March 8, 2017
To: Chatham County Manager’s Office and County Commisisoners
Re: Solid Waste Services for Property Damaged by Hurricane at 9902 Ferguson Ave.
LANDINGS RESIDENTS AND GATED COMMUNITIES RECEIVE PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT OVER MOBILE HOME OWNERS?
Dear Mr. Smith,
INTRODUCTION: I have not yet had the privilege of meeting you. Thank you for your commitment and all you do for our county.
My firm represents the property owners, families and residents of 9902 Ferguson Avenue, Marsh Point Homes.
We also represent Savannah Real Estate Investments, Inc., the Management Company for Marsh Point Homes―a residential Mobile Home community located at 9902 Ferguson Ave.
REPUTABLE COMPANY, LAND OWNERS, FAMILIES, RESIDENTS, TAXPAYERS AND VOTERS:
RESIDENTS: The residents consist of 191 families. These hardworking folks are mostly low income or laborers, many are skilled laborers. The park residents own their own homes (modular /mobile home). They each pay tag/taxes/fees on their homes to Chatham County.
MANAGEMENT: Marsh Point Homes is well managed. The owners takes pride in it being one of the cleanest, best kept and safest parks in the county. The management company employs 2 property managers, a maintenance staff, security, a book-keeper and many outside vendors.
LANDOWNERS: The park / subdivision is locally owned. The property owners own many other residential and commercial properties and pay substantial property taxes to Chatham County.
REQUEST FOR HELP AND FAIR TREATMENT FROM DEVASTATING HURRICANE DAMAGES:
This letter is to notify you that solid waste services are needed at the 9902 Ferguson Avenue property. This request has been made repeatedly over the last 4 months.
As a result of Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016, this residential mobile home park experienced serious and devastating damages. Over 125 trees were damaged or destroyed/killed throughout the entire 37 acres.
Complete trees failed and large limbs failed:
Ø Damaging and destroying the homes of many families
Ø Blocking roadways
ü power poles
ü Electrical boxes and meters
ü Septic tanks, drain-fields
ü Water systems and water lines.
NO HELP FROM INSURANCE OR FEMA:
The hurricane and wind damage “deductibles” on the homes exceed the costs of repairs to the homeowners, so their homeowner policies paid nothing.
The insurance policy of the landowners did not cover the mobile homes, because they are owned by the residents.
FEMA denied the request for assistance.
The landowners have spent over $150,000.00, out of pocket, on tree removal (from roads and homes) and sewer repairs from the storm. The homeowners have experienced substantial out of pocket costs for their home repairs due to falling trees.
The management company leased commercial generators and had the water system up for the families within hours and days before Georgia Power arrived.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES?
Following the hurricane the county voted and approved service to the landings and other gated and private communities?
We are told by the county that mobile homeowners will receive no county debris removal service?
WHAT COUNTY SERVICES ARE PROVIDED FOR THE TAXES PAID BY LAND OWNERS AND FAMILIES?
What do the tax payers receive in county provided services for their taxes?
Most utilities are NOT available at 9902 Ferguson Avenue. Unlike the landowner’s properties located in Savannah City limits, this property receives almost no services.
The landowner pays property taxes. The residents / families pay Mobile home taxes, tags and fees.
Ø NO COUNTY WATER: The property does not receive county water. The owners must provide their own well and water system. Last year alone over $100,000.00 was spent on the well system.
Ø NO COUNTY GARBAGE SERVICE: The Park pays a private refuse company each month.
Ø NO COUNTY PROVIDED SEWER SYSTEM: The Park owners have a self-paid septic system and drain fields provided to each home owner.
Ø NO COUNTY PROVIDED ROAD WAYS: The landowners paid for all paving, resurfacing and roadway maintenance.
Ø NO COUNTY PROVIDED FIRE SERVICES: The landowners pay a separate fee for fire services to an outside vendor.
Ø DRAINAGE DITCH MAINTENANCE: The county-owned drainage ditches are almost always in need of lawn service and cleaning. Often the landowners performs these services at their own expense.
Why should my clients have to load and remove the remaining hurricane debris, haul it to the dump and pay a fee to the county for dumping it? This debris removal service was provided to the landings and other gated communities by the county at no cost?
Again, what exactly do the landowners, families/residents receive for all of their county paid taxes?
ONLY ONE VISIT BY COUNTY AND WORK NOT COMPLETED DESPITE PROMISES:
Since the storm in October, 4 months ago, the county has only visited the property once. At that time, County employees told residents that they would return to remove the remaining branches and debris.
It is now March of 2017, as of today, the county has not returned to assist with the clean-up, as they promised the homeowners.
The county has been contacted on numerous occasions by the management company to no avail.
Homeowners and residents who have contacted the county have been told that the County will not return. The County stopped all cleaning after the first of February. They reported to residents that they were “so busy that they never had a chance to stop by the mobile home park”.
IMPROPER COMMUNICATIONS BY COUNTY EMPLOYEES:
County employees are telling the residents that the Management Company is responsible and that the homeowners can take my other clients to court and win.
The county is neglecting the property, failing to provide services and County representatives are frivolously offering legal advice?
In addition employees at the county are telling the management that trailer parks are not serviced by the county. The county and its vendors have been seen collecting hurricane debris in other mobile home parks.
The landowners, residents, homeowners and families all pay taxes and deserve the same services as other communities within the County.
On behalf of the landowners, families and management company, we are requesting that a County representative be sent to the property as soon as possible to complete the removal of the debris.
We would like to show the homeowners that the county is equally concerned with its low-income neighborhoods as they are the wealthy gated communities.
The solid waste division should handle the debris removal clean up that is genuinely needed for our residents.
I am confident that this is simply an error or a misunderstanding and the County leaders will step up and resolve this matter. Please help us to resolve this issue immediately.
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Make it a great day!
Howard E. Spiva
Howard E. Spiva,
cc: Robert W/ Drewry, Director, Public Works, Solid Waste Division,
Albert J. Scott, Chairman
Commissioner Helen L. Stone, District 1,
Commissioner James J. Holmes, District 2,
Commissioner Bobby Lockett, District 3,
Commissioner Patrick K. Farrell, District 4,
Commissioner Tabitha Odell, District 5,
Commissioner James “Jay” Jones, District 6,
Commissioner Dean Kicklighter, District 7,
Commissioner Chester A. Ellis, District 8,
Assistant County Manager,
Assistant County Manager,