Police Headquarters Work At Risk Of Being Suspended: City & County Squabble Over Money

By Jeff Neumeyer

November 17, 2011 Updated Nov 17, 2011 at 6:55 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- City-county government cooperation under strain.

There’s an ongoing dispute that threatens to halt renovation work on the new public safety headquarters in the old City-County Building.

It's about whether the City of Fort Wayne will turn over $1 million towards the price tag for the construction.

The city concedes it pledged the money, but claims that Allen County Government owes the city even more.

The former City-County Building is being rehabilitated to house city and county police.

The two agencies figured to move in the first part of 2012.

The Allen County Commissioners came to county council Thursday, saying the city isn't paying the $1 million promised to the project, requesting an emergency appropriation of $500,000 to pay contractors.

County council said “no” to the request, which means work in the old “CCB” could be suspended indefinitely on December 1st.

Darren Vogt/(R) Allen County Council President: " You pledged $1 million to the building, put the million dollars in so we can move on, and get the building done. Get both police departments co-located. If Mayor Tom Henry is so worried about co-locating and thinking this is the greatest thing that we should have done, then just step up with the money and let's discuss the other issues that you're talking about in a separate matter."

The "other issues" have to do with the city’s claims that the county owes it more than $2 million for things like shared 911 combined communications costs, and extra renovations done by the city in the Citizens Square Building.

Frank Suarez, Ft. Wayne’s Director of Information, says, “The mayor is a man of his word and is committed to the $1 million for the City-County Building renovations. He is also deeply committed to City and County collaboration. He urges county officials to join him in working to resolve these issues, some outstanding for years. Both partners must work in good faith."

Negotiations to fix the dispute are expected sometime after Mayor Henry returns Sunday from a trip to China.

But this represents a bump in the road for city-county cooperation.




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