Fort Wayne City Council says no more to "road lice", and members also heard how much running the City next year might cost. City-Council reporter Nicole Pence reports.
The new law has been in the works for months now, but, if it's formally approved next week, it will make a big impact on elections this fall. The other agenda item from Tuesday’s meeting proposes adding dollars to your property tax bill next year.
Fort Wayne City Council members say the message isn't the problem, it's the location: that's why they want to crack down on a law restricting signs like these from being in the "right of way":
Dr. John Crawford/City Councilman (R): " The median say a divided street, you don't own that. Those are public lands. Telephone polls, light polls, that's all public property. And that is where 90% of the signs are.”
Right now, City code bans yard signs from public property, but the law hasn't been enforced. The big difference is the new law gives hundreds of city employees "policing power" to remove fending signs.
Dr. John Crawford/City Councilman (R): " It's illegal to put the sign there but as a private person it would be illegal for you to take the sign down. It would be like say you saw somebody parked in a disabled parking spot, it's against the law and they broke the law. But, you can't go set their car on fire because they broke the law."
The new ordinance will most likely be passed next week. Crawford says the goal was to put it in place before candidates begin campaigning for November’s election. "Repeat" violators "could" face up to a 250 dollar fine.
Council also heard a presentation from the City's controller about the 2008 budget. In the balanced budget, the city asks council to approve an increase in property tax rates by point-six percent (.6%).
Pat Roller/City Controller: (Even though that's an estimate and many might say 3.38 dollar a year, I can live with that. Is there any fear that that would go up significantly?) Well, the issue gets to be what the city can control and your entire tax bill. The tax bill includes your schools, includes the county, and it includes the airports and townships and public transportation. Those are the sort of things that make up a tax bill and the city really tries to control their portion."
The public hearing on the City's proposed budget is September 11th. Council has until the end of the month to vote.
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