$10 million for ex-GE site heads to vote
By Dave Gong | The Journal Gazette
A $10 million Legacy Fund request for the planned Electric Works development south of downtown Fort Wayne could be approved today with six City Council votes.
The council is set to vote on the request, part of a $62 million public commitment toward the project, at its meeting tonight. The $10 million grant, which was recommended for approval by the city's Legacy Joint Funding committee last month, is an essential component of the project's $221 million first phase.
The Legacy Fund consists of money generated by the lease and sale of the city's old power utility.
At least one council member plans to vote against the proposal unless certain concerns are addressed. The request “substantially depletes the Legacy Fund and offers virtually no rate of return for the public's investment,” Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd said in a statement Monday.
“These two issues could be addressed by a Legacy loan, rather than a grant, and a tax phase-in, rather than the 100 percent, 10-year tax deduction less PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) being requested,” Jehl wrote. “If the administration would like my support for the project, these two issues (Legacy grant and super-abatement) must be addressed. Otherwise, I intend to vote against the funding package (today).”
It's not the first time he has raised concerns regarding the project. In June, Jehl outlined several points he wanted considered as the city worked on a public funding agreement for the project.
An economic development agreement between the city and RTM Ventures, the site's developer, was announced and signed in August.