CLOVERDALE -- Five Cloverdale High School students got an up-close view of American democracy in action when they attended Tuesday night's town council meeting.
The students, who were working on a class project for teacher Maureen Wagner's government class, watched as Town Attorney Allan Yackey gave lengthy answers to legal questions, council member John Davis verbally sparred with realtor John Setty about a 16-foot gate that might or might not be at the end of Setty's road and members rehashed political matters that they have been wrangling about for months.
One student, who did not want to give her name, said the entire ordeal was educational, but it made her glad she lives in Owen County and not the town of Cloverdale.
The town council voted unanimously to remove two concrete barriers at the end of Crosswinds Road that Setty said Davis and Utility Manager Mike Gray placed there.
In place of the barriers, the town will erect stop signs and "Road Ends" signs at the end of the road.
But this decision only came at the end of a lengthy deliberation in which Davis accused Setty of lying to the council, and Yackey and Gray weighed in on the proper course of action.
The council seemed deadlocked and ready to do nothing on the matter until Development Commission Director Don Gedert suggested the stop sign solution.
Meanwhile, council members also voted 5-0 to approve the rezoning of a property at 601 E. Main St. that will allow Phyllis and Jerry Thacker to open an antique shop.
The board unanimously signed off on a letter to the Indiana Department of Environmental Manage-ment that Gedert said will go a long way toward getting approval for the construction of sewer and water lines that run to the Crossroads Horse Arena on Stardust Road.
The debate over amendments to the salary ordinance that the council approved at a special meeting last month brought up an old disagreement over the town's K-9 unit again.
In order to move forward with the police department reorganization that Marshal Don Pearson recommended to the council, the members had to vote to strike several positions, including the K-9 handler, from the town salary ordinance.
Pearson's new police hierarchy makes room for just four positions -- marshal, senior patrolman, patrolman and probationary patrolman.
But council member Judy Whitaker argued that since some members of the community are planning to raise the money to re-launch the police dog program without any cost to the town, council members would be remiss to eliminate the job.
Council President Don Sublett, Vice President Dennis Padgett and member Glen Vickroy voted in favor of striking the position -- causing the measure to succeed 3-2.
Council members also voted in a split decision to raise the deputy Clerk-Treasurer's salary to $28,000. Whitaker and Davis favored raising the pay to $30,000 per year since other towns of similar size paid that much on average. Vickroy wanted to keep the deputy's salary at $26,000. In the end, Whitaker joined Sublett and Padgett in passing the measure 3-2.
Gedert also told the board about a study he has in the works that will use DePauw University students to poll Cloverdale residents about their income levels. The data collected in the study will allow the town to apply for several economic assistance grants, he said.
The town council regularly meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Cloverdale Town Hall.