St. Martinville City Council calls special meeting over mobile home issue

ST. MARTINVILLE — The St. Martinville City Council will hold a special meeting this afternoon to once again discuss issues with the Evangeline Mobile Home Park.

At its last regular meeting on Nov. 15, the council heard from Neal Laperouse who was requesting a hardship waiver to have power connected to his mobile home at the park. The problem is that the trailer was moved into its lot without a permit at a time when the city council had declared a moratorium on permitting mobile homes at the park.

The moratorium was put in place after the city asked for owner Mark Brignac to either move mobile homes out of the city’s utility easement so the poles and transformers bringing power to the north side of the park could be upgraded and repaired. Brignac did not want to move the mobile homes. The city then said poles could be run through the middle of the park, but Brignac balked at that option as well.

The city had previously replaced poles on the south side of the park, which were accessible for workers. Brignac has been attempting to have the city bear all of the costs of upgrading the service on the north side of the park for more than a year. His arguments that the power was not safe and that there were issues with the way the lines were run over some of the homes on the north side led the council to institute the moratorium.

The latest wrinkle is that the council said on Nov. 15 that La[erouse’s trailer could be connected only if it could be done efficiently and on the south side of the park’s electrical supply. Councilmen have since learned that the cost of the equipment and wiring to connect the mobile home to the south side, however, would cost the city more than $2,000.

The mobile home is set in a position to be easily and conveniently hooked up to the north side of the park. Brignac had paid for a permit to add a security light in that location at the park, then used that permit to install a 200 amp access, large enough to power a mobile home.

City officials attempted to turn off that power in June because Mayor Pro Tem Craig Prosper said the high-amperage service was for a mobile home, not a safety light. Brignac cried foul, saying that he only wanted it for a security light and that he was putting in the higher-capacity power panel because he was “thinking ahead in case it is needed down the road.”

Shortly thereafter, Laperouse’s trailer was moved onto the lot without a permit after the city’s building inspector, Public Works superintendent and chief administrative officer had said the trailer would not be allowed and refused to issue a permit for it.

Brignac later attempted to have malfeasance charges filed against Prosper for trying to have the power shut off. Police Chief Ricky Martin last week filed a report stating his reasons for not arresting Prosper.

Within days of Martin filing that report, anonymous letters accusing him of falsifying his education records began arriving at the offices of city councilmen, civil service board members and others. Martin said he is in the process of securing hard copies of his education records to refute the allegations.

Discussion of a possible solution to the immediate issue of connecting power to Laperouse’s mobile home is the only action item on Wednesday’s agenda. The council will meet at 4 p.m. in the council meeting room of City Hall, 120 New Market St. in St. Martinville.

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