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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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From WalletHub:

With President’s Day approaching and the combination of rising auto sales and low interest rates encouraging more lending to subprime borrowers, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released the first-quarter installment of its Auto Financing Report in conjunction with its in-depth analysis of 2017’s Cities that Overspend on Cars.

Below are some of our key findings from each of the two reports:

Cities that Overspend on Cars Cities that Spend the Least on Cars
Ruston, LA Scarsdale, NY
Williamsburg, VA Cupertino, CA
Ellensburg, WA Hoboken, NJ
Morgantown, WV Saratoga, CA
College Station, TX Chevy Chase, MD
Rio Grande City, TX Bronxville, NY
Kingsville, TX Lexington, MA
Warrensburg, MO Los Altos, CA
Milledgeville, GA McLean, VA
Mercedes, TX Manhattan Beach, CA
Deming, NM Palo Alto, CA
Stillwater, OK Foster City, CA
Murray, KY Ridgewood, NJ
Newark, DE Westport, CT
Bloomington, IN Powell, OH
Stephenville, TX Winchester, MA
San Marcos, TX Westfield, NJ
San Luis, AZ Garden City, NY
Delano, CA Birmingham, MI
Dahlonega, GA Plainview, NY

Auto Financing Report:

  • Interest rates for new cars are near their lowest point in three years, with the average new-car loan today charging 16 percent less interest than the average used-car loan.
  • Compared with buyers who have excellent credit, those with fair credit will spend about six times more, or about $6,403, in interest over the life of a five-year, $20,000 loan when financing a vehicle.
  • The best options for financing a new car include car manufacturers (rates at 43 percent below average) and credit unions (rate at 25 percent below average). Secondary options include national banks (rates at 2 percent above average) and regional banks (rates at 29 percent above average).
  • Car manufacturers continue to lack transparency when it comes to leasing offers, with the average automaker receiving a WalletHub Transparency Score of 4.68 out of 10.

We recommend prospective car buyers check their credit scores for free on WalletHub and leverage a Car Payment Calculator to determine an auto-loan payment and timeline they can afford.

Please let me know if you have any questions about either report’s findings or if you would like to schedule a phone, Skype or in-studio interview with one of our experts. Full data sets for specific cities in our Cities that Overspend on Cars report are also available upon request.

POSTED: 02/17/17 at 11:07 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

The Boomerang Backpack program is a free weekend food distribution program that provides  students enrolled in free/reduced lunch programs a backpack filled with healthy foods for the weekend. Feeding hungry children is the most visible part of our mission, however the manner in which we provide the program reflects other underlying missions.

One of those schools is the New Haven Intermediate School. They have provided food on the weekends to needy students in grades 3rd through 5th since March 2015. During the first year of the program 35 participants received the backpacks filled with small meals and snacks that were sent home every Friday during the school year. Currently, there are 85 students participating in the program in 2016-2017 year. The program has been a huge addition to the school, however, without the help of sponsors or donations, the program will end soon. They are asking for your help to continue this program to the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

A donation of $100 dollars would sponsor a child for an entire school year, however any amount will be accepted and greatly appreciated. 100% of the donations go directly to the purchase of food, and are tax deductible. Sponsorship checks should be made payable to: Boomerang Backpacks. Please mail your contribution to:

New Haven Intermediate School

1065 Woodmere Drive

New Haven, IN 46774

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Carolyn Richmond, Boomerang Backpacks Coordinator at New Haven Intermediate School at (260) 446-0190.

POSTED: 02/08/17 at 7:55 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Reliable Power Continues To Be a Target Goal of Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op

One of the constants at Paulding Putnam Electric Co-op (PPEC) is to continue to provide reliable power to its members.  In order, to accomplish this, PPEC has to prioritize upgrades and maintenance to its infrastructure. In 2017, the co-op plans to replace 34 miles of distribution line, conduct 300 line miles of right-of way clearing, and increase the capacity of its Ottoville Substation.

Often trees getting into the power lines are the culprit of power outages. However, with a consistent right-of-way clearing program, PPEC has been able to lower outages due to trees limbs. “The main cause of outages for PPEC 10 years ago was tree related. Now our outage figures are some of the lowest in the state. This has everything to do with PPEC making a commitment of reliable service for our members,” stated Engineering and Operations Manager, Alan Kohart.

The biggest project for PPEC in 2017 is making upgrades to the Ottoville Substation in Putnam County, which will begin between April and June this year. The Ottoville area has seen steady growth over the last several years and this upgrade will extend capacity and assist with new potential growth.

In 2016, PPEC made $1 million worth of upgrades to the Latty Substation in Paulding County, replaced 30 miles of lines throughout the system, and also added a microwave digital communication system, which allows for better system awareness. “The microwave system is the backbone to our smart grid initiatives and now allows us to connect more efficiently and securely to devices in our substations. In essence, if communication to a substation was taken out by a massive storm, we’d be able to reroute communications through another functioning substation,” added Kohart.

“We made great progress in 2016, and hit substantial milestones, but our work is not done here,” said President and CEO George Carter. “We are committed to implementing infrastructure upgrades every year which will result in stronger reliability and peace of mind for our members.”

For a detailed look at our upcoming tree trimming/right-of-way clearing schedule, visit our website at

POSTED: 02/08/17 at 7:50 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

From WalletHub:

With Super Bowl LI just days away, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Football Fans together with its Super Bowl LI By The Numbers infographic.

To identify the best cities for football fans, WalletHub analyzed 244 U.S. cities with at least one college or professional football team based on 17 key metrics, ranging from the number of NFL and college football teams to average ticket prices. Make sure to check out the infographic for cool stats about the biggest sporting event of the year.

Best Cities for Football Fans Worst Cities for Football Fans
1 Green Bay, WI 235 Worcester, MA
2 Pittsburgh, PA 236 DeLand, FL
3 New York, NY 237 Cape Girardeau, MO
4 Dallas, TX 238 Valparaiso, IN
5 Boston, MA 239 East Hartford, CT
6 Seattle, WA 240 Amherst, MA
7 Philadelphia, PA 241 Lexington, VA
8 Indianapolis, IN 242 New Britain, CT
9 Glendale, AZ 243 Pine Bluff, AR
10 Minneapolis, MN 244 Davidson, NC

Best vs. Worst

  • The New England Patriots’ performance level is four times better than the Jacksonville Jaguars’ and Cleveland Browns’.
  • The Alabama Crimson Tide’s performance level is 33 times better than the Austin Peay Governors’.
  • Jacksonville, Fla., has the lowest average ticket price for an NFL game, $61.40, which is 2.1 times less expensive than in Chicago, the city with the highest at $131.90.
  • Baltimore has the lowest minimum season-ticket price for an NCAA (FBS & FCS) game, $20.00, which is 68.8 times less expensive than in South Bend, Ind., the city with the highest at $1,375.00.
  • Charlotte, N.C. has the highest NFL team popularity index, while San Francisco is the city with the lowest.

To read the full report and to see where your city ranks, please visit:

POSTED: 01/30/17 at 9:11 am. FILED UNDER: Business, Sports

From WalletHub

With 31 percent of all nonretired adults having no retirement savings or pension because many simply cannot afford to contribute to any type of plan, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis identifying 2017’s Best & Worst States to Retire.

To help retirees find a retirement- and wallet-friendly place to call home, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 31 key metrics. The data set ranges from “adjusted cost of living” to “weather” to “quality of public hospitals.”

Best States to Retire Worst States to Retire
1 Florida 42 Arkansas
2 Wyoming 43 Kentucky
3 South Dakota 44 Vermont
4 Iowa 45 New Mexico
5 Colorado 46 New Jersey
6 Idaho 47 Hawaii
7 South Carolina 48 Connecticut
8 Nevada 49 District of Columbia
9 Delaware 50 Alaska
10 Wisconsin 51 Rhode Island

Best vs. Worst

  • Mississippi has the lowest adjusted cost-of-living index for retirees, 85.6, which is 1.9 times lower than in Hawaii, where it is highest at 165.3.
  • Louisiana has the lowest annual cost of in-home services, $34,892, which is 1.8 times lower than in North Dakota, where it is highest at $63,972.
  • Alaska has the highest share of the population aged 65 and older working, 22.34 percent, which is 1.8 times higher than in West Virginia, where it is lowest at 12.32 percent.
  • Florida has the highest share of the population aged 65 and older, 18.6 percent, which is 2.1 times higher than in Alaska, where it is lowest at 9.0 percent.
  • Vermont has the lowest property-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 14.07, which is 3.3 times lower than in the District of Columbia, where it is highest at 46.76.

To view the full report your state or the District’s rank, please visit:

POSTED: 01/28/17 at 8:54 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Paulding Putnam Electric Co-Op Members Give Back Over $15,000 with Operation Round-Up

The Operation Round Up Board awarded $15,245 to area agencies dedicated to making an impact on the lives of residents in this region. Operation Round Up is a program which allows members to have the option to round up their bills to the nearest dollar every month, with those extra few cents going to benefit people in need within the co-op’s service territory.

Paulding Putnam began doing Operation Round Up in July 2010. Currently, over 8700 of the co-op’s 12,900 members participate and to date local charities have received over $250,000. The board is made up of PPEC members representing all of our districts and the Operation Round Up Board was pleased to announce the following organizations grants:

House of Love Ministries in Paulding, Ohio, Putnam Co. YMCA, United Way of Van Wert County, Payne Fire Dept., 4-H Camp Palmer, Paulding Soil & Water Conservation, Niswonger PAC, Junior Achievement in Indiana and Junior Achievement in Van Wert.

For more information on Operation Roundup, and how you can submit an application or how you, as a member can participate, please visit

Group Picture:

Pictured Left to Right: Michael Schweinsberg, Jesse Hefner, Deb Hubbard, Bob Fawcett, Melanie Stokes.

Putnam County YMCA-Melanie Stokes and Bob Fawcett

House of Love Ministries – Pastor Dwayne Richardson

Payne Fire Dept.-Jesse Hefner

4H Camp Palmer – Michael Schweinsberg

Paulding Soil and Water-Deb Hubbard

Niswonger PAC-Chris Fader

United Way of Van Wert County-Vicki Smith

POSTED: 01/28/17 at 8:37 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry receives Farm Credit gift

A $2,000.00 donation from Farm Credit Mid-America to Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry will be used to help ease the spike in demand for food throughout the region. The gift is part of the agricultural lender’s $20,000 grant awarded to regional food banks and their affiliates across Indiana in December.

“If we can just be a small part of helping to feed those in need, I don’t know of anything better we could be doing with our community giving dollars,” says Laura Gentis, regional vice president, Farm Credit Mid-America.

The financial gift was made on Thursday when a Farm Credit employee stopped by the community service provider’s warehouse.

“This summer, we participated in the Farms to Food Banks program which directs surplus and donated agricultural products to food banks across the state. It was a powerful way for us to support farmers in connecting their hard work with the communities where they live,” says Gentis. “Making this additional gift during the holidays offered us one more way to ensure everyone has access to the nutritious food our farmers grow.”

About Farm Credit Mid-America

Farm Credit Mid-America is a financial services cooperative, and has served the credit needs of farmers and rural residents across Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee for a century. Backed by the strength of more than 100,000 customer-members and $22 billion in assets, Farm Credit Mid-America provides loans for real estate, operating, equipment, housing and related services such as crop insurance, and vehicle, equipment and building leases. For more information, call 1-800-444-FARM or visit them on the web at


POSTED: 01/20/17 at 9:46 am. FILED UNDER: Business

By Councilperson Craig Dellinger:

Follow Craig’s Blog… click here

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.

Craig Dellinger

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 year.

Last year, the City of New Haven spent $759,552.55 for our water from Fort Wayne. When you figure the 36.2% increase (effective now), that’s an increase of $274,950.00 over last year (figuring the same amount of water used). We currently have 5,657 water customers. If you take that increase and divide it among all the users, the most recent increase alone increases our costs $4.05 per customer – per month.  Of course larger users will cost more, smaller users less. But $4.05 is the average cost increase. That doesn’t include any of the prior increases, or increases in labor, materials and infrastructure improvements.

A typical bill at our house (2,600 gallons) runs $15.51 for water, $1.09 sales tax, $56.14 for sewer, and $5.35 for storm water. That’s a total of $78.09.  When I figure a 30% increase on water, it will increase our bill $4.65.  There isn’t a whole lot left in that increase to cover previous water increases or increased operating expenses over the last 5 years.

I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from residents the past couple weeks, here are some of the legitimate questions and my opinions.

When will the water/sewer increases end?

That’s a very good question and unfortunately, there isn’t much good news. Water/sewer costs in general are going to continue to increase.  In addition to the increases in wholesale water and sewer rates from Fort Wayne, the Indiana Department of Energy Management (IDEM) requires us to meet standards for waste treatment and eliminating discharges into the rivers. I don’t think water rates will increase greatly over the next few years, but sewage rates are going to be a problem. Fort Wayne is just starting their sewer separation project and we’ve heard estimates from $500 million to a billion dollars that they’ll need to satisfy IDEM requirements. That cost is going to eventually fall on their users. In addition to Fort Wayne’s increases, IDEM has required us to submit a plan to eliminate our overflows. Even with the sewer separation that we’ve already completed, the least expensive plan the engineers have come up with is over $10 million dollars. If you’ll read my previous post about Inflow and Infiltration, it describes the situation and what we can and must do. It’s not just New Haven seeing higher rates. Our rates are actually low compared to Huntertown and Hoagland. Fort Wayne has lower rates because of their scale. It’s easier to spread operating costs over the large number of customers they have compared to the smaller communities.

What else can we do?

Conservation is one answer. Since your sewer bill is based on the amount of water your household uses, the less water you use – the lower your sewer bill will be.  High efficiency washing machines, low flow rate toilets, not letting water run, etc.

We’re going to take a hard look for efficiencies that the City can do to reduce costs. We’re proud of our people and the work they do, but we have to figure out how to make cuts. Everything is on the table.

What if we sold the water utility?

That’s a possibility. There are third party utilities and even Fort Wayne might be interested in purchasing the utility.  There are good and bad things about selling the utility. The good would hopefully be lowering bills for our residents (again based on scale). The bad would be potentially losing control of future development in the city as well as the guaranteed quality of service to our residents. If we went down that path, we’d have to make sure the agreement protected New Haven as much as possible. Again, everything is on the table to look at.

What determines our water bill?

The water portion of your utility bill is determined by the cost of wholesale water from Fort Wayne, debt service on the bonds we have for previous water infrastructure improvements (currently $6,325,000), as well as labor, materials, and operating costs.  New Haven has many older neighborhoods with failing infrastructure. We are committed to providing our residents with clean water and sewage no matter which neighborhood you live in. Those repairs and building out for future development are very expensive. The raw cost of water from Fort Wayne is less than 1/2 of your final bill. That’s why we don’t have to pass along an 89% increase which is what we’ve received since 2012.

Why haven’t we done small increases each year?

That’s a good question and I guess the best answer is nobody likes to raise rates – any time. It wasn’t until this year’s increases that the raise became critical. There has been less and less money available for improvements over the past few years, but we’ve gotten by. That’s not possible in the immediate future without at least the 30% increase.

I know this was long winded, but I hope I’ve answered some questions. Please feel free to respond with any other questions or comments. We’re doing our best to keep New Haven a great place to live, work and play. Unfortunately, sometimes that comes at a cost.

POSTED: 01/19/17 at 8:56 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

No Rate Increase for Paulding Putnam Electric in 2017

Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative (PPEC) is pleased to announce there will be no general rate increase in 2017.  This is the third year in a row, where members didn’t have to see an increase.

“The PPEC trustees, and employees work hard to deliver electric power that is reliable, safe and cost-competitive with our neighboring utilities. Be assured that we are working to keep your rates competitive, while still working to replace aging facilities, increase efficiency and improve our service reliability,” stated George Carter, President and CEO of PPEC.

The management team and all employees are charged with ensuring that efficiency savings are part of the budget process. A big part of the budget is a review of our electric rates, which starts with an update of the cost-of-service study, or the COSS, by our accounting department each year. The COSS breaks down all the investment necessary to serve each rate class, identifies all the costs associated with each rate class, and compares it to the revenue being generated by the rates for each class. With the study completed, the board of trustees can review the financial performance of each rate class. And after a careful review of the proposed budget and the COSS, the board determined that no rate increase was necessary for 2017.

Stable wholesale power prices are the main driver to stable electric rates. Wholesale power is nearly 70 percent of the cooperative’s total expenses; minor changes have major impacts. A 1% change in power cost is about $250,000.

Unfortunately, key indicators for 2018 are showing wholesale prices will rise. “The term “rate increase” is something no one wants to hear, but it may be a reality for 2018. Be assured though that we will continue to remain vigilant in operating your co-op with minimal expense, returning any excess funds back to our members in the form of capital credits. In fact, this past December we returned 1.4 million to PPEC members, bringing the total to nearly $20 million over the last 17 years. This is one of the hallmarks of the “Cooperative Difference”, and we plan to continue this practice as we are financially able to do so,” added Carter.

POSTED: 01/09/17 at 9:28 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Farm Credit Mid-America grant provides young people with tools and skills to succeed.

A $2,500 donation from Farm Credit Mid-America to Junior Achievement of Northeastern Indiana will help inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. The gift is part of the agricultural lender’s $10,000 grant awarded to Junior Achievement programs across the state earlier this month.

“Fort Wayne and surrounding counties are great places to live and work,” says Laura Gentis, Regional Vice President for Farm Credit. “The economic growth and success of our local communities depends upon the next generation of leaders, including those pursuing agricultural-related careers.” The donation came during a presentation at Junior Achievement’s regional office in Fort Wayne and will be used to provide financial literacy education to more than 130,000 students throughout Thirty Counties in Northeast Indiana. “Many of our employees either participated in or have children who are currently involved in Junior Achievement. Junior Achievement cultivates young people who want to be engaged and learn the skills they need to succeed,” says Gentis. “There’s great value in developing the next generation of leaders and supporting initiatives such as Junior Achievement is one way we can help secure the future of rural communities and agriculture.”

POSTED: 12/29/16 at 10:17 am. FILED UNDER: Business, Schools