By David Hazledine
MILFORD — Milford Town Council held special meetings July 18-19 in Town Hall to conduct workshops in preparation for the 2023 budget. Generally, the council expects a roughly 4% increase across the board to accommodate wage increases.
Town Clerk/Treasurer Tricia Gall noted the projected budgets still require approval at the state level and budget hearings will be held. Furthermore, at the July 19 meeting, Gall pointed out, “Just because it’s in your budget doesn’t mean you have to spend it.”
Monday’s meeting started with Milford Volunteer Fire Department, which projects a $93,250 budget, an 11.6% increase due to rising clothing, fuel and office supply costs. The town is also looking to replace its pumper truck, which is expected to cost $635,000 with a one-year lag time.
The fire department’s budget is paid by Milford Town Council and Van Buren and Jefferson townships, the latter of which is expected to cover an increased proportion in 2023, according to Gall.
Also on Monday, Water, Street and Park Superintendent Steven Marquart presented his projections to the council, starting with street, which will likely see a 4.24% increase to $457,055 due to a 4% wage increase. Marquart also hopes to repair the street sweeper at a cost of $5,000 and construct a salt storage building for around $35,000. Other costs include the addition of a plow to the 2021 town truck and other machinery costs of roughly $10,000.
On the water side, Marquart projected a 7.48% decrease, due to the loss of an employee, for a total of $295,560.
The park budget will likely see a 0.78% decrease for a total of $50,184.
Town Marshal Derek Kreider projected a 6.14% increase to $555,210, which includes a 4% increase in deputies’ salaries and does not include Kreider. Gall noted the department has been “spending more than it is receiving” in recent years.
On Tuesday, Wastewater Superintendent Mark Brubaker presented his budget, which is expected to increase by 6.03% to $670,882.50, the result of wage increases as well as the rising costs of chemicals and camera work to examine aging sewer lines. Brubaker also noted the wastewater plant is saving close to $2,000 per month in electricity, the result of more efficient use of digester blowers.
Gall then presented the clerk’s budget. She expects a 0.65% decrease to $373,811.37. In spite of the decrease, The clerk’s budget includes the fire department, hydrant rental and trash removal, with the latter rising 3% and the town expected to add 33 houses with the annexation of the remainder of the North Park subdivision. Gall will also be hiring a part-time employee for 20 hours per week.