Cloverdale looks to keep improving

Friday, January 17, 2014

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Town Council recently met for its first meeting of the new year during which it continued discussion on ways to improve the town.

Starting off the meeting was the election of new officers, which resulted in Coweta Patton becoming president of the council and Dennis Padgett as vice president.

After being elected into her new role as president, Patton said a few words praising several things about the town and those who keep things running smoothly.

"We have got now so many things to be proud of in this town," Patton said. "You people are the backbone and the foundation of a town. You're the ones that can make this town go or not go. All of your work and everything you do together makes a town better. We've got to keep going."

Clerk-treasurer Cheryl Galloway then came before the council with several things to discuss including late payments, dog tags and firearms in the park.

Like many other small towns, including Brazil, landlords will now get a notice if a tenant is late on their utility bills.

"If the renter is in error of their account the landlord gets a copy of the late notice as well as the tenant," Galloway said.

The council quickly approved the motion as many feel that this new information will keep all parties informed and on top of their properties.

Galloway also informed the council that the town has received the new dog tags, which must be purchased by all dog owners.

Tags are now available at the Town Hall and are $5 for each dog over six months of age. Galloway also noted that these tags would have to be purchased yearly.

In an effort to comply with new state statute, Galloway recently put a notice in the park regarding the jurisdiction of firearms.

The state recently removed all jurisdiction pertaining to firearms from individual towns, thus any signage must not include limitations relating to firearms.

"Under the state law, all of the jurisdiction of firearms has been removed from us," Town Attorney Alan Yackey said. "The pellet guns, the bows and arrows aren't affected by this. Only firearms. You're simply without the authority to regulate firearms."

However, Yackey noted that there are other state laws dealing with discharge of firearms and recklessness, which will be dealt with through local law enforcement.

"It's not something I particularly like," Yackey said. "Like a lot of rules that I have to tell other people about, we simply don't have the authority. The marshal will not have any problems applying other kinds of laws."

New utility manager Charles Knuf also came before the council with his first update, which mainly focused on the snow removal that left much of the county undriveable.

"It came down so fast, so hard that we couldn't do nothing but plow," Knuf said. "I didn't see the sense in throwing any salt or sand down. When it's zero, you can't throw any salt or sand. I just decided not to throw anything and save the money."

Knuf also noted that as a whole the utility department used nearly 38 man hours for the whole storm, which included several special snow removal requests for the elderly.

"I think we did a pretty good job with the snow," Knuf said. "Eventually I would like to upgrade our snow removal equipment. I'd like to stop throwing sand. I think sand is an environmental hazard. In the event, and we will some day get storm sewers, that sand is just going to clog up those sewers."

Knuf informed the council that the pipe and the catch basins are in for the Lafayette Street drainage project. However, the installation will begin once the weather is warmer.

Several town officials along with Knuf recently met with a representative of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to discuss the town's ongoing issues with the inflow and infiltration.

"We're going to meet every month from here on out just to keep updated with what's going on with it," Knuf said.

Knuf also informed the council that one of his ongoing goals will be to replace the signage throughout the town, much of which has been damaged.

"Driving around plowing snow at night you get to looking at all the signs," Knuf said. "They're all bent, twisted, faded and out of date."

This will be an ongoing task, which will be done a little at a time.

After much discussion the past several months, the council also chose to approve the personnel policy handbook.

Once again board member Gary Bennington raised a lot of questions regarding the wording, which is based off the town of Galveston's handbook.

"From the latest one (handbook) all the way back to 2006, except for a few changes, they are exactly the same as the Galveston employee handbook. Word for word," Bennington explained. "This was never brought before the board to discuss. To me it sounds kind of underhanded."

Galloway responded to Bennington stating that the previous handbooks that he received had never been passed. However, much of the wording is improved.

"Galveston has given clearer direction than ours," Galloway said.

Much of the discussion was stopped by Patton and the council passed the handbook, with Bennington being against it.

Although, Padgett agreed to pass the handbook, following the motion he spoke up about many things that fail to get brought before the council.

"One of the things that I've always seen as a problem with Cloverdale is that we've always had individuals doing things," Padgett said. "You need to bring them to the board and talk to the board members on stuff. I don't like this either and he (Bennington) doesn't. Some department heads have taken on and they just will pass circumstantial word in doing things. It's wrong and it needs to stop."

In other business:

* Don Gedert updated the council that he has completed the letter to the bank and is awaiting a response for a reduction in the interest rate on the bond payments for the C-BAR-C Arena.

* The council passed Ordinance 2013-12, which is an amendment to Ordinance 1997-5. The new amendment includes several highway restriction limitations regarding weight of vehicles. If a vehicle is found in violation, the driver will be punishable by a fine of $150 for each violation. If one was found in violation more than one time in any calendar year, they may be subject to a fine of not more than $500 for each violation. A copy of the ordinance can be found at the town hall.

* The council passed Fair Housing Ordinance 2013-13, which is required for federal grants.

* The council was introduced to Ordinance 2014-1, an amendment to Ordinance 2013-10, which will make both the Water Superintendent, Richard Saucerman and the Wastewater Superintendent Brent Shurig salary employees. Knuf requested the change.

* Patton will soon be appointing three board members to the redevelopment committee. Anybody living in the town limits and that is 18 or over is be eligible. Interested participants can apply at the town hall.

* Residents are reminded that in the case of an emergency, they can call the utility office. If nobody is currently at the town hall residents are advised to call Knuf at 720-8275.

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