City Council notes – 11/17/2009

The Fort Wayne City Council

Notes from yesterday’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting.

Paul Morrison was sworn in by City Clerk Sandy Kenned as the Council appointment to the Metropolitan Human Relations Commission.  Photos and video will be posted later.


Kids Law is the newest addition to the list of grants.  Approved by all.

S-09-11-14, S-09-11-15 and S-09-11-16

Consent decree work.  Program assistant will be  required for four years.  The current amounts are for the first year.  They will return next year with contracts for years 2 through 4.  Training, both classroom and on-the-job, are included.

Other communities  were looked at for how they managed projects such as this.  Sent letter in October 2008 to see if national firms were interested.  Open House was held for interested firms.  One of the goals of the program is to keep money in the community to develop staff and resources.  Four submissions were received and evaluated based on expertise of firms, resumes of their personnel and experience – a number of criteria.  Another major factor was local presence.  Shortlisted to two teams which came to Fort Wayne for interviews.  Both teams were excellent, however the one selected had a slightly better edge.

Tom Didier – How does picking this firm vs. another save us dollars?  Expertise of selected firm includes experience of learning from mistakes made by other communities.

Karen Goldner – This procurement preceded the Council’s Buy Local/Indiana ordinance.  She does appreciate the attention to trying to keep it local.

The reason there are three separate is that there would be a mark up if it were sub-contracted out.  This gives more accountability and control.

Liz Brown – It’s not uncommon for the local component.  Each firm is expected to have three engineers, or technical staff, in Fort Wayne during the contract.  They also pushed for the office to be downtown as well for the close proximity to the City offices.  The firms in these design contracts, cannot bid on the actual construction.  This eliminates self-management.

Tim Pape – The selected firms tonight, will have a “leg-up” on the rest of the firms for the next rounds because of experience gained.  They can bid on future construction work as long as they aren’t self-managing.  How long will these contracts go for?  12 months.  Should give thought to the future projects having volume discounts.  Should go with longer-term contracts to get the discounts.  $50 million over 15 years – should get discounts.  This contract is only 12 months, however, next contract will be for years 2 through 4.  Marketing value of the project for the firms should be considered.  Talking about four year commitment of those in the firm coming here to live.  The range is from $85 to $200 per hour, depending on position and experience.  Is it a flat fee contract?  It’s a not to exceed amount.  Next year, it will be an extension of this contract.  Next year, should be better rates for the 2 to 4 year contract.

Approved, none opposed.


DID Budget – Rich Davis, DID President and DID Charlie Heine, Charmain.

In 2015, the sunset clause kicks in and they’ll have to go back to property owners for another 10 years.

91 blocks, 445 acres, 40 miles of streets, alleys and sidewalks

private and non-profit 45% and public spaces 55%

Last year, concentrated on intersections and lots of observations.  Like to put forward a master contract for snow removal so the DID can take on the responsibility.  Smaller-properties could take advantage of it.

Would like to do more with Solar Powered Trash Compactors.  Grant money and sponsorship money should be available.  Put back almost $200,000 into cleaning the green spaces.

Downtown events should also benefit downtown businesses.  They are doing interviews with attendees and wrap-up with businesses.

Liz Brown – asking about property owner responsibility and why they have taken on the additional responses.  Snow removal, sidewalk repair, trees…  Rich – haven’t repaired any ourselves, but acting as broker.  Worked with property owners – haven’t spent money of their own.  Tree work in 2010 will be in cooperation with City.  Tree grates maintained by DID.  Volunteers and staff will be working on it.  We’re looking for areas which aren’t being done well, and trying to add some value.  It is done in partnership.  As a courtesy, we have a responsiblity to keep them clean for pedestrians.

If you’re doing it, how are you encouraging them to do it?  We will not clean up anyone’s sidewalk without being reimbursed.  DID has over 300 commercial property rate payers.

We see value in what we’re doing, even if we couldn’t get total coverage of expenses through sponsorship.   Liz – significant portion spent on supporting retail businesses, however they are a small part of those that pay.

Liz – legal line item going up 5 times.  Rich – we are looking to reopen 501c organization that has been closed for some time.  It will be used to bring in more money to help.  Foundation?

Office rent zero to $13,000.  George Huber has given it free for some time.  Board is encouraging them to get out and co-locate with another organization and get in a ground-floor location for better visibility.  They have avoided it for some years.

Karen Goldner – She’s on the board – very active board.  Clean and Green is important to put into context.  Important for retailers and small businesses to have access to the master contract.  DID does good job of being promoter of downtown, not just events.  Important to have an organization that takes care of downtown.

Tom Smith – Board meeting today at the Community Foundation.  I find it very hard to find out when they’re happening.  I really think you need to examine how you get the word out about the board meetings.  Rather than having them at noon in a place where people aren’t sure where they’re at.  Should have them in the heart of downtown.  Especially with 85% of the funding coming from taxpayers.  Make sure it’s well publicized.

The kiosks around downtown.  Almost impossible to read.  Don’t see people looking at them.  I don’t think they’re meeting their needs or purpose.  Community Development owns them and placed them.

Tim Pape – I think you have some of the highest quality events in all of Fort Wayne.  You should keep doing those events.  Events keep getting better and better and quality as well.  It is a unique experience, the events, and it does bring value to downtown and not just retail.

Liz Brown – The events they put on are great and serve their purpose of attracting people downtown.  $300K from property owners go to salaries, now ask City to subsidize the events at $150K.  It’s one thing for us to assist in something that brings people downtown.  I want to see your budget cover something besides your personnel.  For those who aren’t downtown, they have to broker for themselves.

Liz is proposing they took a $25,000 cut.  They are increasing their rent and legal fees in a year when others have cut their budget.  We’ve just come off a difficult budget process and you’re going to have to dot the same thing.

Commercial property owners feel they’re subsidizing the efforts – some 60% support level in the DID budget.  They see themselves as taking on the subsidizing.

Mitch Harper – One of the structures inside the DID district is the Renaissance Square.  It will be going off the tax rolls.  How does your assessment remain flat when this property will be taken off?  The district is set up so it always brings in a flat number each year.  The apportionment per property owner may fluctuate.  Council set the amount of $300,000.

Mitch is talking about creating a core of non-taxable properties in the downtown – or a hollowing out of the core.  Now talking about an effort to do land banking.  It’s an initiative which is borrowed from Chattanooga and Kalamazoo.  Using institutional funds to actively get involved in real estate market to purchase properties that come on the market.  You begin to acquire properties to stabilize it and fill in gaps in needs, then find developers who will take them over.  Do you chase out private dollars in doing something like this?

Tim Pape – Those communities that plan for investment and partner with private investment, is best.  An active, vibrant downtown attracts development.  The evidence is that people  are looking for a responsive community that appreciates development.  Developers are looking for communities that has the land they need under control.

Government is not squeezing out space for private developers.  Fort Wayne Newspapers chose to stay in downtown, Woodson Motor Sports, Halls – it’s not accurate to claim private developers are being squeezed out.

Mitch Harper – to say that downtowns only get developed because of collective planning is not accurate.  There is evidence of downtowns working without the interaction of planning or subsidies.

John Shoaff – Jefferson Pointe assesses their renters for fees for the events and landscapes and such.  I think DID is providing essential services.  We need coordinated efforts and public expenditures.  I commend the DID for being here to do some of this work.

Tom Didier – I see Liz’s point.  Moving isn’t necessary.  $13K for rent, then another $10K for moving expenses (??).  Is it feasible for the DID to be put into  Renaissance Square?  (Webmaster’s note – or what about City-County Building if space would become available.)  I’m in favor of the cut.  You’re still going to get everything done, just won’t move.

Charlie H. – been living on free rent.  But it’s not realistic to expect it to continue indefinitely.  We’re exploring co-habitation with other agencies.

Tom Smith – CEDIT dollars is the source of the City’s $150,000.   People are having services provided through CEDIT dollars cut.  Don’t know if I’m willing to cut $25K.  Next year, I will support a cut – simply in part because there will be less tax dollars to go ’round.  We give money to other agencies who aren’t being cut when services and other things are being cut.  Expect it.

Liz Brown – are you suggesting the DID is getting involved in land banking?  Rich – No, DID is not empowered to own real power.  Discussion about landbanking is speaking more toward the cooperative effort they’d like to have with the Economic Alliance.

Liz is making an ammendment to cut by $25,000.  Liz and Tim Didier voted for, did not pass.  Final vote, Didier and Brown against, rest for.  5-2 vote.


Liz Brown – there were two proposals.

Passed, none opposed.


Bruce Johnson, planning Community Development and Pam Holocher.  This has to go to Plan Commission, public hearing will be held in January.

Karen Goldner – still working on the CDAPs being made part of City Code?  yes.

Passed, none opposed.


Brad Baumgartner.  Mitch is asking if it includes Parks Department – no.

Passed, non opposed.


Road salt purchase. Lowest of three bids. Increased $17 per ton, about 29% increase due to supply and demand.  Purchase was done through Jim Howard.

John Shoaff – Limitations on supply side?  Why is price going up?  It’s supply and demand.  Didn’t have enough mined, harsh winters.

Passed, none opposed.


Three vendors, lowest in their prospective bids.

Passed, none opposed.


John Clark.  No increase over last year, this is an extension of that contract.  Gone up in volume as more water is being used.  We treated 1 billion more gallons this year.

Passed, none opposed.


Contract extended for one year.  No local last year.  This comes from Cleveland, Ohio.

Passed, none opposed..


Liz Brown – 5 per cent discount
Passed, none opposed.

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