By David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Town Council members voted to retain their offices through 2021 in their first meeting of the year held Jan. 11 in the community building. Doug Ruch will remain president with Ken Long as vice president.
Ruch also commented on the town’s attorney Jay Rigdon, who remains hospitalized due to COVID-19. The council has been in contact with Rigdon’s firm, Rockhill Pinnick, who will provide a substitute until Rigdon is able to return.
Matt Sandy, Area Planning Commission floodplain administrator, was on hand for the town’s annual flood program community rating certification, which, he explained, helps maintain discounted rates for flood insurance and with “keeping maps up to date … There are no homes in the flood zone and we want to keep it that way.”
The council voted to recertify, but before doing so, Ken Long asked Sandy for an update on a spring 2020 draft map performed for Indiana Department of Natural Resources and FEMA by Star II, a consulting agency, which showed a “substantial increase” to the Turkey Creek flood zone/plain between Milford and Syracuse. “We were shocked at the county level,” Sandy recalled.
According to Sandy, the map, which also takes into account the entire St. Joseph Watershed rather than just Kosciusko County as has been done in the past, failed to factor in the holding capacity of Lake Wawasee, “the largest natural lake in Indiana,” Long pointed out.
Sandy affirmed his contacts at DNR agree the map was made with insufficient data; however, he is still waiting to hear if the map has been rejected or redrawn. “We don’t want to see anything dropped on us.” Sandy also noted Star II’s contract with FEMA has expired.
Water Operator/Street Superintendent Steven Marquart reported two water main breaks in the first week of January. The lines, he noted, were built in 1955 and are “reaching the end of their life.” The breaks highlight the importance of an asset management plan for Milford’s water lines to facilitate grants in the future, he added. To that end, he has requested a revised quote from Commonwealth Engineering to devise the plan.
The first round of bid requests for street work relating to the Community Crossing Matching Grant Program will be sent out soon, said Marquart. They must be turned in to town hall by noon Friday before the Feb. 8 council meeting, when they will be read.
The council also voted to repair Milford’s street sweeper at a cost not to exceed $6,870.90. Marquart commented the amount could be less as much of the work can be performed by town employees.
During wastewater reports, members agreed to purchase a cylinder scale from Living Waters for $2,053. Wastewater plant operator Mark Brubaker said the scale was needed before disinfecting begins April 1.
Brubaker also commented on Shankster Brothers, a septic cleaning and farm drainage service who will be occupying the building next to the plant, with a lift station running into the wastewater plant. “I think they will be good neighbors,” he said, citing the work the company is doing to bring the building on line, “a big step from what is was before,” Ruch added. The company is expected to be a much-needed economic boost to the wastewater department as well.
The council voted to again enter into an interlocal agreement with Van Buren Township, which will give $750 to assist with maintenance and equipment expenses at Waubee Lake Park.
Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall informed the council she is “nervous and excited” to be giving a six-minute presentation to INDOT on Milford’s request for a federal trail grant to connect Milford and Waubee Lake Park Jan. 13. She said representatives from Michiana Area Council of Governments and USI Consultants, who helped with the presentation, will sit in on the call.