CLOVERDALE -- The town of Cloverdale has taken a big step in solving its abandoned vehicle problem.
During a regular town council meeting Tuesday, a resolution on abandoned vehicles was passed in hopes to improve the look of the community.
Resolution 2009-1 states council can take direct action against anyone in violation of the state's abandoned vehicle law. This gives Town Marshal Don Pearson and his deputies the right to take any action necessary to have the vehicle removed. Town council will then make an official decision at its next scheduled meeting.
Pearson was not at Tuesday's meeting, however.
"It makes a communication difference when the marshal is not (at the meetings). He needs to be present," council member Terry Puffer said.
Council President Don Sublett said Pearson would be in attendance at the April meeting with a report on abandoned vehicles in the area.
The stronger ordinance means once a vehicle has been left inoperable for 20 days, it will be towed.
Vehicles worth $750 or less will be sold for scrap metal to an approved salvage yard. Proceeds from the sale will go towards the towing fee with any remaining money going to the town.
Should an abandoned vehicle be worth more than $750 a public sale or auction would be held. Those proceeds would be distributed.
Among passed ordinances was a utility ordinance. Town council members will comprise a new utility board. Its first meeting will be held March 17 at town hall.
Town attorney Alan Yackey reminded council members, when considering utility matters, Cloverdale is due for some growth. He said U.S. 231 and Interstate 70 are "prime for development."
Some items on the new board's agenda include bringing old ordinances up to date. Some had not been looked at since the late 1970s and include fees such as $25 for messing with a fire hydrant.
The hydrant-tampering fee could be raised to $100 for a first-time offense and $200 for repeat offenders. There may also be a $250 fee imposed after 17 days of delinquency on a utility bill.
In other business, Sublett requested permission to inquire about the purchase of the Farmer property.
A lift station needs to be moved and Sublett feels this one-acre piece of property located across the street from the current station is perfect.
Council gave approval with the agreement a rock clause would be included. The clause will state should the land not be suited for a lift station, council is under no obligation to purchase it.
Other approvals given by council:
* Utility manager Don Guthrie was given permission to purchase a 2008 Ford F350 pick-up. The truck has a utility bed preinstalled, which gives room for necessary tools and parts to be on board at all times.
The utility department needs at least one vehicle replaced, Guthrie said. He told council members several incentives are being given on the price.
Puffer stated he felt maybe the town waited too long before replacing the utility vehicles. He made the motion for the purchase of the $34,725 vehicle, which was seconded by Steve Caulkins, vice-president.
* Council approved to move $30,000 from the water depreciation fund to cover the water department for the month of February. Approval was also given to move $30,000 again to cover the month of March.
Patti Truax said the department only takes in $40,000 to $45,000 each month and has $50,000 to $55,000 going out. This is the reason for the water rate hike just approved by the town council.
* An upset council member asked all vehicle repairs be removed from Steele's Auto and Wrecker Service. Dennis Padgett said he and other council members have been receiving phone calls at all hours of the night from owner Jim Steele while he is intoxicated.
"It's disrespectful," Padgett said.
Council agreed to require three estimates -- excluding Steele's -- for any vehicle repairs.
* The 2010 census is approaching and creating some jobs. Anyone interested in one of the temporary government jobs can visit www.census.gov
Sublett asked for 10 volunteers to help coordinate the 2010 census.