MILFORD — Milford Town Council opened its monthly public meeting Monday, June 12, with continued discussion of how to proceed in the matter of unpaid fines on five properties owned by Ron Davidhizar.
At the council’s May meeting, Jay Rigdon, town attorney, said the next step was to assess the costs and numbers and turn them over to the assessor to place a lien on the property and get it foreclosed. The council agreed the best route was to assign the cost to the county auditor. If the assigned cost is not paid, the property would enter a tax sale.
On Monday, however, Rigdon expressed concern he had not fully explained the time table involved with this course of action, in which a new owner would not gain title until after the end of 2018. “The sale process will be a long one,” said Rigdon, if the town filed with the auditor.
The second option, initially rejected by the council, involves filing the costs with the circuit court clerk. Davidhizar would then have 30 days to object. Also, the town would be responsible for all of the costs involved. This process would require less time, but considerably more money from the town’s budget.
Exactly how much money is now the question. Council member Doug Ruch suggested the council ask Scott Mast, Milford building commissioner, to take bids from contractors, which will be reviewed at the town’s budget meeting. A public notice will be issued for the meeting, at which the council hopes to formulate a standard fee assessment for future use.
Council President Dan Cochran got a chuckle from attendees when he likened the process, which, in the case of Davidhizar, has been ongoing since October 2015, to “getting Saran wrap off your finger.”
Other items on the agenda were as follows:
A motion passed proclaiming June 20 Lions Club International Centennial Celebration Day. The council also granted the Lions access to historical photographs to be restored, framed and exhibited in the community building as part of a legacy gift. June 20 was the date the Milford Lions chapter was founded in 1944.
In police reports, Town Marshal Travis Marsh informed the council of damage to the 2015 squad car push bumper and mobile radio sustained during the arrest of a drunk driver at Milford Fest. The individual was three times over the legal limit. “We could’ve had a bad mess,” Marsh noted, citing festival traffic and bystanders.
The owner of a Ford Mustang who jumped in at the end of the Milford Memorial Day parade has had his parade privileges “extinguished,” according to Marsh. The driver repeatedly spun the car’s rear wheels, creating clouds of smoke from burning rubber and striking one spectator in the cheek with a pebble.
In utilities and parks reports, Superintendent Steven Marquart stated a lifeguard has been hired at Waubee Lake beach. He expects to be hiring more lifeguards and requested the council set their pay at $10 per hour to stay competitive with other businesses. “Safety first,” agreed Cochran. The council voted unanimously to do so.
The council also voted to update the rental agreement for the Waubee Lake Park pavilions. The price was set at $60 for the day. Renters will also be responsible for trash pickup.
Marquart reported power is on in the north and south pavilions, however one of the poles is in “dire straits” and will need to be replaced soon, and another pole, located next to a well, is leaning. He is researching repair and replacement costs.
A start date has still not been announced for painting the water tower. According to Marquart, it could be August before work begins.
Finally, after much discussion, the council voted to fine Lizards Bar and Grill $750 for failure to install grease traps. The business was given a 30 day extension, waiving the initial fines of $100 per day; however, the work was still not done, nor was any communication made with the clerk’s office. Subsequent fines of $1,500 were also cut in half by the council.
The final amount, said Ruch, “shows extremely good faith to businesses from the town’s point of view.”