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FORT WAYNE RECEIVES NATIONAL/STATE HONORS  New Jobs Coming to Bluffton Road  Earlier this month the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) awarded the City of Fort Wayne two prestigious awards. IACT officials recognized Fort Wayne for the Community Achievement Award and the prominent Green Community Award.  The Community Achievement Award recognized the City for its recycling program and efficiencies that saved money and generated revenues, doubled community participation and reduced residential garbage fees by more than a million dollars.  Those of you who are recycling, and there are many of you, helped us achieve these awards. Recycling participation has grown from 34% to 70% and with the new revenue sharing process we were able to pay off $1.6 million dollars in Solid Waste Department debt plus reduce garbage fees by more than a million dollars. By the time you read this you should already be noticing that reduction on your bill.  Recycling efforts were also a part of Fort Wayne’s receiving the Green Community Award. In addition to recycling, the Green Community Award recognizes sustainable efforts in the community using LED lights, low-flow toilets, auto emission reduction through the City’s green fleet, a reduction of paper usage and the capture and use of methane produced at the Water Pollution Control Plant.  The contributions that lead to the Green Community Award have also saved the City money in water and electricity usage and, with our green fleet, we’ve been able to reduce fuel consumption, once again saving the City money.  Fleet Nationally Recognized I should also share that our Fleet Department was honored as one of the top 40 Green Fleets in the country this month. The award given by Government Fleet magazine ranked Fort Wayne as No. 12 on the list. We were the only Indiana City to make the list.  The City fleet, which consists of about 1,800 vehicles including police, fire street, utility, animal care, parking, and neighborhood code -- was recognized for reducing emissions, working with manufacturers to develop hybrid work trucks and employing other initiatives to make its fleet more energy efficient. The Fort Wayne fleet was among the first Midwestern fleets to incorporate hybrid vehicles (dating back to 2004) and has been running B-20 (20 percent soybean oil) in diesel engines since 2005 and E-85 (85 percent ethanol or homegrown fuels) in police vehicles for four years.  Jobs Coming to Waynedale Area No doubt, many of you have noticed the progress of the $36 million General Mills Customer Service Facility being built on Bluffton Road. The foundation has been poured and walls have gone up on the building expected to be completed in August 2012. The project will boost our economy, not only during the construction phase, but also by the creation of 65 new jobs in our community. General Mills has contracted with Excel Logistics to initiate the hiring process to fill the new positions; however, hiring is not slated to begin until next spring. I’m proud to have General Mills in our community and wish them much success in their new expansion phase. The commitment to the Bluffton Road location will have a positive impact on the Waynedale area.A few years ago, the National Association of Professional Organizers designated the first week of October as Get Organized Week. And while you may have misplaced your notification of this event, it's nonetheless a good time to see just how organized you are in the important areas of your life — such as your finances.

You can organize your finances in two basic ways: by keeping track of where your various accounts are located and by consolidating your assets. Let's look at both these areas.

To begin with, you might think it's no big deal to keep track of your financial accounts. After all, no one lets these accounts just slip away, does he? Actually, you might be surprised: At least $32 billion, and possibly much more, of "lost" property (savings, investments, retirement accounts and so on) are in the custody of state treasurers and other agencies, according to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

How do people misplace these funds? They might move from a town and forget to close a bank account. Or they might leave a job and not realize they've left behind money in a 401(k). However they do it, it happens — but you don't want it to happen to you.

Fortunately, it's not hard to keep tabs on your various accounts — you just need to make a list. Where do you keep your checking and savings accounts? Where are your investments held? Do you have a retirement plan, such as a 401(k) with your current employer? How about any retirement plans with former employers? If you have Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), do you keep them with multiple providers? By answering these questions, you can develop a comprehensive list of what you own and where it's located. Of course, it's a good idea to update this list periodically — at least once a year — to reflect any changes in your ownership.

Knowing what you have will be helpful to you in evaluating your financial situation today. But if you want to help yourself make progress toward your goals for tomorrow, you'll also want to consider another organizational technique: consolidating your assets.

Specifically, if you have some stocks here, a couple of certificates of deposits (CDs) there and some IRAs at still another place, you might consider consolidating them with one financial services provider. With all your investments in one place, you can possibly reduce the fees and paperwork associated with maintaining your accounts. And when you eventually start taking withdrawals from your IRA and 401(k), you may find it easier to calculate these required distributions if they're coming from just one provider, rather than multiple sources.

But most importantly, when you consolidate your investments with one provider, you'll find it easier to follow a single, unified investment strategy. A qualified financial advisor can look at all your assets and determine if you've got redundancies in your holdings and if you need to increase your diversification. (Keep in mind, though, that diversification, by itself, can't guarantee a profit or protect against loss.) Furthermore, once a financial advisor knows your situation, he or she can recommend strategies that are appropriate for your objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon.

Get Organized Week lasts only seven days. But by using this time to begin organizing your finances, you could see benefits for years to come.


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