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Fee increase upsets Dickinson RV residents

RVs line the lots of Heartland Village on Wednesday in Dickinson. Rates for lot fees are being increased more than 30 percent to $635.

Tenants of Heartland Village in Dickinson were frustrated after finding out lot fees for RVs will increase by more than 30 percent for the winter.

Residents received a letter stating that the lot rental fee will increase to $635 per month beginning in November and that the fee won't be reduced until April. Multiple residents said they are currently paying $475 for their spot.

The fee includes water, sewage, garbage and electricity. The letter cites "higher cost of maintenance and utilities for the winter months" as the reason for the bump in price.

Resident Matt Smith said he was upset about the increase, but he would continue to pay because of a lack of available housing.

"Basically you have to pay because rent is so high everywhere," he said. "They will get whatever they ask for."

Heartland Office Manager Sue Emmil said the RV community has grown from a handful of units to more than 100 in the last two years, and the increase in units has increased the Heartland's energy consumption.

"We have never had an influx of RVs like we have had and we learned from last year," she said. "It was a huge increase on us and we did not include it in the rent for extra usage. Learning from that, this year we decided to share the cost with them (tenants)."

The higher fee would carry through April and after that the fees will be returned to the previous rate, Emmil said.

After reading the letter, residents Roger Phillips and his son, Jeff, said the $160 increase was not justified.

"There is no way we are using that much power," Jeff Phillips said. "It is price gouging."

Roger Phillips said he was not going to be able to stay in the RV park.

"Some people come for a few months, but I don't. I am trying to build a home and live here with my wife and family, but because of the housing situation, it makes it really hard to get ahead," he said.

Tylor Kelly, a resident at Heartland, said that rent is just another addition to the list of the commodities that have risen in price.

"I don't know if they understand there is food and other necessities," he said. "The people who work the rigs, it won't affect them, but others are going to have it hard."