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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 9:30 pm

Councilman encouraged by income tax debate

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Although he expressed disappointment in the Fort Wayne City Council's recent vote to increase Allen County's income tax rate, Councilman Russ Jehl praised the debate and offered ideas for where council could look for future economic development opportunities. 

The council voted 6-3 to increase the income tax rate by 0.13 percent on July 11. The hike will take effect Oct. 1. 

"I do respect what was done, because it was done with a transparent and robust discussion and it created unity among the various voices and leaders within our government and our quasi-governments," Jehl, R-2nd, said during Tuesday's City Council meeting. The vote was an example of an opportunity for more unity in future endeavors, he added. 

That would involve reaching out to organizations like the city's Community Development office, Greater Fort Wayne Inc. and the Downtown Improvement District to better understand each organization's vision for downtown Fort Wayne and create a cohesive plan. Such a plan could include a wish list of capital projects from each group. 

"What are your top five projects under a $5 million range, under a $10 million range or the $10 million and above range,"  Jehl asked. "So often our discussions are just on very large projects, but are they the ones that produce the best value?"