By Anna Skinner
Before its meeting June 12, the Westfield City Council heard special presentations from three groups. They included the Westfield Rotary Club, Citizens Energy of Westfield and Trinity Free Clinic.
Westfield Rotary Club:
Rotarian Mic Mead presented on scholarships the Westfield Rotary Club awards to Westfield High School seniors for their volunteerism and community service. He read excerpts from the 10 essays the Rotary club received.
“You talk about a privilege to have read these,” Mead said. “Folks, Washington Township has a population of extraordinary, thoughtful young citizens with high character.”
Westfield sold its water and wastewater utilities to Citizens Energy Group in 2014. Since, Citizens has provided the city council with continuous updates and plans for the utility. Jeff Willman, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group, presented to the council. Willman spoke on customer service enhancements, providing safe and reliable water, new payment options and more.
“In terms of customer service, we implemented a variety of different changes since we’ve taken over that have raised the bar,” Willman said. “We combined the call center and billing, and there’s a new bill format in 2016. We are getting feedback it’s easier to navigate and easier to understand for our customers.”
Willman showed customer base numbers as increasing by 17-21 percent since 2014. The company’s community involvement includes activities with the Westfield Chamber of Commerce board, the Yellow Tie Ball for Youth Assistance, participation in the July 4th and diversity festivals and involvement with Westfield Boy Scouts.
Since 2014, there has been no rate increase for water, but there has been a 2.85 percent increase for natural gas and a 9.2 percent increase for wastewater.
Trinity Free Clinic:
Dina Ferchim, executive director of the Trinity Free Clinic, 14598 Oak Ridge Rd., Carmel, also presented to the council. The Trinity Free Clinic provides free health and dental care to low-income Hamilton County residents.
“We are basically the safety net for the county,” Finchum said. “We make sure that nobody falls through the cracks so people can get back to work and their kids can get back to school.”
She said most patients at Trinity Free Clinic are senior residents unable to afford Medicare, residents with high deductibles or residents with no insurance at all. The number of services increased by 1,000 between 2015 and 2016.
“Those numbers are going up dramatically,” Finchum said. “The medical business went up 36 percent from the first quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. We provide a whole lot of things.”
In addition to dental and medical clinics, Trinity Free Health provides services for podiatry, asthma, physical therapy, eye glasses, immunizations, women’s clinic, mental health and more.
For every dollar the clinic received, it was able to provide $2.50 of medical services to patients.
“If people come to us, we try to find them a medical home. We want to catch them before they fall and connect them to the right resource in the community,” Finchum said. “Our costs are going up because of the number of people that are requiring more services. We are attacking this by being more aggressive in our fundraising and also being more aggressive in referring patients. I am here today to ask you if you would consider assisting us in the future. If you would put that under consideration, we would appreciate it.”