Milford Center Council divided on utility rate increase

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Milford Center Village Council members aren’t in agreement with each other about water and sewer rate increases.
At a meeting Monday night, council members turned down the second reading of a resolution to reinstate a 3-percent yearly increase in water and sewer rates, which Village Fiscal Officer Dawn Barnhardt said would amount to nearly $2. Council also decided to table the reading of a resolution to impose a $2 surcharge for stormwater runoff.
Council members Dan Johnson and Don Jones said council could revisit the resolution for the $2 surcharge once more research on infiltration in the water lines. Johnson said he felt the $2 surcharge was more important to implement than the 3-percent yearly increase.
“My reason for not tackling the first one that I voted “no” was I really felt (the second resolution) was more important to pass immediately,” Johnson said. “I did not want to do both of them at the same time.”
At the February meeting, the first reading of the 3-percent yearly increase was approved by all council members except for Terri Kean. This time, Kean was absent from voting, and Jones and Johnson voted no for its second reading.
Johnson said he didn’t like the idea of a percent-based payment that would “never go away.” He said he was more in favor of a flat rate surcharge because it could “go away.”
“The infrastructure has to be repaired, and that’s why we’re here,” Johnson said.
Jones said he’d like to see how much it would cost to replace stormwater catch basins. He said he also wants to see if he can work with Jeff Orzechowski of E&S Services to get a maintenance plan, as well as ask residents if they know where their basement sub pumps or drains are connected and locate infiltrations.
“I don’t like it either, and I don’t want to pay the extra $2,” Jones said. “But I would rather have my storm water running down like it’s supposed to rather than building up.”
Council member Derek Wilson suggested presenting the issue to residents to see what they want. Council member Jeff Parren said it would be a matter of paying about $3,000 to have residents tell council “no.” Parren said “you got to ask for the money.”
“The $2 a month and 3 percent (increase) are right to do and those need to be added,” Parren said. “I would rather pay $2 a month than have someone come to me and say, ‘oh, by the way, the village has been dissolved because you wouldn’t pay $2 a month.’ You can’t let it crumble.”
Johnson then recommended council member Ron Payne could look into modifying the resolution to charge more in fees for commercial entities.
“We’re going to have to do something because I can tell you right now we’re looking at about $10,000 to replace the three storm basins we got to do,” Mayor Virgil Reisinger said.
Also covered at the meeting;
-Reisinger said work is being done on the old VFW building, located on 16 W. Center St. He said it’s expected to serve council as its new meeting place sometime in July.
-Council approved the first reading of its rules of procedure. Johnson proposed waiving the second and third readings, and it passed with Jones as the only “no” vote.
-Council approved the first reading to adopt its final appropriations budget, and approved of waiving the second and third readings. Barnhardt said the changes made were the inclusion of the VFW building payment from the general fund and changes in dues and fees in the general fund because of appropriations for land taxes.
Payne said this is an anticipation of what the village will spend this year.
-A resolution to appropriate $33,325.97 to the park fund to allow the repayment of the advance in 2018 was approved.
Council will meet again at 7:30 p.m. April 8.



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