoration is done, it has to be level and should not know a house was ever there.  Reason for set-back homes being built are because it would cost more to dig up and remove the fall-out.  Cindy – if you were to do a complete removal, you’d be talking about a lot more money.  It depends on how many homes and how much you want us to take down.  A lot of the lots are too small for building on.

Glynn – in the Renaissance Pointe area, were the demolitions complete, or was stuff left behind?  Cindy is saying she’d have to check because it wasn’t through Neighborhood Code.

Marty Bender – some are old homes.  622 Pierce.  Corner of Pierce and South Wayne.  Multi-unit apartment building.  Considered a commercial property.  This is a much bigger structure.

Liz – it would be interesting to see if build-able lots would need to have more done during the demolitions.  Are we causing future development to be limited by not completely cleaning up the lots.  It depends on the developers being willing to put more money into a lot to remove everything before beginning construction.

Mitch Harper – echoing Glynn’s questions and comments.  Cindy will work on an analysis to see what is being talked about.

Liz – any talk about giving properties to adjacent owners?  Tim – it’s a really good idea.  There are barriers to people obtaining the land like this.  It would have to have funding so people wouldn’t have to pay out of their pockets for it.  There might not be as great a demand as you’d think.

Passes unanimously.


Melbourne Court.  North of Times Corner shopping center.  It is the average of two appraisals.

Tom Didier – where’s the money coming from?  2006 Revenue Bond.

John Shoaff – Real-world consequences of not purchasing the property?  Looking at how to reroute the Lawrence drain.  If the house isn’t purchased, wouldn’t be able to get in that area of the drain.  Problem dates back to the 60s.  Related to devlopment in the area?  Possibly.

Passes unanimously.


Liz Brown is introducing.  Currently there is a 15% cap on what the City can raise employees.  Would not take affect until next year.  It allows the City another tool in budgeting.  $500, 1,000 and 3,000 deductibles now.  This will give the Administration flexibility in budgeting.

Tom Didier – cost savings?  Liz – can be.

Tim Pape – would prohibit City in collective bargaining?  Liz – Yes.  This would apply across the board.  They are bound with unions that have “me too” clauses.  Tim – “It sounds like a piece of anit-union piece of legislation.”

Liz – has nothing to do with any particular union.  Our plan qualifies as a “cadillac plan” similar to that of our US Congress.  Has nothing to do with going forward, it restricts being able to be more flexible.  I haven’t found any employer that has such a generous split as 90/10.

Tim – I don’t think this is a budgeting tool.  This says you can’t bargain on this.  I think it hamstrings the Administration and doesn’t offer flexibility.

Liz – some unions won’t talk about this at all.

Glynn – this directly impacts union negotiations.

Liz – the only contract done to date is the Fire and it does not have a cap in place.  Won’t affect anyone in 2010.

Glynn – doesn’t see limiting the unions ability to negotiate.

Karen Goldner – I have really mixed feelings about this.  If we’re going to exercise any fiscal control, this is the place to do it.  About 17% of single coverage is paid by employee nationally.  City employees currently pay 10%.  Numbers cited from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.  Family is about 20%.  You have to at some point, get involved regardless of union contracts.  “I don’t know what else we can do, the numbers just keep creeping along.”

Liz – next year, if budgeting dictates it, the premium could be raised.  No effect this year, however could next year.

Passes with 6-3 (Bender, Hines and Pape against)

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