CLOVERDALE -- It is said communication is key to all areas of life. Cloverdale Town Council recently learned there has been a communication problem within its own ranks.
The communication breakdown was first brought to council's attention during a routine approval of claims. Clerk-treasurer Patti Truax had $5,000 in attorney fees, which was approved during council's December meeting. Council members questioned Truax about the four-month delay.
She stated she inquired about making the payment from State Board of Accounts. SBA gave her the green light; however, it was the council's understanding the problem was solved when attorney Allen Yackey advised the payment be made.
Communication issues continued when utility manager Don Guthrie approached the council. He was asked about some work needing done around the town. For example, the southern entrance to Stardust Hills is in need of some attention along with numerous other things.
Guthrie told council he has been swamped with work, especially training in the office. Some confusion arose as to what Guthrie should be doing with his time. Council members Terry Puffer and Dennis Padgett said his absence from the field has been noticed.
To help clear up any uncertainty about Guthrie's responsibilities, a meeting of the sewer board has been scheduled for April 21. Topics will also include Altra Biofuels use of the town's wastewater system.
Altra's receiver and his attorney are striking up a deal with the town to use its system for expelling waste as required by IDEM. There will be some revenue generated for the town once the project is complete.
In other communications, Town Marshal Don Pearson went before the board regarding abandon vehicles in the area. It has been an ongoing issue with the town about having vehicles, which appear to be abandon and inoperable, removed.
Pearson advised council members he would be tagging 15 vehicles each day on the Morrison property. In the past 30 days, only one vehicle has been towed under the state's abandon vehicle law.
Much discussion between Yackey, council members and Pearson took place over how to interpret the law. Yackey told Pearson it is a judgment call on whether or not a vehicle is inoperable.
"No harm can be done if it is a good faith determination," Yackey said.
Once a vehicle has been spotted and appears to be inoperable, such as flat tires or missing parts, there is a 20-day waiting period before tagging it. When a vehicle is tagged, its owner has 72 hours to have it fixed. If that 72 hours has passed and nothing is done, the vehicle should be towed.
An executive safety meeting has been scheduled for Saturday to discuss the police car take-home policy.
In other business:
* Cloverdale Redevelopment Commission director Don Gedert said there is a possibility of a new business coming to town. More information will be given at a later date.
* To date, employee handbooks have not been distributed. The handbooks were passed and finalized two months ago. The problem was brought to council's attention when Guthrie stated he had not received one.
* Two pick-up trucks will be declared salvage. The town will be receiving sealed bids for the 1997 Ford F250 and F350 during the next week.
* Park board president Ron Jones advised council the locks on the bathrooms have been broken along with a window to the cabin. He says it is a continuing problem that is encountered almost every winter season. Padgett asked about the small building at the entrance to the park. Jones said it would be moved to near the playground at a later date. The building was donated to the park.
* Council approved a refund of $50 to Pat Setty. Setty was charged for some work done by building inspector Mark Cassida. The fee cannot be passed to the consumer by law.
* Town council agreed to hear a proposal from H.J. Umbaugh & Associates. Gary Malone, a CPA with the Indianapolis firm, said it could help the town with closing out books at the end of the year, utilities, redevelopment, etc. The firm already services more than half of local governments in Indiana.