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Cloverdale Town Council ponders financial matters

Friday, December 16, 2011

CLOVERDALE-- The Cloverdale Town Council met Tuesday in what was a routine meeting as it attempts to wrap up any loose ends before the new year.

Council President Cathy Tipton announced that the town was the receipt of a $600,000 Community Focus Fund grant. This grant will be used for the Doe Creek lift station.

The board also heard updates from Clerk-Treasurer Cathleen Monaco regarding a recent audit in which the state board came in for about 30 days to make sure the town of Cloverdale was following all rules and regulations under Indiana law.

During the audit the board found a few problems that needed to be addressed, such as the minutes, Motor Vehicle Highway fund (MVH), town accounts having negative balances and penalties during the transition from the previous clerk-treasurer and Monaco.

One major concern was the MVH fund. Currently, police salaries are being paid 85 percent out of the general fund and 15 percent each month from the MVH fund. However, according to Indiana law, police salaries are only allowed to take 15 percent each year out of the MVH fund, not monthly.

"This was changed back in 2005," Monaco said. "When I looked back, that's when the new law came into effect that it's a yearly thing."

Monaco also noted that the utility accounts have also been overdrawn.

"I've been telling them for over a year now that they need to raise rates," Monaco explained. "They should be comparable to other towns with what we have."

Currently, the town's wastewater account is in the red and the town is also violating two Indiana Codes as the town's utilities are not self-sufficient.

"Money is going out and nothing's coming back in," Monaco said. "They should be making money, and they're not."

Monaco has caught up on all minutes dating back from January 2011 as well as paid any penalty fees that may have been brought up during the transition of the clerk-treasurer.

Monaco also touched on the issue of payroll as the current company, Payroll Express, the town uses has been sold to ADP Payroll.

She explained the importance of making a decision on whether or not to stay with ADP services before the new year, when the contract expires.

"The council has to do something, and do it fast," said Monaco.

As of Jan. 1, 2012 if the council has not decided on the issue of payroll, the clerk-treasurer will have to write checks manually until a decision is made.

"No services will change. Everything with be done the exact same," said Tipton.

Having to deal with issues regarding the e-verify system, the council decided to table the item until the upcoming utility board meeting on Monday.

Jake Sipe also presented the board with the option of applying for a new grant. Under the grant, the town could apply for additional federal dollars to use toward rehabbing residents' homes. The town, however, would have to match 10 percent of the funds acquired.

The amount awarded would not only depend on the status of the town but the family's income as well.

"The state has resources available for towns like Cloverdale," Sipe said. "It's an opportunity to improve the quality of life here for residents."

Sipe also stated that several surrounding areas, such as Greencastle and Spencer, have also applied for the grant, Spencer being a 2011 recipient.

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Ms. Monaco is so certain that the utilities rates must be raised? We are already in the middle of a 3-year increase. Shouldn't the discussion also include looking at reducing expenses? If the town is supposed to "be making money," run it like a business. Look at the number of paying customers - has that gone up or down? It's likely that the town has fewer paying customers and needs to figure out a way to increase the number of payees in addition to looking at expenses.

-- Posted by sassylass on Fri, Dec 16, 2011, at 6:39 AM

I can't even imagine having to pay a higher water and sewer bill. It is already higher than most towns. For those of us on fixed incomes, raising rates would be a horrible mistake. In addition, I am all for helping folks fix up their homes, but if grants are available how about seeing what can be done to help lower the utility bills for those of us to try to help ourselves. Let's get some incentive for people to locate here and start businessess.

-- Posted by Cloverinterest on Fri, Dec 16, 2011, at 10:18 AM

its a 5 year phase increase and the lowest rates were picked by council...it looks like the State will come in and take control of the utility and the state won't care if ur a senior or on low income....u can thank this council when it happens! this council was a joke! no one was held accountable for their actions u can thank the President and VP of ur council for this mess!!!!

-- Posted by cowgirl46135 on Fri, Dec 16, 2011, at 3:24 PM

The town council has done nothing to reduce expenses. Just the opposite. They have spent thousands of dollars on police equipment. The town has a new suv that is rarely seen in Cloverdale, for the marshal that is also rarely seen in Cloverdale.

The clerk has been telling the council that funds are just not there...... but have they listened? No!

The Banner article did not mention the very heated discussion that took place between council member Padget and a dedicated volunteer of Main Street. Apparently Padget threatened to cancel the Christmas parade that is sponsored by the Main St. organization. The parade was a success in spite of his roadblocks.

-- Posted by captain crunch on Fri, Dec 16, 2011, at 9:40 PM

The town is just not applying and accepting a grant! What happened to the grant that was hand delivered to them 4 years ago that would have lowered the water prices and keep them lowered! Raise rates I already pay over 100 a month. That is more than Fillmore pays and they pump their water in from Greencastle. Greencastle pays half of what we pay and they have trash in their water. What happened to applying for the grant to have side walks. We need side walks. The school would save money by having middle school and high school students walk to school that lived in a range, but the oh so wise council said no be because not everyone knew they had to take care of the side walk in font of their house. Hello publish it!

I think it is time to replace members with people who actually care about Cloverdale and not the extra money or worrying if you can get back in the state before your meeting so no one will find out that not only that you don't live in Cloverdale but you don't even live in the state.

-- Posted by kallycoe on Sun, Dec 18, 2011, at 8:00 AM

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