‘I wouldn’t do anything to harm trailer residents,’ owner says
Editor’s Note: Last week’s newspaper carried coverage of a special Ephraim City Council meeting in which the council directed city staff to take all necessary measures to clean up a mobile home park at 200 West and 200 North. Most of the coverage was drawn from a tape recording of the meeting. Following is a response from David Strate, the owner of the park.
Today as I saw the Sanpete Messenger, I read with interest the report of
the Ephraim City Council by Suzanne Dean, a meeting I was totally unaware of. It was made to sound as if I was invited to this meeting and refused to come. It was also reported there had been a meeting four years ago that I failed to attend. I was unaware of that meeting also. I find it very interesting the untruths in this article, so I felt a necessity to write and at least explain things from my side.
Much talk is made about a trailer with no water, plumbing, electrical etc. This is not a trailer I own. (In fact, I don’t own most of the trailers there.) The prior owner had big dreams of redoing the trailer. She tore out the interior and never put it back together again. The trailer was
given to the current owner, who has no money to purchase a trailer.
There is water to this trailer like there is water to every trailer in the park. The owners have not prepared the trailer to hook up the water yet. I found out recently that all the wiring is in place but just needs to be have the walls put back and the wire run back to the outlets where
they were originally. The structure of this trailer seems very good, and with a little work, it could become a very livable home for someone.
Also, when I was informed of the honey bucket (a bucket being used as a toilet), I got down on the tenant and very forcefully told him this could not continue. I explained the health hazard involved and the unhealthy environment he was causing for the other tenants.
This was also the only trailer that was using electricity from his neighbor. The neighbor had evidently agreed to this for a short period to try and help out the other tenant, but we also put a stop to that. Again, this is not a trailer I own.
I have scratched my head trying to figure out what Chad Parry (Ephraim City public works director) was talking about when he mentioned sewage leaking from the sewer outlets from the trailer.
First of all, being the owner of the court, this is the responsibility of the trailer owner, but I feel a great concern for health and safety of those who live there. If I were to see leaking sewage I would require that the tenant correct that issue. When I walked through (the trailer court) with Chad, there was never a mention to me of any of the trailers leaking sewage. He did mention the concern that if a sewer were to leak, that could cause a problem.
If the city were to shut off the water and if the people were to use the water it could pull this bad water into the house. So you see, there were a lot of conditions that needed to be met for any harm to occur. Chad also said that this is not a primary concern.
There was a mention of the electrical. I did have a discussion with Cory Daniels (Ephraim city power superintendent) some time ago about some breaker boxes. They were the same as they were when I purchased the court several years ago. I am not an electrician and didn’t realize there was a concern. When I was notified, I got it taken care of.
When we had the walk-through, Cory mentioned that we needed a shutoff for one line. Again, I was unaware that there wasn’t a shutoff. When Cory explained the concern, I immediately contacted an electrician to come and fix it. The electrician was out of town and said he would get with me when he got back but then I was out of town. We now need to get together to get this project completed.
The pictures in the newspaper depicted some real concern for the citizens of Ephraim and for me. I had a tenant who used to live at the trailer court who was at the root of what is seen in the pictures.
The first picture shows the frame of a mobile home. I was given a number of someone who would remove this and a couple of other trailers that had long gone past their prime. The tenant I mentioned wanted so badly to remove this trailer. Before I knew it, he had started tearing it down.
I waited several days for him to come and finish the project, but he never came back. One of my friends from the court came and helped me remove the mess that was left. I have tried to get hold of the individual to remove the rest, but after several attempts have not been able to get hold of him. I will keep trying. I am sure he is there.
The mess in the other picture was left by this same individual. He left his wife of one month. When he came back, he kicked her out and threw out her things. I was hoping that she would stop by and talk to me about her stuff but have heard nothing from her.
All the contents were cleaned out of their trailer this past week and all the debris that is sitting out there now will also be put into the trailer that is partially filed and is sitting there. That will happen this weekend. Arrangement were made last week for this.
One mention was made in the article about how “scary” it was at the trailer court. I was rather appalled with this comment. The place is usually pretty organized. As many know, I have been very sick the past couple years, leaving me with no energy to do anything. I am just getting back on my feet but find myself very much behind.
I have usually had the trailer court sprayed a couple times a year to keep the weeds down. Most of the tenants have kept their yards very clean. I find this trailer court filled with very fine people. Once I got acquainted with these people, I had no problem being there any time of day or night. I found that they were my friends. They always made me feel comfortable being there. I guess if someone feels it is scary, it is because they don’t know the good people who live there.
There was mention of a citation given to me because of failing to comply with installing a toilet. As I mentioned earlier, this is not my trailer so it was not me who was given a citation but the home owner. It was my responsibility to make sure there was water available so he could get the toilet installed and working. There was water there so my part was completed and I was never cited for anything.
When I purchased this court the water system was rather old. We had issues where the water bills were much higher than they should have been, so finally I went through and tore up the whole court and put in a completely new water system, taking new lines to each mobile home.
The issue with the garden hoses, again, is the responsibility of each owner. My responsibility is to get the water there. Theirs is to hook up and get the water inside their homes.
When we put the new water system it was done by a contractor who followed the rules, I assume. Therefore, the water should not be an issue except for maybe the meter. I was told that several multi resident housing units in the city have just one meter. That is just the way it has been done so this really isn’t an issue as was made to believe from the article.
I have tried to provide an affordable place for people to live. I have people come and spend a short time before they find a home or bigger apartment, and I have people who come and spend years. I love those people and wouldn’t feel good at all about the situation if is really was as it appears in the article.
I am not sure if it was misinformation given out by the city people or if it was the way the information was understood and then written in the newspaper.
We do hope to have a place in Ephraim that is a respectable place, a place that will be a plus for Ephraim. We enjoy living in Ephraim as much as everyone else and hope to do our part to make it a nice place to live. I live across from another trailer court in town and
know what it is like.
I hope we will not be found to be like a flock of chickens taking after one and pecking the other chicken until it is dead. After I read the article I was rather glad I wasn’t at the meeting. I felt like I might have been pecked at and pecked at hoping I would totally go away.