MILFORD — At the end of its last public meeting of 2019, members of Milford Town Council took some moments to reflect on the year ending, as well as the one to come. All of the members agreed with President Doug Ruch who said, “We want to keep improving our infrastructure, while at the same time maintaining our small town values.”
The council received two generous gifts in 2019 that will go a long way to achieving the first goal. Milford once again was a recipient of Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings grant, which amounted to $181,682.61. The grant will assist efforts to upgrade Milford’s streets and sidewalks.
“We’re also looking forward to working out the benefits for the grant we received from K21,” Ruch commented. Rich Haddad, K21 Foundation CEO, attended a recent council meeting to announce Milford and other incorporated communities in Kosciusko County would receive a $200,000 grant to be spent however the town and council sees fit, provided it meets K21’s mission of providing “health and wellness” to residents.
Council member Ken Long’s feelings about 2019 were more personal. Long replaced the departed Joellen Free in June. “My life changed drastically,” he exclaimed. “I went from the guy being angry to the guy being yelled at,” he added half-jokingly.
Another personnel change saw Derek Kreider replace Travis Marsh as town marshal. Marsh rejoined the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department as a captain.
Tricia Gall completed her first year as town clerk/treasurer in 2019 and expressed her excitement about grant opportunities for water and wastewater announced by the state. As treasurer, Gall will be on the front lines of the town’s ongoing struggle to bring its utilities into the black.
As part of that struggle, Marquart has been overseeing the mapping of Milford’s water and wastewater lines as part of the town’s asset management efforts. The department went a long way in 2019 toward improving the efficiency of a system reaching 120 years old in places, and with new grant opportunities on the horizon, as well as another rate hike introduced in 2019, the council hopes water infrastructure will continue to progress.
The council is also looking forward to hiring a new employee for the wastewater plant as part of the Alliance for Indiana Rural Water apprentice program, which provided more than $80,000 for their salary. The plant is also fully compliant with Indiana Department of Environmental Management thanks to upgrades completed in 2018-19 allowing it to remove more phosphorous from wastewater.
The year 2020 will, of course, present unforeseen challenges to the town of Milford; nevertheless, the council seems poised to, as council member Robert Cockburn put it, “Continue growing the community and keep the small town feel.”