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Cloverdale board approves budget, hears sewer dispute

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Town Council unanimously approved its $661,000 2008 budget Tuesday night.

The issue of Council President Don Sublett's initiative to set up a demolition and restoration fund for derilict buildings still remained up in the air and requires further council approval and legal issues to enact, Clerk-Treasurer Patti Truax said.

However, after three previous meetings to discuss and rework the details of the funds for 2008, the council members swiftly and with little debate pushed the budget through.

At an emergency meeting that took place an hour before the regular meeting, board members heard comments from Utilities Manager Mike Gray and engineering firm Triad Associates on a handful of disagreements between Triad and contractor Bowen Engineering over the construction of the town's new waste water treatment plant.

Triad representative James Frazell and Gray both praised the quality of Bowen's work and said the project, which is due to be completed in March, is two to three months ahead of schedule.

However Frazell described "trauma" between his the town and his firm and Indianapolis-based Bowen.

The first major sticking point was Bowen's decision to bill the town $2,500 for the removal of paint at the job site that, according to preliminary tests, contained lead. However, when the paint was removed and tested, no lead was found.

Frazell and Gray told council members that they  believe the town should not have to pay for that work.

The other issue concerns the removal of residual waste from an existing tank at the plant. Bowen paid a subcontractor to empty the tank and charged the town $6,000 for the work, Frazell said.

Gray told the board he could to hire a contractor to remove the waste from the second tank for a lower price than Bowen will charge. He is currently negotiating with the firm on that issue, he said.

These stumbling blocks go beyond the normal give-and-take of a construction project of this scale and Gray and Franzell wanted to alert the board to the issues, Gray said.

At its regular meeting the town board also unanimously passed a resolution that would allow the town utility manager to adjust "unusually large" sewage bills that are caused by either a meter error or known leaks in the piping. The town already has a similar practice in place for the water bills.

Council Attorney Allan Yackey updated the board about missing pagers and radios that were issued to the now-disbanded Cloverdale Town Fire Department. Because the missing radios can potentially be used to disrupt emergency communication, their disappearance is a matter of homeland security, he said. As a result, Yackey told the board that he will refer the case to the Indiana State Police and recommend the prosecution of anyone who is found with one of the missing radios.



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