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Official: 16 years before Legacy tops $30 million

November 14, 2018

If no further grants are awarded out of Fort Wayne’s Legacy Fund, it will take until 2034 to bring the account balance back above $30 million, the chairman of the Legacy funding committee said Tuesday. 

That estimate does not take into account potential losses or gains from the stock market, Kyle Kerley, chairman of the Legacy Joint Funding Committee, told the Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday.

Kerley’s estimate also assumes City Council approval of about $7.5 million in pending grant requests. the Legacy Joint Funding Committee meets Thursday. 

The Legacy Fund is composed of money generated by the lease and sale of the city’s old power utility. Three years ago, the fund had about $48 million.

“It would take until 2025 before the cash-on-hand including reserves eclipsed 30 million,” Kerley said. “It would take until 2034 before that entire 32 million was actually available funds to be used for grants.”

According to a report provided by the city of Fort Wayne, the Legacy Fund had 11,817,000 in reserve for various projects and bond debt. According to the city’s projections, the fund will have $39,422,259 available in 2025. Mayor Tom Henry’s administration was not involved in Tuesday’s presentation, spokesman John Perlich said. 

However, Kerley said while there was just over 17.7 million of that has already been committed to projects, including 1 million, Kerley said. 

The city is expected to receive an additional 3.5 million in loan repayments that will help replenish the Legacy Fund. 

According to Kerley’s analysis, if no expenditures are made, the fund’s available balance would reach $32,857,712 in 2034.

Kerley said if the City Council wants to ensure the Legacy Fund remains viable for years to come, “they need to take a good, hard look at how they spend money” over the next five years. Once the fund drops below $30 million, Kerley said the interest on the account isn’t enough to sustain the fund on its own. 

“If you start to fall below 1 million, $1.5 million away, the fund is just going to slowly deplete itself,” Kerley said. 

Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, who sits on the Legacy Joint Funding Committee, reminded residents that there is a “pretty strong checks and balances system that’s been created” to rigorously vet projects requesting funds.

“One thing we don’t often talk about is the number of proposals that never reach us because they don’t really meet the threshold of being transformational, so we have been, I think, good stewards with that money,” Paddock said. 

dgong@jg.net

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