MILFORD — Milford Town Council started its monthly public meeting Monday evening, July 10, with a swearing in ceremony for two new police officers.
Charles Bird III will begin working as a reserve officer and Brandon Shipp will begin his academy training and is expected to be working full time in the fall.
“That’s the good news,” reported Town Marshal Travis Marsh. The bad news is the department has lost two other reserve officers and is having a difficult time maintaining the full roster necessary to address the town’s needs, particularly during the summer months.
According to Marsh, Bird and Shipp both signed three year committal agreements following the ceremony.
Steven Marquart, streets and utilities superintendent, reported his own department’s difficulties keeping up with the summer workload. “We need another person on the team,” he said. Marquart also called for an executive meeting to discuss personnel issues, which will meet July 18.
The litter at Waubee Lake Park, said Marquart, “just gets worse and worse … it’s like people don’t know what trash cans are for.” He called for the public to show more respect for the park and its beach, a rare feature for any community. “A lot of people love it.”
New cameras and lights will be installed at the park in hopes of combating the vandalism and other unlawful behavior, complete with Wi-Fi capacity, which, according to Marsh, will increase law enforcement’s ability to monitor the area.
Dan Cochran, council president, called on community organizations and individuals to help with the maintenance and cleaning as well.
Fireworks have also been an issue in Milford, and Jay Rigdon, town attorney, was on hand to begin the process of drafting a new town ordinance, one more in line with state law.
Currently the ordinance states fireworks are completely prohibited; however, state law allows them during certain hours on the July 4 and New Year’s Eve. A new ordinance is likely to be presented at next month’s meeting, restricting the use of fireworks except those days.
Scott Mast, Milford building inspector and volunteer firefighter, asked what might be done in drought situations, when a no burn order may be in effect, to which Rigdon responded the state legislature “decided that’s not important enough.”
Rigdon also informed resident Jay Urbin the town was not responsible for drainage problems on his property on Catherine Street. Cochran added, “We can’t make an exception for one individual without making a precedent for all.”
In an unrelated issue, Urbin’s property is adjacent to property owned by Ron Davidhizar, which, along with four other of his properties, has been deemed unsafe by Building Commissioner Tom Bulger and is facing possible foreclosure.
Rigdon informed the council town employees could perform certain types of work on those properties necessary to comply with building inspector orders. This may provide relief for neighbors while the “process works itself through,” said Rigdon.
All fines and related fees, amounting to approximately $15,000 will be assessed “as back taxes are assessed.” If Davidhizar fails to pay the properties will be up for sale in an auction after one year.
Other items of the council meeting agenda included the following:
The council voted to allow the purchase of several items by the police department in the amount of $7,300. These included a radar sign informing drivers of their speed, to be used at problem areas such as Main Street entering town on the south side. The sign will also help police know when the speeding is likely to occur in the future.
Milford received a Community Crossing grant for repaving work, allowing it proceed with $258,053 of work by Phend and Brown, of which the town will pay $64,514. The council commended the work of Marquart and Joellen Free, clerk, to secure the grant.
A motion passed allowing $2,000 to be spent on contacts for the main lift in the water treatment plant.
The utilities department is considering entering into an agreement with Wheeling Brothers Inc., allowing sludge to be used for agricultural purposes, saving money in disposal.
The first reading of the town budget for 2018 was $1,640,155, a 7 percent decrease from 2017.