By David Hazledine
MILFORD – Town Council met Monday, Aug. 9, and heard an update from Brett Roberts of Michiana Council of Area Governments.
Roberts will be conducting a second round of income surveys in Milford as part of an effort to obtain a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to fund planning for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.
Roberts confirmed he would be “walking around town and knocking on a few doors” between the hours of 4-8 p.m. starting Monday, Aug. 16. The survey could run through Aug. 27.
The survey is required for Milford to qualify for OCRA’s Community Development Block Grant, which would provide the town with $90,000 to plan for improvements to the town’s aging infrastructure, nearly 100 years old in areas.
In addition, Milford must show 51% of the population is in the low to moderate-income bracket. During the first round of surveys held in June, however, the random sampling showed 49%, the equivalent of roughly one household, and well within the margin for error.
MACOG’s research indicates Milford does meet the 51% requirement. “We just need to prove it through this process,” said Roberts. “We need to complete this survey to get the grant.” The survey will include a random sample of 37 households and 91 individuals.
The survey has two main questions: How many people are in this household? Is the income of this household above or below a certain threshold? Roberts emphasized all information would be kept strictly confidential. A coding system separates names and addresses from the information. Residents will also not have to divulge exact salaries, only whether their income falls above or below a threshold. Roberts also encouraged respondents to answer honestly. “We want them to answer honestly because we’re confident the town will qualify.”
Town Council President Doug Ruch also emphasized the council or the town “is in no way tied to the information.”
Roberts confirmed he would likely be the one conducting the survey. He encouraged respondents to ask questions and offer additional information regarding town utilities. “We can include that in the grant information, and provide and actual narrative of what is happening in this town.”
The council also passed two ordinances related to the OCRA grant: 2021-8 adopts federal guidelines for fair housing; 2021-9 adopts a drug and alcohol policy for town employees.