Friday, August 03, 2007


It's time for today's OD story that no one cares about except some average Joes and Janes somewhere out there in the good ole US of A.

White Township is a township in Warren County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 4,245. It is part of the eastern most region of the Lehigh Valley.

Within the boundaries of the township lies Country View Village. A trailer park (or as we like to say a development of "factory built homes") which caters to people 55 and over in their retirement and pre-retirement years and offers recreation, socializing and someone else to do the outside maintenance.

A place where old folks with not a lot of money and who aren't ready to be warehoused somewhere go to try and live out their lives independently and with some dignity.

The place has 236 two bedroom homes along Route 516. Base prices for the factory-built homes, with 900 to 1,700 square feet of space, are $84,900 to $119,000 (or they were back when most of the residents purchased them ten years ago).

For a number of years the township had gotten $25 bucks a month from these folks as a service charge until they stood up and put a stop to it. No one else in the township was paying any such fee. In fact, a number of residents have had the gall to file a suit to get their money back. It means something to them.

The township decided recently they wanted these folks to hand over ten bucks a month as a service fee. They said it was only fair since they'd passed a measure requiring a five cent municipal tax.

Now ten dollars probably doesn't sound like all that much to you, but its a $120 a year residents, most living on fixed incomes, don't feel they can afford or should have to fork out.

And it's $120 for services they aren't getting.

Township leaders, I'd bet, never gave a thought to tacking a service charge on these people.

Americans living in parks like this across our great land don't exactly have a trailer park/factory home lobby looking out for them and their interests.

But in this case, the township ought to have known the people who fought with them before weren't going to just put the check in the mail without trying, at least, to raise a stink.

The following story comes from the Express-Times out of New Jersey

Fee-on-homes proposal protested
Country view Village residents out in force against $10-a-month fee.
Friday, July 27, 2007

Country View Village residents came out in force to Thursday's township committee meeting to protest a proposed $10-a-month service fee on their homes.

After residents spoke for more than an hour, the committee voted to table the fee proposal to its Aug. 9 meeting. The fee would apply to only residents of Country View Village, a 236-home age-restricted mobile home park.

Committeeman Jim Ashe suggested a $7-per-month charge would be more in line with municipal taxes township homeowners pay. Committeeman Sam Race said he would like to see information on what the park owner pays in property taxes to the township. Country View Village residents said they pay the owner's property taxes through their maintenance fees.

"I think they're being double-dipped," said Victor "Bud" Allen, a former committee candidate.

From 1991 to 2001, Country View Village residents were charged a $25-per-month service fee. The fee was dropped after park residents said the fee was unfair since township homeowners did not pay any municipal taxes.

Several park residents have filed a lawsuit against the township to seek reimbursement for the 11 years they paid the fees under those circumstances.

Now that the township committee authorized a 5-cent municipal tax this year, the committee again proposed the fee to be fair to all residents, members said.

Some park residents said it would be difficult for them to pay the fee as nonworking senior citizens.

"It's a lot to ask of a small community on fixed incomes," Ellen Infante said. "I think you should search your conscience and find a different way."

Resident Ernie Maso said the state statute allowing the fee says it should be imposed to pay for municipal services property taxes don't cover. Residents said the township does not provide any services for them since their roads are privately maintained.

"I don't think we owe you guys anything," Maso said.

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