New Haven Water Bill Increase Discussion

I’d like to start this post by saying everything I’m writing is my opinion as an individual New Haven City Councilperson and resident.  It’s not necessarily the opinions of the rest of the Council, the Mayor or anyone else at the City of New Haven. An ordinance was introduced at Council on January 10th which would raise the water portion of your water/sewer/storm water bill by 30% this year followed by a 20% increase next year. The decision to raise rates was based on the repeated increases of wholesale water from Fort Wayne and increasing operating costs.  We purchase our water from Fort Wayne as well as paying them to treat our sewage. The last time New Haven raised water rates was in 2011. In 2013, Fort Wayne raised the rates 19.62%, in 2014 another 5.87%, in 2015 another 5.7% and in December of 2016 we received a 36.2% increase. Overall, the combined increases since August of 2011 raised our wholesale water prices over 80%. A study conducted by Financial Solutions Group, Inc. in December recommended a 50% increase to cover increases and keep our water utility sustainable. The City felt 50% was too large of an increase at one time and broke the recommended increase into two chunks. 30% to take effect April 1st, and another 20% the first of part 2018.  Steve McMichael (City Council 5th District) proposed an amendment to the ordinance to keep the 30% increase, but to eliminate the 20% scheduled for next year until we can do further research. The amendment was passed 4-3.  We felt that planning an increase a year out wasn’t necessary when we meet twice a month. We’re also hoping to figure out some ways to be more efficient and hopefully not need the second increase. To pass an ordinance, it has to go through three “readings”.  If an ordinance has a direct financial impact on residents, it has to have a public hearing. The first reading of the Water Ordinance was on January 10th. It passed 7-0 with the amendment to limit the increase to this year. The second reading will be on January 24th, the Public Hearing will be on February 14th, and the third reading on February 28th.  The general public is always welcome at City Council meetings (2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 7:00) and I encourage you to attend often. From my view, we really don’t have any choice but to pass this 30% increase. But even a 30% won’t solve all our problems. It won’t fully cover the increases in our costs, but will help us come closer to breaking even. We’ll still need to figure out how to operate more efficiently, or we’ll face another increase next...

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Here we go again . . .

I’m making a New Year’s resolution a bit early this year.  I started this blog several years ago, but work, life, and my other responsibilities keep me extremely busy.  I really believe that it’s important to keep everyone informed on happenings in New Haven – including City Council, the Chamber, Community Foundation, Parks Department, etc., so I’m going to make an effort to keep this updated.  I’ll shoot for once a month and see what happens.  I apologize in advance for the length of this post. Lots to catch up on. Infiltration and Inflow (I & I) One of the biggest issues that City Council will have to deal with in the near future is how to improve our sewage system. The City of Fort Wayne’s Utility Department provides our water and treats our sewage. The big issue in New Haven is that when we have heavy rains, a lot of rainwater gets mixed in with the sewage and it’s sent to Fort Wayne to be processed.  Our normal sewage processing bill to Fort Wayne is around $80,000 a month.  The bad news is that we’ve had months that hit closer to $300,000 when we’ve had heavy rain.  The cause for the huge discrepancy in costs are Infiltration (holes in pipes, bad fittings, bad manholes) and Inflow (illegal connections to our sanitary sewer system from sump pumps and downspouts). The City is actively working on cutting down on Infiltration. They’ve performed smoke testing to find leaks and have used their video equipment to locate issues. A lot of the problem are with the older clay pipes used prior to the early eighties. They can crack or disintegrate causing clear water to enter our sanitary sewer system. They’ve even found issues with the newer PVC pipes used in newer additions. Some of the connections to the City’s lateral pipes in the street have bad connections – or they’ve been damaged by construction or other reasons. We currently have ten projects in the Lakes of Scarborough addition that the city is working on. Any damage to yards will be repaired in the Spring. Inflow is a completely different issue. Many homes still have sump pumps and/or downspouts connected directly to the sanitary sewer. It’s costing New Haven a fortune to treat this clean water.  City Council is working with the Utility Department to develop a plan to require homeowners to disconnect their sump pumps/downspouts from the sanitary sewer. If the homeowners refuse, they’ll have a fine attached to their monthly water/sewer bills. We don’t have all the details worked out yet, but basically – all New Haven homes will need to pass an inflow inspection. We will give homeowners at least...

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It’s a Very Sad Week in New Haven

We lost a good friend on Tuesday morning. Douglas Geller passed away after putting up a strong and courageous battle with cancer. Doug was not only one of my best friends, he was also involved with pretty much every positive thing that has happened in New Haven over the past 30+ years. He was involved with so many activities and programs, I thought it would be easier to just make a list of the awards and services that I know of. Eagle Scout with Palms and Silver Explorer Cub Scout and Boy Scout Leader T-Ball and Little League Coach Vice President of East Suburban Little League Girls Softball Coach Pal Football Coach Life Saving Award from Police Athletic League President of New Haven Methodist Church Men’s Club Board of Directors / Highland Terrace Community Association Board of Directors / Lakes of Scarborough – Ashford Lakes Community Association Joined Emergency 45 in 1985 Served as both a Basic and Advanced EMT Paramedic and State Instructor Served as President of the Emergency 45 Volunteer Association Co-Chair of the Allen County Providers Association Joined New Haven Festival Committee in 1987 – elected VP in 1988 – then served 15 years as President Member of the Indiana State Festival Association Served and was a lead member of the “Save Jury Pool” committee Mayor’s Veteran’s Ride Committee Was the Coordinator and Facilitator of the New Haven Citizen’s Academy New Haven’s Volunteer Coordinator Elected Adams Township Trustee Board Member 2015 Bill Fritcha Memorial Award Winner. I know I’ve just touched on some of the things Doug was involved with. It was just a week ago Monday night that the Mayor awarded Doug the Bill Fritcha Memorial Award. Bill Fritcha was another prized New Haven resident that passed too early. He was known for giving his all to anyone who needed help. Doug was the absolute perfect choice for this award. Unfortunately, Doug was too ill to attend the dinner. Mayor McDonald, my wife Jane and I took it to him after the ceremony. Although he was in a lot of pain, we could see he truly appreciated the consideration.  I accepted the award for Doug and he received a standing ovation from the large group attending. Please watch Bob Nelson’s video to hear Mayor McDonald’s comments. The Citizens Academy was one of Doug’s All-Star efforts.  The Academy is an eight week course to teach residents about how the city runs. Each week, different departments are discussed and tours are given. I was in the first Academy as were several other people now serving our community. It’s important that we carry on and offer this again, but it will be tough without Doug. Whether you knew...

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New Haven Community Association Update!

It has been a great day in New Haven. The Foellinger Foundation held a press conference this afternoon.  They announced $1,250,000 in grants to non-profits in Allen County.  In addition to huge grants to the United Way, Arts United, and the Community Foundation of Fort Wayne, we’re going to receive a large donation. The New Haven Community Foundation will receive a $50,000 grant for community development. In addition to that, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne will match 50% for a total contribution of $75,000! We have big dreams for New Haven and it’s days like this that let us know we’re doing the right thing. Our goal for this year is to raise $300,000. We’re well over a 1/3 of the way there. Every other contribution we receive this year will get a 50% match from the Lilly Endowment fund. We raise $200,000 – they’ll contribute $100,000. Thanks go out to all our board members and founding members. We’ve only just begun. For more information, you can visit our Facebook page. Or just drop me an email or call with any questions.  We’d love to add you to our mailing list or send out information on how you can help....

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Winner’s Circle Brew Pub Now Open!

Today was the ribbon cutting at New Haven’s newest attraction.  The Winner’s Circle Brew Pub is now open in the Lutheran Medical Plaza at the corner of State Road 930 and Minnich Road.  The newly remodeled 8000+ square foot facility hosts a full bar featuring local craft brews, a full food menu, and Off Track Betting on horses.  I attended a Grand Opening party on Wednesday night and the electricity in the place was amazing. Everyone was having a great time.  The Winner’s Circle is owned and operated by Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Indiana.  They will be open Sunday through Thursday – 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.   Here’s a link to their website:...

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Exciting News about the New Haven Community Foundation

Last Fall, we formed the New Haven Community Foundation. Your donation to the Foundation makes a lasting impact – right here. The Foundation acts as a community savings account. By collecting contributions from people who care about our area, investing those funds carefully and building a healthy endowment, we can use the investment income to help meet our community’s most pressing needs. The idea behind our Foundation is simple: Build a substantial endowment from contributions – both large and small – and use the income it generates to improve the quality of life in New Haven. We’ll make your investment grow instantly! The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has offered $100,000 of matching funds from the Lilly Endowment to help grow the New Haven Community Foundation. Every dollar of contributions we raise will have a 50% match added to it. If we can raise $200,000 by the end of 2015, the Lilly Endowment fund will match $100,000. This is a huge opportunity to grow our Foundation for the future of New Haven. We are thrilled to announce that Bob Taylor, President of Do-it Best has agreed to be our first major corporate sponsor. They are committing $25,000 which will grow to $37,500 with the Lilly Match.  The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has been serving our area since 1922. We’re very excited about partnering with them. They will handle the investments, taxes, and administration of our New Haven fund.  The New Haven Community Foundation is an independent organization, but will work closely with the City of New Haven and the New Haven Chamber of Commerce to enhance our community. What’s an Endowment? An endowment fund in your name, family name or that of a loved one is a lasting way to support your favorite charitable causes throughout your life, leaving a legacy long after you’re gone. It’s a great way to pass on the lessons of philanthropy to your children . . . and theirs. An endowment is a tax-favored charitable fund that is designed to last forever. The principal amount of the fund — your charitable gift — is prudently invested and preserved. As investment earnings accumulate, grants are made to scholarships, directed projects, or activities in the New Haven area. Typically a portion of the investment earnings are retained and added to the principal, causing the balance of the endowment fund to grow over time. Donations to the New Haven Community Foundation are managed and invested by the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne with a 501c3 tax deduction status. If you have questions or want to help, please call Craig Dellinger (260) 460-7161 or Charlie Hatten at the New Haven Chamber office (260)...

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Werling Park Trail & Public Meeting

Werling Park now has a newly paved walkway. As part of the street renovation projects going on in New Haven right now, Werling Park is having it’s walking path repaved. The initial trail was constructed by the Park Department a few years ago using asphalt grindings from a road project.  The new surface will be nice and smooth.  Look for more improvements to Werling Park as the budget allows.  Please come over and enjoy the new trail. Thanks to Mike Clendenen for the photos.   Single County Administrator Public Meeting Join us on Wednesday night, August 27, to hear information and ask questions about the Single County Executive referendum being voted on this November 4.  The event will be held at Park Hill Learning Center Auditorium – 1000 Prospect Avenue here in New Haven at 6:00 P.M.  Panelists will include former State Representative Matt Bell, County Commissioner Nelson Peters, and representatives from No To One P.A.C.  Panelists will answer questions submitted by the audience.  This is a great chance to hear opinions from both sides of the issue.  Hope to see you there.  ...

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About Me

My name is Craig Dellinger. I created this blog as a way to communicate with my neighbors and to receive their feedback and input on community issues. I'm the 3rd District City Councilman in New Haven, as well as the President of New Haven Print. I'm also the current President of the Lakes of Scarborough / Ashford Lakes Community Association.

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