Developer, city spar over sewers
City debates connection fees with mobile home park owner
The developer of a mobile home park in Tonganoxie doesn't believe he should pay the city a sewer connection fee for each of the 91 homes in his park.
On Monday, Todd Thompson, an attorney representing developer Steve Sturgeon, told Tonganoxie City Council members that his client was surprised he would be required to pay the fee. Currently, the fee is $1,000, but it will increase to $1,500 after June 30.
That means Sturgeon could be faced with fees of $91,000 or $136,500 after June 30.
"He did not anticipate a ticket of $1,500 per lot times 91 lots being assessed on the park one lot at a time," Thompson said.
Instead, Sturgeon thought he would be assessed a one-time connection fee that would cover the entire park.
In addition, the city is proposing that tenants pay a $50 fee for a manufactured home occupancy permit. This would replace the city's required building permit. The cost of building permits is determined by the value of the home it covers.
At the council's direction, City Administrator Chris Clark will conduct further discussions with Sturgeon and his attorney.
Monday night, Mike Crow, city attorney, said his research supported the city's position of charging the fee for each mobile home.
"I cannot find anything that would exempt mobile homes from a connection fee," he said.
County member Pat Albert said mobile homes like other homes will have an impact on the city's sewer system.
"Whether it's a home or a mobile home, it's going to contribute to the problems we have with our sewer system," Albert said.
And the city administrator said that the city may be on a "slippery slope" if it does not charge the fee for the mobile homes.
"It's very hard for me to differentiate a mobile home park from any other subdivision going in," he said.
Council president Janet Angell said she's concerned that the fee would be passed on to mobile home park tenants many of whom would be low-income.
"There are some complicated matters there," she said.
But Mayor John Franiuk said he believes the fees should be paid.
"A sewer tap is a sewer tap," he said. "My opinion is 91 taps is 91 fees that have to be paid."