A Vote in Favor of Civil Discourse – by Michael Barranda

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Last night I voted against continuing the ongoing toxic dialogue regarding the City Administration’s North IV Annexation proposal. In response the Mayor has issued a statement that the 7 members of City Council that voted against the proposal showed a lack of leadership. I disagree. It took leadership to turn down the promise of a net gain of over $5 million dollars to the City’s general fund so that we might push the reset button on the unhealthy proceedings. It was a vote to encourage more transparency in our efforts to put our community on a path towards the type of community and economic development that we all desire. To lift the fog that looms over dysfunctional government by fostering civil discourse on difficult issues. My statement at council can be found below. 

CS Fog

 

 

 

 

May 10, 2016 Statement Regarding Annexation Vote:

There era of unintended consequences of property tax caps is upon us. Nowhere is that more prevalent than the debacle which is currently happening in the most developing part of our community. Today the News Sentinel stated, “A war of words between Northwest Allen County Schools and the City of Fort Wayne continues to escalate.” A war of words.

In a statement issued by the City administration, it outlined its attempts to have open dialogue with Northwest Allen County Schools. Notably, none of those attempts came before the Mayor’s press conference wherein he announced his plans to essentially cut $2.5mm in yearly funding from the schools. A plan that was, at minimum, four months in the making. And therein lies the problem, doesn’t it? The invitation to open dialogue after four months of planning how to strip that entity of $2.5m and redistribute it to your own budget.

Without question Northwest Allen County Schools is one of the primary reasons the North IV property has been such a booming area of development. The folks in this room – not to mention about 1,000 emails in my inbox – can attest to that. The question of whether our community was prepared to strip millions of dollars from our schools was already dubious without a public feud about it. There is a toxic dialogue within our community – and it has been brought in the name of community growth and economic development. It has been suggested that through this exercise we are somehow attracting talent and jobs to our community.

To me it speaks volumes that the superintendent – a man we have entrusted to develop talent – is here tonight, while the mayor that has made these promises for community growth and development is not.

Understand that this is not simply a matter involving Northwest Allen County Schools. If the issues with that school system could be resolved, we have yet to address the negative impacts to Fort Wayne Community Schools, East Allen County Schools, public safety, libraries, county government and township government.

I am not opposed to annexation. However, the surreptitious manner in which this particular proposal was researched and unveiled – and the continued efforts to stoke the flames – has created a foundation of contempt and distrust upon which no fruitful negotiations for this particular proposal can take place. For those reasons and many more, I vote to no.


Comments

  1. Byron Funnell says:

    Thank you so much Councilman Barranda. Thank you for representing many of us in the county and our concerns. You were also one of the four councilmen that replied to recent concerns over the annexation issue. By the way, the mayor’s office has not responded at all. The conciseness of your words has been appreciated in the articles you have written too.

  2. Tana Hoffmann says:

    Well said!

  3. Allison Crowell says:

    Well said!! It really DOES say a lot that Mayor Henry didn’t even bother to come. I commend you for listening to the people, using common sense, and voting no to this annexation. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

  4. Tracy Bullion says:

    Very disappointed the city would raid a to notch school district for the benefit of the city. Keep taking for our education and you will have no educated people or teachers to teach them! I suggest mayor Henry readjust his budget and figure out a way to raise the funds he needs, like he suggested NACS do.

  5. Brandi Nagel says:

    I want to thank you, and the 6 other members, who voted “no” for this annexation. I agree with you on every point you made. I appreciate the work you do and just wanted to let you know that, I, along with almost everyone I know in this community are grateful that you saw the big picture. God bless!!

  6. Michelle Trowbridge says:

    Thank you Mr. Barranda for standing up to the Mayor and and voting no.

  7. Ruste Pontenberg says:

    Michael, thank you for your leadership and integrity on this issue.

  8. Jason Grossnickle says:

    Thank you Mr. Barranda for standing up for what is right and the appropriate thing to do. I was the at the meeting last night, and I too was quite displeased that the Mayor was not there to hear everything that was said, I actually was outside talking with Rep. Morris when the Mayor left the building at 5:25, before the meeting even started. I thought his leaving before the meeting even began spoke loudly as to how he would have managed those of us that would have been annexed. Thank you again for your responsible leadership, as well as the other 6 Councilmen that voted against this ill-conceived attempt of annexation that was done without proper communications and hastily done to avoid the forthcoming change in annexation laws.

  9. Steve Till says:

    Thank you.

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