Council narrowly voted Tuesday to cut funding for maintaining them. That cut made up most of the $3,101,405 Council slashed from the 2011 budget.
“The Fort Wayne Fire Department and the City Utilities division—specifically the water maintenance department—work hand in hand on a regular basis to ensure that the hydrants are maintained,” said Assistant Fire Chief Amy Biggs.
Specifically, the city budgets money to pay City Utilities to maintain more than 9,100 fire hydrants in
Biggs says the fire department relies on the city to get it done.
“We are the end user for them, it is in high importance that they do continue to be maintained and are in good operation order,” said Biggs.
But soon, that money will be gone, and city leaders now have to figure out another way to pay for it. But city officials told FOX Fort Wayne on Wednesday they're not sure how to do that.
Councilman Mitch Harper (R-4th District) proposed the cut over concerns some residents were paying for the service twice—through the city and through their water provider, Aqua Indiana.
Harper also says City Utilities does have the money to pay for the costs of maintaining the hydrants.
However it's done, Biggs says firefighters need to know the hydrants are working.
“We'll be following this as much as the public out there because it is a huge issue for us, and we want to ensure that we're able to provide the resources and the response that we have always been able to do so for the public,” said Biggs.
The new budget takes effect in January.