Friday, April 24, 2015

Inside the Budgeting Process

Late winter and early spring are one of the busiest times for us in the Village offices as we work to prepare the proposed budget for Village Council review and approval. The process itself is fairly straightforward - I receive spending requests from the various Village Departments and our Village Treasurer receives updated property value forecasts to calculate projected property tax revenues. Other sources of revenue vary from sources that remain the same from year to year and others, such as building permits and parking meter revenues, require us to look both at local and regional trends.

All of this information is assembled into a draft document for review, which often leads to some departmental requests being removed from the proposed budget prior to submission to the Village Council. The highest priority items tend to be infrastructure repairs or improvements, replacement of major equipment, and items which reduce ongoing expenditures for maintenance or operations. All of these needs are weighed in the context of ensuring the Village is positioned to provide prompt and efficient service delivery to the public.

Once the proposed budget is delivered to Village Council for review, a series of public workshops are held in early April to allow for in-depth discussions related to the proposals. Once the budget document is amended based upon these discussions, the Village Council approves the budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY). Per the Village Charter, this must occur before the second Monday in May each year, though it typically is completed at the first Village Council meeting in May.

The total proposed budget for the Village of Milford in FY 2015-2016 is $14,565,956. A large portion of these funds are restricted to certain types of expenditures such as police, roads, water, and sewer funds. Likewise, the funds generated by the road millage can only be used for certain types of road repairs and improvements. Most of what we would consider general government operations is funded from the General Fund, which accounts for $2.3 million of the total budget.

Infrastructure and equipment replacement are two major themes within the proposed budget, including road projects, sidewalk installation and repairs, and the replacement of vehicles and equipment necessary to performing the services offered by the Village. Some of the major infrastructure items included in the proposed budget include the following.


  • Approximately $3.4 million of the nearly $8 million in needed upgrades and repairs at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The remainder will be completed in FY 2016-2017.
  • $600,000 for the Commerce Rd. reconstruction project, which is scheduled to begin in spring 2016. Additional funds have been reserved for this project and the remainder will be budgeted to come from the FY 2016-2017 budget. The total project cost is expected to be in excess of $2 million.
  • $400,000 to repave Canal St. between Main St. and First St.
  • $75,000 for the proposed public parking lot on Huron St. near Main St.
  • $60,000 for the installation of sidewalks along the west side of Peters Rd., adjacent to Janowski Field.
  • $50,000 is proposed to go toward funding restrooms in Central Park.
  • $15,000 for a new residential sidewalk repair and installation program.
  • $15,000 is included to be used for improvements within the Village Parks.
  • $20,000 to repair a booster station and replace fire hydrants. 


Thursday, March 12, 2015

About those Geese…

Recently, the Village announced that it would be implementing a multi-faceted approach to help address the issues associated with the unusually high number of Canada Geese that congregate in and around the waterways near Central Park. While this approach includes the use of egg collection, nest destruction, and relocation of some geese, the overall effort involves a much broader approach to help improve the natural features within the park and river, and increase wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

It is important to note that this program in not aimed at eliminating geese from the river or park, it is simply trying to reduce the overall number of seemingly permanent resident geese to lessen their overall impact on water quality and the park itself.

Due to the feeding of waterfowl, a lack of adequate riparian no-mow zones, and other factors, the resident goose population near the park has grown to the extent it is affecting the quality of the Huron River and adjacent parkland. It is our hope that the use of multiple techniques will provide both short-term and long-term reductions in the potential for conflicts and improved habitat for all wildlife and fish.

The Village very much understands the short-term nature of the relocation program, hence its use only as part of a broader strategy which includes public education, the use of native plantings in riparian no-mow zones, nest destruction, egg collection, and other non-lethal controls. Several of the activities to be conducted require state and/or federal permits, for which the Village has applied. The Village has attempted other non-lethal techniques in the past, including the use of repellants, harassment, and enforcement of a no feeding ordinance, without success. By using a more comprehensive approach involving a variety of techniques, it is our hope that the program will be more successful than past efforts.

How can you help?
  • Do not feed any waterfowl, anywhere, anytime. Doing so causes them to congregate in larger numbers and leads to other issues related to a loss of fear in humans. 
  • Respect no-mow zones established by the Village and try to avoid trampling these plantings, which will be installed later in 2015 and will be marked with signage.
  • If you live along the river, consider implementing your own no-mow zone, and remove any bird feeders which may be close to the river and serve as a food source for geese.
You can also sign up for Parks & Recreation alerts via the Village website to stay informed about possible volunteer opportunities to help with plantings and riparian zone enhancements adjacent to the Huron River and Pettibone Creek. These efforts help to deter geese from coming ashore and also help with habitat improvement and water quality improvement. We have also had several conversations with the Humane Society of the United States about their recommended best practices, some of which are already included in our overall program. We will continue to explore some of their other recommendations for future inclusion and may recruit volunteers to help with these programs in the future as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Milford Police Department Annual Report (2014)

Annually, the Milford Police Department publishes a report detailing its activities and crime within the community over the past 12 months. In lieu of a long post this month, I wanted share the 2014 report with you.

The short version of the report is that Milford remains one of the safest communities in the area. This is in large part due to the great work of our staff within the Police Department, but also because our residents and businesses feel comfortable reaching out to the department to report an incident or ask a question. I hope you find the attached report of interest. 

The Milford Police Department can be reached 24 hours a day via the non-emergency line at 248.684.1815. In the coming weeks, the department will launch a new website at www.milfordpolice.com.


Friday, January 23, 2015

FAQ - Road Projects

Kicking off 2015 on the blog by covering some frequently asked questions (in this case about roads) - I’ll try to do a similar post from time to time, so if you have a question, please send it to me at cwuerth@villageofmilford.org and I will try to include it in a future post.

The most common question I am asked when I meet someone for the first time, and even people that I run into regularly, is when is the Village going to fix Commerce Road? A complete rebuilding of Commerce Road between Summit and Main St. is scheduled for the summer of 2016. This was the timeline which was contemplated even before I started working for the Village and the timing is largely a function of when the federal funding that the Village received is available for the project.

The estimated project cost is north of $2 million, inclusive of engineering and design fees. The road millage approved by voters in 2012 raises approximately $725,000 annually (give or take a little). We spend a portion of that each year on road repairs and preventative maintenance, on top of another $150,000 to $200,000 in funds from the general millage. The remaining funds are reserved for Commerce Road and will be used in conjunction with federal funding to complete the project in 2016. The federal funds are not available until 2016 and will cover a sizable portion of the project costs. Village Council explored the option of moving the road project up to 2015, but there was a potential conflict with the Milford Road project being completed by the Road Commission and the Village was unable to accelerate the timeline for receiving federal road funds. In the interim, our Department of Public Services employees have been working to keep the road as safe and as smooth as possible by implementing short term, cost effective repairs. We have also completed some sewer lining and replaced a section of water main between Crystal and Summit in order to help expedite the construction in 2016.

Another common question of late concerns Peters Road, and whether or not it will be paved by the Village. The paving of Peters Road was included in the past in lists of projects to be covered by road millage requests in 2007 and 2009. Voters in the Village rejected both millage requests.

During the discussions that led up to the 2012 Road Millage request, which was approved by voters, the paving of Peters Road was not included as a project to be funded by the Village. To include it now would require cutting projects which were included in the discussions leading up to the 2012 vote. A project to pave Peters Road does not currently qualify for any funding through state or federal road funds, either, meaning there is no current source of funding for this project.

As the Village has discussed the possible paving of Peters Road in recent months, it has done so with the understanding that some new source of funding, or cuts to existing services, is likely needed in order to fund a project that, while desired, currently has no source of funds available. Both the Administration and Village Council continue to explore funding options, grant opportunities, and other potential cost-effective means of addressing the concerns regarding Peters Road. It is a discussion that will continue over the next few months. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

It Takes a Village...

There are a lot of moving parts that go into making a local government successful at delivering services to residents and businesses and creating a vibrant community for residents and visitors to enjoy. We are fortunate to have a great group of staff working in the Village to offer assistance, patrol our streets, and make sure our utilities are in good repair, among many other daily tasks and projects.

In addition to our staff, we rely on a number of volunteer boards and commissions to help carry out the work at hand. These are our friends and neighbors who have stepped up and volunteered to help shape ordinances and review site plans for new buildings, promote and improve the downtown and our parks, and help to make this a great community for all who live, work, and play in the Village.

Below are a few quick highlights of current and ongoing projects being coordinated by Village boards and commissions. If you are interested in serving on a board or commission in the Village, please contact the Clerk’s Office at 248.684.1515 or visit www.villageofmilford.org/boards.

LaFontaine Family Amphitheater
This project to build an amphitheater in Central Park for summer concerts and other events is a collaborative project between the Downtown Development Authority, the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Milford Rotary. The project was funded through the generous contributions of many local residents, businesses, and community organizations and is on schedule to open in the summer of 2015. Details about the project, including a list of donors and more, can be found at www.milfordamp.org.

Huron River & Central Park
The Village Parks & Recreation Commission, in cooperation with the Huron River Watershed Council and Oakland County hosted a public input session in August regarding the Huron River and helping to improve access between the river and Downtown Milford. Oakland County is wrapping up their report based upon the meeting and additional research they have done and the Village Parks & Recreation Commission will be exploring options based upon that report. This project is part of the Village’s involvement in the HRWC’s Trail Towns program, which will also include the installation of several pieces of art in conjunction with the DIA’s Inside-Out program this summer. Stay tuned for more information about the efforts of the Parks & Rec Commission. For details on the Huron River Water Trail, please visit www.huronriverwatertrail.org.

Have a question about one of these, or another project? Contact the Village Offices at 248.684.1515 for information.