Stephanie Lees (L), vice president of the board of directors for New Beginnings Day Care, and Kristin Billet (R), director of New Beginnings, give a presentation on expansion plans to the Milford Town Council Monday. Photo by Denise Fedorow.
Stephanie Lees (L), vice president of the board of directors for New Beginnings Day Care, and Kristin Billet (R), director of New Beginnings, give a presentation on expansion plans to the Milford Town Council Monday. Photo by Denise Fedorow.
MILFORD – There were several people present at Monday’s Milford Town Council meeting but no one spoke for or against the advertised 2022 budget during the public hearing.

Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall took the time to go over some of the highlights of the $2.2 million budget, which is 4.28% higher than the 2021 budget.

She explained the estimated tax rate of $1.19 per $100 of assessed value is advertised higher but will come in lower and she showed how that was the case the last few years.

“We live in a great county – there’s a very low property tax cap credit,” she said.

She told those present that they’re requesting a $2.2 million budget and they’re estimating $1.4 million in revenue, so if the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) approves the budget, “We would be spending $875,123 in savings — but we don’t spend it all, we over-ask. We’re just asking to spend our money – it’s not like a corporate budget, we don’t lose it. We want to over-ask and under spend.”

One resident asked if the state would take the money away if they don’t spend it and she said no. The Council decides what to spend, and the DLGF just tells the town whether they have it or not.

This year’s budget was $2,232,073 versus the proposed 2022 budget of $2,252,772. Gall said most of the increases for the budget were due to higher insurance costs.

Later, they had the first reading of the budget. The Council didn’t take any action Monday but plan to adopt the budget at the October Council meeting.

Kristin Billet, director of New Beginnings Day Care, 706 W. Syracuse St., and Stephanie Lees, vice president of the Board of Directors, came to the Council for approval on their expansion plans.

Billet explained they’re receiving a Come Back Stronger grant for day care centers and preschools to be used for upgrading buildings because of COVID 19.

Lees said they want to install automatic doors so there’s no touching and expand the space in the vestibule. Since the town owns the building, they’re asking permission to extend the front of the vestibule. She said, “Then we got creative. We’re feeling the need for more teachers.”

Billet said, “Kosciusko County is a child care desert. We’re one of three child care centers that accept infants and toddlers.”

She said one grant opportunity fell through so they’re trying to secure one through Early Childhood Alliance Coalition and other means.

Lees said they want to add two additional rooms – one room for toddlers and one for multi-purpose. But they might also be able to use it for after-school care. She said they hadn’t contacted any contractors yet because they were “just dreaming – but we want to dream with the possibility of actually being able to do it.”

Councilman Bob Cockburn asked how many kids they serve each day and was told 40.

Billet said the kids are separated by age – infants up to 2, toddlers aged 2-3, preschool aged 3-4 and preschool aged 4-5.  But she said they’re only allowed three infants under 12 months old at a time. With the additional room and staff, they’d be able to take eight infants, eight to 10 1-year-olds and eight to 10 2-year-olds.

Cockburn said, “I think it’s great.”

Council President Doug Ruch clarified they were asking for two things – permission to upgrade the doors and the ability to seek grants to expand.

Gall said they have to go through the Area Plan Commission to get permits; all the Council needed was not to object to the plans.

Ruch gave background on the history, saying the town applied for a $500,000 state grant for the original building and ground. “That’s how the town became the owner of the building.”

Council members said they had no objections and to just keep them in the loop.

Gall said Brett Roberts from Michiana Area Council of Government couldn’t attend the meeting so she updated the council on several items. She said they met the survey requirements for the Office of Community & Rural Affairs planning grant. The grant deadline was pushed back to Nov. 12 and the award will be Dec. 7.

She said they’re also checking into Main Street designation also through OCRA, but they need to get businesses involved for that program.

Department heads gave reports. Town Marshal Derek Kreider informed the council that an officer is at the police academy and should graduate in December. He also said he’s looking into a video system for the new interview room and the prosecuting attorney is going to try to assist with the cost, which could be $12,000 to $20,000.

Council heard from Wastewater Superintendent Mark Brubaker that the clarifier needs to be repaired and he has a quote not to exceed $14,000. Council members want him to get a quote for a new one before they move forward.

They approved the purchase of a backup pump for $1,076.

For the water utility, they approved treating well No. 4 by Peerless Midwest at a cost of $6,470 and approved the annual maintenance and inspection by Living Waters at a cost of $1,415.27.

Fall Clean-Up Days are Sept. 23-25. Hours on Sept. 23 and 24 are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25. All items should be brought to the utilities building at 600 N. Main St. Items that will not be accepted include tires, rims, electronics and any appliances containing freon. Check the website at www.milford-indiana.org.

Leaf Mulch is available to residents. Call Steve Marquart at 574-658-4614 to make an appointment or for more information.

In other business, the Council:

• Heard Harvest Coffee is holding its block party at the new location on Ind. 15 on Sept. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. with music and games, etc.

• Heard the clerk’s office will be closed Oct. 11 for Columbus Day.

• Heard the next council meeting is changed to Oct. 12 due to Columbus Day and the Council will adopt the budget at that meeting.

• Heard the Fire Department’s Chicken Barbecue will be the first Sunday of October at 11 a.m., with drive-through and carry out.

• Set Halloween Trick-or-Treat hours for Oct. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m.