MILFORD — Milford Clerk/Treasurer Tricia Gall informed attendees to the June 10 meeting of the Milford Town Council the wastewater rate hike will take effect in July. Residents will see the roughly $3 increase on their August bill. The average rate will be around $46.50.
The June 10 meeting was the first since the resignation of Joellen Free in May. Gall informed the council a Republican Party caucus to name Free’s successor will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 18, in the Milford Community Building.
Gall indicated Kosciusko County Republican Party Chairman Mike Ragan was “intent to choose someone that night.” Town Attorney Jay Rigdon affirmed the successor could be sworn in at the caucus. Ken Long Jr., a regular town council meeting attendee, has declared his candidacy.
Until the vacant seat is filled, the council will be unable to conduct meetings if either Doug Ruch or Bob Cockburn is absent. The council is also unable to vote on matters relating to the Milford Fire Department, as Ruch is a fire department volunteer, which represents a conflict of interest. Ruch recuses himself from all such votes.
During utilities reports, Superintendent Steven Marquart reported recent storms have rendered 65 trees at Waubee Lake Park “dangerous.” He referred to a number of “widowmakers,” hanging branches, which, he explained, “need to be addressed as quickly as possible.” Wet ground also prevents the use of a boom truck, so the trees will have to be climbed.
Ruch agreed the trees are a “safety issue,” and the council voted to accept a bid from K&K Tree Service to trim all 65 trees for $6,000.
The council also voted to allow Marquart to staff the concessions stand at Waubee Lake Park for a total of 24 hours per week: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are currently two lifeguards on duty at the beach: Kala Wolf and Katelyn Trimble. They may be able to alternate at the concessions stand, said Marquart. Wolf has a food handler’s license, though all of the stand’s concessions are prepackaged.
The council also recognized two long-running Milford institutions June 10. Certificates of appreciation were presented to the Milford Public Library, in recognition of its 100th anniversary, and to Milford Lions Club, celebrating its 75th anniversary.
During police reports, Town Marshal Derek Kreider said the department is “patiently waiting” for a grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Operation Pullover program to help pay for body cameras and radio units. Staff have also received training on the cloud system used to store body camera footage. Getac Inc. is providing body cameras at $280 apiece, less than half that of competitors, according to Kreider, who said he expects to learn more about the grant “sometime in July.”
Alan Tio, Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation CEO, made a brief presentation highlighting “a different mission for KEDCo,” which is now taking a more hands-on approach to development. He also distributed copies of a recent “peer cities project” comparing the Warsaw area to other, successful “micropolitans,” cities with a population under 50,000, such as Findlay, Ohio, and Benton Harbor, Mich.
The study included 19 suggestions for Kosciusko County, including increased support for economic development.
“If it doesn’t get staffed it doesn’t get done,” Tio stated of the need for more investment in KEDCo.
Milford Redevelopment Commission President Dan Brown was also present and praised Tio’s “new perspective.” KEDCo, he said, is a “valued resource” for both the town and redevelopment commission, citing KEDCo’s involvement with the new overpass just north of Milford on SR 15.
Ruch commented the council would review its KEDCo contribution for the July meeting.