Lawsuit ends in Tremont
Published: November 22, 2012
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TREMONT - It could be classified as a misunderstanding between neighbors, but it escalated to the United States District Court and ending with a $10,000 settlement for one of the parties.
Gerald Fasnacht, a Tremont borough councilman, along with the borough's Chief of Police Michael Conway, Mayor William Allar, and council President Robert Donmoyer signed a "Mutual Release and Settlement Agreement" following the approval of the agreement during the council's November 13 meeting.
The agreement satisfies a lawsuit filed with the Federal Court in Harrisburg against the borough, the police chief, and the mayor.
By agreeing Fasnacht releases and discharges the borough and its public officials and employees and the borough insurance carrier, the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (PIRMA), of all liability. Fasnacht understands, the agreement states, that the borough, the officials and employees are admitting no liability of any sort by signing the agreement but are doing so to terminate any further actions. Likewise, the borough, Conway, and Allar also release Fasnacht from all liabilities and accept the settlement for the purpose of terminating all further actions.
More than a year ago, Fasnacht accused a former councilmember of parking on a grassy area in the Catholic Cemetery located off Clay Street while the man tended to his wife's grave. Although the stories from each side differ as to whether the man disregarded the "No Parking on Grass" signs, and whether a written statement of the incident provided to the police by Fasnacht was true, after hearing the charges that Fasnacht had made false statements to the police, District Justice Carol Pankake bound the charges over to the Schuylkill County Court where all charges were dismissed. An appeal of that decision, however, was filed by the County District Attorney with the State District Court in Harrisburg which denied the appeal and the charges were again dismissed.
Fasnacht, however, then sued the borough, Conway, and Allar in Federal Court claiming his Civil Rights had been violated. That court appointed an attorney to oversee mandatory negotiations between both parties which resulted in the signed agreement.
After a review of the FEMA /PEMA approved projects, the council agreed to proceed. The projects include the channel east of Union Street, at a cost of $32,875 by Donohue Excavating, Inc; 5 sections of creek walls (borough-wide) at a cost of $122,000 by Raker Construction; channels west of Good Spring Street, at a cost of $38,800 by Donohue Excavating, Inc.; the stone wall by the American Legion on the Good Spring Creek, at a cost of $6,500 by Superior 3 Construction. Additional work by Superior 3 will raise the foot bridge two feet increasing the total cost to $9,174.
Information from the borough's engineers, Light-Heigel and Associates, indicate a change order for the additional work needed to repair the collapsed tunnel at Crescent and Laurel streets by Spotts Brothers had been sent to PEMA
for approval bringing the total for that project up to $84,208.40.
Although not a FEMA/PEMA flood related project, the Union Street bridge repair is of much interest to borough residents. Contacted after the meeting, Donmoyer noted that project is on hold pending receipt of another permit from the Department of Environmental Protection which he said is expected within two weeks. According to Donmoyer, DEP requires another permit to enter the stream (even though one has already been obtained for another project) since the bridge repairs are being paid by the borough.
In a related matter, Donmoyer reported the Schuylkill County Conservation District has received a $100,000 grant for an engineering study to be performed at the Devil's Hole site located west of Donaldson on SR 125. Currently, Frailey Township has agreed to donate the 22 acres it owns and the owner of the remaining acreage is being contacted to donate the rest. The project would build a wetlands which should help alleviate some of the flooding in the borough.
Recreation chairman George Stahl reported a dance will be held in the Clay Street gym on Saturday, Dec. 8, with music by disc jockey "BJ". The dance is open for ages 6 to 11 from 4 to 6 pm, and ages 12 to 18, from 6:30 to 9 pm.
Stahl also reported that he is holding a November 28 meeting to form a committee made up of members from each borough organization to plan a 2013 summer carnival. Interested people will meet in the council meeting room at
Solicitor Chris Hobbs reported the Nov 13 non-jury trial of Tremont borough versus Municipal Energy Managers (MEM) to be held in the Schuylkill County Court of Common Please has been changed to December 21 at 9:30 am. Upon council's approval, Hobbs will request a continuance of a building code violation appeal hearing set for December 11 in the Court of Common Pleas. According to Hobbs, he has a conflict with that date. The borough will also be notified of a hearing time and place for an old worker's compensation claim, unless a settlement or mediation conference would be held.
Donmoyer reported the borough has received notice that the Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29 will no longer be leasing rooms in the borough building after June 30, 2013. This, said Donmoyer, represents a $13,000 annual loss to the borough unless another tenant can be found. Anyone interested should contact the borough office for information.
Although he stated that he was caught off guard and did not have a written report, Fasnacht reported that he had sent out 24 Property Violation Notices. A couple, he noted, will receive citations, then it'll be in (DJ Carol) Pankake's hands.
A related matter involved a complaint from former council president, mayor, and long time resident of the borough, Roger Adams, who apparently received a code enforcement notice. "I'll correct my building," said Adams, "but I
want you to correct your buildings also or there'll be a law suit."
Several upcoming activities taking place in the Clay Street building include the TCO's annual Christmas Party on November 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. following the tree lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in Veterans' Park. The Tremont Community Band will hold their annual Christmas concert on December 15 (snow date December 22) from 7 to 9 p.m.
In other business,
Council accepted an offer from Phil Kintzel to assist George Stahl with the swimming pool next summer. The council also agreed to pay for Kintzel to take a chemical course.
Although no information was provided, the council unanimously accepted a new three year police contract.