City of Havre de Grace to celebrate Economic Development Week

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HAVRE DE GRACE – The Havre de Grace Office of Economic Development and Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA), will celebrate the sixth annual Economic Development Week in Maryland, Mon., September 19 through Fri., September 23, 2016. The weeklong celebration will emphasize the importance of economic development and showcase the efforts and initiatives improving business retention, job growth and quality of life for Maryland residents.

As part of the celebrations the Havre de Grace Office of Economic Development (HDGOED) and Chamber of Commerce (HDGCC), will host a Business Appreciation Happy Hour on Tuesday, September 20, at Tidewater Grill, 300 Franklin St., Havre de Grace, from 5 to 7 p.m., with a cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres. In addition, Erika Quesenbery of HDGOED and Cathy Hutchins Vincenti of HDGCC will visit 15 new businesses throughout Havre de Grace who opened between September 2015 and September 2016 to present them with Certificates of Appreciation. They will also present certificates to one business marking 20 years in Havre de Grace and two business who have been in business for 50 years in 2016 in the city.

In addition, on Tuesday, Sept. 20, HDGOED and HDGCC will join representatives of the Harford County Office of Economic Development and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman to present certificates of recognition to four additional Havre de Grace businesses, as recognized by the county economic development organization.

The Mayor and Council of the City of Havre de Grace, by official proclamation on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, the day after Labor Day, declared September 19-24, 2016, “Economic Development Week” in the City of Havre de Grace.

“Havre de Grace is a city blessed with a strong core of volunteers, and incredible partners in the Chamber of Commerce and Havre de Grace Alliance,” said Erika Quesenbery, Economic Development Coordinator and Main Street Manager for the City of Havre de Grace. “The very heart of our city are the businesses and business owners who have made the investment in Havre de Grace that continues to attract visitors, tourists and locals to our city.”

To learn more about the City of Havre de Grace visit www.havredegracemd.com or www.explorehavredegrace.com or to learn about the Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce visit www.hdgchamber.com. Details on Economic Development Week across the State of Maryland can be found at www.medamd.com.

Media Contact: Erika Quesenbery
Title: Havre de Grace Office of Economic Development
Coordinator and Main Street Manager
Email: erikaq@havredegracemd.com
Phone: 410-939-1800

City Administration’s Response to the W&S Commission’s Recommendations

City Administration’s Response to the W&S Commission’s Recommendations as Outlined in the State of the

Water / Sewer System FY15

August 1, 2016

On February 1, 2016, the HdG Water/Sewer Commission presented their Annual Report on the State of the Fund with Executive summaries and Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 17) as per City Codes Chapter 25 Article XI, Section 25-69B. This report is filed to address those recommendations and are presented in the order in which the recommendations were outlined. The responses are a result of and echo the cohesive and integral efforts of the several departments within our organization, most notably Director Whittie and his Public Works team as well as Director DeHority and his Finance team.

  1. The 20 / 80 method of collecting Capital Costs Recovery Fees (CCRF) should be discontinued.

Response – The 20 / 80 method of collecting CCRF stopped on June 30th, 2016 as a result of the recommendation by the Commission and the “sunset clause” incorporated into the fee schedule at the time it was originally adopted.

 

  1. Continue the collection of the Debt Service Fee (DSF) beyond FY17.

Response – The DSF was created as a revenue stream to supplement the current CCRF. The DSF provides less than 25% of the necessary revenue to satisfy the annual payment. This recommendation was made prior to the Administration’s announcement of its’ plans to aggressively pursue improvements at our Fund 9 facilities and their respective supporting infrastructure. Additional work is currently underway involving an engineering study of the Water Treatment Plant to develop and implement cost reducing systems while increasing production. A second study is currently underway and is focused on the financial and administrative side of operating the Fund 9 enterprises. Both projects will have an impact on the DSF and the Administration will withhold action on the initial request until the impact(s) are known. It is important to note, that all information (impacts) are shared jointly with the Water and Sewer Commission as well as the Council to provide all stake holders as much information as possible when making decisions.

 

  1. Examine the reasons for the recent drop in water consumption by commercial and industrial consumers.

Response – Consumption has declined for two major reasons, the loss of businesses from our commercial and industrial sector but more importantly, the strategic and effective measures those patrons are taking to reduce water consumption and thereby lowering their expenses while improving their impact on our natural resources. (I.e. typically, if less water enters a production facility less water leaves a production facility for treatment as waste water. For example cooling towers and apparatus are now recirculating water as opposed to disposing of it after one cooling cycle.)

 

  1. Reconsider the annual budgetary revenue estimates used for CCRF (number of connections necessary to balance Fund 9).

Response – The Administration has taken that approach and made it a practice as illustrated in the FY17 Budget whereby proposed connections are projected to be a realistic 59 connections as opposed to adjusting the number of connections to satisfy (balance) the budget.

  1. Emphasis on a reduction in operating expenses, using best practices in:
    1. Allocation of employee capital
    2. Capital investments in automated monitoring and response systems
    3. Review of current policies and procedures

Response – All three areas noted are ongoing and part of the “agenda” of this Administration. Investment and allocation of employee capital, automated systems as well as processes and procedures are incorporated in the two studies previously mentioned. Additionally the Administration in concert with the Benefits and Compensation Commission has had a positive effect in the reduction of employee expenses. Thus far the City has reduced employee capital by $197,000.00 and chemical expense by $62,000.00 (39%).

  1. The Director of Public Works needs to perform an in-depth study of the current Capital Improvement Projects Plan and create a tiered priority list based on critical infrastructure and component needs.

Response – A preliminary tiered priority has been performed. In addition, Mr. Whittie has recently engaged the services of an engineering firm as previously mentioned. One of the task outlined to them is the prioritizing of projects so as to facilitate the proper timing for each project and its impact to upgrading the entire system. This catalogue of work being recommended by the engineering firm will then be “dove-tailed” into other projects which are outlined for Fund 9 areas of responsibility.

 

  1. Explore alternative revenue sources to meet current debt, operations and capital needs.

Response – The Administration is doing just that through expediting the end of our current obligation with the County while exploring alternative customers for our most precious resource.

 

  1. Consideration of a rate increase of 10% for FY17.

Response – The City Council approved a rate increase of 10% for the water and sewer charges for FY17.

 

  1. Explore and if needed develop an Employee Succession Plan for both the Water Plant and Waste Water Plant. Possibly create an apprenticeship program and cross training for both facilities.

Response – A training and succession plan is currently in the development stage at the present time. Director Whittie has assured the Administration that at this juncture the City has redundancy in all positions for both the WTP and WWTP facilities.

 

  1. Implementation of a fats, oil and grease (FOG) program.

Response – The City routinely sends fliers to all commercial restaurants requesting that they refrain from putting grease, fats and oils into our sewer system. The Harford County Health Department is tasked with periodic inspections of grease traps which are a required component in restaurant facilities. The City monitors its infrastructure and when issues arise involving FOG components, takes immediate and decisive action to bring about a permanent remedy. Director Whittie oversees this process and has authority to enforce compliance.

 

  1. Solicit State officials to assist in debt restructuring and/or assistance.

Response – The Director of Finance periodically solicits State officials for restructuring and assistance to offset loan expenses. One facet which has hampered our efforts in the past has been the reluctance of City Council to raise the utility rates to coincide with the increased costs realized in Fund 9. With the approved rate increase coupled with the approved bond bill to borrow money for much needed improvements in the Water Treatment plant our collective efforts to improve our financials in this area are greatly improved. Annually the City petitions our Annapolis representatives for relief from and /or restructuring of our State debt.

 

The Commission concluded with stating that a “Blue Ribbon Commission” be established and led by the Director of Public Works to consider:

  • Alternative water customers
  • Aggressively market new businesses that require high water volume
  • Review the Harford County / Havre de Grace Water agreement
  • Annexation of areas contiguous to our boundaries
  • Evaluate current water and waste water capacity allocations and place time tables on developers
  • Investigate the availability of participating in a Waste Water Capacity Credit Sharing Program
  • Perform a critical review of the current Water / Sewer Fee Structure, including the Debt Service Repayment logic.

Response – Given the breadth and scope of the items to be addressed and the involvement of the Public Works Director in matters directly impacting the department it is recommended that the Director of Administration in concert with the Administration, staff and the Admin. Committee lead the effort to answer the action items set forth above.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT OF PUBLIC HEARING – Resolution No 277

The Mayor and City Council of Havre de Grace will hold a Public Hearing in the City Council Chambers, 711 Pennington Avenue, Havre de Grace, MD on
August 15, 2016 beginning at 7:00 p.m. The purpose of the Hearing will be to receive public comment on a draft concept plan for one of the recently annexed properties per Annexation. (Ianniello, Green, and Patrone)
The single concept plan for the annexed properties is subject to approval by City Council. A copy of the draft concept plan for the Ianniello property is available for review at City Hall.

Havre de Grace donating concert proceeds – Harford Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Fund

 

For IMMEDIATE Release
August 1, 2016

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Patrick Sypolt
Director of Administration for the City of Havre de Grace
410-939-1800
Patricks@havredegracemd.com

Havre de Grace donating concert proceeds
August 11 concert will benefit Harford Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Fund

Havre de Grace, MD (August 1, 2016) – HAVRE DE GRACE – The City of Havre de Grace has been successfully promoting and hosting a series of new concerts at the waterfront Hutchins Park at the foot of Congress Avenue all summer long. But the concert Thursday, August 11, featuring KISS tribute band Cold Gin, promises to be even more special to concert goers.

The Mayor and City Council, working with local law enforcement, are dedicating 100 percent of proceeds from the concert to the Harford County Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Fund. The fund is a non-profit charitable organization that the Harford County Deputy Sheriff’s Union formed in 2006 for the sole purpose of collecting donations and providing the infrastructure to give money from the fund to Police, Firefighters and EMS personnel in our area in their time of need.

“Havre de Grace has always been extremely supportive and appreciative of our first responders,” explained Mayor William T. “Bill” Martin. “These concerts have become a unique and fun way for our community to come together and just enjoy themselves. We felt because of that sense of community spirit and camaraderie created by the concerts, that dedicating proceeds to support law enforcement, fire and EMS responders was the right thing to do.”

Havre de Grace Police Chief Teresa Walter noted the fund was established in 2006 and is a non-profit charitable fund. “The sole purpose of the fund is to assist all Harford County first responders – police, firefighters and EMS and their families if, unfortunately, something happens to them in the line of duty,” Chief Walter explained. “This donation is phenomenal, greatly needed and truly appreciated.”

Tickets for the Cold Gin concert are $20 and available by clicking the link at www.explorehavredegrace.com. The gate opens at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m., on Thursday, August 11, at Hutchins Park. The KISS tribute band has recently performed in Gettysburg, PA, and Ocean City, MD, as well as Hollywood Casino, before returning to Havre de Grace for this concert under the tent in Hutchins Park at the foot of Congress Avenue.

-END-

 

Comcast Franchise Agreement

The franchise agreement with Comcast is necessary so that Comcast can operate business in City right of ways for certain fees and considerations.

The City receives numerous request from the Public concerning Comcast as well as other internet and cable television providers.

This franchise agreement does not preclude any other provider from doing business in the City.

The question most often asked is, “Why City residents do not have access to high speed internet products like FIOS?”

After speaking with Verizon, the supplier of the FIOS service, it has been discovered that bringing FIOS to the City is simply not in their immediate business plan.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the recent events in Orlando, Florida

Quote

“Tonight the City of Havre de Grace mourns the loss of American lives to a senseless act of terror. We stand in solidarity with our nation, as we resolve to abolish hate, to stand firm against terror, and to embrace freedom and liberty without fear. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the recent events in Orlando, Florida.”  – Mayor William T. Martin

 

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Havre de Grace Water Plant Open For Tours

Mayor Bill Martin has directed that the Water Treatment Plant be open for public tours this Saturday 10:00 AM 2:00 PM for the purpose of educating the public on the process of making clean drinking water from the Susquehanna River, as well as answer any questions citizens may have regarding the upcoming ballot referendum, Question A.

The City will be conducting tours of the Water Treatment Plant located at 415 Saint John Street.

The tours will take place on April 30, 2016 beginning at 10:00 AM and lasting until 2:00 PM.

The City has received a number of requests from Citizens about the Water Plant, and this unique opportunity would allow the Citizens to see the water treatment process in person and ask questions concerning the physical plant and prospective improvements.

The Mayor and City Council would encourage the Public to take advantage of this rare event.

If you have any questions please call City Hall at 410-939-1800 or check the City Website at www.havredegracemd.com.

 

 

NorKris Services, LLC, Grand Opening held April 23

 

For IMMEDIATE Release

April 26, 2016

Press Release

Questions/Comments – NorKris Services LLC 443-526-6133

or norkrisservices@gmail.com

NorKris Services, LLC, Grand Opening held April 23

HAVRE DE GRACE – NorKris Services, LLC, held a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Havre de Grace Office of Economic Development on Saturday, April 23, at their new office at 400 Lewis St., Havre de Grace. Director Audrey Forka, CRNP, was joined by Havre de Grace’s Mayor William T. “Bill” Martin in cutting the blue ribbon to the new medial office next door to UM UCH Harford Memorial Hospital.

“We are happy to welcome you to Havre de Grace and wish you every success in the future,” said Mayor Martin to Forka and her staff who joined in the ribbon cutting, Fuseini Seidu, Practice Manager, and Lynn Foor, Administrative Assistant.

Forka works with University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health and opened NorKris Services with a treatment philosophy of integrative mental health founded on the belief the body, mind and human spirit are dynamic systems of an integrated whole. This integrated whole can become unbalance which requires additional support through safe, holistic, pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment.

NorKris Services clients include children, teens, young adults, adults and seniors regardless of race, socioeconomic status, spiritual belief or lifestyle. “We empower you, our client, to be acive in your health and wellness,” Forka explained.

Celebrate Earth Day 2016 at the Maritime Museum

Enjoy a host of activities throughout the day for all ages as the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, 100 Lafayette St., celebrates Earth Day 2016 on Saturday, April 30, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. There will be a monarch butterfly story and craft time for kids, composting lectures and demonstrations a concert by New England chanteyman Geoff Kauffman, and a bat box building workshop, too! This event is offered free of charge, but donations are greatly appreciated. For details visit www.hdgmaritimemuseum.org, email hdgmaritimemuseum@verizon.net or call 410-939-4800.

Go Paper LESS with Simple Living discussion group

The Simple Living Discussion group will meet at Bahoukas GreenJoy, 467 Franklin St., Havre de Grace, Thursday, April 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., to discuss the topic Paper Less. The more we seek to let go of paper and go digital, the more it seems to pile up! Learn how to simplify your paper handling process, reduce the inflow of mail and set up systems to handle what remains. You’ve read the books, blog posts, websites, you know what you need to do, but putting those skills into action and being consistent can get trick. You could use the support, accountability, inspiration and success that comes with working together. Cost for this program is $12. For details or to register call 443-904-5412, email info@sapparisolutions.com or visit www.sapparisolutions.com.