Text and photos by David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Town Council addressed a wide range of issues at its second-to-last public meeting of the year. Among them was the hiring of a new deputy marshal, Thomas Waikel.
According to Derek Kreider, town marshal, Waikel has 18 years of experience, serving with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department and the town of Syracuse. He began his career as a reserve officer in Milford, however, and hopes to finish his career “serving the town of Milford.” Waikel has specialized in the investigation of child abuse cases. He also served on the county’s SWAT team. He fills the vacancy left since Nov. 2 with the departure of Eric Kelly.
During police reports, the council also approved the purchase of new badges to replace the “mishmash” of different badges from different administrations currently in use. Kreider chose a basic, five-point star $30 cheaper than the shield-type. The total cost was $2,045 for 26 badges.
Fire Chief Todd Haines reported the following officers for Milford Volunteer Fire Department in 2021: Virgil Sharp, chief; Steve Farber, first assistant chief; Scott Mast, second assistant chief; Dan Duncan, secretary; Cameron Tusing, treasurer; Kevin Walker, first training officer; Sam Baumgartner, second training officer.
Haines also reported a power outage and lack of battery backup led to the failure of the fire station repeater from dispatch. A generator has been hooked up, but with a new radio system being implemented, Haines said the generator will probably not be needed.
Milford Building Inspector Tom Bulger brought the council up to date on the town’s list of unsafe buildings. Properties at 315, 317 and 318 East Williams Street failed to comply with a 30 day warning, said Bulger. Owners will be notified of their right to a hearing.
Alvin Haab, owner of a property on 102 E. Emeline, was on hand to inform the council of his intention to demolish the property, which is currently in the salvage stage. Bulger requested stairs on the outside of the structure be torn down to prevent access and debris in the yard be removed.
Attorney Jay Rigdon reported recently completing a conference hearing on properties owned by Ron Davidhizar. Rigdon said he expected a decision “in the next few days.”
Town Clerk Tricia Gall requested the formation of a committee to review the town’s unsafe building code. Ken Long agreed to represent the council, joining Bulger, Building Commissioner Scott Mast and Rigdon.
Rigdon noted the town’s code is controlled by the state’s building code, limiting the committee’s ability to change procedures. Nevertheless, the council voted to approve the committee’s formation.
During attorney reports, the council approved the town’s terminal services data agreement with Kosciusko County at a cost of $500, as well as the agreement with Lutheran EMS ambulance service. The fire protection agreement was tabled until the December meeting.
During public input, the council addressed a request for construction at 105 N. Henry St. In the absence of drawings, the motion stated as long as the addition was to the west it had no objections, but members wish to be notified in the event of any other plans.
During wastewater reports, Mark Brubaker said plant upgrades have led to more than $3,000 savings on utilities, as well as less usage of dewatering bags.
Water Operator and Street Superintendent Steven Marquart informed the council of a $11,400 quote from Dan The Tree Man for tree trimming and removal for the entire town. Long suggested for any jobs over $10,000 the town should get multiple quotes.
With the end of the year nearing and with three trees on SR 15 posing the greatest threat, Doug Ruch, council president, moved the town instead approve $2,850 for their removal and stump grinding. The motion passed.
The council also approved $4,178 for MicroByte Enterprise to install security cameras at the town’s maintenance building. During discussion, Long and Gall expressed frustration at the time and expense resulting from businesses exceeding quotes. The council agreed more future motions should include the phrase “at a cost not to exceed.”
Other motions approved by the council included: $5,926 be encumbered until 2021 for biannual maintenance of the street sweeper by Braun Equipment; $1,876.75 for Prime Doors to install a chemical room door to comply with IDEM regulations following an Oct. 20 inspection. A well head protection board will be formed composed of Long, Marquart and Bob Cockburn.