Taxpayers voice frustrations over plan for new Allen County jail to County Council

Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 10:14 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - The emotions were tense inside Citizen’s Square Wednesday evening, as taxpayers voiced their concerns over the plan for the new Allen County jail.

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As many as 25 people spoke out against the proposal of the jail to county leaders, including the 0.2% tax increase within the proposal to help pay for the jail.

“No one in the room was for the tax,” Becky Lottman said. “That tax will strictly go to the jail. Allen County is incarcerating at an incredibly high rate, possibly one of the highest in the state, that is not necessary.”

Becky Lottman was one of those who spoke at the meeting. She says, outside of the tax increase, there have been other issues with the proposal, such as the transparency of the plan from the county.

Lottman understands the importance of having a jail but says the county can find better solutions than the one they have planned.

“A jail is necessary in society, I understand that,” Lottman said. “But, I am hoping that we look, truly, at the whole problem and not just throw money at it and say ‘a bigger jail is a better jail’. Let’s truly find a better way.”

As Wednesday’s meeting concluded, council members listened to the concerns of those in attendance and claimed they will take those comments into consideration moving forward.

“We do take all of these comments into consideration and advisement, representing the entire community and not just the Fort Wayne community, but all of Allen County,” Allen County Council President Tom Harris said. “That’s our responsibility and we take that pretty seriously.”

As for what’s next in this process: county council will vote on the tax increase during a future meeting. That’s currently on the agenda for next Thursday, June 15, but is subject to change.