Right off the bat, council members were hot-under-the-collar at the regular monthly Cloverdale Town Council meeting.
Board Vice President Dennis Padgett and member Glenn Vickroy questioned an emergency claim presented by Town Clerk/Treasurer Patti Truax calling for payment for a Morgan County man who is an employee of the Cloverdale Town Fire Dept.
The emergency claim from Nov. 27 called for a total of $29,466.64, which included $200 for the man regarding gasoline and clothing stipends.
However, Vickroy asked Truax why the town was paying a man who did not live in the town a stipend.
Padgett echoed Vickroy's concern.
"I think we should investigate this," Padgett said.
But Truax said Indiana Code stipulated the town must pay the employee.
Still, Padgett and Vickroy both wondered aloud why the town was paying someone from out of the county to serve as a town employee.
The concerns aggravated board member Judy Whitaker, who questioned why the two expressed concern in the matter.
"You want to quibble over that," Whitaker said.
Town attorney Scott Hoff said he was unaware of the code and asked Truax for a copy of it.
Truax brought the code to Hoff's attention.
Indiana Code 36-8-12-5 states that unless otherwise provided by contract, a unit served by a volunteer fire department shall pay to each active and participating member of the department a clothing allowance of not less than $100 per year and an automobile allowance of not less than $100 per year.
According to the code, a contract may also provide that fees for membership in a regularly organized volunteer firefighters' association be paid by the unit on behalf of the firefighters in the volunteer fire department.
The board voted 5-0 to accept the emergency claim.
Meanwhile, the town finalized action regarding some residents' unusually large water bills Tuesday.
Hoff had been asked to write a town resolution regarding the matter. After careful consideration, he finalized his resolution and presented it to the town Tuesday.
Hoff told the board he talked with the state board of accounts. Officials with the state agency informed him to follow state code, which he did.
Several residents have approached the board this year regarding unusually high utility bills. In October, the board discussed the possibility of creating an resolution for those residents.
At that meeting, Hoff told the board he didn't believe there was a state code for adjusting sewer rates. But several board members expressed concern for citizens who have swimming pools or hot tubs and the amount of water being used to fill them.
On Tuesday, Hoff presented the board with his resolution, calling for the town utility manager to authorize adjustments of an unusually large bill if the excess usage reflected in the bill is caused by physical damage to any facility or equipment supplying water to the premises and the damage:
-- If not visible or detectable on the customer's premises, except upon excavation or some other disturbance on the property, and
-- It is not the result of an act of the customer, or of any agent of contractor hired by the customer.
The resolution also called for a written request to the utility manager asking for an adjustment describing the cause of excess water usage or documented proof for the utility manager that the conditions of the resolution are met.
The board unanimously voted in favor of the resolution.
In other business, the board:
-- Approved Dec. 12 claims in the amount of $72,539.37 by a 5-0 vote.
-- Learned from Utility Manager Mike Gray that the town had recently received street signs -- intended for Stardust Hills -- it had purchased from Stello Products, Spencer. However, Gray said after some of the signs were placed, others were stolen.
"The best thing we can do now is get the cooperation from the people that live there," Gray said. "That's tax money going out the window for nothing."
-- Learned from Gray that Spiker Excavating was scheduled to place guard rails for Stardust Hills on Dec. 18.
-- Unanimously approved a measure calling for Gray to order a new stainless steel salt spreader for the town dump truck estimated at $8,800.
-- Learned that the town's No. 1 lift station went down during Thanksgiving.
-- Learned from Town Police Chief Charlie Hallam that the town had received favorable financing for a fourth police car.
-- Approved a measure to appropriate $50,000 from the cumulative capital development fund and move it to next year so it could be spent through the 2006 budget.
-- Approved the town hall maintenance contract of Kim Wright for next year.
-- Approved a rainy day fund by a 5-0 vote.
-- Learned from Main Street officials that the Cloverdale Christmas Parade was a success.
-- Learned from Redevelopment Commission President Don Gedert that the proposed horse arena for the town was still waiting for final financial approval.
-- Reappointed all members of the Redevelopment Commission by a 5-0 vote.
-- Learned that Cloverdale Park will be locked up during the winter months.
-- Learned there were still two vacancies on the park board.
-- Approved a measure for the town fire department to seek a release from its lease on pagers. The lease is owned by an out-of-state bank.
-- Tabled a proposal calling for a new rules and procedures manual by a 4-1 vote, with Vickroy voting no. Whitaker motioned to table the issue after saying she had not seen the final copy until Tuesday's meeting.
-- Tabled the town's proposed drug policy by a 5-0 vote.
The council meets regularly on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Its next meeting, however, is scheduled for 6 p.m., Dec. 28.