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City addresses mobile home ordinance

by Dolores Hamilton
Changes in the city ordinance regulating mobile home parks and travel trailers was discussed at length during Monday’s meeting of the city council, and action was tabled until additional changes could be made.
City Manager Jerry Flemming said the changes are minor with the exception of fee increases. Changes include the definitions of a manufactured home and a mobile home. A manufactured home is any HUD-code manufactured home built on or after June 15, 1976. A mobile home is any mobile built prior to June 15, 1976. Another change states that a designated office for every mobile home or trailer park be located within the city limits, and a sign specifying the address and telephone number of the office must be conspicuously located within the park. Fee increases includes a permit to operate is changed from $50 per mobile home park to $50 per designated space.
Flemming said he met with the owners of the mobile home parks and they went over the ordinance. “The ordinance has some pretty strong language in there, so it’s a matter of how much of our code enforcement resources are available to put into mobile home parks,” he said. “But hopefully with the increase in fees of the mobile home parks we’ll have some more resource to deal with them.”
Flemming said he made it clear to owners that the city is interested in cleaning up and improving conditions of mobile home parks. “They were put on notice that we’re going to start beefing up the enforcement,” he said.
Kerry Perkins told the council that he owns two mobile homes, and he has completely remodeled the one his daughter lives in. His concern was about the sick and elderly, and those on fixed incomes. “A lot of them are disabled and can’t take care of their place,” he said. “They need help, so maybe we should pitch in and help.”
Gary Hunter, who owns one of the mobile home parks,said he is working on getting his property in order.
“That’s all the council is looking for is just to get the properties more habitable or decent looking,” responded Councilman Keith Dyer. “We’re not out here to beat you up or run you off. Do you see our position?”
“We want to work with you,” Hunter replied.
It was suggested getting some groups together to help clean up the lots of the elderly and disabled people.
Council member Lori Shierry suggested lowering the fee to $25 a lot in 2017 and maybe going up to $50 per lot in the next year or two.
Council voted to table action until changes could be made.
In other business, council reviewed bids received at the city’s surplus property auction. Bids had been sought for two commercial properties at 1151 FM 368, and 306 E. Jefferson. Randy Catlin’s bid of $15,000 for the property on East Jefferson was accepted. No bids were received on the property on FM 368, which was formerly occupied by Amanda’s Country Store.
Council authorized the city manager to solicit sealed bids for two surplus vehicles. One is a 2001 Chevrolet 3500 Express one-ton cargo van. The other is a 1970 Kaiser Jeep GI two-and-a-half ton cargo truck.
The purchase of a large brush fire truck for the Iowa Park Volunteer Fire Department using a Texas Forest Service (90%/10%) grant was approved. Cost of the truck is $208,142. The Texas Forest Service’s share will be $187,327.80, and the city’s share will be $20,814.20. The $15,000 from the sale of the lot, and money from the sale of the vehicles will go toward the city’s share.
The purchase of five tasers and related equipment for the Iowa Park Police Department, which are budgeted items, was authorized.
Insurance renewal dates were discussed, and it was decided to stay with the current July 1 to June 30 plan year. It was also agreed to renew the contract with TML Multistate for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, then seek alternative plans for the next year.
A request by Kristina Deason, representing Relay for Life, for electricity and water at the Little League baseball field for their annual fundraising event to be held April 23 was approved. Also approved was a waiver of the solicitation ordinance, and a waiver of the sign ordinance.
During the Citizens’ Input portion of the meeting Wayne Methvin of Light Truck and Auto spoke to the council about a Neighborhood Grant Program that’s being used in Electra, and asked if the council would consider using that program here. Because it was not an agenda items, the council could not respond.