Political Notebook

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Crawford works to preserve clout

For the second time in this relatively young general election season, former Fort Wayne councilman John Crawford is trying to drive a public policy debate.

Crawford on Wednesday announced his desire for the city to freeze property taxes for next year's budget and possibly into 2013. To pay for any needed increases in spending, he suggested the city could use some of its cash reserves or some of the money from the lease and sale of the former electric utility to Indiana Michigan Power.

He said the best way to restrain government growth is to restrict its revenues. The announcement was made so early – budget discussions begin next month – to begin a debate on whether taxes should be increased.

This is the second issue Crawford has submitted a proposal publicly. In early August he waded into the contentious debate over how the city hires consultants and other professionals by suggesting competitive bidding be used for those services. That effort won him plaudits from several officials, and even a sit-down discussion with Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy over how some of Crawford's ideas could be incorporated into a proposal by the mayor.

While it is normal for political candidates to make policy proposals during a campaign, the response to Crawford's ideas shows he still has some clout – and he plans to use it.

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