MILFORD — In a marathon nearly-three-hour meeting, Milford Town Council members dealt with a variety of town business including passing the $2.2 million 2022 budget.
The 2022 budget of $2,252,722 is 4.28% higher than the 2021 budget, which was $2,232,073.
The estimated tax rate per $100 assessed value is $1.19. Last year it was estimated at $1.185 and came in at $.98.
Water and Wastewater Study
Town Clerk Patricia Gall reported she received the first draft of the water and wastewater rate study from LWG (London Witte Group) that they started last year. She shared that according to the report the average water user now is billed $24.85 a month and to just cover their operating costs they’d need to raise that to $27.59 but if they had $1 million in bond for needed projects that rate should be $37.24
The report included comparable cities and towns and showed that Etna Green’s average user is charged $49.14 and Middlebury’s rate is $32.98. She said currently their rates are only higher than Wakarusa and Bristol. She said the last rate study was in 2015.
The council will look over the information and come back with more thoughts next month.
Suzie Light of Kosciusko County Economic Development Corporation came to the council seeking approval on a couple of agreements, the first of which had the council at odds. Light said she was bringing an agreement at the recommendation of Milford’s Redevelopment Commission for an incentive program certification, which entailed when someone comes to town seeking incentive they should be directed to KEDCO’s application. KEDCO will vet the application and bring their recommendation back to Milford’s Redevelopment.
Light said the town’s attorney looked at it and made some changes in the strength of language asserting that Milford was in control of awarding any type of tax abatement or incentives.
Council Member Kenneth Long asked how many communities have signed on and she said Winona Lake had and Warsaw was in the process but she said they’ve only presented to Winona Lake and Milford so far.
Long suggested they table the agreement. He made the motion to table it and revisit it in January after seeing how it was working for other communities. The motion died for a lack of a second and the council went on to pass it with Council President Doug Ruch and Council Member Robert Cockburn voting for it and Long against.
Council members confirmed that the one-third they’re committing stays in Milford and is not put into a pool to be used elsewhere. Light said different from other ORCA opportunities this administrator helps them to develop the plan.
The council voted to sign the letter of support.
Lisa Frazzetta-Manning, insurance agent for the town reported that since the town’s health insurance was up for renewal Oct. 1 they looked at other possibilities that might be less but she said since the town is in with a pool of other communities in the State of Indiana, they’re already at the cheapest.
The council approved remaining with the town’s current medical insurance.
Fire and police
Fire Chief Virgil Sharp told the council that the town owns one of their two pumpers and it would be scheduled to be replaced in 2023 as it’ll be 20 years old, but since they were told the manufacturer is now out two years if they were to place the order next month he wants to get things moving now.
He asked for the council’s blessing to get a committee to come up with a design and get cost estimates so they can get the order placed.
The council gave the go-ahead to start the process. Ruch recused himself as he’s a member of the fire department.
Town Marshal Derek Kreider received permission to purchase state of the art video equipment for the police interview room. Kreider said he spoke to the Kosciusko County prosecutor and they agreed to pay $10,559 for the IRecord video equipment if the town pays the $3,000 installation. Tricia said they could pay that from the Riverboat fund.
There discussion about replacing a fence around ponds that are scheduled to be drained. Eventually they decided to purchase new fencing for the area for liability reasons at a cost of $13,800 from Custom Fencing.
There was also discussion about whether to continue injecting fluoride into the town’s water supply. Street, Water and Park Superintendent Steve Marquart said if they discontinue it they need to write a letter to the state department of health and have the equipment removed so they couldn’t use it again.
In other business, the council:
• Approved having LWG create a fiscal plan for the proposed annexation of lots on the east side on the north park subdivision at a cost of $6,250.
• Approved an on-call agreement with USI Consulting Services at their billable hourly rate to reapply for trail grant and to assist with Community Crossing grant.
• Approved paying for clarifier repairs not to exceed $14,190 with Brad Robinson.
• Approved having body work done on 2020 truck at cost of $1,271.88.
• Heard leaf pick up starting soon and residents are asked to place piles of leaves in a long pile away from vehicles and mailboxes with no sticks, rocks or trash mixed in.