Earlier this month a very successful event occurred in Fort Wayne. Several hundred community activists including many from your city participated in the Regional Neighborhood Network Conference. There were many sessions where neighborhood leaders had the opportunity to share ideas and experiences. There was also plenty of time for the attendees to visit many sites around Fort Wayne such as the Coliseum, Grand Wayne Center, our libraries, and our great parks. I attended some of the events and talked with visitors from Columbus, Cincinnati, Ohio, Evansville, Peoria, Ill., and other cities throughout the Midwest. They were very positive about their visit to our city and the conference obviously met its goals. Congratulations to the conference Chairman, Deb Morrone, and to all of the other Fort Wayne citizens who worked so hard to make the event a success!
As I walk and drive around Fort Wayne there appears to be less graffiti this year than 2-3 years ago. Others have told me that they feel the same way. Graffiti is often associated with other crimes much worse than defacing public property. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Dave Brittenham who heads up the anti-graffiti task force, as well as with local volunteers working on the problem. The surprising and unfortunate fact is that there has been more graffiti this year—the anti-graffiti team is doing better than ever covering up graffiti as soon as it appears. Let's all redouble our efforts to convince our kids—as well as anyone else involved with this destructive activity—that public and private property deserve respect, not graffiti. Congrats to Dave Brittenham and his volunteer team for their efforts to control the problem.
As you are probably aware, the city budget was recently passed by City Council and signed by the Mayor. The good news is that no increase in the property tax rate was necessary. The largest major departmental increase in spending on 2003 compared to 2002 will be for the Fort Wayne Fire Department. Some of that increase is directly related to increased public safety needs following the events of 9/11/01. Enhanced FWFD coverage for annexed areas were also a factor. Thanks to each of you who let me know your thoughts regarding the city's budgetary priorities!
Finally, don't forget to vote on Election Day, Tuesday November 4th. During the days prior to the election there will be information in the local media regarding the location of polling places. If you have any questions regarding where to vote, etc., you can also call the Allen County Election Board at 449-7329. Give me a call with any suggestions at how we can make Fort Wayne an even better city! Tom Hayhurst, City Councilman, 4th District, 432-8418