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County waives fees, taxes on junk mobile homes

by Brad FuquaWestern News
| October 13, 2009 12:00 AM

A variety of situations around all corners of Lincoln County have caused many property owners to ignore the ugly, run-down mobile homes sitting on their land.

County commissioners last week announced an effort to battle the problem by waiving all fees and taxes on “non-livable mobile homes” delivered to county landfill sites in Libby and Eureka for destruction.

“It really has been a problem and we’re trying to alleviate that,” commissioner Tony Berget said. “There are trailers that have become a public safety hazard with critters, some with people in them.”

The problem that many property owners face involves back taxes owed on mobile homes that are worth nothing.

“If people can’t afford to pay the back taxes on the trailer, they can’t afford the permit,” said Kathi Hooper, the county’s director of environmental health. “More often than not, it’s unlivable and people stop paying the taxes.”

Currently, it is required that all taxes be paid on a mobile home before a moving permit can be issued. On top of that, owners are charged a disposal fee at the landfill.

“We hope that by waiving these fees and taxes that many people will take advantage of this program,” commissioner Marianne Roose said. “Many mobile homes have been abandoned in the county or were collapsed by snow during the winter and are unlivable.”

Berget shared the story of one property owner who allowed a trailer to be located on his land and it was abandoned. The trailer had no value and back taxes were owed.

“He wants to take it to the dump so he goes down to the courthouse,” Berget said. “He can’t move it without paying the back taxes but he can’t do it. There it sits in limbo.”

That’s just one example. Commissioners have heard from their constituents in all parts of the county.

Commissioner John Konzen said “this is an effort to help clean up our county. There are many abandoned mobile homes around that are a danger to the public as well as very unsightly for neighbors.”

People who want to take advantage of the waiver will be responsible to have the mobile home delivered to the Libby or Eureka sites. A free moving permit is available through the county treasurer’s office. Commissioners added that arrangements for delivery should also be made through the landfill sites.

“We hope that this trial program will be a success,” Berget said.

Phone numbers for the landfills are 293-7146 for Libby and 889-5117 for Eureka.

For more information, on the program, call Hooper at 293-7781, ext. 231.