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Cloverdale Utility Board discusses cost cutting alternatives

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Cloverdale Utility Board met for the first time this year on Monday to discuss not only the routine monthly issues, but ways to creating savings in the town as well.

A good portion of the meeting was dedicated to the Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Galloway who both updated the board on the town's finances and several ways to cut costs.

Galloway brought it to the board's attention that the town is paying $30 an hour for a cleaning service, through Kim Wright, to come to the Town Hall twice a week. The town also paid for $148 worth of supplies this week.

"I went down to the Dollar General and saw that I could get them for $50," said Galloway. "I would like to try and do the cleaning myself and if it doesn't work out we can always hire her back."

Galloway estimated that more than $3,000 in savings would occur from putting the cleaning duties on the utility clerk as well as the clerk-treasurer rather than outsourcing the work.

The board voted on the issue and came to a tie with Gary Bennington and Larry Fidler voting to keep Wright's cleaning service and Cowetta Patton and Dennis Padgett voting against. The tiebreaker was left up to Galloway, who voted against keeping Wright.

The town also voted to terminate Wright's contract, which had the same result, with Galloway breaking the tie in votes.

It was also suggested that the town use its own utility workers to paint several of the town's offices rather than hiring someone who will be more expensive to pay. The painting would be done during one Saturday afternoon and the money saved throughout the year would be combined and split between the workers at the end of the year.

However, town attorney Allan Yackey noted that due to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which establishes such things as minimum wage and overtime pay, workers are not allowed to work for free if they are on payroll. The pay could not be held until the end of the year as suggested.

Galloway also noted it has been more three years since the utility workers have seen a raise.

"I would like to give raises to the utility guys," she said.

The town will soon begin receiving bids on the job and if the Cloverdale utility workers can do the work for cheaper while being paid, the town could decide to go with its own workers.

The town also discussed transitioning to one meeting a month as opposed to one Town Council meeting and one Utility Board meeting.

"It's supposed to deal essentially with only utility issues," said Padgett of the Utility Board. "Over time it morphed into a second town council meeting."

Although, some members were in support of the transition, the board decided to table the issue until the next town council meeting with Town Council President Don Sublett also present.

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Great reporting, Lauren! Truly a service to the public! Thanks, B-G!

-- Posted by sassylass on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 6:03 AM

How about folks that need to do community service hours paint the offices? They painted some fire hydrants last fall and it appeared to work out just fine.

-- Posted by longtimecitizen on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 8:12 AM

Council decides if the workers get raises NOT the clerk treasurer. Council is well aware that the workers haven't received a raise in over 3 years. Now that the former President is gone and she's not wasting $$ on vehicles and Christmas parties (2011) totaling over $700.00, maybe, just maybe, this year a raise will be in the picture.

Hey Galloway, you want to SAVE money? Talk to your so-called "friends" on council about getting rid of Yackey and get an attorney on an "As Needed Basis"!!!! Did Yackey submit his yearly agreement/contract to the council for their approval???? Bet not!!!!

-- Posted by cowgirl46135 on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 10:45 AM

Seems as though the clerk treasurer is confused as to what her duties are. Maybe she will weed the flowers that get planted every year but not tended to. And how bout these "utility" meetings? Been told by several sources that these are not legal meetings."The town also voted to terminate Wright's contract"....WOW! Mrs Wright I know a GOOD attorney. "I would like to give raises to the utility guys,"...... The budget has already been set for the year.... duh!

-- Posted by captain crunch on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 11:16 AM

Atta boy, captain crunch!

-- Posted by cowgirl46135 on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 1:57 PM

Hey what about gettig rid of our partime Chief, one of the other officers could fill the job of Chief, that a saving of $12,000 a year, Chief Chadd only got that job because of Mr. Puffer.

-- Posted by RPeters on Wed, Jan 25, 2012, at 5:47 PM

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