MILFORD — It was confirmed Monday that the rate increase approved by the Milford Town Council at last month’s meeting will go into effect on the August bills. Residents can expect about an 8% increase in their sewer bill.
A public hearing was held at last month’s meeting regarding the sewer rate ordinance and several members of the public were there and spoke up.
Ross Hagen of Baker Tilly (previously Umbaugh) was present as well at that meeting and explained when they did the rate study they recommended a 16% increase, which would result in $73,000 additional revenue and cost residents on average $7 a month more, or approximately $50 a month. However, he also discussed with the council alternative methods and the council decided to go with an 8% increase, an average of $3.40 a month more or $46.50 for residents.
Hagen also told those present at that meeting that even with this increase, based on their calculations of the town’s current and near future needs, there will be a shortfall of $37,000. He said that amount could potentially be made up through outside sources.
Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall said Monday that she wanted to make sure the public was aware that the rate increase would take effect on their August bill.
STORM DAMAGED TREES
According to Street, Water and Park Superintendent Steven Marquart, recent storms damaged numerous trees in the city’s parks. Marquart told the council Monday night, “The storms caused our trees to be dangerous, several need to be trimmed or cut down.”
He said about 65 trees need work as soon as possible and because the ground is so soft a boom truck won’t be able to be utilized, so the trees will have to be climbed. Marquart said he got a quote from K & K Tree Service of $6,000, which will eat up most of the park’s budget for maintenance and repair, but he said, “I’d hate to see a limb come down on someone.”
Council members agreed it was a safety issue and approved the request.
In other park business, the council authorized Marquart to seek out a seasonal employee for the concession stand at the lake for no more than 24 hours a week at $10 an hour. The city will also take on supplying the concession stand with simple concession service items like ice cream, sodas and water. Since they wouldn’t be preparing food the health permit would be $20.
Marquart said in several years it has not worked out to have outside concession providers at the lake, so his recommendation was for the city to provide the concessions.
Marquart also reported they’ve hired two lifeguards — Kali Wolf and Katelyn Trimble.
Milford Town Marshal Derek Kreider reported that members of his department are “patiently waiting” for several things — including the new squad car that should be outfitted soon. They’re also waiting for the Department of Justice grant to come through for body cameras. He said department members have been trying out the equipment from Getac and have said the video quality is good.
Kreider said they’re also waiting on new radar units ordered with funds from Operation Pullover.
Alan Tio, director of Kosciusko County Economic Development Corp., gave a brief presentation to the council. Tio said he’s still fairly new to Kosciusko County; he’s been with the organization since the fall and is looking forward to growing the organization.
He said he wanted to do a better job of getting KEDCO’s story out and wanted to highlight three points — that KEDCO will be known for the problems it solves; that the agency is more than a deal maker. He said they wanted to focus on supporting entrepreneurs. He added that KEDCO is also a builder of business.
“We want to work with people every step of the way — from an idea on a napkin to going public,” he said.
Tio said they’ve partnered with other organizations, including Agri Nobis and Ortho Ware, to promote the area. He feels entrepreneurs are not being supported enough and that support could be improved.
Tio told council members the agency is starting from a great place and not reacting to a major company moving out. He said Milford is 2% of the county’s population but they need the backing of all the towns and to triple the private sector support to do what they want.
Dan Brown, past board chairman, said, “We’re excited to have Alan on board. He brings new perspectives. He’s a valuable resource for the town and certainly for redevelopment.”
In other business the council:
• Set budget workshops for June 20 and June 26 at 6 p.m.
• Approved the clerk’s office being closed on July 4 and will be closing early (4 p.m.) on June 12, June 26 and July 3rd.
• Approved Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall’s attendance at the Department of Local Government Finance training June 26.
• Heard the Street Department will soon be painting center stripes on Syracuse and South Main Streets soon.
• Heard the Street Department staff is helping to control mosquitoes.
A caucus to fill the vacancy of a Milford Town Council seat has been set for June 18 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall. Joellen Free resigned her council seat last month because of a move to Goshen.
Any resident residing within the town limits who is a registered Republican voter and has not been convicted of a felony is eligible to file a declaration of candidacy to fill out the term of Free, which ends Dec. 31.
Declarations of candidacy are available at the office of Kosciusko County Clerk of the Circuit Court, 121 N. Lake St., Warsaw and must be filed with the Kosciusko County Republican chairman, Mike Ragan, no later than 72 hours before the start of the caucus. Ragan can be contacted at email@example.com or (574)265-1430.