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Public hearing set on Aqua Indiana

Statement as issued Monday afternoon by the city of Fort Wayne:

Fort Wayne, Ind. – On behalf of the members of Fort Wayne City Council and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, City Council President Tom Didier today set the date and structure for the public hearing on the Aqua Indiana condemnation ordinance. The hearing will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22 in City Council Chambers, Citizens Square, 200 E. Berry St.

With the accent firmly on the public, the hearing agenda will open with the citizen comment period. Any resident who wishes to address the Council will be given two minutes to speak. To ensure access for everyone, President Didier encourages citizens to pre-register by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 427-1221 by Friday, Jan. 18 at 4 p.m.

Those who pre-register will be called to speak first. All who attend, however, are welcome to testify. Those not pre-registered will be added to the list upon arrival and allowed to speak, in order, following those registered.

President Didier noted that this is the established procedure that City Council has employed successfully on matters that generate substantial public interest.

“City Council has a long tradition and commitment to receiving citizen input,” said Council President Didier. “We know the importance of this issue to the public, and we are committed to listening to all residents who wish to address this issue. Pre-registration will help the hearing run smoothly, but all who wish to speak will be heard.”

The remaining portion of the hearing agenda features two 45-minute presentations. Fort Wayne City Utilities’ officials will take the lead, with representatives of Aqua Indiana then offering their response to the proposed condemnation of the water utility in southwest Fort Wayne.

Late last year, Mayor Henry asked City Council to condemn Aqua Indiana's water utility in southwest Fort Wayne. Since taking office, Mayor Henry has worked to find a solution to the water challenges faced by residents in the Aqua service area. His concerns were amplified during last summer’s severe drought, when City Utilities stepped in to assist Aqua in providing water to its customers.

“The right of citizens to be heard by their government is one of the hallmarks of our democracy,” said Mayor Henry. “I am pleased that City Council is giving residents this important opportunity. I have received 20 petitions representing numerous neighborhoods and more than 1,400 households in the Aqua service area. Those residents want what every Fort Wayne citizen wants and deserves: high-quality water with good pressure at affordable rates. It’s time for our citizens to be heard.”

Upon conclusion of the public hearing, City Council can take action to proceed with condemnation and an appraisal.

Those attending the public hearing can park in the Citizens Square parking lot on the north side of the building. Residents can enter the center doors or the west door located just off Clinton Street and head to the Council Chambers located in the basement of Citizens Square.

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