Brazoria trailer park suffers long-term power outages due to code violations _ free share _ thefacts. com

BRAZORIA — Darlene Bertel paced along the outside of her home, eyeing the trailer that less than a week ago had no electricity. Power was restored to the trailer park in the 300 block of East San Bernard Street on Thursday after 73 days. That followed a 33-day stretch without electricity that started last October.

Bertel said her home still does not have full power. Appliances including the stove and refrigerator aren’t receiving any electricity and only two kitchen outlets work.

The property lost power in early October, shortly after Bertel moved in when a garbage truck knocked over the power line, she said.

Public Works Director David Jordan and his crew arrived to repair the line, but did not reconnect the power due to the wiring not being up to code, Bertel said.

Property owner George Jones had the power line replaced after about a month but residents soon found themselves without power again.

Bertel said she was outside of her home Jan. 3 when she noticed sparks coming from a nearby electrical line. The line had caught fire, burning down to an electrical box.

After firefighters extinguished the flames, Jordan once again was forced to shut down power to the property until proper repairs could be made. Those were just completed last week.

City officials realized how shutting off the power would affect residents, but had no choice, Jordan said.

“You had people living in them with health issues that needed the power, and dragging it out made it that much worse,” he said.

Jones said Monday the delay was not because of a lack of effort or concern on his part. The electrician he initially hired installed the wrong breaker box, which cost him $2,000. The box had to be taken down because it wasn’t big enough.

The electrician also did not have a permit, Jones said.

“If he would have gotten a permit, the code enforcement would have told him what he had to do,” he said. “He would have put it up and we would have been back on line in three days.”

Jones said he hired three separate electricians, costing him a total of $20,000, and the outage could cost him more money. The city of Brazoria has cited him 15 times for failure to supply electricity to the 10 homes affected by the power outages, Jones said. The property owner was in municipal court Monday facing fines of $11,000.

“They’re trying to fine me for something I have no control over,” he said.

Jones isn’t the only one making that complaint.

Bertel said she spent roughly $30 a day on a gas generator to provide electricity to her home during the outages. The tab to keep the generator going during the outage last fall was $990, and it was an additional $1,500 for the January shutoff. The generator broke down after 50 days during the second outage, she said.

Bertel said Jones continued to demand money for past electric bills while there was no power to the property, something Jones denies.

Since the trailer park is private property, the city is limited in what it can do, City Manager Teresa Borders said. Officials can fine Jones for code violations until the situation is corrected.

“We ticketed him daily,” she said.

That property has been flagged before for various other infractions, including junk vehicles, substandard structures in need of repair or demolition and general property cleanup, Jordan said.

“There’s other code enforcement issues that are there in addition to the electrical,” he said.

Jordan said the city can take Jones to district court if the violations continue to be neglected. Depending on how long it would take to get everything filed, it could take about six months to a year to settle.

City officials would rather not have to take that path, and believe the current measures are enough, Jordan said.

“I think we’ve got his attention now,” he said.

This landlord has been providing these people with free rent and power. Not because he wants to, but because they refuse to pay or give him some sad story. He has done enough for them and in return, the money that he has not been able to collect has caused the trailer park to fall apart. This all started when a city trash truck ran into HIS power pole, not because he asked them too, but because they were not paying attention, and so, in return, he may lose his house and trailer park to have to pay all these racked up fines .. What about the people paying their rent on time for a change?

Sad thing is, NOBODY has said anything about the LACK of rent these people have paid him in the past and in the present. He has repeatedly opened his housing to this family and each and every time, they burn him. The main reason why he can’t afford the upkeep of this trailer park is that they tenants refuse to pay the rent and the light bills therefore it comes out of his pocket each and every month. And in the end, he constantly gets burned. The city has been after this man for over 30 years that I have known him. Dig deeper into the true story, not just because of junk cars etc… This is such a sad case of a personal attack IMO.