Power still off at Spencer, IA mobile home park after no ruling made in court hearing

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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SPENCER, Iowa (KTIV) - A hearing took place in northwest Iowa to determine if a mobile home park wrongfully had its power shut off and whether electricity there should be restored.

Power has been off at a mobile home in Spencer, Iowa for several weeks now. The power was turned off at the park, called Spencer Trailer Court, after the city said it received a complaint of several serious code violations. Initially, the city and the park struck a deal to keep the park open while repairs were ongoing. But the city says the park didn’t meet the deadline for initial repairs.

The owner of the park, Bill Caskey, and one of its residents, Margaret George, have filed a lawsuit against the city of Spencer in a bid to get the power turned back on.

On Tuesday, several witnesses took the stand at the county courthouse in Spencer. One of them, a woman who lives in the park and chose not to leave when the utilities were shut off says her medical issues have gotten worse. Specifically, she says her anxiety has gotten worse over the past few weeks, as well as issues with her asthma.

Another witness, the owner of the mobile home park, testified two of his electricians felt it was safe to live in the park.

“The grounding, the clearances, yes, I’m happy with the clearances, however, the grounding has not been all gone through,” said Lane Schindler, a master electrician who testified in Tuesday’s hearing.

“Is it your opinion today that the power can safely be turned back on?” asked a lawyer.

“Yes,” answered Schindler.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because I don’t think it ever should’ve been shut off.”

The defense, representing Spencer, had the chance to call several witnesses as well. One of them talked about the inspection and procedures that were followed. The mayor of Spencer also found himself testifying during the hearing.

“My concerns were primarily with the residents of the park, and that they were going to be removed from the park. That they be provided with access to social services, that would be able to help them find alternate housing,” said Mayor Steve Bomgaars, referencing the resources the city provided to help the park residents find new places to live.

The hearing wrapped up at 3:30 p.m. with no ruling. The judge is taking the case under advisement, but closed the proceedings, for now, saying it may be a better solution for the city and the park to come together and solve the issues themselves.

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