By David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Town Council held its first public meeting of 2022 Monday evening, Jan. 10, in the community building.
Members started the year by voting to continue with the same officers as in 2021. They are Doug Ruch, president; Ken Long, vice-president. Bob Cockburn is the third council member.
Council members also chose to extend the town’s moratorium on late fees for utilities bills for one more month, in conjunction with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s COVID emergency order, which remains in effect.
Town Clerk Tricia Gall noted Milford was one of the few towns not to reinstate late fees, and, in response to members’ questions, added the town is likely losing thousands of dollars it would otherwise be collecting. However, even though late fees were suspended throughout 2021, water and wastewater did end the year “in the black,” said Gall. Members also questioned whether COVID is the reason for late payments.
Noting the persistence of the COVID epidemic, Cockburn voiced support for extending the suspension “until we’re getting to a point financially where we need the money.” The council agreed but requested Gall gather more data on the question for the February meeting.
The council also passed three measures related to Milford Fire Department and Lutheran EMS. The town’s fire contract was approved for 2022, which the council splits with Van Buren Township, each paying $34,775.
The contract with Lutheran EMS was also approved at no cost to the town after Lutheran agreed to remove language stipulating automatic renewal unless given a 180 day notice.
Also, after learning Jefferson Township is also on board, the council agreed to split the cost of new pagers for the fire department, which will be compatible with the new 700-800 mhz emergency communication system Kosciusko County is implementing. The cost of $20,880 for 33 pagers will be split evenly between the town council and Van Buren and Jefferson townships.
Town Attorney Jay Rigdon was asked about progress on a tear down order for a house on Catherine Street gutted by a fire in early 2021. Rigdon said the tear down order was signed by a judge; however, due to the winter cold, a 60-90 day hold was also added, so the town should be able to move ahead in March.
Resident Jay Urbin also expressed frustration about property on Maple Street owned by Ron Davidhizar, deemed to be in violation by Milford Building Commissioner Scott Mast. The matter, said Rigdon, is “under a judge’s advisement right now.”
Urbin also expressed concern about the line-up of cars to pick up students from Milford School at the end of each day creating a “safety issue.”
Milford Police Chief Derek Kreider, who also serves as Milford School Resource Officer, pointed out kindergarten through fourth graders use the circle drive, which is cleared in 10 to 15 minutes, while the remaining students use the north doors. “I’m not sure what else could be done,” he said.
The council approved $6,000 for USI Consultants to perform a Pacer Rating survey of Milford streets as part of the town’s Community Crossing grant. Streets Superintendent Steven Marquart pointed out the survey, performed every two years, has helped the town obtain nearly $300,000 in road work in recent years.
Marquart also reported complaints about the ADA crosswalk at Fourth and Henry streets. The council approved $1,580 to Pulver Asphalt for a handrail pending confirmation of INDOT’s standards for the handrail’s height.
The council approved $1,200 to BL Anderson for a renewal of cellular router service between the town water tower and well field.
The council also approved the town’s workers compensation policy for $15,632, more than $1,000 less than in 2021.
The next meeting of Milford Town Council is 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14.