By David Hazledine
MILFORD — The Milford Town Council’s Monday, April 10, meeting was preceded by a public hearing on a proposed cumulative capital development fund rate hike.
If approved, the rate would increase to 0.05 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation, beginning with taxes for 2023. This is the maximum rate allowed by the state. Currently the CCDF rate is at 0.0233 cents.
According to Town Clerk-Treasurer Tricia Gall, the CCDF has historically been used to purchase fire equipment. If the rate had been at the maximum allowed level, she said, the town would have collected $20,650 from 2022.
The hearing closed with no comment from the public, and the council voted to reestablish the CCDF rate at the end of the required 30-day waiting period.
The council also passed a resolution on Milford’s participation in the Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ HELP program. The program calls for the town to commit roughly 30% of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to the program, which is $106,401 out of the $354,671 received.
During public input, the council heard of a zoning variance to come before the board of zoning appeals April 11, in which a property under the name Bechtel at 203 E. Syracuse St. would seek a business permit for fiberglass and small engine repair.
“I’m not in favor of it at all,” said Councilman Ken Long. The building, he said, was initially set up for storage; however, in November the occupants started work with fiberglass without the required state permits. “They should have come to us last November when they started doing this.”
Long also noted the fire hazards related to fiberglass work, adding, “I don’t want to see another building burn down.” Long said he has already expressed his concerns to Area Plan Director Matt Sandy.
The council approved a permit for a couple residing on Henry Street to live in a trailer on the property until construction on their house, which was damaged in a fire on Thanksgiving Day 2022, is completed. The couple agreed to keep the town apprised of the situation.
Kevin Dwyer, president of the Waubee Lake Association, commented on the need for greater cooperation between the association and the council. Out of the roughly 160 homeowners on the lake, 75 are members of WLA, which “promotes the safety and health of the lake,” while the council oversees Waubee Lake Park.
Dwyer expressed concern about the presence of stonewort algae in nearby lakes, which has already resulted in costly remediation efforts. He hopes to include signage at the park to bring attention to the problem and encourage boaters to clean their boats before entering Waubee Lake, thereby stopping the spread of the algae.
Representatives from Milford Kiwanis Club were on hand to request street closures, port-a-potties and use of the community building for Milford Fest, May 27. The council approved the measures.
During Milford Fire Department reports, Vice President Steve Farber said rib-eye steak sandwiches will be served at Milford Fest at 11 a.m. He also thanked the community for support of the picture fundraiser. Farber also referred to a recent active shooter training exercise with the Milford and state police as “eye-opening.”
Firefighter Brian Haines said one quote for the repair of the town’s “old and outdated” tornado alarm system was roughly $33,000 for each siren, totalling around $66,000. However, the system’s problems are related to cold winter weather, he said, and it is currently “working fine.” Haines expects to have a second quote before the May 8 meeting of the council.
During police reports, the council approved Town Marshal Derek Kreider’s plan to implement Rule 35, allowing the department to have an officer draw blood in the case of an OWI involving an accident resulting in bodily injury or death. This would include watercraft, said Kreider. Deputy Adam Amsden has completed the phlebotomy training.
“We’re trying to get ahead of the curve,” said Kreider, referring to an increasing number of hospital labs opting out of providing phlebotomy services to law enforcement.
Milford’s spring clean-up will begin Thursday, April 20, and run through Saturday, April 22. Times are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 20 and 21; and 8-11:30 a.m., April 22. Dumpsters will be available at 600 N. Main St., where town employees will help residents unload.
Milford employees will be flushing hydrants April 12-13.
The council also approved the following motions:
• Construction of a salt storage shed by Ace Builders at a cost of $17,000.
• Placing an advertisement for the hiring of lifeguards and concession stand workers at Waubee Lake Park.
• Hiring Frank Brower for part-time work starting April 20.
• Putting a surplus Milford firetruck up for sale.
• Authorizing Gall to open an account at Interra Credit Union.
• Providing utility credits to two customers by averaging bills of the previous six months. One customer had a water softener malfunction, while the other had a meter malfunction.
The next meeting of Milford Town Council is 7 p.m. Monday, May 8.