An annexation plan that would have added some 22,000 people within the boundaries of Fort Wayne has been rejected by the City Council. The proposal, championed by Mayor Tom Henry, was scaled back before being presented Tuesday night. Henry expressed disappointment, saying council members who voted against the fiscal plan have "turned their backs on those who elected them to represent city interests." City Council President Russ Jehl was one of seven who voted "no" and told our partners at 21Alive WPTA-TV one option was to "pass it and then hope to work something out down the road… and that just wasn’t gonna fly."
The plan was defeated by a margin of 7-2. Councilman Geoff Paddock "I wanted to keep the process going. I wanted to kind-of roll up my sleeves and get to work and see what we could do to work with the mayor and others to try and find a solution to some of the issues. We found some, I think, but unfortunately that didn’t prevail."
The initial proposal would’ve involved properties in townships including Perry, Saint Joseph, Cedar Creek and Milan. Tuesday’s version reduced the land area by 16 percent and dropped Saint Joseph Township from the boundaries. Presenters also said they were willing to discuss changes to some ordinances including firearm use, open fires and noise.
Council was voting Tuesday on whether to move the so-called North IV Annexation plan forward. Changes to the full scope could’ve been made down the road, but 21Alive reports concerns over changes to school district transportation, rural lifestyles, fire department protection and state tax caps were enough to kill the proposal.
In a statement, Mayor Tom Henry said:
At a time when the City of Fort Wayne is experiencing positive momentum and investments like never before, we took a step back tonight with City Council’s action to not pass the fiscal plan for the North IV annexation.
Tonight’s decision by seven members of City Council sends a clear message that they are content with the status quo and unwilling to show leadership.
It’s disappointing that seven members of City Council have turned their backs on those who elected them to represent City interests and position our community as a leader and destination place.
I want to thank Councilmen Hines and Paddock for voting in favor of the annexation fiscal plan in an effort to continue the dialogue. They’re to be commended for being advocates for residents and businesses.
My administration is committed to ensuring Fort Wayne is a jobs and quality of life leader.
Successful cities must grow to compete and be a place where residents want to live, work and play and businesses want to invest.
Even with tonight’s setback, my team and I will continue to fight for all City residents – every quadrant – every neighborhood.
Collectively, we must be committed to enhancing job and economic development opportunities to move Fort Wayne and the region forward in the right direction.