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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, December 06, 2018 1:00 am


Legacy Fund depletion demands fast action

I recently read that the new chairman of the Legacy Joint Funding Committee told City Council that the Legacy Fund had dropped below  $30 million (after factoring in approved projects). He indicated the fund was at risk of being depleted if action was not taken. I urge council to ascertain the true balance of the fund, then protect the corpus.

The Legacy committee was formed in August 2014. I was honored to be selected as chairman; a position I held until May 1. The committee in early 2016 agreed we had to maintain, in cash reserves, at least $30 million to generate an annual grant pool of 5 percent (or $1.5 million). If the fund were to drop to less than $30 million, it would put perpetuation seriously at risk. The committee then set out to determine how you could do that while having sufficient funds for “transformational” projects in the future.

We determined the best way was by making most, if not all, of the committee-approved items a loan instead of a grant. We started down this path with recommended loans for the Landing and Clyde Theater projects. A loan allows the fund to be paid back, with interest, and to use that money for other projects. When you give a grant, the money is gone and the fund has nothing to perpetuate itself. A loan also makes much more sense when the entity involved is a for-profit and will generate the profit necessary to pay back the loan to the taxpayers. To this end, Electric Works, while certainly “Legacy worthy,” should have never been approved as a grant; it should have been a loan.

If Chairman Kyle Kerley's numbers are correct, and if council members are serious about perpetuating the fund, they have to commit to a mandatory freeze on any further Legacy requests (loan or grant) until the cash balance comfortably exceeds $30 million. This will have the unfortunate effect of affecting funding for a number of undoubtedly “Legacy worthy” projects over these next few years. But it is a necessary step to save for today for a brighter future tomorrow. This is the time for leadership from council and keeping a promise to the present and future citizens of Fort Wayne.

Ron Turpin

Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne still winner despite Tritch's loss

How Fort Wayne won the election:

We sent Jim Banks back to Washington, D.C, where he can continue to be the youngest old fogey in Congress, and we kept Courtney Tritch here in our community, where we will benefit from her vibrant intelligence and energy in whatever ways she may choose to offer it.

Helen Frost Thompson

Fort Wayne

Brief time with Bush left memorable impressions

I had the pleasure of speaking with former President George H.W. Bush during a luncheon in Indianapolis several years ago. He was very gracious, as was his wife Barbara who accompanied him.

It was shortly before his son announced his candidacy for his first run, and I wasn't even aware that he might run. I asked what he thought of Dan Quayle's chances of getting the nomination. With a straight face he explained that he thought highly of Dan, that he would make a great president and that the media were extremely unfair with Dan. Hindsight tells me that he must have been thinking: “You stupid Hoosier! My son's going to get the nomination!”

He told a funny story about his skydiving experiences. He had recently made a jump, his first in several years. He said the instructor told him that his chute would open automatically, but if it didn't that he should pull the big handle which would deploy the backup. He then asked the instructor what he should do if the backup failed, and the answer was “Push the red button.” He asked whether that would deploy the third chute and the instructor said, “No. That will automatically put a call through to (then-Vice President) Al Gore, telling him he has another funeral to attend.”

James Schmelzer

Fort Wayne