MILFORD — Milford residents concerned about derelict properties may be happy to know the town now has a new building commissioner.
At its monthly public meeting Monday, April 10, the council voted to hire Scott Mast to fill the position. “Anything I can do to help,” affirmed Mast, a Milford resident and a volunteer firefighter who also runs a roofing business. Town Attorney Jay Rigdon likened the position to that of a judge. Rigdon also confirmed Mast’s position as an officer of the fire department does not pose a conflict of interest.
The hiring allows the former commissioner, Tom Bulger, to move to the building inspector position. He had remained commissioner to ensure current cases, a list of more than a dozen neglected properties first compiled in 2015, are seen through to their conclusion. Unfortunately, the lack of an inspector had prevented Bulger from pursuing other properties. With the hiring of Mast, the town can more effectively deal with the problem of blight, levying fines and issuing tear down orders. The council approved Bulger’s move to the inspector position.
One of the property owners, Ron Davidhizar, has received fines for five separate properties and contacted town hall, according to Dan Cochran, council president, with questions regarding his fines. Cochran expressed his “frustration” with the situation and asked Rigdon if the council could impose additional fines. Rigdon replied in the affirmative, but added, “There is no rush to do that.”
As far as Davidhizar is concerned, the council, Rigdon concluded, appears to have “no interest in having discussions.” The properties, he added, will eventually be sold or the owner will fix the problem. This has already happened in another case, where the $2,500 fine was paid and the property sold to local restorer Junior Anderson, who has upgraded several in the area.
Other agenda items are as follows:
Megan Carr of Wessler Engineering reported Wessler sent plans for Milford’s wastewater treatment plant renovation to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, meeting the March 31 deadline. “We expect approval in June,” she said. Carr added bidding on the project should begin in late summer or fall with construction starting before the Jan. 1, 2018, deadline.
In other wastewater news, the council approved spending up to $35,000 on a diesel drive pump to serve as a backup pump in the main lift station. However, plant operator Mark Brubaker said the pump can be used in a number of ways. Council member Doug Ruch praised Brubaker for looking “beyond the box” to solve the problem.
The pump was paid for using CEDIT funds, approved in resolution 2017-1 and will also be used to finance the painting of the water tower and the purchase of a variable frequency speed drive pump. The changeover for the VFD parts, water meter and chemicals provided by Living Waters will take place April 14.
During utilities reports, the council passed a motion approving $3,500 for the installation of a valve on a well located near Bison Coach. The installation will enable well and hydrant tests, piping work and calibrations to be done without shutting down power at Bison, according to Utilities Superintendent Steven Marquart. As the valve is part of the generalized water system, Milford Redevelopment Commission may also contribute funds.
Marquart also informed the council of his research into future water line improvements, specifically for what he termed “may pop” water lines, old lines on the verge of failure. Improvement in the system, said Marquart will equalize pressure and “flush iron build up.” He predicts replacement costs to be around $117,885.
Waubee Lake Park is being prepared for warmer weather with the replacement of two picnic tables, with anchors, at a cost of $1,646, approved by the council. “Nineteen more to go,” said Marquart.
Although the concessions stand will be open this year, the town is again having problems finding a lifeguard for the beach. Marquart said he has approached the head instructor from Red Cross about a possible candidate. He has had no luck at Wawasee High School. Nevertheless, said Marquart, “We’re gonna have hot dogs out there again.”
The council also passed a motion to purchase a laser engraved plaque from Mabtistic Glass and Stone for $825 to placed on the monumental stone dedication at the new Waubee Lake Park playground.
The council voted to approve the redefinition and redistribution of salaries in the Milford Police Department. Newly appointed Town Marshal Travis Marsh will receive a salary of $65,000. Officer Derek Krieder’s salary will be $43,893.01.
Lieutenant Tim Miller also reported the department will be testing applicants for law enforcement positions at 1 p.m. April 22. There are currently 10 applicants with three interested only in part-time positions.
The council also approved two Milford homeowners’ building plans: A fully enclosed, steel shed measuring 18 by 21 feet is at 404 W. First St., and an add-on measuring 40 by 50 feet at 321 E. Fourth St.