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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Town finds itself in financial crunch

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

CLOVERDALE -- Town Clerk Treasurer Patti Truax pleaded with the council Tuesday evening to cut back on unnecessary expenses. The general fund for the town is down to $25,000. This is the fund that is used to pay part of the employees their wages every week.

"I spoke with the auditor and she believes we should have our tax draw around August," said Truax. "We just have to watch our spending and be frugal, but we'll be alright."

As it stands, the weekly draw on the general fund is around $5,000 for workers' paychecks. With additional draws on the account, Council Member Terry Puffer pointed out that the general fund could be depleted as soon as three weeks.

"We need to look into this before it becomes a real issue," said Puffer. "It's better to look at acquiring funds now rather than waiting until we're in a really tight spot."

For this, Puffer suggested they approve a loan be taken out from the riverboat fund which presently has $40,000. Town Attorney Alan Yackey also said they could draw from the sewage fund or obtain an outside loan. However, at the meeting, there were no decisions made on the matter.

Town Council President Don Sublett reported that the town is now set up to take Visa cards for utility payments. This will make it easier for residents to make their payments at Town Hall.

The board also heard from their financial advisors regarding their water fund. It has been 10 years since anything has been done regarding water rates in the fund. Operating expenses are around $458,000 annually. This is an increase from prior years due in part to rising costs of essential chemicals.

The financial advisor said there is currently a $100,000 shortage from funds to operating cost ratio. This problem is being reported in many other communities such as Brownsburg and Plainfield as well. The increase is around 23 percent and the board will discuss doing this in small increments to ease the cost put on the consumers.

Another way to ease the cost of operating is to cut back on health insurance. There was a 12 percent increase on the health insurance premium reported from within the past three years. The council discussed the issue of changing the health benefit package for town employees.

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Why not have our attorney write an ordinance that prohibits our general fund to go below $50,000? Then write all the checks we need to write, the bank wouldn't be able to bounce them because it's the law.

Problem solved. Xgamer for Mayor.

-- Posted by Xgamer on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 4:31 AM

The general fund can only be used for certain things, payroll draw is only one area, and highly unlikely is the cause of the situation. The council approves what is and has been spent out of that fund. The only thing the clerk treasurer can do is pay what has been approved as long as it is legal and funds are available, wheather or not it is a wise expenditure is not her call. I think the first sentence of the article may be nicely trying to say something.

-- Posted by sadNmad on Wed, May 28, 2008, at 9:41 PM

buckstop,thanks for setting me straight on bank checking laws. Obviously, you missed the satire in my comment. K.C. reported that the Clerk pleaded to cut back unnecessary expenses, as the general fund was getting low. If you read further, the solutions suggested by the council, and an attorney, were to borrow from other funds, or even an outside loan.

This is where I usually chime in. As I found those "suggested solutions" not to be solutions at all, I added (in comment) my idea that is of the same caliber of intelligence prestented at the meeting. Honestly, cut back the health insurance??

Again, I wonder, does anyone know how much has been spent on attorney fees this year? How much of this was necessary? How would this amount help out in the general fund?

-- Posted by Xgamer on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 7:12 AM

So it seems we are now looking at a 23% increase in our water bill. Does this mean that when are yards are dug up due to a water leak that the town will actually clean up their mess and come back and till and seed what they have torn up? I now have a spot in my yard that retains water and cannot be mowed. I should however be able to raise a nice crop of mosquitos this summer.

-- Posted by cloverlady on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 8:42 AM

The attorney fees would have been greatly reduced over the past 3-4 years if there had not been all of the frivolous lawsuits brought forward by former council members John Davis and Judy Whitaker or brought due to their actions.

If you want to complain about attorney fees go complain to these two people and tell them you want them to stop suing the community.

-- Posted by CdaleResident on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 2:57 PM

Uh CdaleResident....you obviously dont pay much attention to the goings ons in this town. IF you did then you would know that the reason the lawsuits were brought forth is because certain individuals were acting on their own or going about certain proceedings that were against the law. Had they followed the rules/laws i'm sure that no lawsuits would have been filed. Those lawsuits are only minor to the money that has been wasted by the new council, maybe you should ask them why do the locks in the town hall need to be changed so often....and why so many sets of keys have to be made when only a certain few even need to be in the building to begin with. But obviously your stuck in the past and havent a clue as to whats going on these days. I'm not the least bit suprised that the town is about to run out of money the way that these people have just been spending as they please. Maybe if they sold the equipment and hose from the old fire dept instead of just letting the twp. have it for free while the town is still paying on a loan for it...they could be taking that money and paying off a loan and therefore saving some money...but that wouldnt make any sense now would it. That probably didnt make any sense to ya tho beings you are blaming the duo for this. Time to open the ole peepers an actually see whats going on.

-- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Thu, May 29, 2008, at 10:08 PM

CdaleResident, since you seemed to be informed of lawsuits and cost thereof, why don't you go ahead and post the information as I don't have a clue what you are referring to. You could go ahead post the cost and monies paid to Puffers and Settys as well since they dwarf any cost my lawsuit should have cost the town as I know what I have paid.

I did attend this meeting and at no time were attorney fees mentioned as part of the problem and in this you are right. The attorney is costing the town a fortune. Go ahead and post what has been paid to him overall since the beginning of the year. What the article did not state is the council has run through a lot of money foolishly, against the advice of the Clerk at almost every meeting, and after a 70K loan from the water fund. Ask the current board where the money has gone and I doubt if any of them can tell you.

The only board member who has attempted, and failed to get the attorney under control is Puffer. He should stick to his guns as he is the only member speaking up to Council member Yackeys unnecessary comments. Even though I don't agree with Puffer on most issues, his idea of cutting back on contractual services and taking care of things in-house is a sound idea. This is called in-house as stated by Puffer and not privatization as Yackey tried to state. They can use the scenario of removing the Township fire department and reinstating the TOWN fire department as a textbook model of doing this sort of thing. The Town is still saving THOUSANDS of dollars from this necessary action. You're welcome!

The other thing I noticed was, if I was a town employee, they would have had my resignation on the table that night. Not only are the suggested solutions to cut back on benefits, have the employee pay more for benefits, have the employees go part-time, but Vickroy the same as accused the employees of stealing fuel. His solution for the last item was to padlock the fuel tank, have a board member watch them fuel up on Mondays and again possibly on Thursdays. He came close to falling out of his chair reaching for the padlock he conveniently brought.

Apologize for being so lengthy. This is my first post. xgamer whoever he/she is would certainly be an improvement. sadNmad seems to have a good grasp on the truth as well.

-- Posted by J Davis on Fri, May 30, 2008, at 5:55 AM

I'm not concerned with how much money you or Judy personally spent. You can go spend your grandchildren's inheritance for all I care. I am just concerned with the amount of money that the town has had to spend to fight lawsuits you bring against the town, lawsuits that you are still continuing to fight. You personally are causing part of the waste of our tax dollars. Stop wasting our tax dollars. You are not right and the courts have proved it.

-- Posted by CdaleResident on Fri, May 30, 2008, at 2:58 PM

I hear the same gibberish down at T's from Ms. Debi. Either she has the numbers or she is stuck beating a dead horse with her blinders on. It would have been nice to have her comment on the actual article and answer comments made by J. Davis. Where did the money go? Why is the attorney making the decisions for the board? How much has the town paid the attorney this year? Wasn't it published in the Banner last month the Planning board was needing more money for attorney fees? Is there a reporter at these meetings? If so, why are we still in the dark on what is going on at the town hall?

Bondsman, my papa used to say its not about getting along, its about doing whats right.

-- Posted by gingb2 on Sat, May 31, 2008, at 9:03 AM

Small town gibberish appears to be your town's way of fact finding rather than going to the source. You need to get the actual facts from the actual sources to draw an actual conclusion if you are really sincere about your little town having a future. I have been around a little and know that just because you call a duck a swan doesn't make it a swan. I've read the different blogs concerning your town and I find it hard to believe that a lot of them have a real honest concern for the town, it appears to be smoke and mirrors and leading the weak minded to follow a minority that is going to reduce your town to a ghost town if you don't wake up. You think your financial problems are due to a late draw, think again. I've seen towns thrive and towns dwindle away, don't let yours be the latter.

-- Posted by sadNmad on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 1:47 AM

I would suggest the town board of Cloverdale hire a town manager,and then step back and let he/she do the job. It works in Danville, why not Cloverdale.

BTW, interview candidates with no local connections, and make sure they have credentials.

-- Posted by localman on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 6:10 AM

Hiring a town manager sounds like a good idea, however they dont have the funds to do so, if the council had any concept of money management they wouldnt have themselves in this predicament.

-- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 6:55 AM

sadNmad - I could not agree more with your comments. It's quite unfortunate the sincere citizens do not get involved and run for the council. Having been in the minority on the council the past couple of years, it was quite clear the direction the town was going to take was clearly a rough ride down.

The town did have an Administrative Assistant at one time but the board did not relinquish control for them to do the job they were hired to do.

sonicfilter - its Mr. Davis and I agree this town board is certainly the best entertainment around. What an expensive show it has turned out to be. I'm still waiting on Mrs. P to post the figures she claims to know otherwise it just falls into the gibberish category.

-- Posted by J Davis on Mon, Jun 2, 2008, at 8:34 PM

i would love to know how to go about getting the numbers on the frivolous spending. how do we do that? Because it seems to me that we, the citizens of Cloverdale, are having to pay, more than we should, for expenses that should have been controlled or not even incurred to begin with. this is ridiculous. i am honestly surprised that this town is still going. i understand that the economy is horrible and that the cost of everything is going up. the solution to that is a BUDGET! Make one and stick to it. There is no legitimate reason the town should be looking at going broke. Everyone else is suffering because the board acts like a bunch of 2nd graders arguing over who's right and who's wrong instead of working together to fix the problems and get this town back on track.

-- Posted by celticsun1983 on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 10:00 AM

"I spoke with the auditor and she believes we should have our tax draw around August," said Truax. "We just have to watch our spending and be frugal, but we'll be alright."

Why is this so hard to understand?

I have ask to see the claims for the past 3 months. You can too. If you ask the clerk she will tell you this "crunch" is normal for this time of year.

There is quite a bit of money being paid out in attorney fees, but the town has no choice in that matter. That has been brought on by Davis, Whitaker and Hallam. Hopefully when these are finally played out, the court will order these people to pay court cost and attorney fees for the town.

By the way, you might ask to see the police budget prior to Chief Pearson. I have. Talk about frivilous spending!!

-- Posted by captain crunch on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 4:38 PM

I think it would only be prudent for the town to look at cutting health care benefits. Most any one of us can relate to that.

-- Posted by captain crunch on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 4:57 PM

frivilous spending in the police budget before chief pearson? you mean the actual cost's of have a police force that actually patrolled the streets, went to classes to extend their education, actually making arrests and making it a safer place to live.....or the new budget...lets park all the cars and let the sherriff's dept handle all our calls....and as far as health benefits...the employees are already at a minimal pay and had their vehicles taken away, least they could do is keep up with the benefits.

-- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 8:40 PM

Move on, you should do your homework. Check and see how much the pay raises were for 2008.

Oh yea, the "vehicles" do not belong to the empolyees, they belong to the Town of Cloverdale. IF those empolyees want to reside in the town they work, they would be able to drive the vehicles to and from work. It is not the towns responsilbility to provide personal transportation such as; going to dinner in Avon, shopping in Bloomington, joy riding your family and friends around.

-- Posted by captain crunch on Tue, Jun 3, 2008, at 9:16 PM

hey chef i did do my homework, the cost of living went up as well. I still feel these people are underpaid for the work that they do. oh an yes i know that the vehicles are owned by the town, having a vehicle is a perk, kinda makes up for the low pay. and as far as the vehicles out joyriding with my family and friends, dont think so...however i know that there are certain people that have nothing better to do other than follow certain individuals around all the time....maybe those folks should go to hollywood an follow the celebs with their cameras.

-- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 2:16 AM

The town might as well let the high school Govt and Economics class run the town.At least they might be civil,w/o agenda and more apt to follow normal course of action for a town. What the heck, could they do any worse than presant and past boards have done.As another former resident that shoulda got involved but couldnt stomach the dysfunction and moved,I'd love to see more published in local newspapers about budgets,expenses,and actions involving taxpayer money.Accountability is paramount to honest,legit and intelligent govt as well as spent taxpayer dollars....

-- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 10:48 AM

I have to agree w/ gingb2. What the heck is the town attorney doing in the middle of a meeting hashing regular issues out like he is a regular council member? ( "Town Attorney Alan Yackey also said they could draw from the sewage fund or obtain an outside loan") Having paid attorney fees a couple times,such as $60-80 copies printed out and similar fees for those 2 minute phone calls ect,I'd hazzard to guess what Councilman Yackey is drawing for attending meetings and being another councilman.Does he have waaay too much time on his hands or has he found a sweeeet motherlode?

-- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 11:14 AM

ya imagine the attorney knowing where they can borrow or pull money from, course he doesnt care whether it gets paid back or not, he's getting his share, the problem with borrowing more money or pulling funds from the sewage fund...1 will there be enough money next year to cover the borrowing and 2 if ya pull from the sewage fund...what happens when there is a pump or something major that is needed to be taken care of at the sewer dept and no money is there. But they dont think that far ahead.

-- Posted by justmoveonwillya on Wed, Jun 4, 2008, at 11:41 AM

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