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Posted on: July 12, 2021

Michigan Supreme Court denies appeal in water and sewer rates case

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The Michigan Supreme Court has denied an appeal in a plaintiff’s years’ old lawsuit against the City of Taylor, which alleged the City’s water and sewer rates were unreasonable and constituted disguised taxes in violation of Michigan’s Headlee Amendment, which restricts increases.

The Court on July 6 denied an application to appeal in the 2019 case, Bohn vs. City of Taylor. While Leonard S. Bohn, the plaintiff in the case individually and in a class-action lawsuit, has the right to appeal the decision back to the Supreme Court within 21 days, attorneys say that is not likely and the matter should conclude after that time period.

Bohn’s lawsuit focused on Taylor’s water and sewer rates, and how they were computed. The suit also questioned the City’s reserve fund, which can be used for maintenance, repairs and improvements to the system. In fact, it contended that the fund of over $10M showed that the rates are in excess of actual costs. Lastly, the lawsuit contended that the fund improperly incorporated the cost of public fire protection into its rates.

The trial court found that the lawsuit “failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the sewer rates constitute an unlawful tax and whether the rates were unreasonable.” The trial court also determined that the litigant failed to establish that the City includes the cost of fire protection in its water rates.

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