Huntertown & Fort Wayne Will Negotiate But Plant Still An Option

By John W. Davis

August 15, 2011 Updated Oct 21, 2013 at 11:56 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - New ground was broken in the debate over a controversial proposal to build a sewage plant in Huntertown.

Fort Wayne City Utilities spent more than two hours answering questions and presenting new information about future sewage rate increases.

About 100 residents packed the cafeteria at Huntertown Elementary School Monday night.

For the past few months, Huntertown Council has discussed a proposal to build a new $11.2 million dollar sewage treatment plant, as a way to avoid 7% to 8% yearly sewage rate increases from Fort Wayne.

However, Fort Wayne Utility leaders said increases would only be 3%.

They also said if Huntertown proceeded with building their own sewage plant, it would cost residents an extra $7 million dollars compared to continuing to use Fort Wayne for the same service.

However, Huntertown council members are not sold because they believe Fort Wayne Utilities numbers are not adding up.

Residents have mixed reaction.

"I still think the long term effects are better met by the City of Fort Wayne. They have the staff and the people to help us," stated Huntertown Resident Dave Garman.

"Personally, I'd like to see the numbers before I make that decision," added Huntertown Resident Tim Kearney.

"I don't think we've been presented with the numbers," continued Kearney.

"This is our first chance to ask Fort Wayne directly for it and that's great. I've been asking Huntertown for it for a year and because of their lack of negotiating with Fort Wayne, we don't have that number," explained Kearney.

Fort Wayne City Utilities response, we want Huntertown's business.

"We do look at this as a new chapter in the relationship between Huntertown and (Fort Wayne) City Utilities that will hopefully benefit the entire community by finding a way that Huntertown and City Utilities can craft an agreement for the next 20 years," said Fort Wayne City Utilities Program Manager Ted Nitza.

Meanwhile, appear willing to negotiate with Fort Wayne City Utilities.

However, they want assurances and caps on rate increases.

If a deal is struck, Huntertown Council will most likely exercise an option to purchase land on 2214 & 2232 Hathaway Road for nearly $400,000 dollars and build their own $11.2 million dollar sewage treatment plant.

If Huntertown leaders approve that measure, they would like the plan to be operational around April 2013.

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