Raised security deposit to protect Dixie Inn, rental property owners

By Tina Montgomery

The aldermen for the Village of Dixie Inn met July 12 and provided some clarification about an ordinance that was passed to provide some protection from water/sewerage bills defaulted by renters who move away without resolving their delinquencies.

Ordinance 38D raised the security deposit for water/sewerage to $300 from $150. Andy Nelson, who owns Southfield Trailer Park, was concerned whether the responsibility of paying such delinquencies fell onto landlords. Buddy Caskey who owns Heart of Dixie mobile home park was expected to address the council on this matter. Nelson asked if the council could address the issue without Mr. Caskey’s presence. 

Mayor Donna Hoffoss explained, “We adopted this, Ordinance 38D, because we had so many delinquent water bills and sewer bills, and so we have to spend a lot of money when we do repairs on all of our stuff, so we had to try to recoup some of our money.” 

Incoming tenants now pay a security deposit of  $300; an amount that is expected to cover any delinquencies when a tenant moves and does not pay monies owed on water/sewerage bills. 

Mr. Nelson asked if the landlord was responsible for anything owed after the $300 deposit was applied to the outstanding bill. Mayor Hoffoss affirmed the remaining tenant delinquency was the responsibility of the landlord. 

“Well, we’ve never come across that, as far as the 20 years I’ve been in the business,” Nelson said.  

Alderman Lance Milligan said the increase in the deposit was to mitigate any circumstances in which a tenant suddenly and unexpectedly leaves the property without paying for a water bill that is owed. Alderwoman Judy McKenzie said in that way the Village and the landlord are protected because the security deposit would be expected to take care of that type of situation.

In other new business, Water System Operator Mike Chreene reported he had received a quote of $2,250 to place cameras in the front of the water yard. Chreene said the quote was a bit high and the expense for the cameras wasn’t necessary right now. The Board decided to table the camera installation to a later time.

Included in department reports, Chreene said emergency water repairs were made at the police station. He also presented quotes to repair the hydrant at R & S Supply. The Board unanimously approved the quote of $4286.50 to repair the hydrant.

Police Chief James Edwards said the issue of animal control would need to be addressed in the near future due to the overpopulation and presence of stray animals at various businesses in the Village. Edwards also expressed the need to re-establish the reserve program saying the officers were a valuable asset to Dixie Inn. He presented statistics to the Board to show police activity in the parish and the need for the reserve officers.

Mayor Hoffoss reported they had received FEMA money from the 2016 flood. The equalization grant that was expected in July was now to be given on September 2nd. The Mayor asked the Alderman to think about what could be done to promote the bayou area and bring in more visitors. Alderman Milligan said there is discussion in the Webster Parish Police Jury about funding to place a handicap accessible kayak area at the boat launch. The handicap accessible kayak area would be unique to this area and is expected to draw visitors from East Texas to Monroe.

The Dixie Inn Board of Aldermen meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. at Village Hall located at 60 Shell Street, Dixie Inn. The meetings are open to the public.