Council Notes

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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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.  https://www.facebook.com/newhavencommunityfoundation 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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May Update

Sidewalk/Street Repairs in Scarborough and Arrow Haven   You might have noticed the spray paint on the sidewalks, streets and curbs in the Lakes of Scarborough and Arrow Haven additions.  The city is planning to re-pave our streets this summer.  The sidwalks are marked because due to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations, the sidewalks have to meet safety standards before we can re-pave the streets. Anywhere there’s more than 1/4″ difference in height, the sidewalk section is determined to be a trip hazard and must be taken out and replaced.    The marks are for the engineers to locate and draw out the plans. Actual construction should start soon.  After the sidwalks are completed, the streets will be started. They will grind a couple inches off the existing pavement and lay down fresh pavement.  It will be really nice when it’s done. It’s hard to believe some parts of Scarborough are over 28 years old now. I still remember walking into an empty field and trying to picture what Scarborough would look like. Jane and I purchased our home in the first section built. That was 1987. Now there are 388 homes in Scarborough and Ashford Lakes. The goal is to complete Scarborough and Arrow Haven this Summer although it might run into next year’s construction season Newsletters and Blogs   Thanks for reading this blog.  I’ll publish it least monthly, but more often if there’s something important going on in New Haven.  A great place for up-to-date information in New Haven is located at www.newhavenbulletin.com. Our neighbor Bob Nelson publishes this internet newsletter. It’s full of local stories, photos and school information. I’ve made it a habit to check it every morning. Garage Sales Coming Up Soon   The annual Lakes of Scarborough and Ashford Lakes Association Garage Sale will be on Friday and Saturday – May 30th & 31st.  Like always, we do the garage sale on the weekend before the start of Canal Days. Several other Association have their garage sales at the same time. Pinestone’s is scheduled for that same time and I’d be glad to publish any other neighborhood’s notices – just make a comment to this post.  Please be careful driving through the additions on those days. There will be a lot of garage sale fanatics jumping in and out. Sewage Rate Hike    City Council voted to pass the rate increase. You’ll notice it on your water bills this summer. I appreciate all the people who came out for the public hearing.  Most weren’t happy about the rate increase (the Council Persons weren’t happy about it either), but most everyone understood the reasons for the increase. There were a few people...

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March ’14 News and Comments

It looks like Spring might actually make an appearance soon. It’ll be nice to see something other than snow on the ground. As the weather improves, we’ll start to see more activity in New Haven. I’ll try to keep you up to date, and please feel free to ask questions or comment on anything going on in New Haven.  February 25th Council Meeting City Council passed an ordinance dealing with portable storage containers.  This ordinance originally contained both residential and commercial restrictions, but Council asked for the commercial sections to be removed – the majority of Council thought it would be burdensome and restricting for commercial properties. The Planning Commission came back with a recommendation that we approve the ordinance as originally written.  Council voted for the ordinance without the commercial sections and it was passed.  Although I do think we need some rules for commercial use, I didn’t like the fact that businesses would have to plead their case with the Board of Zoning Appeals in order to continue to do business as they have for years – without any complaints. Hopefully, we can come to an agreement on Commercial/Industrial use that Council can live with.  Until then, at least we have restrictions now on the use of storage containers in the residential areas. The new rules state that one storage container/dumpster is allowed for a maximum of 45 consecutive days per any 12 month period.  That can’t be larger than 8 feet wide, 40 feet long and 8-1/2 feet high. If a container needs to be placed on a public right-of-way, permission will need to be granted by New Haven’s Engineering Department. Those containers will be required to have lighted barricades at each end. If the container is needed during the construction of a primary residence, or is associated with an approved construction site – it can remain up to 6 months. State Business Personal Property Tax Elimination. The Council approved a resolution from the New Haven Mayor stating that we are not in favor of eliminating the Business Personal Property Tax.  While it sounds like a great plan for attracting new businesses and industry to Indiana, it would seriously affect city government and services. The Indiana General Assembly is considering the bill right now. If they do pass the tax elimination, they’ll most likely have to replace it with some other type of tax – and there haven’t been any great ideas (in my opinion) on how to make that work.  As a business owner, I’d love for my business taxes to go down – but I won’t support an elimination of a tax that helps fund local governments without alternative funding. It will be interesting...

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Welcome to my blog!

Hello Neighbors: Hope you’re having a great 2014 so far – Spring has to be here soon!  The purpose of this blog is to give you as much information on what’s going on in the City of  New Haven as possible. AND, I’d appreciate feedback on the issues we’re dealing with.  There is rarely an issue where there aren’t two sides involved.  I want to make decisions that represent District 3’s residents and what’s best for New Haven.  You can comment on the articles, or bring up issues of your own. The blog is moderated (comments won’t appear instantly) and we won’t allow personal attacks, or nonsense.  You can visit the blog at any time (www.craigdellinger.com), or you can subscribe. When you subscribe (free), you’ll receive an email with new posts and comments as they come out. You can also email me personally at cdellinger@newhavenin.org or call my cell phone at (260) 460-7161 for questions or comments. Happenings at City Council . . . The most controversial ordinance now being discussed is about Portable Storage Containers. We had issues in the past where residences would have a storage container in their driveways for over a year. This inconvenienced their neighbors and was an eyesore. The proposed ordinance would limit the number of days the containers can be used, and the engineering department would have to approve the placement. When the ordinance was first proposed, it included sections that affected commercial and industrial sites also. A business could apply for a zoning variance which would allow them to use whatever number of containers they need. This variance would cost $300.00 and require the Board of Zoning Appeals to rule on it. This variance could be stated to last as long as ownership isn’t changed in the business.  The City Council thought that since we hadn’t had any issues (so far) with businesses, we’d remove that section from the ordinance. The Planning Commission came back with a recommendation to leave the business sections in.  That’s where the controversy comes in. Personally, I’d like to have some controls placed on storage units for commercial businesses, but I don’t want to burden the businesses with more taxes and regulations.  We haven’t come to a compromise yet and most likely the ordinance will be approved without the business/commercial section included in it – or voted down entirely. The next vote on this ordinance will be on February 25th. New addition to be proposed. This Tuesday night (February 18th), the Planning Commission will hear a proposal to plot a new residential housing addition off of Seiler Road.  The entrance would be directly across the street from the Shoreline Blvd. Ashford Lakes entrance. Originally, the plans...

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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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