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Florida Key’s City Will Likely for RV Park Sewers

February 2, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

The Key RV/Mobile Home Condo Association and the city of Marathon, Fla., apparently are close to a deal to settle a lawsuit over sewer fees, and it looks like the mobile-home park is coming out the big winner, according to KeysNet.com.

How big? The city will foot the estimated $1 million bill to install the sewers in the private park. It would also maintain the park’s package plant and sewer lines after they’re installed

Additionally, a $36 monthly base sewer bill is separated into two fees. Under the deal, that $36 would be cut to $22 monthly, saving the park residents a combined $34,000 a year.

Board Vice President Greg Coldiron told Key RV property owners at a Jan. 16 board meeting that a settlement has been reached and agreed to by city attorneys and Key RV attorney David Paul Horan. The Keynoter obtained an audio recording of the meeting.

“Three weeks ago, [interim City Manager] Peter Rosasco looked at me and said, ‘There is no way in hell the city is going to take over that system.’ I said, ‘Well, then you don’t have a deal and we’ll see you in court and we’re going to kick your butt.’ We all know the thing is limping along and ready to die any day. The system is shot,” Coldiron said at the board meeting.

Coldiron told the Keynoter on Jan. 29 he expecteds the deal to be finalized soon, but he was only outlining a “preliminary settlement” at the board meeting.

“We think we’re going to have a settlement with the city. The problem is our attorney is out of town until Monday but I think we would have something in writing on Monday,” he said.

“We have been in serious settlement negotiations with Key RV for a while now. Over the last several weeks we’ve made a lot of progress and we think we’re close to a settlement,” Rosasco said.

Key RV sued in October 2008 alleging discrimination by the city in assessing them nearly $1 million combined to connect to the system, which is still under construction.

Coldiron said at the board meeting that a 60% majority of voters will be required to accept the settlement.

The park’s lawsuit against the city essentially boils down to whether it’s legal to charge Key RV’s individual owners the same sewer fees as other equivalent dwelling units in the city based on the form of ownership. The mobile-home park switched to a condominium form of ownership in 2004.

Single-family homeowners in Marathon pay $5,700 per EDU.

Acting Circuit Court Judge Ruth Becker on Jan. 18 denied cross motions by both parties to dismiss the case and said the issue warrants a full-blown trial. It appears the case will be settled before it gets to that point.

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