Welcome council listens to appeal

WELCOME — The Welcome City Council this week held an appeal hearing dealing with property taxes assessed to Elm Creek Trailer Court in Welcome, in the wake of alleged unpaid maintenance fees and utility bills.

Trailer court owner Tim Windsor and his attorney, Carl Christensen, discussed the matter with the council and the city’s attorney, Michael Edman.

The trailer court has 34 spots, of which 19 have trailers and 17 are occupied. The city has only charged fees to occupied units.

Windsor maintained the park is one unit. He compared the park to the campground. City officials countered that the campground has two units and the other spots are seasonal. Edman explained that permanent living units are not treated the same as recreational vehicles, according to state law.

The city sent letters to explain why it changed from one meter for each trailer to one meter per the trailer park. Windsor said there had been no notification, but the letter was sent, according to city officials.

Ways to resolve the case were discussed, with Windsor suggesting he be charged like a single home. A council member reminded Windsor that there is more than one unit at the park.

Another suggestion was to look back to 2009 and credit overages and waive late fees and interest, and renegotiate the charges to $20 per month and maintenance fees. Windsor replied that his maintenance fees are four times what the water bill is. He said that when he complained prior, nothing was changed, so he stopped paying the water and maintenance fees.

The maintenance fees are used to pay for distribution of water in the city, and each unit in the city is charged the same amount.

The city says assessments and penalties for the trailer park arose because of unpaid bills in the past, and they were added in accordance with city ordinance and state law.

Windsor said he understands.

The city maintains that putting meters at each trailer again would be more expensive for the land owner, Windsor, and trailer park residents.

The matter was not resolved but the city agreed to check costs to have meters at each trailer if Windsor would cooperate by going to each trailer with city employees. He agreed to accompany them.

The council and Windsor and their attorneys “agreed to disagree” for the time being.

A closed council meeting will be held when cost estimates are ready.

In other business, the council:

o Discussed the disposition of property at 202 N. Dugan St. A proposal to get sealed bids to demolish or move the house and clean up the property passed by a 3-2 vote.

o Heard a request from the city clerk, who asked that a shelter house attendant be hired. The council approved a wage of $10 per hour. When asked about the duties of the attendant, the clerk listed locking and unlocking the shelter house when it is reserved; sweeping and mopping; cleaning the bathroom; reporting damage; re-supplying paper products; and working with clerk on reservations.

o Heard a report from city employees, who said the 1997 truck needs many repairs. The council approved getting an estimate for repairs.

o Approved replacing a pump at the water plant, and asked that city employees work on cleaning up the well head and disposing of junk and scrap iron.