A new ordinance that aims to cut down on frequent emergency service calls to certain commercial properties was introduced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
Fort Wayne third district councilman Tom Didier proposed the measure, his first in 14 years on City Council. He says the goal is to fix problems with certain businesses while easing demands on Fort Wayne’s police department.
“Our police want to protect all of our citizens, but are stretched thin when they have to respond to problem after problem at the same businesses,” says Didier. “Citizens are paying for that, so it’s about accountability”
A similar proposal was made to Fort Wayne City Council last year, but was tabled due to concerns over the impact on fair-housing requirements. The new proposal zeroes in solely on commercial properties.
The measure was supported by the Fort Wayne Police and Fire Departments. Police chief Steve Reed emphasizes the goal of the ordinance is not to penalize properties, but rather work with them.
“This ordinance is not designed to be punitive, but the CPP ordinance is designed to encourage property owners to collaborate with city officials to address those problems,” says Reed.
The ordinance has bipartisan support, with Democratic councilman Tom Freistroffer expressing his support and Mayor Tom Henry promising to sign it into law.
“There’s no question that when employers look at a community, they not only look at school systems and housing stock, they look at the types of businesses,” Henry says. “If those companies don’t respond to statutes that are in place, what’s being done?”
First, the measure must pass Fort Wayne City Council. It will be introduced on Tuesday, September 26, and discussed one week later on October 3.