Broadalbin strikes down $25 fee mobile home park fee

Was charging mobile home parks annual fee

Town of Broadalbin resident and mobile home park owner Marty Foley spoke against the $25 yearly application fee for mobile home parks during the board's regular meeting on Tuesday. The board voted against the fee making it so mobile home park owners no longer have to pay that fee. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

BROADALBIN — After another lengthy, heated discussion against the yearly application fee of $25 for a mobile home park, the town board voted down the fee, removing it completely.

During the town board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, tensions were high after mobile home park owners received the mobile home park’s vacation trailer and campground annual license renewal application in the mail last month. The application requires mobile home park owners to pay a $25 fee even though the town board had yet to vote on the fee. Three people paid the fee so far.

Councilman Mike Greco raised a concern during the meeting, questioning why the applications were mailed out if the board didn’t vote on it. He said he received multiple phone calls from mobile home park owners who were questioning him on the issue, but he was unable to answer their questions because he was unaware of the mailings and was confused himself. He said he was “embarrassed” because as a town councilman, he should have known what was going on.

“My question is, what happened to the vote that we were going to take on whether or not we are going to charge any fee and what the fee was going to be?” Greco asked.

Supervisor Sheila Perry said the mobile home parks local law is now being enforced and included in that law is the annual license renewal application, which is sent out in April every year. She said the fee was lowered from $40 to $25. She said as a board, they went to the town attorney, Carmel Greco, to make sure it was alright that the renewal letters were sent out. She said the letters went out only to existing mobile home parks.

“If you’re going to charge someone something, give them something,” Mike Greco said. “They pay enough money for insurances, liabilities and state crap. It’s $25 for nothing.”

The disagreement over the annual fee, which is per mobile home park, not per mobile home, began in December when a public hearing was held on the updated Mobile Home Park Law that was passed by the planning board. The public hearing was to allow mobile home park owners to ask any questions on the revisions made to the law, which was created in 1993, but never enforced. The updated law is now being enforced, and part of that law requires owners to fill out an annual license renewal application that is supposed to include a fee. The town board established the fee at $25 during its organizational meeting. However, that fee was not voted on due to mobile home park owners being against the fee.

During Tuesday’s meeting, that fee was voted on, three against the fee and two in favor, resulting in no fee. Voting against the fee were Mike Greco, Councilman Doug Kissinger and Councilwoman Jennifer Gilston. In favor of the fee was Perry and Councilman Dave Bogardus.

Before the town board took a vote on the fee, mobile home park owners voiced their opinions.

Mobile home park owner Marty Foley presented the original Mobile Home Park Law from 1993.

“A mobile home park here and now in the town of Broadalbin is any parcel of land improved with two or more mobile homes which are used for dwelling occupancy for more than 90 days,” Foley said.

Foley then presented Perry’s tax assessment, which shows two mobile homes with STAR exemption.

Perry explained that there is one mobile home and one home. She confirmed it is all on one piece of property.

“On a farm you can have up to nine dwellings,” Perry said. “There are three homes. One of them being a two-family home and all three homes have STAR exemptions because they’re owned by different people.”

Laurie Bollock, one of the town’s assessors, asked the board if they knew how much sales tax some of her residents bring into the town. She said most of them don’t like to cook and order food from Pizza Pete’s, Fritz’s Pizza and the ice cream store.

“That’s a lot of sales tax coming into the town,” Bollock said. “My point being we are doing the very best we can to run our business, bringing a sizable amount of sales tax revenue into the town, which you told us is offset through the highway and then to the fire department and trickles down. I thank you very much for your time, but the amount of money we bring in sales tax, it’s not the law we’re disputing, it’s the $25 fee.”

Some mobile home park owners and residents felt the town had a “hidden agenda” for why they all of a sudden decided to update the Mobile Home Park law.

Cindy McClarren, chairman of the Planning Board, cleared any confusion as the town’s motive behind the update and the enforcment of the Mobile Home Park Law.

McClarren said when she first became chairman of the planning board, she went and made copies of all the laws, made a spreadsheet and wrote down all the dates the laws were last reviewed. She said she started with the oldest, which happened to be the Mobile Home Park Law, and the planning board began to draft the new mobile home law. She said Jarred Abrams, who owns a mobile home park, helped with developing the new law, which she said is less restrictive than the 1993 law.

“There is no ulterior motive for a mobile home park, we didn’t have a hidden agenda. I’m doing my job,” McClarren said. “You pay me to be planning board chairman, you pay us to be on the planning board to look at these things and that’s what we’re doing. The fees are a separate issue and I’ve listened to this for months and months. We need to work together as a town and all I hear is personal criticism against our town supervisor.”