Fort Wayne City Council members have approved tax breaks for the proposed “Project Mastodon.” In a 7-2 vote, the council granted the incentives for a fulfillment center for a “large internet distributor,” which many believe to be Amazon, that could bring about 1,000 jobs to northeast Indiana.
The name of the company hasn’t been made public, and Fort Wayne officials who do know the information signed non-disclosure agreements.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Paul Ensley, a Republican, asked the developer how many council members know the name of the company and was told five.
Ensley took a few minutes to voice his opinion, saying the deal deserves public discussion and disclosure.
He called it “shameful” that “members of this council are meeting behind closed doors, signing non-disclosure agreements.”
Councilmen Ensley and Jason Arp were the two members to vote against the tax breaks.
But with a majority, the plan was approved to phase in property taxes over ten years, which will save the anonymous company about $16 million.
“We’d be bringing in well paying jobs. Those jobs will generate a lot of income taxes,” said Councilman Geoff Paddock.
“You know I think everyone has an opinion on this particular retailer, and so I think it would have been better to have the discussion publicly and let the community make their decision that way,” added Ensley.
The project developers said the public should know more about the project in about a month.