Saturday, February 7, 2015



FOLLOW THE MONEY.. out of your pocket into theirs.. 


CITY GOVT 101-  FOLLOW THE MONEY- the CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS BOARD-  one of the Larger little known SLUSH FUNDS/ MONEY POTS.( thats what YOUR city council calls these various :revenue streams- POTS OF MONEY.   WFT??

Mike Conley and Joseph Townsend -- I was tagged in an economic development thread on Mike's page hailing the riverfront development and an impromptued referendum on the current state of the City ensued. This thread was deleted before I could respond. So my apologies to you both for coming to that conversation late.
Downtown development has helped downtown businesses and ONLY downtown businesses. Parkview Field is not self-sustaining. It is taxpayer supported. Memorial Stadium was too, just not to the extent that Parkview Field is. As far as it being this "great accomplishment" that some are trying to make it out to be---uhm, a great accomplishment would be if the ball diamond was self-sustaining. That is an accomplishment. The only businesses that benefit from Parkview Field are dining and drinking establishments open after the ballgame is over, especially when the TinCaps win and people are in the mood to celebrate. But when assessing blame here, lets remember that Mayor Henry and all current members of City Council (Dems and GOP) were for this.
Regarding public safety--the past four years have been collectively the worst four years in the recorded history of Fort Wayne. Review all stats -- Homicides, robberies, burlaries, larcenies, rapes, etc. The less resources people have access to, the more likely they are to fight, pillage and plunder. Its human nature. The fix -- more jobs and less taxes -- so that people actually have more money to spend to survive and thrive.
That's one of the problems with all this supposed local "economic development" -- few if any jobs get created and when they do, they tend to be minimum wage jobs; tax abatements/tax phase-ins are handed out like Halloween candy, which shifts the tax burden to those who are not getting the tax abatements/tax phase-ins; and our local economy is a consumer economy--meaning its driven by purchasing power. If you suffer your people to an inadequate number of jobs and to too many low-paying jobs, tax their income, increase their utility fees, shift the tax burden onto them, then they have little to no discretionary income to spend. No discretionary income means no purchasing power means no self-sustaining "economic development."
We can go on and pretend that the Emporer is wearing clothes, but folks...that is all we are doing -- pretending. All one needs to do is look to Coliseum Blvd, South Anthony Blvd, nearly anywhere in the 6th District, Waynedale, etc to see abandoned residential housing, vacated storefronts, and remnants of thriving businesses via silhouttes of empty commercial buildings. If that wasn't enough to draw attention to the true state of local economic development, then there's neglected infrastructure throughout the whole city. In some cases, we have streets with potholes so huge you could plant a garden in 'em big enough to feed the local homeless population. It used to be that you could get potholes fixed in about 4 hours (Graham Richard administration--a Democratic Mayor) and now, you are lucky to get a pothole properly filled in 4 days and sometimes its longer than 4 weeks. (Tom Henry administration--also a Democratic Mayor) I could really go on and on here, but I'm not running for Mayor--so I'll let Rick Stevenson and Mitch Harper make the case against Henry.
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  • You, Ken MillerJoe Renner and 8 others like this.
  • Joseph Townsend Your understanding of this is why I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity to send you a campaign contribution!
    3 hrs · Like · 1
  • Chris Ohneck It's unfortunate that when hypocrisy is pointed out, discussion is muted!
    3 hrs · Like
  • Joseph Townsend I don't think that was Mike Conley's intent (muting the conversation that is.) There definitely was hypocrisy claims that he still has to account for though  I am a Conley fan (besides his politics) lol.
    3 hrs · Like
  • Mike Scheele Well stated Gina Burgess. You enlightened me. I thought that Parkview field was self sustaining. Thanks for the clarification.
    3 hrs · Like
  • Chris Ohneck I am a Conley fan as well. Very talented musician!
    3 hrs · Like · 1
  • Joseph Townsend Yep he is!
    3 hrs · Like
  • Chris Ohneck And thanks Gina for your detailed post!
    3 hrs · Like
  • Joseph Townsend What I would add to this post, as it was part of the discussion deleted by Conley...
    Not only does focusing on downtown not add a net increase of jobs to Fort Wayne, but rather just redistributes where the jobs are located, the consultants we are spending millions on are out of Chicago!
    3 hrs · Like
  • Chris Ohneck Most folks have long forgotten about the restaurant tax instituted years ago for the Coliseum improvements. That tax was suppose to expire after so many years (Sorry I lack the details!). Instead it has been increased and will never be eliminated!
    3 hrs · Like · 2
  • Joseph Townsend Very true and good point. That is exactly why you should never vote for increased taxes!
    3 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ed Rose I totally agree with this with the exception of tax phase-ins. A piece of property is given an appraised value to which the owner pays property taxes on. When a new building is built the property has a NEW HIGHER APPRAISED value that taxes are assessed on. The phase-in portion, in most cases, is the new value minus the old value. The first year the property tax bill is the old valued tax, plus ten percent on the difference. Following each year the tax bill is the old value plus ten percent more of the differential. At ten years they are paying full taxes on full value.
    A company say has an existing building appraised at $500,000 and decides to add on $500,000 more in tax valued building. At the end of the first assessed year they pay taxes on the existing $500,000 and 10% of the new $500,000 addition.
    So it is not like they pay no property tax but a prorated on the new added value.
    I will agree these abatements have been handed out while not really producing any jobs of real value. Like a few weeks ago the city, with council approval, gave a apartment developer a full ten year phase-in abatement while the project will produce just two jobs with potential pay of $80,000 total a year.
    2 hrs · Like · 1
  • Gina Burgess Chris Ohneck -- I have not forgotten about that BS. Personally, I find that maneuver to be one of the most unscrupulous our local government has ever undertaken. As much as I would love to blame Henry for that one, the sad reality is that I cannot. The Food & Beverage Tax came about in 2007 to pay for the raising of the roof and other renovations to Memorial Coliseum. It was supposed to be a temporary tax, lasting for about four years until 2011, and it was supposed to go exclusively to the payment of the bond that was secured to pay for the renovations. Then in 2009, after the Great Recession of 2008, money was needed by local government--bogth county and city. So a plan was hatched by BOTH Democrats and Republicans. The plan was to create the Fort Wayne Allen County Capital Improvements Board (commonly known as the CIB)via the statehouse a la Phil GiaQuinta (D), just like Indianapolis had done. Next, the plan called for funding of the CIB -- enter the existing Food & Beverage tax. Instead of paying down the bond debt as rapidly as possible, minimum payments were made so that any funds remaining above and beyond the minimum payments were diverted to the CIB. The Republican Commisioners appoint 3 members to the CIB; the Democrat Mayor appoints 3 members to the CIB; and the 6 appointed members of the CIB appoint a 7th member--and that person usually "leads" the CIB. The CIB funnels money away from the Memorial Coliseum bond to "downtown development" projects. Again, I could go into more details here, but I'm not running for Mayor so I will leave that to Harper and Stevenson. However, reviewing my facebook timeline below for about the past month will reveal another interesting discussion on this very topic. Also, for the record, it is the Republican-controlled County Council that oversees the budget and appropriation approvals for the CIB. I believe the County to City split is 48% to the County and 52% to the City, but I'd have to confirm that.
    2 hrs · Like
  • Justin Kuhnle The sad fact remains, these phase-ins and tax abatements are treated as candy in a candy store. Kid walks in asks for 1 piece, person behind the counter says "here you go, and here's a couple on the house."
    2 hrs · Like
  • Justin Kuhnle Gina, that Food & Beverage Tax came with a different name back in decades ago and under the same pretense.
    2 hrs · Like
  • Ed Rose The tax actually went into effect 7-1-86 for the coliseum alone.
    2 hrs · Like
  • Justin Kuhnle Thank you Ed for the exact date. I thought it was 87 but didn't have time to confirm
    2 hrs · Like
  • Ed Rose Here is a kicker.... Our Indiana General Assembly is looking at a bill that would allow all CITIES to have a 1% Food and Beverage Tax without state approval. So my guess Allen County will have their 1% and Fort Wayne could also add 1%. Enjoy!!!
    2 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Chris Ohneck The money contributes to crony capitalism and everyone lives happily everafter!
    2 hrs · Like · 1
  • Gina Burgess The ORIGINAL version of the Food & Beverage Tax was effective 1986. It was originally for the expansion of the Coliseum. The supplemental Food & Beverage tax was passed in 2007 for the raising of the roof. It too was supposed to be a temporary tax. It too was supposed to be for one specific purpose. This was the tax that became permanent and redirectable in 2009, pursuant to legislative maneuvering at the statehouse. It was the perfect switch and bait. (shaking head) In November, 2012, a DeKalb County judge ruled that the Allen County Council has violated a court order by designating food-and-beverage tax money for improvements to the Memorial Coliseum. Local media here in Allen County NEVER reported on the matter. For more info, visit:
    DeKalb judge decrees tax change broke court order
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess In 2009, House Bill 1604, in pertinent part: "....Changes the name of the Fort Wayne-Allen county convention and tourism authority to the Allen County-Fort Wayne capital improvement board of managers (Allen County-Fort Wayne CIB). Provides that any food and beverage tax revenue in Allen County that is received after December 31, 2009, and is not needed for debt payments is to be transferred to the Allen County-Fort Wayne CIB and may be used only for projects commenced after December 31, 2008, and not for operational expenses." Note that this only applies to Food & Beverage tax revenue that is received AFTER DECEMBER 31, 2009. Does anyone know what major public-private partnership was needing financing in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008? That's right folks, Harrison Square. More specifically---The Harrison:
    During his presentation to Fort Wayne City Council in mid-June on the new deal to complete the retail/residential...
    1 hr · Like
  • Chris Ohneck Hard to believe it's been nearly 30 years!
    I can remember thinking, at the time, that this tax will not go away.
    1 hr · Like
  • Chris Ohneck Gina,
    Do you know what the revenue amount is from this tax?
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess Chris Ohneck -- Its something around $5 million annually, give or take. You can find out exactly from year to year if you review the County's annual budget. Specifically, you need to look at the Commissioners different budgets---its a lil confusing because they have what appears to be a regular budget and then a special items budget. Of the $5 million, about half goes to the bond and the other half goes to the CIB. Its absolutely ridiculous. Part of the problem with all of this "shuffling" is that it happens through the use of joint boards, commissions, committees, etc that are appointed by both the City and the County. If you don't have a fairly decent working knowledge of both---and most people don't, including our elected "leaders" (aka City Council and County Council)--then you have no idea what the heck is going on. Here's a link to the County budget. May I suggest you get coffee to keep you awake and some antacid to stop the queasiness in your stomach after you review things:
    Official site government site. Features county services, departments, officials and includes event calendar and...
    1 hr · Like
  • Ed Rose It passed in 86 but Indiana Revenue Department listed the date I gave as effective date. Gina, you will need to copy KPC story as unless you subscribe you only get a couple lines, at least that is what happened to me.
    There was a wink-wink deal done wi
    th the city county. The county wanted to unload the ballpark because it needed updating and was loosing money for the coliseum. The Coliseum wanted the hotel and added parking space for capacity concert arena crowds. So the trades and games where on. Pun not intended!
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess From KPC News (link provided above): "A DeKalb County judge ruled today that the Allen County Council has violated a court order by designating food-and-beverage tax money for improvements to the Memorial Coliseum. A lawsuit brought against the council alleges that Allen County's council, county commissioners and auditor have been planning to use the tax money in ways that defy a settlement in an earlier lawsuit. The plaintiffs in both legal actions include Don D. Hall II and Sam Hall of Hall's Restaurants. DeKalb Circuit Judge Paul R. Cherry, serving as special judge in the case, said a 1998 ordinance the council approved by a 6-1 vote broke a settlement agreement in a 1992 Hall's lawsuit and contradicted the council's own 1986 ordinance. The 1986 ordinance said money from a 1 percent food-and-beverage tax would be used for a Coliseum expansion project. The tax would last only until the project under way was paid off. The later settlement agreement said the tax money could not be used to finance the renovation or expansion of the Coliseum structure. The funds have been used for Memorial Stadium, home of the Fort Wayne Wizards baseball franchise. The settlement agreement said, "Allen County shall not take any action that has the effect of amending or changing" the 1986 ordinance, Cherry noted in his ruling. Last year the Indiana General Assembly passed a law that would allow food-and-beverage tax proceeds to be used for, among other things, improvement or remodeling of the Coliseum and for loan and bond payments for such a project. The Coliseum proposed an improvement project to add seats, luxury features and elevators, renovate certain areas, improve lighting and make the building more accessible to the handicapped. The estimate price tag for the project is $25 million. The Allen County Council attempted to use the change in the law to apply the food-and-beverage tax to the Coliseum improvements. In recent testimony, county officials said they have not spent any money on the project while they await the outcome of the lawsuit. "The 1998 Allen County ordinance constitutes an 'action that has the effect of amending or changing' the 1986 ordinance," Cherry ruled today. "The Allen County Council's disobedience of the 1994 court order is willful and intentional disobedience. "It cannot be said that the enactment of the 1998 ordinance was unintentional or accidental, and the court finds that the Allen County Council was well aware of its own prior 1986 ordinance, ... and was well aware of the 1994 court order to which it agreed." Cherry found the council as an entity to be in contempt of court. The council's individual members are not in contempt, Cherry ruled, nor are the Allen County commissioners or the Allen County auditor. The judge commended council member Sandra A. Houlihan, who voted against the change. Houlihan said at the time that the council should honor its prior commitments and the court order, Cherry said, adding, "She stood alone casting the only nay vote, and she did it for the right reason. "Honoring one's word and one's agreements is essential to business, fairness and good faith; respecting the judicial process and court orders is essential to an ordered civil society." Cherry issued no punishment in today's ruling, and said the council may purge itself of the finding of contempt by rescinding the offending paragraph in the 1998 ordinance. He reserved the right to specify and order punishment at a later date. Since Cherry was asked only to rule on the contempt-of-court aspect of the case, his ruling is limited to that area. Attorneys on both sides said at a May 5 hearing that the ruling could have a major impact on the broader case." (Apologies for not inserting paragraph breaks--not sure where they would have been without constantly looking back and forth.)
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess Ed Rose -- You are absolutely correct. In 2007, Downtown Bill Brown—then Allen County Commissioner--wanted to use the original Food & Beverage Funds to tear down Memorial Stadium and convert it back to a parking lot. Mac Parker (you may remember him from the original Legacy Task Force Committee) was involved in the conversation of how and when to demolish Memorial Stadium, building up the hotel across from IPFW, and making sure these venues didn’t compete with Parkview Field.
    1 hr · Like
  • Ed Rose Sorry, the link worked the second time. The law was changed in such that Hall's victory was short lived from the DeKalb Court hearing. I thought our local paper covered it but they may not have as I don't recall reading the part of each group being found guilty but no assessed finds against the parties or the government units.
    1 hr · Like
  • Ed Rose I say this much the powers to be should turn the Grand Wayne management over to the Coliseum. If it stands a chance of making a buck Brown and his crew could get it done. If they can't, it will never happen!
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess The second "Commissioner Bill Brown" paragraph of the second page of this 2010 document spells out the CIB and its funding source:
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess Also, if you turn to page 25 of the above link, Bill Brown, referencing the Food & Beverage tax, states: " would argue that it's a tax that's paid by disposable income. I think it's a pipeline that needs to be looked upon in the future for not only to secure the Coliseum in a good place, but also to look at other opportunities throughout the County...."
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess Just for "kicks," does anyone know how much the CIB is "investing" (wink, wink) into the the Ash "Cash & Slash" Brokerage project? $10.5 million for a parking garage:
    1 hr · Like
  • Gina Burgess And let's not forget that this same parking garage netted $5 million from Legacy Funds----that's right $15.5 Million dollars for a parking garage. So wish I could make this stuff up.  For more info:
    FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- The Ash Brokerage...
    1 hr · Like
  • Ed Rose I will say this in looking into the homelessness issue is there are wat too many revenue streams government has at all levels from the city on up. Just to figure out where the dollars come for, moved around after budgets are approved, and used leaves your head spinning like a top.
    52 mins · Like · 1
  • Joseph Townsend Knowing our mayor, the 15.5 million for the parking garage won't be the worst of it. A construction crew from Chicago will be hired to build it.
  • Gina Burgess Ed Rose -- I agree with you. The cash flow coming and going is complicated enough, but then you add a few joint City-County boards, commissions, committees, etc and its darn impossible to keep track of. There's no way the average citizen can do it. The average reported can't due it either. And, I don't even think that the average elected official (meaning one that has served for less than a decade) can possibly keep track of it all. Its almost like its by design???
  • Stephanie O'Rourke Polk I agree with everything you said Gina.
  • Ed Rose Gina, total agreement. Government funding is just a ton on bandaids trying to stop a person from massive hemorrhage!
  • David Christopher Roach SELF INFLICTED GUN-SHOT WOUND? self inflicted- because all these various conspiring intergovernmental bureaucracies.. and nothing bleeds like a gun shot wound hemorrhaging millions.. talk about "painting the town RED"?  RED INK that is.. 
    the sad thing- is between Henry and Stevenson- the Homeless will be ignored even more- despite Trustee stevensons job is POOR RELIEF.; and Tom Henry- well- he wants to feed the homeless- LET THEM EAT CAKE.. and if IF Mitch harper runs; and or wins- well- we can expect EVEN more spending - from the GOP side of the Coin... so like Harvey Dent- lets flip it; and see if it comes up heads- or heads..
  • David Christopher Roach Sepaking of Crime control- When DETROIT Needed a fast fix to their crime problems- well- the Detroit PD- simply decided to COOK THE BOOKS- and rusty York is a MASTER CHEF when it comes to that..
    Theres a book- by a DETROIT native named charlie Le Duff- a citizen journalist/activist/ reporter; and now author- the similarities between FTW; and Detroit- are scary. 
    for example- heres the The News-Sentinel's lights and sirens calls for shootings etc- for the past 30 days.. 
    301 of various serious calls- lots of suicide threats; attempts
    NOTE ESPECIALLY- " SHOTS FIRED; AMBULANCE"- whats that mean exactly? someone got shot- a SHOOTING- maybe not ending in a DEATH in the street- no chalk outline; yellow crime scene tape- so- does the shooting victim die in the Hospital? do they die weeks later from wounds suffered? I think its suspicious.. 

    speaking of suspicious and FWPD- I asked them a few weeks ago- about that dude shot in his house- with his child upstairs- of what Caliber was the Bullet? I assumed AK- 47- 7.62 X 39- which would have the velocity to penetrate a home from blocks away.. most other rounds- handguns- wont; typically- so_ just one short question- what sort of bullet- ? no reply.
    theres too much FWPD secrecy. ditto for trying to get the FWPD- to re-transmit its Scanner traffic via some WEB- SITE- so concerned and interested citizens can once more listen to their Public Safety radio calls. its all digital now- soo it shoundnt be hard to do. Other cities do it- Why not FTW? again- Its the FWPD'sa culture of Secrecy- acting like the Citizens; residents; tax payers- THEIR EMPLOYERS- are the Enemy..

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