KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It will cost Jackson County taxpayers an additional $800,000 to relocate people living at the Heart Mobile Home Village.
The property sits east of Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 40. Jackson County purchased the property in August and plans to build a new Jackson County Detention Center there.
During the Jackson County Legislature meeting Monday, eight legislators voted for the additional funding. Ronald Finley voted against it, sharing concerns on how the process could drag on.
“So I would hope that we’re considering all those factors as far as what we need to do to protect the taxpayer,” Finley said.
The money approved is in addition to a $1.7 million relocation plan already paid to help move 100 of the 106 residents.
Community Services Leagues staff said it has worked with each individual household to find new, permanent housing.
Jackson County agreed to give each household $10,000 to cover moving expenses. The county executive’s office said many families have used that money to help make down payments or prepay several years rent.
Some people who have been relocated say they are pleased with the process, while others say the relocation package they received did not cover the entire costs.
The remaining residents said they were given a Feb. 28 deadline to relocate, but say they have no where to go.
A grid of trailers still covers the property of the former Heart Village Mobile Home Park. As of Monday, 75 residents had been relocated, according to Jackson County.
Community Service League and Jackson County said they continue to work with the remaining residents.
Everyone must be moved off the property before construction on the new jail can begin.
Fred Sevart, who has lived at the park for five years, said he is one of the residents who has yet to cut a deal.
“Well it’s not right. If everybody else is getting $20-to-$30,000 I should get it too,” Sevart said.
“There’s some that got way over that. That’s why they’ve run out of money.”
At the Jackson County Legislature, county manager Troy Schulte said costs have increased as residents made plans to live farther than expected.
“Costs that were anticipated at $5,000 to move a trailer, are now oftentimes exceeding $20,000 or more to move those trailers,” Schulte said.
There is also the financial stress of operating the park while waiting for tenants to leave.
“The big issue – and we can see why the former owner didn’t pay his water bill – was we have paid $96,000 in park utilities, primarily water bills,” Schulte said.
The approved $800,000 will go to cover a combination of those costs.
Sevart warns that there could be more issues on the horizon.
“Some of them have already gotten their money and have not left,” Sevart said.
“It ain’t right. You know, I got to jump through hoops to get mine and they wrote these people checks,” Sevart said.
According to the county, another 28 residents are moving out of the property shortly. Another five residents have not finalized their plans.
The previous park owner still has some of his mobile homes on the property. The county could be pursuing storage fees from that previous owner.