Trailer-park residents may lose sewer service

A court in South Carolina has given a town the green light to shut off an outlying trailer park's sewer service altogether.

RALEIGH, N.C., Sept. 17, 2003 -- Residents of a local trailer park already pay twice what their neighbors pay for basic sewer service. They're too far out of town, according to officials of Fuquay-Varina about the wastewater challenged Southside Mobile Home Park. But residents of Southside don't see it that way. Now, a local court has given the town a green light to shut off the trailer park's sewer service altogether.

Southside trustee Thomas Tilley doesn't buy the idea that his park is too far out. "Southside is closer to the town limits than Woods of Asbury. It's a double standard when one residential community gets sewer service at a reasonable rate and the other -- which just happens to be a trailer park -- does not."

Tilley claims that Southside has had to pay a monthly sewer bill as high as $127.88 per home. "That's just not reasonable," says Tilley, who has been trying for years to get lower sewer costs for his tenants.

Southside is a family-run business, managed by Thomas Tilley's son Bruce Tilley, who also believes the town is giving Southside and its tenants a raw deal.

"A couple developers will cheer if my tenants are forced to pull up stakes," says Bruce Tilley. "But what we're talking about here is major disruption to hardworking families. Our residents are good people who want nothing more than a fair shake. It is difficult enough to find affordable communities without obstacles like this."

Southside currently rents space to 97 mobile homes. Residents pay $265 a month to lease space for each mobile home, which includes sewer fees.

On August 25, 2003, Wake County Superior Court judge Henry W. Hight Jr. ruled that the town of Fuquay-Varina could stop providing "wastewater transmission and treatment services" to Southside residents.

"We have bent over backwards to work out some reasonable agreement," says Thomas Tilley. "Our renters are hardworking families -- construction workers and landscapers. They have been asked to pay double and triple what people in town pay for sewer service. How can this be fair?"

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