Trailerpark Upgrades

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 21, 2012

New owner plans trailer park upgrade

By John Howell Sr.

The new owner of Stage Coach Gap Trailer Park on Tuesday told Batesville’s mayor and aldermen that he plans to improve the facility and evict tenants who tamper with their water meters.

“Now that I have full control over it, I’m going to put some money in it,” said Mike Evans, who told the city officials that he had purchased the trailer park from Coltaire Properties.

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A contentious relationship between the city and the trailer park came to a head last week when a chancery judge enjoined the city from cutting off its water service to the park’s residents.

The judge’s order came a year after the city water department installed one master water meter to document water usage of residents of about 10 trailers that occupy the park. Batesville aldermen ordered the master meter after residents cut away from individual meters locks that had been placed for non-payment.

Subsequent water bills were sent to attorney Kirk Willingham, who periodically appeared as spokesman for Coltaire at city board meetings, responding to city code office complaints. In March, Willingham questioned the legality of the city’s actions.

Last week, Willingham and Charleston attorney Jeff Padgett sought the injunction from Chancery Judge Vickie Cobb preventing the city from cutting off the water for non-payment. Judge Cobb agreed, and ordered the city to restore water service to any trailer park resident who paid the standard $100 renters fee to the city.

“I will make it a better place,” Evans told the mayor and aldermen Tuesday during a presentation that lasted over 20 minutes.

“My plan is in two years to have nice trailers,” he added, replacing the older models presently in use.
City departments

In other business during Tuesday’s meeting, aldermen voted unanimously to:

•    Repair a 2008 model street sweeper to restore the machine to its full cleaning capacity. The cost of repair of the $100,000 piece of equipment is estimated at $10,000;

•    Set a cleanup hearing next month for a house at the intersection of Court and Bates Streets streets;

•    Approve a request by Deputy Police Chief Don Province that an officer be allowed to take part-time employment outside the department;

•    Approve a payment request by Mendrop Engineering representative Keith Quick to Quinn Construction for $45,712.19 for its work on the Tubbs Road drainage improvements. The work is about seven percent complete, Quick said;

•    Authorized Mayor Jerry Autrey to request reimbursement $34,013.07 of the $45,712.19 construction expenditure from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds granted to fund the Tubbs Road project;

•    Authorized city workers to clean up property at an abandoned house at 350 Panola Avenue with cost of the cleanup assessed to the property. Tanya Jones appeared as a spokesman for the owner of an adjacent property and cited problems with squatters living in the house and vermin infestation. The house is in foreclosure, and the cost of the cleanup will be added as a lien on the property, Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell said.

Update on other city projects

During Tuesday’s meeting, aldermen also heard Quick provide an update on a water pipeline construction in the Dogwood Hills area and east of I-55. The new pipes are expected to improve water pressure. November 18 is the completion date, Quick said, and will require boring a tunnel for pipe placement under the interstate.

Another tunnel will be required to allow natural gas pipes to be placed under Interstate 55 to provide fuel for Superior Asphalt’s plant east of I-55 near Buckhorn Road. Aldermen voted unanimously for Mendropp Engineering to complete specifications and to purchase the materials for the pipeline construction to the site.

Installation will be performed by a private contractor, Quick said.

According to information provided by Quick and by Gas Department Superintendent William Wilson, the city’s water and gas pipes laid through the intersection of I-55 and 6 have been lowered sufficiently to allow the Mississippi Department of Transportation to move ahead with its plans for construction at the intersection.