Holton attorney advises town to settle with former employee on claim

Beth Rumsey, Staff Writer

The Holton Town Council heard updates on pending claims against the town at the regular session on Thursday, August 13. Regarding the case by former town employee Peggy Furst for unpaid insurance claims, town attorney John Ertel learned that the proper paperwork was not filled out by former clerk/treasurer Krista Bartoz.

Furst is asking for $2100.44 for medical bills unpaid by the insurance company. Ertel told the town that the insurance benefits were considered wages. Also, in reviewing the letter sent to the town by Furst’s lawyer, the town would be responsible for 10% of the claim for every day not paid after ten days.

Ertel advised the town to settle for the original amount asked by Furst. The motion to pay $2100.44 to Peggy Furst was unanimously approved.

Board members learned that the small claim trial filed by Scott and Misty McNeelan is scheduled for August 28 in a Switzerland County Court. Former members of the town board signed a contract with McNeelan to construct another shelter house at the town park.

According to Ertel, the dispute is over poor construction in building the shelter as well as the question of items added to the supply list not used for the shelter. Even though McNeelan claims the shelter was completed on time, Town Council President Paul Hughes said he had only received the keys to the shelter the week of the meeting.

According to board member Angi Farrell, it was discovered that Misty McNeelan had written an unauthorized check to herself at the beginning of the year. According to Hughes, McNeelan was told not to write her wage check for January 2009 because the board had not decided if she would continue as clerk treasurer.

Farrell also informed Ertel that several unauthorized charges toward the purchase of gas at the Holton Food Mart had McNeelan’s signature on them. The motion to continue to go to court regarding the matter was unanimously approved.

The board was updated on the annual inspection from Downey Insurance. A few issues will need to be addressed including an outlet in the town's office restroom that needs to be GFI compliant; all fire extinguishers checked once a month and initialed; and eye protection available for those who use the grinder in the maintenance building.

The board learned of several thefts of gas from vehicles and an RV on Broadway Street. The town marshal will patrol the area and Duke Energy will be contacted regarding the installation of an additional street light.

A request was made by the assistant clerk treasurer to send out a questionnaire to sewer customers to update information regarding names of renters as well as owners.

Farrell noted that a few of the liens placed on the property taxes for overdue sewer bills had been paid.

All board members were in attendance along with town attorney John Ertel to advise. The next meeting will be held on Thursday, September 10 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Holton Community Building.