MILFORD — Milford Town Council’s first public meeting of 2020 Thursday, Jan. 9, was a lengthy affair covering a wide, disparate range of issues. Among the actions taken was a vote to purchase body cameras for Milford police officers.
The council also hired two new employees and voted to keep the same officers from 2019. Thus, in 2020, Doug Ruch will remain president and Ken Long will continue as vice president.
During police reports, Chief Derek Kreider was granted permission to purchase 12 Getac body cameras to assist patrolmen and, said Kreider, “reduce liability for the town.” The cost is $8,454 following a grant and previous purchase of cloud storage. The purchase includes on-site training.
“In this day and age we really don’t have a choice,” said Long, who also commented on the considerable quality difference between Getac and other camera systems. Ruch added the cameras would pay for themselves even if there is only one questionable incident involving law enforcement.
Town Clerk Tricia Gall praised Kreider’s efforts to find grant funding.
Also during police reports, the council approved screening methods for new police officers — to include polygraph, agility and drug tests along with multiple interviews — and agreed to send Deputy Brandon Shipp for training in computer systems at a three-day conference in Las Vegas in order to maintain compliance with state mandates Kreider said are “becoming more stringent all the time.”
A total of $1,881 was approved to renew Milford’s LeadsOnline subscription, which aided in solving three burglaries in 2019, according to Kreider.
During street, water and parks reports, the council passed salary ordinance 2020-2, and approved the hiring of two new maintenance employees: Todd Wissinger and Angela Heltzel.
The salary ordinance added three new maintenance positions: Skilled laborer, $47,488.90 per year; unskilled laborer, $42,000 per year; wastewater plant apprentice, paid for by a grant from Alliance for Indiana Rural Water and totalling approximately $91,000. The apprentice position has yet to be filled.
Streets Superintendent Steven Marquart reported Milford’s new leaf machine helped collect 16,075 cubic yards of leaves on 27 trips through town last fall with the truck and leaf machine together requiring 160 gallons of fuel.
Another newer piece of equipment, a Bobcat, will be outfitted with an 84-inch snow blade attachment, purchased from Bobcat Warsaw at a cost of $2,129.49. Marquart commented using the Bobcat for plowing would be “safer all around” and more efficient in alleys and parking lots than the larger town trucks currently in use.
The council appears closer to solving its warranty problems in repairing meters. A motion passed allowing a purchase order for 30 meters at $4,500 from Ferguson, the dealer for Master Meter. Ruch noted the council expects a “great deal” of the meters to be warranty items.
According to Ruch, the expedited procedure involves Milford signing a purchase order giving 45 days to make returns. “So far warranty items have come back with no cost.”
Marquart reported entering into a cross shipment agreement to switch out generation one meters, which have proved problematic. He also said the meters’ batteries were being “dragged down” because they were processing too much unnecessary information. This problem will also be rectified.
Marquart also reported a broken water main incident at 6 a.m. Dec. 24, requiring $2,800 in repairs.
The council tabled action on repairs and meter installation in town buildings, including the fire station, pending clearer information quotes from contractors. Marquart contends the meters are needed to help with water audits and increase chances of receiving future grant money.
During public input, Matt Sandy of the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission was on hand to discuss Milford’s recertification with the flood plain program. According to Sandy, Milford is one of only four towns in the county who participate. During 10 years, he said, there have been no losses resulting from flooding. “There are not a lot of flood zones,” he explained.
During clerk reports, Gall said town hall would close at 4 p.m. Jan. 22.
The council also voted to purchase membership with Alliance of Indiana Rural Water for approximately $196. The Alliance is providing Milford with roughly $91,000 to fund a wastewater apprenticeship.