Jasonville City Council meets

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

JASONVILLE -- Three contentious issues that had been tabled over and over again at Jasonville City Council meetings came to a head and were resolved at Monday's meeting.

Ron Fox, who owns rental properties in Jasonville, had been trying to get the council's approval for two small mobile parks. He also asked for a permit for a single mobile home that was on one of his properties. The council had continued to table the issue at previous meetings until Fox could appear in person and answer questions.

Several Jasonville citizens opposed bringing more mobile homes into the city and have been in attendance at the meetings. Mayor Dorman Clark read the city ordinance pertaining to mobile homes for the benefit of everyone present.

"I think it's a positive thing," he said of the ordinance. "It protects property values."

Fox said his properties are well maintained, and no one in the room disagreed. He showed photos of Jasonville properties he'd purchased in poor condition, such as one with a burned-out structure on it, and explained the steps he'd taken to renovate the property. Fox also explained how he has his properties maintained.

He also described the way one property in question would look when he was finished with it. He said the 10 adjoining lots would hold only four mobile homes, and they would each have a private drive. He ensured the townspeople that there would be no on-street parking and that the property would not have mobile homes crowded one on top of the other.

He assured them that his current tenants are happy and that he receives calls for new properties regularly.

"I get probably about five calls a month from people wanting a mobile home to rent," he said.

But the consensus of the citizens in attendance was that they do not want mobile homes next to their own properties. One concern was that Fox would not follow through on his promises to care for the properties and to keep a minimal number of mobile homes on the lots.

"I want to know the opinion of interested citizens," said council President Peggy Sluder. "That's what I vote on."

One citizen told the group that a local realtor had told him a mobile home park next to his property would drop his property values by $8,000.

"I feel like we have enough trailer parks in the west end of town," one resident said.

Only two residents spoke in favor of Fox's proposal, and the three council members present voted it down in a majority vote. They further voted to approve a permit for the renovation of an existing 1971 mobile home on his property.

Fox notified all present that he would put the mobile homes on permanent foundations to skirt the permit issue.

Resident Joe Hart was in attendance again to get approval to make a 25-foot camper into a permanent home for someone on his property.

"I think it's reprehensible to rent out a 25-foot camper to someone to live in," Clark said. "It's not intended for full-time occupancy."

Hart demanded standards for such decisions, but Clark stood firm that the current mobile home ordinance adequately covers it. He did tell the council to add the statement in the future that no campers will be allowed.

Hart said he also would place his camper on a permanent structure.

One individual suggested inspections for such structures.

"No, we're not gonna do that," Clark said, explaining that there's no money.

The discussion became heated when it came to the issue of a street near the residence of Dave Barton, who felt like the street light was not being placed there for personal reasons.

Clark assured Barton that the issue for him was financial, not personal. He said it would cost $21.56 per month to place a streetlight there because there's currently no pole. If a pole is present, the cost is about half that.

Originally there was a light in the area, but Barton asked that it be moved a block to the east of his home. The city moved it a block west at the recommendation of Jasonville Police Chief Rick Van Horn, according to Barton.

Barton accused the council and Clark of not keeping him "in the loop" and making the issue personal. Clark assured him that wasn't so and again said it's a matter of money.

"It's not a crucial area in my opinion," Clark said.

The council voted to approve the light in Barton's block to prevent crimes such as theft.

In other business, the council:

* Heard from Clark about an upcoming water increase. He said there will be a public hearing, probably at the next council meeting. Clark said rate will probably increase $1.52 per 2,000 gallons the first year and another $1.54 the next.

* Clerk/Treasurer Charlotte Thomas reported that the city received $5,000 from DNR.

* Utilities superintendent Troy Fougerousse reported the wells are winterized and added that the water increase will apply to wholesale customers as well as retail.

* The fire department had six total runs in October.

* The police department had 20 total arrests and investigated 10 criminal cases and six accidents, issued eight warnings and six equipment repairs, and assisted other departments eight times.

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