Supervisors make two major decisions regarding mobile homes

Published 7:25 pm Monday, January 31, 2011

On Monday supervisors made two major decisions regarding mobile homes in Pearl River County.

No. 1, they blocked a Thursday sheriff’s tax sale for 88 homes whose owners were in arrears on taxes, and No. 2, they grandfathered in some Wind Zone 1 homes so the owners could move them inside the county without losing permission to re-hook to the electrical grid in a new location.

In blocking the sheriff’s tax sale, supervisors said they were afraid that some residents, who are unable to pay their taxes, might be ejected from their homes in cold weather because when a mobile home is sold in a sheriff’s tax sale, the purchaser can take immediate possession of it and eject the occupant. I guess the 60-day delay would put such ejections, if they occur, in the warm March breezes.

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The trailer sales are different from the sale for taxes of a standard brick-and-mortar home because the regular homeowner has up to two years to redeem the property before they have to vacate.

Thursday’s proposed sale would have been the first time that a sale has ever been scheduled by county officials that has specifically targeted mobile homes to be sold for owners’ failure to pay taxes. Trailers are personal property like your automobile.

County officials began two years ago with 2,000 mobile home owners in arrears and has whittled it down to a remaining 88 hard-core delinquents, some of whom can’t pay, and some who, although they have the money, for some other reason, refuse to pay up.

Tax assessor-collector Gary Beech told supervisors that some mobile home owners had been on the delinquent list for five or six years and “just refuse to pay their taxes owed on the mobile home.”

However, District One Supervisor and Board President Anthony Hales told Beech and Sheriff David Allison that he wanted no part of “putting out on the streets in cold weather” someone who lives in a trailer and might be handicapped or sick and unable to pay their taxes. The other four supervisors seemed to agree, at least when it came to a vote, because all voted to request that Beech and Allison postpone the sale, which they agreed to do.

It was put in the form of a resolution “requesting” Beech and Allison to do so, not ordering them to, after board attorney Joe Montgomery told supervisors that the two county officials’ actions were guided by filings with the court they have to make before conducting a sheriff’s sale, and that supervisors might not have the authority to block a sale after it has been put in motion. So supervisors requested it, and Beech and Allison, in deference to the request, postponed the sale.

That brought a response from private citizen Donna Knezevich, who regularly attends the board meeting with her husband, Joe, a former candidate for District Two supervisor. Mrs. Knezevich said that if she did not pay taxes on her home that no matter what the case, she eventually would lose it, and that it is not fair to show favor to one resident above the other.

In addition, she added she was against taxing people’s homes and enforcing it by expropriating the home. However, she said if it were going to be done, all should be treated the same.

Supervisors, nodding their approval with what she said, voted to ask for the postponement anyway.

Concerning the mobile home Wind Zone designation, supervisors passed an order that said trailers with a Wind Zone 1 designation can be moved a short distance inside the county and then will be able to reconnect to the electrical grid despite retaining the Wind Zone 1 rating.

What happened is that the state authorities, through the State Fire Marshall’s office, is requiring trailers sold or brought into Mississippi’s bottom six counties to have a Wind Zone rating of 2, that is, meaning they can withstand hurricane force winds of 110 mph.

The guidelines were that if you owned a Wind Zone 1 rated trailer in Pearl River Co., and you were already connected to the power grid, you could continue living in that trailer at the same location and the Wind Zone requirement would have no affect on you.

But say the guy who owns the property on which your trailer sits wants you and the trailer off his property, the guidelines were blocking the trailer owner from moving to a new location inside PRC since if he did relocate, he could not get a permit allowing him to reconnect to the grid because his trailer is designated Wind Zone 1 and could not be upgraded because of the way it was constructed years ago.

While there isn’t many instances of that situation (maybe one or two a month, says county planner Ed Pinero, Jr.), there was enough to bring it to the attention of county officials. So supervisors on Monday passed a resolution allowing Wind Zone 1 designated trailers to reconnect with the electrical grid (in other words issuing them a permit) when they move a short distance inside the county.

And on top of all this, if you want to move your trailer, even a foot or two, you can’t do it yourself or get just anyone to do it; you have to get a properly state licensed mover who will require that all of your permits are in order before moving you, because he could be fined and sent to jail if he moves you and you don’t have the proper permits.

Welcome to the wonderful world of government bureaucracy. There are a lot of people who can’t afford a regular brick-and-mortar home now, and they face hard-to-understand requirements as they move to purchase what are called mobile homes.

I hope this helps clarify for you what supervisors did on Monday concerning mobile homes. It is not easy to explain.