Hamlet man waiting 20 years for money from city

Martin seeks $1,207 for Donald Quick; Quick says city owes him more than $4,000

By Kevin Spradlin

HAMLET — Wednesday night’s City Council budget work session might not have been the perfect setting for Councilman Eddie Martin to bring up a 20-year-old issue, but Martin figured Donald Quick had waited long enough.

Councilman Eddie Martin

Councilman Eddie Martin

Quick, of Juanita Avenue in Hamlet, was told in August 1994 by those who then served on the council that he would receive a reimbursement of $1,207 for a period of time when he was unable to connect to the city’s sewer system. At the time, the issue was that the line could be connected to the but not the basement as Quick desired.

Reading from minutes found in the city’s archive, Martin said the council voted not once but twice to give him the money, the second time being in October 1994 — and then, inexplicably, voted a third time, with the latter reneging on the earlier promises of paying him the money.

Martin initially focused on whether or not it was legal for the then-council to take that third vote without first repealing the earlier votes. Procedurally, he said, that didn’t happen. However, Martin soon shifted his focus after he found that fellow council members now in office seemed to share his view of simply paying Quick the amount which Martin felt he was entitled to — $1,207.

Councilman Pat Preslar asked if the council needed to pay city attorney T.C. Morphis Jr. $180 an hour for something the council could simply vote on now and resolve the matter. Council members ultimately decided to seek Morphis’ help in drafting a letter of reimbursement to Quick that would absolve the city of any future liability stemming from this specific incident. Martin aims to see that Quick accepts the letter, and his money, as soon as possible.

Mayor Bill Bayless said the letter needed to emphasize that this is a “one-time issue, based on council error” in order to prevent others from coming to council with similar claims.

Martin said Quick’s son-in-law has requested to be on the agenda and be heard at the council’s June 10 public meeting. He’s hopeful that’s not necessary.

“It needs to be settled one way or another,” Martin said.

The issue might not be that black and white. Reached Thursday afternoon, Quick, 86, said the $1,207 covers only the period from 1984 to November 1994. The city began charging him “illegally,” he said, again in December 1994 to the present. The bill has risen from $13 a month from 1995 through 1997 to $16 per month since then.

Quick said his home was built 17 years before the city’s sewer line reached Juanita Avenue and that the city hasn’t provided anything in return for his monthly payments.

“All these years, it hasn’t cost them a penny,” Quick said of waste service to his home.

Instead, he said, waste goes into a septic tank and he pays for it to be emptied on a regular basis.


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  • John Q Patriot

    Assuming that the facts are as they’ve been reported and there’s no intervening statute, prior settlement, etc.: Someone needs to tell BOTH the City of Hamlet AND Mr. Quick that not only should Mr. Quick be reimbursed the $1,207 for 1984-1994 and ALSO the $13-$16 per month from 1996 through the present, BUT ALSO he should be paid the *statutory* 8% ANNUAL INTEREST on that money. Given the length of time involved, it would be shameful if this gentleman isn’t also paid interest on this money. If the City does *not* pay interest, then it is magnifying the injury it appears to have created to Mr. Quick. Since the City’s attorney is now involved, I hope that he does not forget to include simple interest in any resolution. And, frankly, to settle the matter completely there perhaps should be an additional sum IN ADDITION TO the amounts above, perhaps another $100-$250, to resolve completely the probable cause(s) of action Mr. Quick appears to have against the City.

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