Empty lots at issue in Camelot clash

2013-07-23T00:00:00Z Empty lots at issue in Camelot clashJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | A representative of Camelot Manor and Camelot Estates mobile home parks complained to the city this week about abrupt changes in sanitary and stormwater billing charges.

Frank Michel, representing Lautrec Ltd., told members of the city's Utility Services Board that the park and city had an agreement in place for the last four year that the park would only be charged sanitary sewer and stormwater fees for occupied lots.

"Without notice, that position changed," said Michel. "We don't feel we should have to pay for vacant lots."

Michel said property managers filled out a form each month reporting to the city how many of the 705 lots at the parks were occupied and were only charged for those lots.

Sanitary sewer fees are $23.50 per month and stormwater fees are $10.75 per month.

Board Attorney Katrina Spence told Michel the vacant lots still impact stormwater.

"Impervious surface doesn't differentiate if it is occupied or not," she said.

She also said that the city has no way of verifying whether the monthly form is correct.

Mayor James Snyder, who chairs the utility board, said he shares Spence's concerns about stormwater fees and believes the park should be charged for those services.

Utility Secretary Treasurer Sherry Smolar said the park is presently being billed based on the number of garbage toters recently dropped off for residents at the park. In addition, said Smolar, all other mobile home parks in the city are billed based on the number of lots at the park, occupied or not.

Smolar said there have also been issues in the last six years of not receiving the monthly letters from the park.

Snyder said they will look at the way sanitary sewer fees are being charged and asked staff members to develop a recommendation for the board's August meeting.

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