A number of citizens appeared at Milford Town Council for public input regarding water bills Monday. With an abnormally high water bill, former Bio Waste Processing owners Ned and Barb Schueller chose to bring in an expert to assist with the issue.
According to Joe Dock, representative and mediator for the Schuellers, the flow meter, which was recently installed, has provided strange spikes in the readings, amounting to phenomena such as a 13-day period when the Schuellers paid $1,100 for a water bill. The chart Dock provided showed three different readings, one from the meter attached to the press, one of the hourly meter and one of the flow meter.
Dock described the new flow meter, which had been installed while Schueller owned the company, as a “disaster.” Two years ago, Dallas Winchester, former utilities superintendent, who had overseen the company, passed away, leaving the Schuellers without assistance in making utility decisions. Dock claims the flow meter that was installed comes from a poor decision and is simply not appropriate for the company’s needs.
According to Jon Borger of Wessler Engineering, the meter Bio Waste chose to install may have gotten sediment or foam in the press, which can cause water to back up and makes the meter detect a higher volume of water that was is actually being used.
Dock has requested the council allow Bio Waste to return to using an hourly meter to figure the actual usage since Aug. 23. The council decided to review all previous Bio Waste billing, dating back to 2007, to determine what the normal usage actually was and present
Schueller with a proposal bill based on the average of those bills. Randy Veach, superintendent of the utilities department, plans to work closely with new manager Steve Morris, of Organic Systems and Solutions, Mount Clemons, Mich., to find the right meter in the future.
Cheryl Caudill, resident of Milford, expressed concerns about her water bill as well stating she received a bill significantly higher than normal. Veach discovered the water softener had been continually running into the sewer system and shut it off. The council agreed to take the overages, after the regular $50 charge of an average bill, and divide that in half, leaving Caudill with a more manageable bill.
Similarly, a local apartment complex, owned by Ruch International, received a large water and sewer bill, caused by a leak under the foundation. The council agreed to give the apartment complex credit for the sewer portion of the bill, require them to pay the normal bill and to relieve the company of half of the remaining high bill.
Doral “Zeke” Haab confronted the council to express his confusion about a recent incident when town marshal Rich Miotto informed him the owner of a vacant property had not given him permission to panhandle there. Miotto informed the council he has also received numerous complaints from members of the community who are concerned about Haab’s solicitation of cans.
Previously, Haab had believed his sidewalk-sitting was not an issue the owner of the property leading up to the sidewalk could control. Milford Town Attorney Jay Rigdon informed the council and Haab, that while the complaints of the public are not an issue, the complaints of the property owner are, since property owners own not only their houses and the land on them, but the sidewalk and half of the roadway their property is on. The council informed Haab he is not permitted to sit along a sidewalk to collect cans unless the sidewalk is on his own property.
Milford Police Department will begin its search for a new officer soon. Matthew Harkness, a reserve officer on the force, sent in his resignation letter this past week, informing Miotto he has chosen to relocate. Milford Police Department currently employs four full-time officers, two part-time officers and four reserves. The council has also approved the purchase of a replacement stun gun, priced at around $670, a savings of $130 less than the regular price.
Veach informed the council he is concerned about a set of hollowed trees on a Main Street property. He informed the council Wawasee Tree Service has inspected the trees and stated they need to come down, however, according to Veach, the homeowner believes the trees are the responsibility of the town, stating the town of Syracuse provides tree removal services. The council will seek out the best legal way to require to homeowner to have the trees removed.
The clerk’s office has completed moving items in storage to a new facility located at the street department. Employees requested new paint and carpeting in portions of the building, as well as a replacement of the wood flooring in the community center. Total cost is expected to be around $9,600 including installation fees. The council approved the renovations, which will be done by Doll’s Decorating Center.
The council has decided to meet their regularly scheduled day next month meaning the meeting will fall on Veterans Day, Nov. 12.