MILFORD – Town Council Member JoEllen Free announced at Monday’s Council meeting that she was resigning effective May 31.

She said she was moving out of town and therefore it was necessary for her to step down. Free said she’s enjoyed her time serving the town first as clerk and then as council member. Council President Doug Ruch said, “We hate to lose you but we wish you well.”

When asked by resident Ken Long what the process would be for keeping the council intact, Ruch said that he assumed the county Republican party would hold a caucus to replace Free and that it would be advertised a couple of weeks in advance.

Milford residents will see their sewer bills increase in a couple of months by about 8 percent after the town council passed a sewer rate ordinance Monday evening.

Ross Hagen, of Baker Tilly, an accounting and consulting firm that helped Milford establish its rate schedule, attended the meeting. He  explained when they did the rate study they recommended a 16% increase, which would result in $73,000 additional revenue. That increase would raise the average bill $7 to approximately $50 a month. However, he also discussed with the council alternative methods and the council decided to go with an 8 percent increase, an average of $3.40 a month to $46.50.

A public hearing was held and a couple of members of the public spoke up.

Pam Dwyer asked, “Would $46.50 get you in the black?”

Hagen responded that based on their calculations of the town’s current and near future needs, it would create a shortfall of $37,000 that could potentially be made up through outside sources.

Dwyer said, “You just did a rate study for $6,500 – if he says $50 will get you out of the red, maybe you should do that.”

Jay Urbin told Dwyer she shouldn’t tell them that because some people already can’t afford to pay their sewer bill.

Ruch said, “That’s why the council’s approach has been conservative and we’re not raising rates sky high.”

Urbin also asked why residents on  CR 1250 can’t be told to get on city water so the town could recoup that revenue. The council told him they can’t force people to get on city water, only sewer.

Responding to another question by Dwyer, Hagen said that out-of-town sewer rates are about 14% higher than in town.

At the end of the meeting, the council approved the ordinance. After the meeting they said it would take a month or two to get the changes in the system so it would likely be July or August before residents would see the increase in their bills.

Milford Fest

Milford Fest is right around the corner – May 25 – and the council heard several details.

Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall, a member of the Milford Fest committee, asked if the town wanted to sponsor the restrooms again. Council approved paying the $720 for six port-a-johns.

Gall also reminded everyone the cutie contest forms can be found on the website www.milfordfest.org. She said the garage sale fees have been waived, but if residents want to be on the map the cost is $3 and the maps can be picked up at town hall, the library and on the website.

Ruch reported that ribeye sandwiches would be sold at the fire station until sold out. He recommended people come early as they only have 500.

Police Chief Derek Krider said he would have all his officers on duty that day. Utilities Superintendent Steve Marquart said downtown streets would start closing Thursday.

In a related matter, Marquart reported that the Memorial Day parade will be May 27 with line-up at 9 a.m. and the start of the parade at 10 a.m.

Police Department

Krider introduced a sound ordinance for the council’s review and reported he has a sound meter to detect the decibels. The ordinance reportedly quantifies what “loud” is rather than being subjective. The council will pass the ordinance at the next meeting.

Krider said he got quotes from GTech Video Solutions to replace 10-year-old in-car video systems. The quote for the in-car system is $16,746 and a quote for body cameras and docks is $19,052.

Krider said he is currently in the process of applying for grants, including a grant for departments with first-time body cams that he’s submitting by May 20, and he’s also hoping to get help from the prosecutor’s office for the in-car systems. An additional expense would be $5,760 for cloud storage for the in-car systems, but Krider said he’s checking into whether having their own server would be less expensive.

The council approved the purchase with the hopes of getting the grants.

Krider also responded to a resident’s concern about speeding when dropping children off at school by saying they’d have a patrol car out there.

In other business, the council:

• Approved paying Wessler Engineering for the change order disputed last month in the amounts of $2,919 and $612.81 and then they will be reimbursed by Wessler.

• Approved Thompson Concrete quote of $6,118 for the sidewalk replacement matching fund.

• Approved a resolution for emergency water and sewer repairs. Cost for water repairs is $39,705 and sewer is over $22,000.

• Approved a cost of $3,800 for Thompson Concrete for concrete slab for port-a-johns and boat launch.