By David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Town Council will have an additional $232,875 for the improvement of streets thanks to its 2020 Community Crossing Grant from the Indiana Department of Transportation, according to Street Superintendent Steven Marquart, who made the announcement at the Monday, Dec. 14, council meeting.
The grant is the largest Milford has received since INDOT and Gov. Eric Holcomb started the program in 2017. Council President Doug Ruch expressed his appreciation for the effort town departments put into the grant.
“We’re going to keep trying,” said Marquart, adding the town would be accepting bids for street paving projects sometime in 2021.
Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall also reported Milford’s application for a federal grant to build a trail from town to Waubee Lake was accepted for consideration by INDOT. “We’re in the running for 2026,” said Gall.
In other matters, the council approved the 2021 fire protection agreement with Milford Fire Department. The town pays $32,325 per year in quarterly installments, which is the same amount paid by Van Buren Township.
The council also voted to hire K&K Tree Service of Millersburg to trim trees throughout Milford at a cost of $9,800. “We’ll check problem areas first,” said Marquart.
After hearing bids for trash removal from Sweetheimer Trash Removal and Borden Waste-A-Way, the council voted to stay with Sweetheimer, which had the lower bid of $54,570 per year, equalling $8.50 per house per month and including a 96 gallon cart for each house.
In keeping with Gov. Holcomb’s COVID-19 emergency order, Milford utilities will continue its policy of not charging late fees on utility bills for the next 30 days. The suspension of charges has been ongoing since April 2020; however, as Van Buren Township Trustee Becky Alles noted, the town can shut off service if necessary.
During wastewater reports, Mark Brubaker, plant operator, said the improved solid removal process at the plant continues to save the town more than $2,000 per month.
Brubaker also reported progress on efforts to close ponds on wastewater plant property after discussions with Wealing Brothers, a biosolid waste removal company. The ponds must be cleaned up to comply with Indiana Department of Environmental regulations. The town is considering selling the waste for use as fertilizer and will likely fill in the ponds to prevent them from refilling with rainwater. The matter was tabled until January.
During police reports, council members voted to purchase five used X26 Tasers in “good working order” from the Hanover Police Department at a cost of $500. The cost includes 12 replacement batteries and five holsters. According to Kreider, Tasers cost around $700 new.
The council tabled Milford employees’ 2021 salary ordinance until the year-end closing meeting. Most employees will receive a 3% increase in pay, with the exception of reserve police officers.
The year-end meeting of Milford Town Council will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 29 in the community building.