City Ponders Water Rates for RV Parks
Can a city ethically charge an RV park owner $9 a month for water for each site, whether or not the site was occupied?
The city council of Kensett, Ark., population 2,000 and the hometown of fabled congressional tax authority, the late Wilbur D. Mills, is thinking about it.
RV park owners Julian McFadden and Bob Barnum attended Tuesday’s (Sept. 16) city council meeting to discuss the proposed ordinance, according to the Searcy (Ark.) Daily Citizen.
In the August meeting, the council had decided to charge the $9 rate for water for RV parks, and planned to amend an ordinance this week to adopt it. However, RV park owners McFadden and Barnum asked the council to consider a lower rate.
Barnum asked the council if he would be charged a $9 flat rate per pad, even if the pad is unoccupied. Mayor Max McDonald stated that he would be, according to the ordinance. The mayor also added that hotels, apartment complexes, and mobile home parks all pay the same rate.
“I don't see how that's fair,” Barnum said. “RV parks don't use as much water as hotels.”
McDonald suggested placing individual meters on each pad so that Barnum would only be charged when the pads were occupied. However, Barnum stated that it wasn't feasible to place a meter on every pad.
McFadden also argued against the amendment to the ordinance.
“I don't mind paying $9 if it's occupied,” he said of the individual sites.
However, McFadden said he does not believe that he should have to pay $9 for water on an unoccupied site, because no water would be used. He also added that it was “totally unreasonable” to expect him to place individual meters on each site.
“If you raise the rate, that's gouging. I don't think it’s right,” McFadden said.
Robert Underwood also spoke on behalf of Barnum and McFadden. The city council approved Underwood's project of building an RV park inside city limits just last month. Underwood stated that if he had known that the ordinance had not been passed during the last meeting, he would have brought the subject up then.
“Is a mobile home, an RV park, and an apartment complex the same? Stop and think,” Underwood told the council. “I wish you would give it some consideration.”
After much debate, the city council passed a motion to research the appropriate rates for RV parks, discuss the matter with the city attorney, and table the issue until next month's meeting.