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Rally cost taxpayers $35,000

November 25, 2018

Local taxpayers spent at least $34,985 on President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Fort Wayne Nov. 5.

Fort Wayne’s city government incurred $31,585 in expenses for police services related to Trump’s rally at Memorial Coliseum the night before the general election, city spokesman John Perlich said.

Perlich said in an email that city police provided security at the Coliseum, traffic and crowd control outside the building and security along the president’s motorcade route and at Fort Wayne International Airport, where Air Force One landed and departed from.

Capt. Steve Stone, spokesman for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, said the department paid $3,400 in overtime for officers who worked the rally.

An Indiana State Police spokesman said the agency did not track expenses for Trump’s appearance.

How do the municipal costs stack up against those at Trump rallies elsewhere?

Media reports indicate that local governments spent 21,000 on an October rally in Erie, Pennsylvania; and more than 450,000.

‘Bully’ pulpit

Embattled Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill hosted a crime prevention event Tuesday at the Statehouse for the launch of the 2019 legislative session : and it wasn’t without excitement.

During the event attended by prosecutors and police from around the state : as well as a handful of lawmakers : several citizens handed out copies of the inspector general’s report on Hill. The report largely corroborated accusations that Hill drunkenly groped a legislator and four female staffers at an after-party earlier this year. No criminal charges were filed.

At least two of the victims : all of whom work in the Statehouse : walked by the event.

“It’s bullying,” said Ali Brown, a Democrat who said women should not feel safe around Republican Hill.

She said that Tuesday’s Organization Day is about the legislature but said Hill hosted an event to bolster himself instead. High-ranking Republicans have called on Hill to resign.

Two Hill staffers : including one who looked to be providing security for him : asked Brown to leave, but she refused.

At the end of the event, Hill took to the stage for closing comments. One of his accusers, Democratic Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, watched from the fourth-floor balcony. 

She yelled “resign” twice during Hill’s speech and then walked away.

Red River support

Trash collection has become the “story of the year” in Fort Wayne, as City Council members discussed the possibility of granting ratepayers a credit for poor service from Red River Waste Solutions. 

“My daughter’s like, ‘Dad, why are you a city councilman? Aren’t you tired of these garbage calls,’ ” Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “It’s become a big deal. You can’t sit down at the dinner table without calls about garbage collection.” 

But Arp, who is a member of Mayor Tom Henry’s working group on trash collection, said it’s inappropriate to demonize Red River’s drivers.

“If you want to say bad things about the company management, the city of Fort Wayne or me, I’ve got thick skin, I can take it,” Arp said. “But these guys, most of them are just trying to do a good job.” 

The company has had a hard time hiring, Arp said, because potential drivers are worried the city will revoke the contract. Arp voted against a nonbinding resolution to refund one month of rates to the city’s garbage and recycling customers, stating that if implemented, the move would deplete a fund that could be used for other remediation efforts. 

Arp noted that service has been better because of new routes implemented this month. However, Arp said a group of drivers quit Nov. 16, causing more delays and issues. 

Tax collectors honored

The Indiana Department of Revenue recently was honored with the Government Entity Award from Serve Indiana.

It was the first time this category has been awarded, spurred by the department’s volunteer program #DORGivesBack. The awards celebrate individuals and organizations who inspire voluntarism to make a difference.

Agency team members volunteered more than 550 hours since January through the #DORGivesBack program by building homes for families with Habitat for Humanity, cleaning and landscaping properties for HVAF of Indiana and building bicycles for foster children with the Boys and Girls Club of Boone County.

To encourage voluntarism through the #DORGivesBack initiative, Commissioner Adam Krupp set a goal to engage at least 20 percent of DOR staff in the agencywide volunteer program within its first year.

Over the course of 2018, about 140 employees have participated in the program, giving back to Indiana communities in excess of Krupp’s initial goal.

“Voluntarism brings us closer as an agency and allows the DOR team to give back to Hoosiers,” he said.

Serve Indiana is a division of the Department of Workforce Development. The mission of Serve Indiana is to advance service and voluntarism by informing, connecting and promoting opportunities and resources that enrich the lives of Hoosiers.

County Council endorsement

Allen County Auditor Nick Jordan has endorsed Adam Welch in an upcoming Allen County Republican Party caucus.

Welch has expressed interest in replacing one of two Allen County Council members who will soon leave the board. Councilman Justin Busch was selected this year to replace outgoing state Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne. Councilman Eric Tippmann was elected to the position of Perry Township trustee this month.

“Adam’s background in both county and city government and now with Greater Fort Wayne not only give him a head start on how government operates but will also add to the diversity we already have on council,” Jordan said in a statement. “His youth lends a unique perspective not currently present on council.”

Replacements for Tippmann and Busch will be selected at a caucus Wednesday.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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