Dozier drops Haunted School ties

Published 12:25 am Thursday, December 16, 2010

After nearly two years of working together, the town of Dozier has severed ties with Miller’s House of Horror.

That move came at last month’s council meeting.

The Haunted School opened last year in the old Dozier school building, which is owned by the town.

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Part of the proceeds from last year’s event were used to help renovate the school, particularly the roof.

After a successful first year, the venture ran into several roadblocks this past Halloween season, including being one of many haunted houses around the state shut down by the state fire marshal’s office for a lack of sprinklers and other safety systems.

The Haunted School was quickly made into a haunted walking trail, but despite the change, revenues were down this year.

The Dozier town council cited these reasons for not continuing the venture: the town has received no money from this past Halloween, customers were brought through part of the closed building, food was sold without a health permit, there has been no reimbursement for electricity, there was a lack of security on the premises, no business license was obtained, there was no evidence of liability insurance and there was no formal contract.

“We have received bills, but he has not funded the town in any way this year,” said Dozier mayor Karen Davis. “We also don’t want any fines or any trouble from anyone going into a closed building.  There were just several things he didn’t comply with.”

Clint Miller, who owns and operates Miller’s House of Horror, said he feels like his business has been “thrown under the bus” by the town.

Miller addressed many of the town’s grievances.

“They said we didn’t have a license, but last year, they said it wasn’t an issue because we were in business with the town,” he said. “We had a Safe-Serve certified food handler doing concessions, and he’s licensed anywhere in the state.  At the original council meeting, the town voted to pay for the insurance.”

“Every night we were open, we had two reserve officers there, and sometimes the police chief would even come out,” Miller added.

As for the fact that the town has not seen any money from Miller this year, Miller said he is acting on legal counsel.

“Legal counsel advised me not to give them anything since we didn’t have a contract,” he said. “That’s in the hands of my lawyer now.”

“I guess this is one of those life lessons,” Miller said. “You learn and move on.”

The town also hired Ken Harris as a part time police officer.

Harris’s position was made possible with assistance from Alan Smith and the Housing Authority.

At Monday’s meeting, the council looked at establishing a TV communications privilege rate after an inquiry by DishTV.

The town is also checking to see what funds are available to fix the problem with the pond on Tyner Street.

Several months ago, the town received a grant for new water meters, and those meters should be installed sometime during the first three months of the year.