Local News

The Stapleton Village Board took action during a two-hour meeting Wednesday night toward correcting some of the problems identified in a recent State Auditor’s Office report.

The meeting in the community hall on Main Street also left some items tabled for follow-up work.

The State Auditor’s Office performed an “attestation” after receiving a letter Jan. 22 from an unnamed “concerned citizen” about an agreement that former Village Clerk/Treasurer Amy Allen had made with the village Jan. 7 to pay $15,000 in restitution for funds missing from village accounts.

Allen has since been charged with felony theft by deception, more than $5,000, and misdemeanor counts of abuse of public records and misuse of property or funds by a county official.

Among a number of other things, the auditor’s report noted that some checks written by the village had only one signature. According to state law, the Village Board president and village clerk should both sign checks.

Milissa Kramer, the village’s certified public accountant, said the State Auditor’s Office told her the Village Board can pass a resolution allowing the vice chairman to sign in case the chairman is unavailable. The board did not take action on the matter.

In a related concern, Board Chairman Bryan Rooney said he is unwilling to have his name on the signature card for the bank the village uses, because he is not an account holder there and is unwilling to share his Social Security number with the bank.

Board members discussed ordinances and resolutions that need to be updated or properly recorded, as well as inconsistencies between resolutions and employee compensation.

As an example, current Village Clerk Vivian Martinez said, her $800 monthly pay doesn’t match the amount in the village’s pay resolution.

Martinez said the League of Nebraska Municipalities suggested that the village contract with American Legal Publishing Corp. to help correct problems in recorded ordinances and resolutions. The village would need to renew its membership in the league at a cost of $600.״The board did not take action on that.

When Stapleton belonged to the league, village maintenance person Mark Frey said, “we paid them $250 and didn’t use them” for legal counsel. “I think it’s high time we used them.”

One concern brought out by the auditor’s attestation was that village employees were provided water, sewer and trash services at no charge, but the value of the services was not recorded and taxed.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Frey suggested that he and Martinez pay for their utilities and that their pay be increased to reflect a similar value. After some discussion, the board came up with a value of $75 per month and adopted Frey’s suggestion.

Kramer said a portion of employees’ pay has been called an “IRA contribution,” which employees may use to contribute to their own individual retirement accounts.

An identified need was to have employee job descriptions on file. The board voted to table that discussion for an upcoming meeting.

The board also tabled the following:

» Recoding of motor vehicle tax receipts from the state, currently being marked for the general fund, to a street fund.

» Changing the name of the water tank savings account to a general account, so the money could be used for other purposes if necessary.

» Filing of a bond insurance claim to collect on Allen’s performance bond.

Near the end of the meeting, Martinez announced that she is looking for a different, full-time job to meet needs of her family.

However, “I will do my best to clean this thing up,” she said.

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