Amherst neighborhood grappling with exorbitant utility bills can’t find relief

Residents in an Amherst mobile home park upset about huge sewer bills

LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - For years, residents in the Amherst Mobile Home Park have been paying exorbitant sewer bills. Now, they are speaking out.

“All I should worry about is my son’s education and me working. I shouldn’t have to worry about this extra bull crap,” Tia Hilton, a resident of the trailer park, said.

Residents explain that they pay for their sewage through the city of Lorain. In 2016, the city, along with the trailer park management, raised the cost for utilities. Furthermore, the bills are mailed first to the management office before they are sent to residents, which leads to rising late fees.

These late fees, along with new, confusing extra costs, have become too expensive for many of the around 200 members of the community.

“There are so many people that are on fixed incomes,” Paula Jordan, another resident, said. “They’re either retired or on social security and disability or just getting by.”

Residents also explained the park management has been installing even more sewer lines, as well as new homes that have not been sold yet. These added lines, although unused, add up to even more costs against current residents, and create challenges for those who want to move in.

John Washburn is an elderly resident with heart failure that moved into the trailer park about two weeks ago. He explains he was originally told the cost of setting up his new home would total about $6,000. In the end, he paid nearly $20,000.

“How long will I live to be able to keep up with the cost that is going to cost for me to live here?” he asked. “I don’t know.”

The neighborhood hopes that speaking out can help lower the costs of their bills. And they have garnered support from people outside of their trailer park, as well.

Dennis Flores, 2nd Ward Councilman for the Lorain City Council, hopes to introduce a set of measures that will change the sewer prices to how they used to be calculated and charged.

Meanwhile, attorney Gerald W. Phillips hopes to defend the trailer park’s rights, which he explains have been violated.

“If we have to take them down brick by brick, that’s what we’ll do,” Hilton said.

19 News tried to reach representatives of the mobile home park and the Lorain Utility Department, but none were available for comment. Residents explain the utility department has not communicated with them either.

“I can’t get anywhere with them,” Jordan said. “They threaten to call the sheriffs on me.”

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