Bartholomew County’s first poor relief hearing in 12 years has been resolved with a settlement.

Melody Arney, 21, of rural Waymansville appeared Sept. 28 before the Bartholomew County Commissioners to appeal a decision made by Jackson County Township Trustee Bruce Bartells.

Although the trustee provided Arney with $450 in assistance in March to pay her electric bill, Bartells refused in late August to give the mother of two young children additional funds to pay her utilities.

Near the conclusion of last week’s hearing, Bartholomew County Commissioners Chairman Larry Kleinhenz suggested that Arney and Bartells try to resolve the matter before the commissioners convened this week.

After Arney and Bartells met on Friday, the trustee issued a $50 voucher made out to Bartholomew County REMC for current or future charges, the trustee told commissioners Monday.

Last week, Arney told the commissioners she had been unable to find a job that would pay her bills and for child care.

Afterward, Bartells provided the Waymansville resident with a list of 15 companies currently hiring employees, the trustee told the commissioners. He also suggested that Arney’s fiancé, who only works part time, could help baby-sit the children if she finds employment, Bartells said.

Bartells also provided Arney with names of a number of agencies that work in child care, he told the commissioners.

During Monday’s hearing, Bartells pleaded for Arney to take advantage of services provided by the United Way of Bartholomew County, emphasizing the nonprofit umbrella organization has many more resources than a township trustee.

When questioned by the commissioners Monday, Arney said there was no longer a need to request a judgment on her appeal.

The hearing was the first conducted before the commissioners since Michael Davidson appealed a township trustee’s decision in 2003, according to county records.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.