October 23, 2019The Milltown Town Council last Monday night conducted the second of two required public hearings regarding application of state funds for the construction of a new approximately $1.6 million wastewater treatment plant.
The town will apply for a $700,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. While the project proposal was submitted on Oct. 4, the actual application for the grant is due on Nov. 22.
Nathan Held of Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission, the project administrator, said OCRA representatives will conduct a site visit on Nov. 7, during which time they will meet with town officials to discuss the application and how it can be strengthened.
"This is a competitive program, and there are applications being submitted throughout the state," he said.
Because of that, public input is valuable, Held said. While Indiana 15 RPC already has received several letters of support for the project, more are welcome, he said. In addition, town residents wishing to complete a survey regarding the project are encouraged to do so, Held said.
Matt Robinson of Heritage Engineering, which is designing the new plant, gave a brief presentation mirroring the one he gave at the first public hearing on Sept. 9. Held invited public comments to be included in the record.
Former town manager Justin Barnes said residents will be affected financially even if a new plant is not constructed.
"Monetarily-wise, it will eventually impact the residents, too, because, if it's failing, there will be (Indiana Department of Environmental Management) fines following," he said.
Monty Garrett, president of the town council, added that, if a new plant isn't constructed, the current one, which is approximately 50 years old, will have to be worked on to ensure it remains operational.
"You're going to have to do repairs, if we don't do anything else. Repair, repair, repair," he said. "The rates will have to increase because the cost of parts, motors, etc. goes up and labor goes up, and you've gone nowhere except where you're at, the same spot.
"By going to a more modern facility," Garrett added, "you're going to cut back on power, cost and you're not going to have the breakdowns due the weather problems that we've had."
Following the hearing, the council voted 3-0 to authorize Garrett, as president, to sign a resolution authorizing the OCRA application submission and the local match commitment. Besides the OCRA grant, the town is applying for a State Revolving Fund loan in the amount of $940,000 to pay the rest of the project costs.
The council also voted 3-0 to accept the resignation for the purpose of retirement of long-time Police Chief Ray Saylor.
Saylor read a letter announcing his plans to step down effective Dec. 31.
"I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to the residents of Milltown for allowing me the honor and privilege of serving them since 2001 and supporting me and the members of the police department," he read, also thanking the town council and several individuals.
Among them were Brenda Coy, whom he noted has "given so much of her personal time and energy to serve the police department," Jack Klein, whom Saylor praised for checking on the senior citizens each week and Jennifer Hogan.
"Finally, I want to thank each and every reserve police officer who served with me here at Milltown Police Department," Saylor said. "Your dedication and devotion to me and the town of Milltown without exception is appreciated more than mere words can provide. Your willingness to put yourselves in harm's way to provide public safety to the residents of Milltown without any financial compensation speaks to the kinds of individuals you are."
Saylor said he decided to retire so that he can spend more time with his family, including his grandchildren.
Jerry Mackey, vice president of the council, who made the motion to accept Saylor's resignation, said, "I want to thank you, Ray, for your service."
In other business, the council:
• Adopted, 3-0, a 2020 town budget of $355,250. The budget must be approved by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
• Voted 3-0 to approve an ordinance regarding credit card and charge card use for town purchases.
The ordinance, which outlines provisions regarding the usage of town credit cards by the town purchasing items, who, unless amended by the town council, are the clerk-treasurer and town manager, will go into effect 30 days after its publication.
A copy of the ordinance also is available at the town hall.
• Gave its blessing to Patsy Stroud and Linda Jenkins for the Beautification Committee to host a Christmas decorating contest for homes and businesses in town in December.
• Introduced new town manager Josh Breeding, who began at the end of September.