Cloverdale council addresses ongoing town utility issues

Friday, April 11, 2014

CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Town Council met for its monthly meeting Tuesday evening in which it discuss several utility-related issues.

Clerk-treasurer Cheryl Galloway came before the board to address the issue of residents turning their water meters on themselves. Galloway advised the board that she has begun sending out warning notices to those found in violation, which carry a $25 fee. However, it is believed that the fee is just not steep enough.

"We are losing a lot of revenue with people going in, turning their water on, helping themselves and we don't know about it," Galloway explained. "(Superintendent of Public Works) Chuck (Knuff) has been reading every meter and we've been catching a lot of this and it's got to stop. I don't think the $25 fine is going to really deter anybody from getting into the water meters and turning them on and off."

Galloway informed the board that several residents have come in to turn their water services off. However, without informing the town, they will turn the water on themselves. Many residents have been caught in the act by the town being informed of leaks in the lines and checking records to find that there should be no water service at that location.

"When the guys go out and shut the water off they read the meter then and that gets put on the work order they fill out," Utility Clerk Brittney Duncan explained. "I've had three within the last two weeks that were disconnects and turned the water back on themselves. The meters were locked down. They were sent a certified letter notifying them that there was a tampering fee that only town employees are allowed in that pit, but I've had three within the last two weeks get in there and turn their water on."

Town Marshal Michael Clark also informed the board that the town has the power to prosecute those who are tampering with the water meters, as they are the property of the town.

"If anybody enters that meter pit, that's vandalism. If they turn that water back on that's theft," Clark said. "To me, if the council allows it, I would file charges on them."

In hopes of finding a solution, Galloway presented the council with a bid for all new radio read meters for $156,000 from Utility Supply. However, the council later advised that a firm bid be collected before making any decisions.

"They're radio read meters. We don't have to have the guys go out and read the meters. It actually is the handheld, put in a car that goes around twice a day and we can actually find out if a resident has a leak," Galloway explained. "They are locked down, you cannot turn the water on or off. It will save the town money and it will save the residents money"

A handful of radiometers were purchased last year, but there are still several more that need to be replaced.

The board agreed to proceed with bumping the fine to $250 to those found tampering with the meters. An ordinance will be drafted in the coming weeks to enact that fine. However, the purchase of new meters was tabled in hopes of finding a cheaper alternative.

Galloway also came before the council to discuss Ordinance 2009-7 or the Town of Cloverdale's sewer use ordinance.

Following a meeting with IDM, Galloway was informed that if the town is not in compliance with this ordinance a ban will be placed on the town due to people's sump pumps, gutters and laterals bring water into the sewer drains instead of the storm causing the town to have I&I problems.

"I told them that the town council was going to help in any way," Galloway said. "They went down into Lift Station 1 and the water that was running through there, it looked like you just turned the sink on. There was no wastewater or anything. He said that is all broken tiles, it's inexcusable that it hasn't' been fixed before now."

Galloway informed the council that Clover-dale is not the only town with I&I problems, every town has them. However, the town has not decided its course of action.

Knuff also came before the council with a variety of items that need to be addressed, such as annexing homes into the city limits and fixing many of the roads around town.

Knuff advised the council that there are currently 90 homes outside of the town limits that should be annexed into the city so the town can collect storm water money from them.

"We should annex them into the city," Knuff said. "When they're outside of city limits we cannot collect storm water. There are 90 homes that we can start collecting another $90 a month for."

It was also added that the assessed value of the town would also go up with the annexing of those homes into the city limits. However, the council did not decide what to do with those 90 homes.

"Those 90 homes have been looked at in the past," Vice President Dennis Padgett explained. "The thing that needs to be done there is the property lines of Cloverdale need to be squared up."

Knuff also presented several bids totally nearly $28,000 for roads that need to be fixed. However, after a brief discussion Knuff advised the council that if only one had to be chosen, he would like to focus on Stardust Road from U.S. 231 to the railroad tracks.

"We need to either apply for grants or we need to aggressively start fixing that issue before we lose our roads," Knuff said. "We've patched the holes on Stardust Road twice already. There's no base underneath that street. Anything you're putting on there, you're putting it right on dirt and then cars run over it and just break it back up."

It was also noted that the storm water issue that the town is currently trying to address is also a major issue for keeping the roads maintained.

Knuff presented a quote to the council for $13,560, which the council has not approved yet.

In other business:

* Knuff also informed the council of a new wood distribution policy, which gives him the authority to decide what to do with any firewood.

* Town Attorney Allan Yackey will be drafting an ordinance, which will not allow dumping of any kind within the city limits. Those found in violation will be subject to a $3,500 fine for each incident.

* The town council approved a bid from Eddie Musgrave for the farm ground on the well property. The bid accepted was for a total of $665 or $95 per acre. The property will be used to plant soybeans.

* The council also approved Ordinance 2014-4, which is an amendment to Ordinance 2013-10 to add code enforcer to the building inspector and superintendent of public works to replace the tutility manager title.

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  • There use be a law that if a town annexes that within 3 years the town has to provide all services, water, sewer, police protection etc. That will cost some major bucks. Hmmmmm

    -- Posted by becker on Fri, Apr 11, 2014, at 7:31 PM
  • WOW!! JUST WOW!!!

    -- Posted by captain crunch on Fri, Apr 11, 2014, at 9:59 PM
  • So disappointing to continue to read how new personnel's ideas, efforts and research continue to be squelched by long-standing board member. One would think such a long-time member would have a more enlightened response then simply, "we looked at that before."

    Worse, other communities in Putnam Co. not only take action and vote on resolutions, they even draft their own laws. This board waits for their $250/hr babysitter to write it up.

    Time for sweeping changes!

    -- Posted by letspulltogether on Mon, Apr 14, 2014, at 9:36 AM
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