CLOVERDALE -- Due to a little more than $100,000 in claims from the water and sewer fund during the past few months, council members have been faced with a serious shortfall in the budget.
Clerk-treasurer Patti Truax told council members during their regular meeting Tuesday the fund is in the "dire straits."
"A lot of money has been spent out of the utility fund," she said.
Truax recommended a freeze be placed on the fund, which has revenue of approximately $55,000, until money is replenished.
Council president Cathy Tipton agreed. She said no money is to be spent unless approved by the board. Truax will present a fund report to the council for its June meeting.
In a matter of claims, council members agreed to table a few items before giving approval. First, a $984.12 claim to have a five-year-old Dixie Chopper mower repaired was tabled until the council could obtain further information from utility manager Don Guthrie.
The members questioned the price of the claim and wanted to know what repairs had been done. In addition, the claim exceeded the $500 spending cap placed by the council on all town employees.
Second, there were about four claims from Crone and Associates totaling about $3,000. Council members felt the town has been receiving bills for several months, even though its contract is up. Further investigation will be done before the claims are approved.
In response to concerned citizens about security in the Stardust area, council approved the hiring of two part-time employees in the police department.
Under the motion by council member Terry Puffer, candidates will be graduates of the academy and work a set schedule of 15 hours per week each. Tipton proposed each officer be paid $15 per hour, which was approved.
Tipton said the part-time officers would be temporary until the town hires a full-time marshal. With the interim marshal receiving $1,000 per month combined with the salaries of the two part-time officers, the town is still saving about $10,000 without a full-time marshal, she said.
In addition, Tipton proposed some employee benefits at the police department be amended and the council unanimously voted to accept the proposal.
Police officers will now earn less vacation time -- five days after 1 year, 10 days after 2 to 5 years, 15 days after 6 to 10 years and 20 days after 11 or more years of service.
"I have researched other towns and our police department gets a lot of vacation time," Tipton said. "We could have an officer gone for several months under the current vacation schedule."
Also, comp time was amended to anything earned after 80 hours in two weeks will expire after 30 days and any earned comp time will not be reimbursed after termination. The amendment was retroactive to May 1.
In other business:
* Due to the resignation of vice president Steve Caulkins, Larry Fidler was elected by a caucus to replace him. Dennis Padgett was voted to be the new vice president of town council.
Fidler is a resident of Cloverdale and previously served on the planning and zoning board.
* Due to claims of original public records being removed from town hall, town attorney Allan Yackey discussed the legalities of obtaining public records.
While all records belong to the citizens, the town is required to keep and be able to present documents when requested. For 10 cents, a copy of the document can be made and taken out of the building.
"Original documents must be kept in the office and only a copy of the record can be taken out of the building," he said. "No matter who it is or what is being used for, the original must remain on the premises."