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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Cloverdale to avoid utility increase by refinancing

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CLOVERDALE -- Restructuring and refinancing of existing bonds would allow the Cloverdale Town Council to finance necessary repairs on the town's standpipe without increasing any utility rates.

At the monthly town council meeting, Buzz Krohn, one of the accountants working for the town, said First National of Cloverdale was willing to refinance an existing bond at a more favorable rate.

"Right now we pay about $93,000 a year on the bond payment," Krohn said. "This would reduce our overall debt payment obligation by about $20,000-$23,000 a year. That would be a benefit for the situation we have with our water rate."

The agreement would reduce the interest rate on the bonds from 5.5 percent to 4.75 percent. The town would not have to pay on the principle until December of 2012 and it would also free up the town's debt reserves for working on the standpipe. The bond would be paid out over a longer period of time.

A decrease in the number of customers for the water system is part of what contributed to the financial problems for the water utilities. The ethanol plant now owned by POET used much more water under the previous ownership, as well as other water customers leaving.

"We've taken a couple of hits to our customer base," Krohn said. "We've taken a 12 to 15 percent reduction in our overall sales volume."

Kohn said a utility increase may come down the road, but not as a result of the standpipe, or water tower repair.

Another area where the town incurred more expenses than planned was employee insurance. The town currently pays $20,000 per employee each year for health care.

The council looked to address health care at this meeting, first voting to move to IACT Medical Trust for insurance. The town will save $19,000 a year with the switch, according to board president Cathy Tipton. The board is also considering shifting more responsibility for the healthcare onto employees. Currently, the town pays for 99 percent of its employees' healthcare. Tipton said she wanted to try and phase any changes to that in over time.

"If we do change that, maybe say we'll do it in September or so," she said.

The board agreed to hold changing that percent until a later date.

The meeting also saw a bit of drama, as Cloverdale Clerk Treasurer Cathleen Monaco took issue with the way town attorney Alan Yackey organized his bills. Monaco had asked Yackey to provide more detail in his bills.

"Even if he just gave me a key list of abbreviations," Monaco said.

Monaco said she had asked Yackey to provide more clarification, and said Yackey's response was condescending.

Yackey responded by pointing out that he had used his billing structure for over two decades, and hadn't had an issue before. He also said any requests to change the way he does business would have to go through the council.

"You are not my client. The town council is my client," Yackey said.

Monaco said that since she signs all the checks, she has a right to question things. She also asked the board if Yackey's fee for the POET opening for 4.5 hours of work, with a fee of $652.50.

"I wanted to know before I presented this bill to council if the council is in agreement paying him for that.

Council member Don Sublett suggested Yackey provide a legend of key people. He also asked if Yackey was at the POET meeting as a representative of the council. Tipton said that Yackey was at the meeting as a representative of the town.

"He does represent the town and I think it was necessary for him to be there.

Tipton also pointed out that asking for increased record keeping would run the bill up further.

After some heated debate, the council voted to ask Yackey to increase the amount of information he included unanimously Tipton, Larry Fidler and Dennis Padgett voted to pay Yackey for his time at the POET opening, with Sublett voting against it.

Don Gedert with the redevelopment commission gave an update to the board, including some information about the horse arena. Gedert said there was a rumor of a buyer who would maintain the property as a horse arena.

Gedert isn't positive where the tax liability would land in the event of a new owner, since the arena currently has around $139,000 in back taxes. The bankruptcy proceedings on the property have been dismissed. Gedert wasn't aware of the current status of the property, whether it was under the control of its original owners or under a receivership, with the change in bankruptcy status. Both Gedert and Yackey said they would get more information for the council.

Tipton presented the board with documentation for $43,394.71 in issued checks, invoices for $35,352.77 in unissued checks and $17,397.93 in gross pay.


Comments
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Seems to me that the board should have voted in the first place as to whether or not pay Yackey to represent the town at the Poet opening. Did the president of the board make that decision for him to represent the town? Did any of the board members attend? Please, don't throw our money away.

-- Posted by Grandma10 on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 4:10 AM

Great job, reporter! The town attorney is a condescending twit! It is completely inappropriate for him to respond to anyone at the meeting in that manner!

Not even sure why we have elected officials when there's an overpaid attorney in the room treating everyone like puppets on a string.

It's a complete waste of $$ for him to attend meetings. Either the officials need to do their jobs or we need to do without. This clown is paid over $40k a year by the Town of Cloverdale! And we are subjected to his abuse on top of it.

By the way, folks, POET has their own water source and uses no water from the town of Cloverdale.

-- Posted by sassylass on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 6:53 AM

What legal aspect was Yackey at the Poet opening? If the council was aware of it, they wouldn't have to ask if he was there representing the Town. The council is a bunch of weak minded fools being led around by a self indulged moran that has found a nice little pot of gold. The people of Cloverdale pay for this dog and pony show in several ways. True council members would have shut Yackey down for lack of respect to one of their own but not this group. Somthing smells funny people and you need to find out where it's coming from.

-- Posted by sadNmad on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 8:25 AM

The town of Cloverdale has had a great deal of legal problems in the past, several law suits, and other legal problems in the past few years. Some of these could have been very costly to the town. Mr Yackey, this clown, as sassylass called him, has not lossed a case for the town of Cloverdale since he has been here. The law suit over the fire truck alone could have cost the the town of Cloverdale many thousand dollars. There are several other suits that also would have been very costly for us, he also won all of those suits. The town council, a bunch of weak minded fools, as sadNmad called them, give their time and effort, take insults from, people, some who never attend the board meetings, to try and do a job most of us don't want. If you don't like the way they do it, get involved. If your not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

-- Posted by razor man on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 9:46 AM

Hmmmm...yes, perhaps the attorney has done a good job of cleaning up previous administrations' messes. And yes, the volunteer hours of the council is commendable. However, having a full-time attorney sit in and guide every meeting makes the members of the council look weak-minded.

If you had seen the attorney standing off by himself at the POET opening as I did, well, it's hard to guess what value his presence to the town was. I did not see him speaking to anyone. Next time, maybe the council could loan out a video camera to a resident who plans to be there anyway. You'd likely get as much or more for your $$.

Oh, Razor Man, any response to the fact that POET has their own wells and does not use the services of the town?

-- Posted by sassylass on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 1:04 PM

Kudos to Clerk Treasury Monaco!!!!

-- Posted by captain crunch on Wed, Apr 13, 2011, at 11:43 PM

Yackey hasn't won every law suit, and has farmed out or been advised through real attorneys on what to do on other suits he encountered, where is the savings in that I wonder? The council doesn't give their time, they get paid, you even have one that can't make the meetings but I bet they can make the paycheck handout. Visit a real council meeting somewhere and you might start getting the meaning when weak minded, self indulged, smoke and mirrors are mentioned. If an attorney feels free enough to make the statement to Monaco as he did without negitive response from the council you might want to question why. Monaco did the right thing by questioning his bill and should be thanked for her concern, that's more than the rest of them did but should have. I'm sure I'll start reading how Monaco has done wrong in some way since she is upsetting the way of the force. Razor man, there is no solution until real people admit there is a problem and commit to shutting down the group of know it all know nothings that surface every time you try to start making progress that will benefit the people of the town.

-- Posted by sadNmad on Wed, Apr 20, 2011, at 12:41 PM


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