Notes from the City-County Space Utilization Task Force’s public hearing and meeting.
John Stafford is kicking things off. Â He has narrowed the focus of the public comments down to the co-location issue.
Those in attendance include:
- Allen County Commissioners – Linda Bloom, Bill Brown and Nelson Peters
- City Council – Mitch Harper,Â Tim Pape andÂ Tom Smith
- City of Fort Wayne – Mayor Tom Henry
- County Council – Roy Buskirk, Paula Hughes and Paul Moss
- Other City and County officials, not in the task force, but in attendance: Deputy Mayor Greg Purcell, City Controller Pat Roller, Chris Cloud, Allen County Council members Maye Johnson, Darren Vogt, Robert Armstrong and Larry Brown, Allen County Sheriff PIO Steve Stone, City Clerk Sandy Kennedy and City Council President Marty Bender.
Marilyn Moran-Townsend sent a letter to the Task Force.
- Lockwood Marine – (I’ll have his full statement later this afternoon). Â Against.
- Mike Landram – talking about positive things going on in Fort Wayne and Allen County. Â He is calling on the task force to find a workable solution. Â Support.
- Mike Ottenweiler (sp?) – The City-County Building is well suited for public safety. Â Moving the City and County administrative offices to Renaissance Square is, “just a terrific idea.” – Support.
- Jerry Vandeever – 10 years this has been going on. Â “This is for the community. Â Everything you do here is for the future.” Â Change the negative naysayer attitude into positive. Â For 10 years, we’ve been waiting for someone to make a decision, “My hat’s off to the Mayor.” “That was easy!”Â Support.
- Tony – good idea to have the police department downtown. Â Support.
- John Hopkins – here on behalf of Chuck Surack, Sweetwater Sound. Â Believe there will be cost savings. Â It will show everyone that our local governments can work together without battling. Â “We beg you guys to get together and work this out.” Â Support.
- Dave Haist – Essential to find a solution to co-location. Â “I’m certain there are challenges and costs and many other considerations…but I think in the end it’s absolutely the right decision.” Â Projects a unified approach and front. Â Talking about a site selection years ago which was based on how the community attracted them and how they felt the community could work together. Â Support.
- Paul Morrison – He respects the challenge faced. Â Wants to recommend to the County Council that the Sheriff’s office on Kidder Road be re-located to the City-County Building. Â He feels the City’s decision to move has a direct impact on the County. Â A move by the City should not cost more money to County residents. Â His second recommendation is for the County to offer the building to the City for the Fort Wayne Police Department, some 80,000 square feet. Â His last recommendation is for the consideration of the development teams to be moved to 200 East Berry Street. Looking at this from the perspective of moving this forward. Â Support.
- Mike Anderson – President of West Central Neighborhood Association. Â He is here to talk about the real world go between with the City and County. Â There’s an investment opportunity downtown. Â Talking about Â having to go between CCB and Building Department several times to accomplish building projects. Â Fantastic idea of combining City and County Plan Departments. Â This is one community and should work easier together. Â Should be easier to get things done and conduct business. Â Support.
- Scott Glaze – One of the keys to our success is thinking long term. Â This is a historic opportunity. Â The more you can co-locate services, the better off you’ll be efficent-wise. Â Only decision is whether or not to co-locate or go your separate ways. Â Support.
- Carolyn Devoe – “You know what is needed.” Â When we hire public safety officers, we want and hire the best. Â The Sheriff’s building on Kidder, the rats moved out five years ago. Â Deputies still working there. Â “Get it together and do something.” Â Urging the Mayor to move tomorrow. Â Support.
- Marcia Hineman (sp?) Everyone represents her regardless of their elected position. Â She spoke in favor of it last August, still in favor and pleased the building has been purchased. Â She’d prefer to see public safety in this building. Â Administrative and development in Renaissance Square. Â There is an intangible benefit to co-locating. Â Benefit of City and County workers mingling and talking with each other on a daily basis, without having to leave the building. Â Support.
- County Councilwoman Maye Johnson – She’s hearing from people they want a decision made and want people to move on. Â She wouldn’t have spent time on whether or not the Mayor should have bought the building. Â There are efficiencies in co-location. Â It needs to happen. Â It’s about time the taxpayers of Allen County hold the elected officialsÂ accountableÂ for serving them. Â She endorses the proposal by Commission Peters. Â Already seen efficiencies in the Plan Departments. Â The next time the City or County gets involved in a huge project, the fiscal bodies should be brought in at the start. Â It’s too important to figure out the financial aspects at the beginning, not at the end of the process. Â Support.
- Jim Vann – C0-location is a great opportunity and is important to the community. Â Support.
- Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown – feels she was brought into the discussion to begin with. Â That she did have the information she needed to make the decisions. Â She can’t imagine there will be great financial savings for the City or County if the City moves out. Â Bottom line is still better than 20 years down the road. Â She’s looking at the citizens on both sides of the fence. Â She’s only seenÂ efficienciesÂ possible with co-location.
- Linda Buskirk – talking about the issues of who said what and when and how. Â “We all have a stake in this. Â We all have responsibility to move forward. Â Support.
- Allen County Councilman Darren Vogt – I believe the solution is co-location. Â Until we give a final figure of what’s available, can’t really work out who goes where. Â He would support the County Council to spend money on studies. Â Support.
- Joe Sablic – Wolf & Dessauer. Â Against.
Support – 16
Against – 2
John Stafford is talking about what he thinks is next. Â County Councilman Paul Moss will be talking with Architects on Monday. Â Detailed cost estimates are next. Â Hopefully next Friday decisions can be made. Â Has to be made by four entities at the table. Â Wants them to get a sense of where they and their colleagues on their respective bodies are.
Councilman Mitch Harper is asking if any thought has been given to identifying additional revenue streams. Â John is responding once the number is in, this will be easier.
County Councilman Paul Moss – there are four options out there. Â Nobody, I’ve never indicated, that there needs to be a degradation of co-location. Â I firmly believe in co-location. Â Co-location of the public safetyÂ pieceÂ is up in the air. Â Councilwoman Paula Hughes is saying she agrees with Moss.
Commissioner Bill Brown is talking about the biggest hurdle is functionality. Â Need to look at the cost of delivery of services. Â Need to take a hard look at the expense and who delivers the services with the best efficiencies and cost.
Councilman Tim Pape is saying functionality makes sense. Â Â The option Moss wants to examine doesn’t make sense functionally.
Councilman Roy Buskirk talking about his study group to look atÂ expeditingÂ economic development by cutting down the time to acquire permits. Â Still need to work out internal problems regardless of co-location. Â Even with public safety going into the City-County Building, there would be some County offices remaining here.
John Stafford is wrapping up.