Cloverdale board examines snow removal issues

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Staff Writer

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Town Council met for its monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, which included addressing such issues as snow removal as well as appointing new officers.

Starting off the meeting the council appointed new officers for 2013. Don Sublett will remain as president for this year. However, Gary Bennington was appointed as vice president, taking the place of Dennis Padgett, who has served as vice president for several years.

Following two major snowfalls this year, which resulted in more snow than all of last winter combined, the issue of plowing came before the council as it continues to try to figure out whether the county or the town owns several roads.

Council member Dennis Padgett brought up the issue to Don Gedert of the Redevelopment Commission after receiving several calls about the plowing on Stardust Road.

"The county says that they didn't own it and the town says that they don't own it," Padgett said. "It needs to be plowed from end to end, whoever is going to plow it. Richard said that he's always plowed to Stardust Hills entrance and the county has always taken it out to the horse arena and then took the rest of the road."

Gedert recently talked to Jim Smith, the county highway co-supervisor, about repaving and striping of the road. Smith informed Gedert that the road belonged to the Town of Cloverdale and that Stardust Road is in the town's road inventory from the State of Indiana.

"The property on both the north and the south side is annexed in and is property of the Town of Cloverdale," Gedert said. "I spoke with Don Walton (the District 3 commissioner) today about this very issue and he tells me that their insurance company is telling them that the county should not plow any roads that don't belong to them. So, even if they have to travel on town roads to get to theirs, they're not to plow that until they get to their road."

However, the town only owns the paved part of the road, which leads up to the C-BAR-C Arena. The gravel road, which is a small distance past the arena, is owned by the county.

The same issue applies to Burma Road along with the Beagle Club Road.

"I was told specifically that they're not going to plow Beagle Club anymore all the way out to County Road 425 East because that's the town and we're getting the mileage off of it," Padgett said. "This is the stuff that we really need to sit down and figure out whose is what and who's going to plow it."

The Putnam County Commissioners recently addressed the issue during their monthly meeting, in which county officials reached a consensus that the roads were turned over to the town in approximately 1993 or 1994.

Although Walton had asked if county trucks could clear unplowed town streets on their way to county roads, not just in Cloverdale, he was denied.

County Attorney Jim Ensley said the county had been advised by the risk management firm Bliss-McKnight not to do so due to liability issues.

"It's a liability and insurance issue. If they undertake to plow it and someone claims they didn't do it right it becomes a liability on a town road," explained Town Attorney Allan Yackey. "If they have to travel over town roads to get to county roads then what it really is going to take is coordination between the town and the county. My advice is don't plow the county roads. You're taking risks you don't need to take"

Utility Manager Rich Saucerman will meet with Smith Thursday to go over who owns which roads.

In another snow-related issue, several people in the town have been using their four-wheelers and tractors to plow people's sidewalks and driveways. It has come to the attention of Padgett that many of the yards were damaged during the process.

"They tore up a bunch of yards here in town and they were plowing a bunch of alleys here in town," explained Padgett. "They're not contracted they're just out here making a buck. The snow is melting and you can see it now. They plowed half the sod up and it looks like they're plowing for corn."

As advised by Yackey the town has the right to take action against those people. Private property owners can hire a lawyer and sue.

The council advised Interim Town Marshal Charlie Hallam to try to identify those who had been doing the snow removal.

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