Milford Town Marshal Derek Kreider shows the council the active shooter kits recently received for each member of the department.
Photo by Denise Federow
Milford Town Marshal Derek Kreider shows the council the active shooter kits recently received for each member of the department. Photo by Denise Federow
MILFORD – Only a few residents showed up for the public hearing on the proposed 2020 budget, but they were vocal in their displeasure of the 6.8% increase over the 2019 budget.

The proposed budget is $2,112,561 with a proposed levy of $629,425. The current levy is $589,190. Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall said this budget is a 6.8% increase over 2019’s budget, or $40,227.

One man argued that employees shouldn’t get the proposed 3% raise. Council members pointed out the proposed raise of 3% is less than the national cost of living.

A woman said she understood the town needed the money and she felt it should have raised the sewer rates to $50 a month because they're still short of funds. Her concern was the amount of difference in the budget. She expressed that a $40,000 jump compared to $19,000 the previous year was quite a bit.

Gall said that was because last year’s budget didn’t get submitted in time and the town was actually operating on the 2018 budget and additional appropriations to cover shortfalls.

The woman also had issues with the community building being in the red and money being taken from the budget to pay for it. She thought the Kiwanis and Lions were getting the room for free but Gall said they weren’t.

Council President Doug Ruch gave a brief history of the building, saying it was donated and given to Milford EMS but the EMS couldn’t survive and was dissolved so it became the town’s building. He said the building shares utilities and houses the ambulances.

Gall said the building is not self-supporting. They average about $5,500 a year in rentals. She said the council could decide to raise rates but then people wouldn’t use it.

Ruch said some of the 6.8% increase is to make up for the shortfall in this year’s budget. He praised Gall for her work. “The way it was presented helped us get what we were unable to get before,” he said.

Another resident pointed out that the population of Milford hasn’t grown but they still have to provide the same services and those keep going up.

No action was taken on the budget. It’s scheduled to be approved at the next meeting.

Street and Utilities Superintendent Steven Marquart gave a report on streets, water and parks and brought some sewer issues to the council as well. He told them the main lift station has a cracked exhaust manifold and has for about three years and it just keeps getting bigger.

Council approved having Evapur Service repair it for $2,057.69.

There was a lengthy discussion about having camera work done on the Main Street sewer line. Marquart said they’ve been getting a bunch of sand in the line and he wanted to be able to camera the line. He said he had a quote for 90 cents per foot with a minimum of 1,000 feet. He said all of Main Street from manhole to manhole is 3,054 feet. In addition, if there are roots found it would cost $270 per hour.

Marquart said it would also help tell him exactly where the laterals are and what type so he could put it into GIS system. He told the council that Nappanee uses this company all the time, as has Warsaw. The company is R&R Visuals.

Council members knew it had to be done but didn’t know where the money was going to come from as there wasn’t any money in wastewater to do anything. Council approved up to $3,000 for camera work and cutting out roots, pending funding. Gall said there were a couple of routes she could take to get the funding for it.

A resident on Ulrich Drive spoke to the council at the beginning of the meeting regarding her property. She said her taxes went up because she’s in the city limits but her roads are not maintained. She said her taxes went up $6,000 more for each lot.

Ruch said it is a private drive, not owned by the town, because the original developer didn’t develop it to the town’s specifications. It also was not in the town’s limits at that time.

Options offered to the resident were that she and other neighbors come together to bring the road up to code or appeal the tax assessed with the county. Council members also told the woman she is receiving city services like trash and police, just not road.

In other business, the council:

• Heard town Marshal Derek Kreider contacted INDOT regarding the school crossing and they recommended the town continue to use the existing crosswalk.

He reported they received the active shooter kits.

• Approved adding a cage in the new police car at a cost of $3,365 from Move Over Outfitters.

• Accepted the resignation of police officer RJ Plummer from his full-time position and accepted him as a reserve officer.

• Approved data compromise and cyber security insurance with EMC Insurance for $1,967.

• Declared an emergency and paying $15,827.25 for August’s sewer items.

• Approved the clerk’s office closing at 4 p.m. Sept. 17 and be closed all day on Oct. 14 for Columbus Day.

• Approved Halloween trick-or-treat hours as 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31.

• Heard the public hearing on the Van Buren Township budget is Sept. 17 at the township building.

• Announced fall clean-up is Sept. 26-28. Gall’s office has details.

• Heard the annual Milford Fire Dept. chicken barbecue is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at the department.

• Heard hydrant flushing is Oct. 9. Residents should take care in washing their clothes during that day.

• Changed its meeting date from Oct. 7 to 14, pending being able to change the budget adoption date.