Cloverdale council looks into raising utility rates

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Town Council once again attempted to focus on the big picture at its meeting Tuesday night: Finances

Buzz Krohn recently completed a utility rate study and found that although the town's finances are not in terrible shape, the town is just not bringing in enough money.

"Things have not changed that dramatically," Krohn said. "They haven't improved much either."

In 2009 the town saw a 14 percent rate increase in utilities across the board. However, that increase is no longer enough.

The recent utility rate makes light of the fact that the town has also lost 20 percent of its water sales due to the closing of Econo Lodge, as well as some other commercial properties.

"We were in very tough financial conditions with the wastewater last year," Krohn explained. "The 14 percent increase was just not enough to address the needs."

With nearly $3.3 million in wastewater debt, the town will be forced to address the issue before it's too late.

"I can tell you, when you don't have working plumbing, it's not fun," Krohn said. "Water and sewer -- you don't see it. Many take it for granted."

The wastewater issue is not Cloverdale's only problem as the town currently has $750,000 in outstanding water bonds, which it needs to take care of before too long.

"In reality we're still treading water on the water utility," Krohn said. "We're going to need about $70,000-75,000 a year to retire this debt."

Currently, the operating revenues are breaking even with the operating expenses. However, that does not help with the debts.

It is expected that the town will increase utility rates in the next coming months.

Krohn recommended a 16 percent increase, but nothing has been officially decided.

The town will be hosting a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28 for residents to come and voice their concerns on the issue.

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  • It is amazing to me that the town can even consider a 16% increase in water and sewer rates during this economy, and when many residents haven't and won't see an increase in their fixed incomes. The above issues should have been addressed years ago with a budget in place to take care of repairs and such. It is called planning and I believe that is what a Council is supposed to do. The water and sewer rates are already very high. I think you better look at other ways of securing some funds like petitioning for more of the hotel/motel tax where the Lion's share is going to Greencastle, despite the fact that Cloverdale has the most lodging facilities. If nothing a fundraiser, but don't increase the rates even more, please.

    -- Posted by Cloverinterest on Thu, Aug 16, 2012, at 10:31 AM
  • I'm amazed that 20% of the water sales was credited to the Econo-Lodge. Does that make sense anyone?

    -- Posted by gunner on Thu, Aug 16, 2012, at 11:39 AM
  • How long has the Econo-lodge been closed? Did it just close within the last month? I don't believe the innkeepers tax just goes to Greencastle, remember Cloverdale, you ARE part of Putnam county whether you like it or not. Maybe you should make your council aware of what their job is!

    -- Posted by putcocvb on Tue, Aug 21, 2012, at 8:08 AM
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