Battle Of Star Valley Town Hall Money Goes On

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The battle over Star Valley’s former town hall looks to be anything but over.

In a battle of contending letters between lawyers, the town maintains it only owes new owner Kyle Parker a week’s worth of rent, while Parker insists it is more like 20 days.

At Tuesday night’s Star Valley council meeting, the council will discuss a final payment to Parker in executive session.

If the town had its way, it would only pay Parker $481.81 — the amount for seven days of rent. However, Parker’s lawyer Christopher J. Charles said the town owes Parker $1,376 — the amount for 20 days of rent.

Charles explained the town owes Parker rent from March 19 through April 7, the date Parker took over ownership of the town’s former town hall from Star Vale Mobile Home Park, LLC, to the date the town left for a new site across the street.

On March 19, Parker took over the former town hall site, at 3632 E. Highway 260, during a trustee sale. After the sale, any agreements the town had with the previous owners were eliminated and “the town became liable to the owner for the fair market rental value of the town hall property — at least until the town moved out of the property,” Charles said in a letter to Star Valley’s Attorney and Town Manager Tim Grier on April 19.

Initially, Parker attempted to keep the town as a tenant, offering the town several new lease agreements, all with a 10-percent rate increase.

Instead of negotiating a new lease with Parker and his family, the town opted to purchase a permanent town hall at 3655 E. Highway 260 for $235,000 plus $40,000 in renovations.

On April 7, the town officially moved out of the former space and mailed Charles a check for $529.97 — the amount for seven days rent plus the additional 10-percent rate increase.

“The town submitted the ‘more than fair’ check in the spirit of a resolution to this matter,” Grier said in a letter to Charles.

Charles mailed the town back the check saying it owed 20 days of rent, not seven.

On April 12, Grier mailed Charles a new check for $481.81 — the amount for seven days, minus the 10-percent increase.

“Notwithstanding the submittal of the check, it is the town’s position that there is no legal basis for a 10-percent increase,” Grier said. “The increase was arbitrary and unilateral on your part.

“Further, the town does not agree with your argument that additional rent is due from March 19, 2010 through the end of the same month. Rent was paid in full to Star Vale, as it was contractually obligated to do pursuant to the lease agreement.”

Grier adds that Parker should take up a claim for the remaining 13 days rent with Star Vale, not the town.

Charles maintains the town should take a claim against Star Vale for a partial refund of March’s rent.

“I don’t think that there can be any reasonable dispute that the town is responsible to the Parkers for rent from the date of the trustee’s sale through April 7, 2010 (20 days),” Charles said in a letter to Grier.

“Accordingly, the Parkers will accept the sum of $1,376.60 as full satisfaction for unpaid rent concerning the town hall property.”

Charles added that the Parkers are not interested in getting into a dispute with the town on this “straightforward legal issue.”

Attend Tuesday’s council meeting, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lamplighter RV Park recreation room, 3933 E. Highway 260, to hear how this issue plays out.

The council will also discuss selecting a project for the 2010 Community Development Block Grant funds and adopt a fair housing resolution.

In addition, on Wednesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m., the council will meet and discuss the 2010/2011 budget at Lamplighter.

The council will determine how much to keep in the rainy day fund, what projects to fund for the year and future projects.

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