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The Journal Gazette

March 17, 2016 5:07 PM

City's annexation will cost county more than $5 million

Dave Gong|The Journal Gazette

If approved, Fort Wayne's annexation of 23 square miles of land north of the city limits could cost Allen County more than $5 million in revenue. 

When it announced the annexation on Monday, Mayor Tom Henry's administration estimated that the move would generate about $10 million in property tax revenue for the city, while Allen County would lose about $1.5 million in property taxes. However, Chief Deputy Auditor Nick Jordan told the County Council on Thursday the annexation could end up costing the county about $5.4 million when all is said and done. 

That's because the annexation will impact the other taxes the county collects, Jordan said. The County Economic Development Income Tax would lose an estimated $2,058,548 as a result of the annexation. The county would lose about $618,000 in income taxes and about $193,000 in public safety income taxes. Allen County will also lose about $199,000 in vehicle excise taxes, $130,000 in riverboat sharing taxes, more than $300,000 in gas taxes and about $447,000 in surtax/wheel tax funds. 

"These are subject to a point in time, they are estimates ... things can change and they will change, actually," Jordan said, noting that the county will have a better idea of the impact once the annexation actually happens. 

The $5,390,388 loss constitutes about 5 percent of the county's annual tax revenue. Auditor Tera Klutz said her office is working on putting together similar estimates for every taxing body affected by the annexation because decreases in property tax revenues are only one part of the equation. 

County Councilman Tom Harris asked how the county and residents opposed to the annexation can hope to stop it. Klutz said the only possibility at this stage is to express opposition to the Fort Wayne City Council. Otherwise, opponents will have to wait until the City Council approves the annexation ordinance this summer.

"Depending on how you like to lobby or whether you support this annexation, let City Council know if you're against this annexation," Klutz said. "To me those are the only logical steps to take at this point because there is no ordinance."

dgong@jg.net