Finances linger over Cloverdale council

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CLOVERDALE -- As the Cloverdale Town Council begins to take a closer look at its financial status, the expenses seem to keep adding up for the town.

Cloverdale Town Marshall Jon Chadd came to the board Tuesday night, seeking approval to pay his police department extra for working on holidays.

"They've never been compensated in any form," Chadd said.

Although Chadd stressed the fact he was not seeking any additional money, but wanted to use the money already in his budget, the council tabled the issue until the handbook could be looked at.

Chadd also came to the board to gain approval to purchase two new police vehicles.

"We're spending $2,500 to $3,000 per month to keep these cars up. If we don't do something soon they'll be tanked," he said.

Chadd, also a Putnam County Sheriff's Department sergeant, suggested purchasing two 2013 Dodge Charger V8s, which he currently drives at the Sheriff's Department. Chadd made the argument that the V8 receives better gas mileage than the V6 model and although, the council agreed it could not come to a decision.

"V8 gets about five miles per gallon better than a V6," explained Chadd. "The V8 actually gets better mileage due to the cylinder displacement. It runs on only four cylinders under normal driving conditions."

State bids were received for the car for a total of $24,597.25 per car, which does not include all of the equipment needed.

"The cars will be all inclusive to include much-needed radios that will increase officer safety due to the poor communication we currently have," Chadd noted. "We do not have mobile radios and cannot communicate with dispatch a lot of the time due to poor signal and reception."

Chadd asked the board to allow him to use the insurance check, which the department received following a crash on Feb. 16 that totaled nearly $25,715. He also noted that although the town has already received the check, the department has not seen any of the money as it was put into the general fund rather than the police department budget back in June.

Along with the insurance check, Chadd asked for approval of an extra $40,000 to cover all expenses for the cars.

The council again told Chadd to hold off as it looks at town finances, while Chadd stressed the fact he already has the money in the police department's budget.

Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Galloway came before the council with a list of requests for approval, including a new computer at a cost of $899 for the utility clerk and a new scanner copier for $3,550.

Galloway also sought approval to pay the maintenance agreement with Keystone for $5,215 and codification costs totaling $4,635.

The Utility Clerk Brittany Duncan again came before the council in hopes of receiving a decision on several past issues such as collection agencies and billing.

Duncan urged the board to allow Galloway and herself to sign up for the ATLAS system through Keystone.

This new system will be at no cost to them and will act as the collection agency for the town.

"We basically just give them all the information and they hunt them down," Duncan explained. "They charge 40 percent, which they will collect the cost of the bill and its 40 percent on top of it."

The council approved the use of the ATLAS agency.

Duncan also received approval to change the town's utility billing. Cloverdale will now be on the same system Greencastle currently uses.

Instead of the postcard-type billing the town will now receive a paper bill, which will save the town $201.72 a month or $2,420.64 a year.

There will also be a one-time fee of $850 to set up the new system, along with training.

Utility Manager Rich Saucerman presented the board with his monthly report, which included updating the council on the issue of selling bulk water.

Currently the town is operating on an honor system for the sale of bulk water. However, Saucerman believes that in this day and age, this system does not always work.

The town decided that it would begin trying to set up a pay station, for a total of $7,500. However, the item was tabled until next month in hopes of Saucerman finding the perfect location where people with trucks can drive in and out easily.

Saucerman will soon begin receiving quotes to put decals on the new utility truck purchased a few months back. It is required for the town to have decals stating that it is a utility truck for safety and liability reasons.

The council agreed to let Saucerman go ahead and purchase whatever decals are the least amount of money.

Building Inspector Mark Cassida came before the board to to give an update on the Smyser property at 603 S. Main St.

As of June 30 Smyser informed Cassida that everything was working properly as required. However, Smyser is required to provide a letter to verify that the building is up to code, which he has failed to do so.

At the end of July Smyser had racked up a total of $3,825, which he has yet to pay and is still increasing each day.

"We're to a point where I believe Mr. Yackey needs to collect these fines," said Cassida. "And he still needs to verify that the property is up to code."

As far at the council knows, Smyser also released his attorney. The town's attorney Allan Yackey will pursue Smyser to collect the fines.

The Richard Branneman property issue is finally making some headway as the town will be having an engineer, Robert Curry, to look at the land to see what is currently used for wells and what may be needed in the future.

"I hope to god this council will get this going," said council president Don Sublett.

The council hopes to begin making some decisions on the property within the next month.

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