Community leaders will make recommendations on potential funding alternatives for sewer improvements, better water quality in rivers


Demonstrating his commitment to community involvement  and improved river water quality, Mayor Tom Henry announced today that he has assembled community leaders to explore alternative funding sources to pay for the City'€™s consent decree and long term control plan with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The consent decree and long term control plan addresses how the City will minimize combined sewer overflows over the next 18 years. Fort Wayne'€™s largest investment in clean-water infrastructure ever, it will significantly reduce untreated sewage into local waterways, ultimately reducing bacteria counts in Fort Wayne'€™s three rivers.

“The EPA'€™s consent decree is essentially an unfunded mandate for Fort Wayne, yet improved water quality benefits everyone in the Maumee River basin and ultimately the Great Lakes watershed,” Henry said. “I am acutely aware of the concerns Fort Wayne residents have about the increased cost of living across the board. I have a responsibility to City Utilities'€™ rate payers to ensure that we investigate all alternatives to rate increases.”

Some possibilities include lobbying for the creation of state and federal grants, low- or no-interest loans from state and federal sources, or other sources of revenue and funding that minimize the financial burden to customers. The group will use some alternate funding recommendations from the EPA.

The 19-member task force will have its first meeting June 2. The Mayor expects the committee'€™s recommendations by the end of the year. The task force facilitator will be John Stafford, director of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne'€™s Community Research Institute.

The Mayor selected task force members with a range of areas of expertise and represent the economic diversity of City Utilities'€™ rate payers.

“A hallmark of my administration has been involving and engaging the community,” Henry said. “This task force draws on the depth and diversity of City Utilities rate payers. I appreciate their willingness to look at ways to fund these improvements that could make the costs not the sole responsibility of our sewer customers.”

The task force categories and members are:


Donald Schennkel, Tower Bank
Steve Doan, Chief Investment Officer, STAR Financial

Commercial Business

Steve Gard, owner, The Oyster Bar


Tom Poiry, President, Fort Wayne Anodizing

Health Care

Kirk Ray, CEO, St. Joseph Hospital


Kathy Friend, CFO, Fort Wayne Community Schools
Rob Young, President, Fort Wayne/Allen County Economic Development Alliance


Nicole Turner-Ridley, St. Peter-Zion Project, Inc.
Major Mark Welsh, Salvation Army of Fort Wayne


Councilwoman Karen Goldner, Second District, Fort Wayne City Council
Councilwoman Liz Brown, At-Large, Fort Wayne City Council
Councilwoman Paula Hughes, District 2, Allen County Council
Commissioner Nelson Peters, Allen County Commissioner


Dan Wire, Sewer Advisory Group member, river activist/ Northside High School Teacher
David Kohli, Sewer Advisory Group Chair, Northeast Area Partnership Chair, Ford & Young Futures
Luke Forbing, former chair of Downtown Development Committee, Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana