MILFORD — Milford Town Council’s Nov. 18 meeting featured representatives of two companies hired by the town to streamline operations and bring local government into compliance with the state. James Higgins of LWG CPAs & Advisors and Michael and Karen Williams of MicroByte Enterprises were on hand to update the council on efforts to manage the town’s assets and tighten cyber security.
Until recently, municipal utilities’ internet technology infrastructure was largely self-governed; however, Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the National Institute of Standards and Technology have issued a set of standards, with which Milford has until Feb. 20 to comply.
“We’ll make sure you’re more than secure,” said MicroByte’s Michael Williams. Besides increasing backup and encryption capabilities, physical measures will also be taken to protect servers in various locations.
The board voted to hire MicroByte, a Leesburg-based company, to upgrade Milford’s network security at a cost of $4,300.
Higgins, an LWG advisor whose TIF district expertise is also benefitting Milford Redevelopment Commission restructuring efforts, informed the council he had spent the afternoon working with Milford Clerk Treasurer Tricia Gall working on a capital asset policy. This included creating a “bifurcated record,” separating assets of more than $10,000 and those of more than $1,000 but less than $10,000. He will also provide the council with a “quick resource guide” explaining how the town’s funds may be used in simple language.
Higgins expects to have a capital asset policy ordinance ready for a vote before the end of 2019, which will keep Milford compliant with the State Board of Accounts.
During public input, Milford resident Jay Urbin asked the council how it planned to deal with several Ron Davidhizar properties after Davidhizar paid roughly $12,500 in fines, saving the properties from a tax sale.
“How much time do we give him?” Urbin asked. “He’s got the money; he doesn’t care.” Urbin also reminded the council they chose not to place the properties in receivership at an earlier stage, opting to levy fines instead. The properties, he added, “don’t add value to the town other than bring it down.”
Jay Rigdon, town attorney, commented the $12,500 allows the council to enforce the rules more aggressively in the future. The council may also choose the receivership option in the future if the properties remain in violation.
During police reports, Chief Derek Kreider followed up on recent complaints about a bus stop at James and Emeline streets. He said the school district’s transportation department had reviewed the stop and informed Kreider they were only responsible for kids after they step on the bus.
Kreider also displayed one of the new LED flashlights purchased with a $1,750 grant from the Walmart Community Grant Fund.
The council also voted to pay half the cost of a cage in the new Dodge Durango, $3,055, out of the riverboat fund. The vehicle is now fully operational.
Gall presented a brief summary of the town’s management of concessions at Waubee Lake Park. Total sales were $1,583, with another $70 in donations. Expenses came to $3,471. Council members agreed $1,800 was an acceptable cost to provide a service and maintain a presence at the beach throughout the summer.
Gall also presented a rough draft of new rates and rules for the community building in 2020. Council member Kenneth Long felt the maximum charge of $180 per day was “too generous” for 14 hours of usage. “I’d like to see the town recoup more.” Hours are tentatively set for 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., with an hour of time available before and after for setup and cleanup. All agreed the draft is a good start.
Gall received permission to attend training for newly-elected town officials, including a “boot camp” for town clerks. The council approved $497 in fees plus food and lodging.
The council voted to begin using Pay.gov services, allowing Milford residents to pay bills using credit/debit cards. The same system is used by Pierceton and Culver. Although there is a $1 fee for charges more than $33, customers do not have to use the service.