Fort Wayne City Councilman Tim Pape has sent a letter to the DLFG in regards to their Field Hearing held in Fort Wayne on November 30, 2010:
Karen Large, Director
Department of Local Government Finance
RE: Field hearing in Fort Wayne November 30, 2010
Dear Ms Large,
As you may be aware a hearing was held in Fort Wayne earlier this week for public comment on our city’s budget and levy. Two of my fellow Council members attended the hearing and spoke in favor of the DLGF granting the levy cut for the 2011 budget.
First, I would like you to know that both Councilwoman Liz Brown and Councilman Mitch Harper voted for Mayor Tom Henry’s 2011 budget including the levy increase. In fact, the budget with the levy increase was approved unanimously by all nine City Council members. Councilwoman Brown’s and Councilman Harper’s request to theÂ DLGF to decrease the levy is a classic example of “being for it, before they were against it.”
Naturally, both to these council members had over a month’s notice of the Mayor’s proposed budget, including the levy increase. Both of them had the opportunity to propose a cut in the levy and did not do so. In fact, they could have individually proposed the cut and failed to do so. Perhaps their judgment supporting the levy increase after four weeks of budget deliberations is more trustworthy than their 180 degree reversal weeks later at the hearing, preceding by only two days Councilwoman Brown’s announcement as a mayoral candidate.
Second, Councilwoman Brown’s assertion her budget cuts were not approved because of partisanship is false. All proposed budget cuts either passed or failed with bipartisan majorities. Councilwoman Brown is a Republican. Fort Wayneâ€˜s City Council is comprised of five Republican and four Democratic members. Had the Democratic members voted as a block – which we did not – such partisanship would not have been enough alone to defeat the Republican Brown’s proposed cuts. Councilwoman Brown knew these facts and unfortunately purposefully, or with gross neglect of the facts, misled you otherwise.
Members of the Fort Wayne City Council know how to cut the levy. In 2007 then-Councilman John Crawford and myself co-authored a $3.7 million levy cut in the 2008 budget which passed the council. To date this permanent cut has saved our taxpayers $15 million. There was no confusion at the Council table that night in 2007. Since that levy cut, the changes by the state government have significantly reduced our revenues by approximately $10 million each year. However, our 2011 budget is balanced; that’s good, conservative government not to deficit spend. Despite the loss of revenue from the state, we have managed our resources in a bipartisan manner that allow us to continue to provide high quality services at needed levels, unlike many fellow Indiana communities who have laid off police officers, firefighters, street department, public health care and other necessary employees.
I write this lest you be left with the wrong understanding and impression from the representations made to you by Councilwoman Brown and Councilman Harper. Every member of Fort Wayne’s City Council, representing over 254,000 citizens, deliberated for four weeks with full knowledge of the levy increase proposed by Mayor Henry and unanimously approved that levy and the budget on Tuesday, October 26, 2010. With all due respect, there is no foundation to trump that decision, and you certainly should not do so based upon false and misleading representations made to you.
Thank you for listening.
Very truly yours,
Timothy M. Pape, District Five
Fort Wayne City Council