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Milltown receives Community Crossings funding

Milltown receives Community Crossings funding Milltown receives Community Crossings funding
By Chris Adams, Contributing Writer

The Town of Milltown was awarded its first Community Crossings Matching Grant.

Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering, who prepared the roadway Asset Management Plan required for the town to be eligible for the state grant, told the town council at its May 10 meeting the grant is for $74,722. The town’s match is $24,914, bringing the total amount of paving work to be funded by the grant to $99,636.

“It’s a good thing, fantastic, because you’re getting almost $100,000 of paving done for less than $25,000,” Woosley said.

At Woosley’s recommendation, the council voted 2-0 (Councilman Justin Barnes was absent) to authorize Jerry Mackey as council president to sign any necessary grant documentation outside of the meeting.

“Hopefully, they’ll do it this way this year, but last year they sent you the funds ahead of time and then you showed documentation of how you spent those funds, and, if you had excess remaining, you sent it back. Years prior to that, you had to ask for reimbursement,” Woosley said.

The roads to be paved include the following: Cherry Street (Broadway Street to Speed Road), East Street (South Street to Hill Street), Hancock Street (Cherry Street to Indiana Avenue), Jefferson Street (Main Street to Logan Street), Logan Street (Union Street to Jefferson Street), Main Road (S.R. 64 to 0.38 mile southeast of S.R. 64), North Street (Harrison Avenue to East Street), Quarry Lane (Speed Road to 0.1 mile north of Speed Road), Summers Lane (Main Street to 0.12 mile north of Main Street) and Union Street (Main Road to Logan Street).

Woosley also gave the council a construction update on the new wastewater treatment plant.

“They continue to roll right along even with all the weather we’ve had,” he said of contractor Mitchell and Stark Construction. “Thus far, it hasn’t hurt them too bad. They have lost some days because of rain. The good news is they’ve finished the bulk of the concrete pouring. The tank wall, the tankage itself is all complete, all the walls are finished.”

Woosley added all other pieces of equipment have been delivered, which he said is a “huge positive” since many other projects are being delayed. He noted the project is still on schedule to meet the Aug. 3 deadline to be substantially complete as required by the Community Block Development Grant.

With work progressing, the council, following a motion by Councilwoman Jean Melton, voted 2-0 to approve the fourth pay request from Mitchell and Stark Construction in the amount of $410,470.30, with $43,498.95 to be retained until the end of the project to pay for any incomplete punch list items.

In a related matter, Woosley said he and town manager Josh Breeding have worked on a draft of a map of the wastewater treatment system. He said the map is among the necessary documents required for the Community Block Development Grant and State Revolving Fund loan the town received to help pay for the plant.

Woosley said the draft, which is about 80% finished, is not completely accurate.

“It’s the best we know of where things are today, because some of these things are so old we’re going off of people’s memory of where some things are located, because it’s all underground,” he said.

Breeding added that the original map they’re working from is from the 1950s or ’60s.

Woosley said the firm Baker Tilley of Indianapolis will determine the financial value of the plant’s assets.

“Once this is finished, it’s a good thing because now we’ll have a reliable map that we can update over time,” he said.

The town council also was approached by resident Bill Byrd about accepting money raised through the years by the no longer active Milltown Beautification Committee. Through investments, the committee’s funds have grown from $10,000 it raised during the town’s sesquicentennial in 1989 to more than $30,000, he said.

“This needs to come into the town so there’s some oversight on the money,” Byrd said.

Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Lutz said the town can create a fund via ordinance to accept the money.

“We have a family that’s willing to volunteer to plant flowers at all the planters coming into town and water them and take care of them,” she said.

Lutz said the town council, just like it does with other funds, would approve the expenditures.

Mackey said he will get in touch with Marquita Taylor, who was active with the Beautification Committee for years, to discuss the funds.

Mackey also notified the town council that he was contacted by Michael Thissen, Crawford County Economic Development’s executive director, about hosting a broadband internet kickoff at Milltown.

Crawford County last year received a $3.06 million Next Level grant from the State of Indiana to bring broadband internet to the county. Milltown will be the first area in the county to benefit from the grant.

The kickoff was May 26 at Milltown American Legion Post 332.

In other business, the town council:

Amended the town credit card ordinance to include the town marshal as a purchasing agent, allowing for the purchase of gas in case of an emergency. Other purchasing agents include the clerk-treasurer and town manager.

Amended the ordinance for solid waste collection services for residential and commercial units in the town. The new monthly rates are $14, single can; $18, double can; $41.15, two-cubic-yard dumpster; $61.16, three-cubic-yard dumpster; and $81.15, four-cubic-yard dumpster. The ordinance also requires 30 days of notice to end dumpster service. Failure to make a payment will result in a late charge equaling 10% of the monthly fee.

Was asked by Lutz for its thoughts on her putting together a plan regarding using the town’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) and Cemetery Fund monies to correct previously noted outstanding financial errors. The town has $15,222 in CARES funds that must be spent by the end of the year and $235,874.50 in Cemetery Fund monies.

Town attorney David Hutson said he believes the Cemetery Fund dollars, which were donated to the town, are not restricted, meaning they can be used however the town council determines.

Following discussion, Lutz said she hopes to present a spending plan to the town council at its next meeting, set for Monday, June 14, at 7 p.m. at the town hall.

Discussed a resident’s complaints about ongoing speeding along Day Lane. Erecting a speed limit sign was discussed, but Breeding, the town manager, said he didn’t believe that would help since the people speeding likely are locals who already know the speed limit but choose to ignore it. Breeding said Police Chief Jimmie Vincent, who wasn’t at the meeting, has said he will increase patrol of the area.

Was informed by Breeding that he has secured two appraisals for a section of property at the end of Harrison Avenue, with the average being $8,000. The town now can move forward with contacting adjoining land owners to see if they have interest in purchasing the property for 90% of the average.

Breeding said he also learned that the town does own the old railroad trestle property. It was thought that the town did, but he couldn’t find a deed until now.

Discussed in length the process for cleaning up properties. It was noted that the Milltown Police Department has been issuing letters of notification to owners of the properties in violation of town ordinances. However, with the property owners having 30 days in between letters to respond, it’s a lengthy process.

Approved applying for a $2,500 Endangered Places Grant from Indiana Landmarks to assess and devise a plan for rehabilitation of the Milltown Town Hall, which has a leaky roof and door. The grant requires a $625 match from the town. The town is eligible for the grant after having become a member of Indiana Landmarks last fall.