Nov 2, 2012 7:01 PM by Kelly Orsini, KSBY News

Judge sides with Paso Robles in lawsuit over water, sewer fees

A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge has sided with the City of Paso Robles in a lawsuit challenging a series of increases in sewer and water fees starting in 2002.

Local resident John Borst, of the group Concerned Citizens of Paso Robles, and two other plaintiffs had alleged the fees imposed by the city were a special tax rather than a property-related fee, and thus should have been put before voters. They said that made the fees invalid under Proposition 218.

The plaintiffs argued the fee increases were charged to pay for the city's portion of the Nacimiento Water Project. They said that made the charges a tax because they paid for a project that wasn't immediately available to users. The plaintiffs said residents deserved a refund totaling more than $8 million.

The court ruled Tuesday the fees in question were not taxes, and that the plaintiffs failed to use the proper claims procedure to have the fees refunded. The judge also ruled the plaintiffs cannot file a class action.

To read the entire ruling, click here.



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