Monday, October 15, 2007

Local Opinion

Project is city's ticket to progress

"In his op-ed piece, “Few will benefit from Harrison Square” (Oct. 1), Mark Crouch identifies Fort Wayne as a “working-class minor league city” in assembling his various prejudices to argue against Harrison Square. Surely, he must also harbor similar ill-will toward the expanded Grand Wayne Center and the downtown public library, both of which are attracting considerable local and regional interest. These facilities are first class and send a strong message that Fort Wayne is anything but “minor league.”"

"With regard to downtown development in general and Harrison Square specifically, there exist two irrefutable truths. The first is that any city with an attractive, thriving downtown has an edge over cities with undesirable downtowns in competing for new employment and higher-paying jobs. A tour of Fort Wayne’s downtown will be on the short list of things to do for any employer or family considering a move to this city. Our investment to make downtown vibrant and appealing is an investment in the economic future of the greater Fort Wayne community."

"The second truth is that while a number of alternatives to Harrison Square have been suggested, no other downtown development project capable of being financed has been presented. Hardball Capital is the only private developer prepared to invest substantially with Fort Wayne in its downtown in order for the project to become a reality."

"If Fort Wayne weren’t willing to partner with Hardball Capital, there were many communities that would have been eager to take our place at the table."

"Crouch objects to the additional police officers that the events at Harrison Square will require, but this is testimony to the number of people who will be drawn downtown for events."

Audit shows questionable actions

"In summary, the illegal actions called out by State Board of Accounts include:

• Authorizing purchase of properties in executive sessions.

• Not following the requirement to “first approve and adopt a list of real property ... and the price to be offered for each.”

• Not seeing appraisals of each property before the purchase.

• Illegal use of Jefferson-Illinois Road (Jefferson Pointe) Economic Development Area Tax Increment Financing fund to pay for five properties that were not in nor serving this area.

One item not addressed in the audit covered in IC 36-7-14-16(b), requires that the council approve the property acquisitions before the purchases are made. An attorney general’s opinion in 2003 on a different matter comes to the same conclusion.

The editorial’s comment that “The audit included no finding that the city’s process was faulty” leads me to ask: What then is the verbiage on Pages 4 and 5 of the audit?"

Letters to the editor

Don’t spend money you don’t have

"The estimated increase of $3.7 million in next year’s tax levy has already been spent, and it would be necessary to cut police and fire services to help to offset the decrease in taxes.

Wouldn’t it be better to dump the Harrison Square project? Since property tax rates will now be tied to home prices, won’t lower home prices also reduce property taxes?

Is it fiscally responsible to spend before it is earned?"


ROACH said...

now if vegas style casion gambling was legal in downtown fort wayne/allen county, we might be on to something- and we can give jobs to 300 asian hotel workers, and maids.

barranda said...

Scott S. - Your readers should be made aware that John B. Kalb, who wrote the second letter to editor that you quoted, has made it his goal to cause Hardball to walk away from the project [and is pursuing a law suit to that end]. As such, he is not an unbiased writer, since his goal is contingent on findings of illegal conduct in the audit report.


Wendy said...

Good one, Barranda. :-)