As Mayor Tom Henry's administration begins planning its financial future, he is asking residents to participate in establishing priorities.
Henry this week said the city is conducting a phone survey of residents to gauge their spending priorities for city government.
The effort is part of the city's fiscal policy team, which Henry created to develop a long-range plan for the city's finances. It comes as the city faces losing more than $13 million in property tax revenues annually to state tax caps.
Henry said communities are now in the position the state wanted all along – being forced to diversify their revenue streams away from property taxes. He said Fort Wayne has done a good job with this in the past, but will need to re-examine it again.
"Income tax is really the only option," he said regarding diversifying.
Controller Pat Roller declined to release the name of the company doing the survey or the cost for the work until the public calls have been completed. She said she didn't want to influence the survey results.
Several people contacted The Journal Gazette reporting being asked to take a 15-minute survey on Fort Wayne's spending priorities.
The mayor gathered public input on spending priorities in 2008 – his first year in office – by asking residents at neighborhood meetings to place stickers on boards listing general city services, such as police protection and neighborhood code enforcement.
Attendees were given 10 stickers to put next to the services they believed were most vital.
The phone survey will hopefully produce more scientific results, he said.
Henry said the results will be shared once completed with the City Council and his fiscal team. He said the results won't be the sole deciding factor in city spending priorities, but they will be a factor in those decisions.