Milford City Council Reaches Agreement with School District

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File Photo: School Resource Officers (SRO) for the Milford School District, Pfc Matt Smith
File Photo: School Resource Officers (SRO) for the Milford School District, Pfc Matt Smith

By Terry Rogers

On Monday, July 27, Milford City Council approved an agreement with Milford School District related to funding for three School Resource Officers placed in district schools. The district agreed to pay $75,000 for each of the two additional officers with the city picking up the $25,000 remaining cost for the officers. Originally, the district agreed to pay $100,000 for the two additional officers.

“I was very pleased that we could come to an agreement with Milford School District to keep the officers in the schools,” Mayor Bryan Shupe said. “The officers not only provide an extra layer of safety and security in the six district schools, but they also create a positive relationship with students that carries out into the community.”

In a press release issued by the district, Dr. Phyllis Kohel, Superintendent, said that the district was fortunate to have a city and district who place student safety in the forefront during a time when attacks on schools across the country are at an all-time high. She said that district was grateful that they were able to work out an agreement with the city that will allow the three officers to continue providing safety services to the area schools.

In addition to the agreement with the school district, City Council also voted to rescind two new fees that were implemented in June 2015. The first was a deposit request processing fee and a budget billing fee. In June 2014, then City Manager, Hans Medlzarz, advised council to add a $15 fee in order for customers to get their electric deposits back when they discontinued service and to add a $1 fee per month for budget billing.

“Evaluating the new Electric Rules and Regulations, interim City Manager, Jeff Portmann and I discussed the reality of some of the measures intended to create a more current system to serve the City of Milford and the residents more effectively,” said Mayor Shupe. “These two specific measures created, what we believed to be, an unnecessary addition of fees on residents. The deposit return fee was not only an additional fee for residents to receive their own money back, but was projected to cost the city more in resources and software upgrades than it was projected to bring in. Budget billing helps citizens with their monthly budgets by blending high electric consumption months with lower ones to even out the cash flow on a monthly basis. This helps the customer avoid getting behind on their bills due to a higher consumption month. The city wants to encourage this and not charge additional fees to discourage it. The City of Milford will continue to deliver its high level of quality service and commit to working with its electric partners in finding ways to counter the rising costs of energy across the nation.”

City Council also agreed to accept an award from the USDA for $13,000 toward a Tourism Feasibility Study being conducted by the University of Delaware’s Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management (HRIM) department. The study will cost $15,000, with the City picking up the remaining $2,000 to complete it. The project is being done in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milford, Downtown Milford Inc., the Delaware Tourism Office and the City of Milford. The City can also apply next year for additional phases of the project that may include a marketing plan and implementation.

The project objective is to increase revenue in the city and local businesses through a “Marketing Milford: A Tourism Demographic Study, Brand Enhancement and Promotional Plan.” It will be conducted in phases which will include a feasibility study to assess what Milford offers in the form of tourism in order to develop and implement a marketing campaign designed to increase tourism in the city.

HRIM will conduct a study to determine whether it is feasible to diversify and expand tourist attractions as well as the infrastructure of the city. Recommendations will be offered to develop and market the city as a tourist destination by defining demographics, assessing existing attractions, determining what resources exist and are able to be developed for tourism, identify tourism products with the greatest market potential and suggest a plan to implement the recommendations determined.

“This city-wide assessment of tourism in Milford will help the City of Milford and its business community to understand our tourism attractions and infrastructure,” Mayor Shupe said. “It will also help public and private stakeholders develop marketing strategies. By establishing empirical data regarding our current and potential tourism efforts, this program will allow the business community and the City of Milford to construct data-driven decisions on how to attract more investment and support for the Milford economy.”