Jackson's Stormwater Saga

  • Jackson establishes stormwater fee

    Jackson establishes stormwater fee
    Jackson City Council votes to establish a stormwater fee despite a call from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce to delay the action. The vote was 5-2 with Councilmen Carl Breeding and Kenneth Gaiser, who have taken a stand against new taxes and fees, voting no.
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    City of Jackson collects stormwater tax

    City officials continue to bill residents a stormwater fee and collect nearly $3 million in billings from Jan. 10, 2011, through Aug. 2, 2013.
  • The first stormwater bills are mailed

    The first stormwater bills are mailed
    The first stormwater bills are mailed to city residents. Commercial and industrial customers are billed monthly based on their projected stormwater runoff. Homeowners are billed $8 per quarter unless they get credit for reducing their runoff. The city projects annual stormwater expenses of $1.04 million and revenues of $1.1 million to $1.2 million.
  • Jackson County Commissioners announce opposition to the fee

    Jackson County Commissioners announce opposition to the fee
    Jackson County Commissioners vote to direct its administration and legal counsel to work to oppose the fee, calling it an illegal tax that should have been voted on by residents before it was levied. The county is charged almost $32,000 annually in stormwater fees for its properties in the city.
  • County sues city over the stormwater fee, calling it an illegal tax

    County sues city over the stormwater fee, calling it an illegal tax
    Jackson County takes the city of Jackson to court over the fee. The county files a lawsuit with the Michigan Court of Appeals that questions the legality of the city fee and argues that it is an impermissible tax.
  • Two businessmen sue the city over the stormwater fee

    Two businessmen sue the city over the stormwater fee
    Two Jackson businessmen sue the city to overturn its stormwater fee. Brian Surgener, an attorney and owner of the Jackson Coffee Co., and David Klein, one of the owners of Klein Brothers, file the lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Appeals. “We both want the same thing,” Surgener said. “We want the fee to go away and the people to be reimbursed.”
  • Jackson City Counciles decreases stormwater fee

    Jackson City Counciles decreases stormwater fee
    Jackson City Council votes to decrease the stormwater fees effective July 1, 2012. Residential rates are decreasing from $8 per quarter to $7.50 per quarter. Commercial and industrial stormwater fees are decreasing by 7.4 percent.
  • City offers 100 percent credit on stormwater fee

    City offers 100 percent credit on stormwater fee
    Jackson City Council vote to allow property owners to apply to receive up to a 100 percent credit toward their stormwater fee. Previously, the maximum credit was 50 percent for residential property. Property owners can qualify for credits if they use rain barrels, detention ponds or other measures to prevent rainwater runoff.
  • Court rules stormwater fee is an illegal tax

    Court rules stormwater fee is an illegal tax
    The Michigan Court of Appeals rules the city’s stormwater fee is an illegal tax partly because a public vote was not taken on the issue and partly because it violates the Headlee Amendment. The city is required to stop billing immediately and is required to payback only the plaintiffs in the suit – Jackson County, Surgener and Klein.
  • City leaders vote to not appeal the Michigan Court of Appeals decision

    City leaders vote to not appeal the Michigan Court of Appeals decision
    City leaders vote to not appeal the Michigan Court of Appeals decision and in turn eliminate the services the stormwater fee provided – including local street sweeping, major street sweeping, leaf pickup, yard waste pickup, and catch-basin cleaning. Fifteen city of Jackson employees lose their jobs as part of the decision.
  • Class action lawsuit filed against city of Jackson

    Class action lawsuit filed against city of Jackson
    Area resident Phillip Panzica files a class action lawsuit against the city in Jackson County Circuit Court. Panzica – represented by attorney Brian Surgener – hopes he and others that fall under the class action's umbrella get reimbursed their stormwater fees.
  • Court rules in favor of Panzica

    Court rules in favor of Panzica
    Court officials rule in favor of Panzica and say the $900,000 set to be paid back to residents will be doled out in September 2014.
  • Public votes down proposed stormwater tax

    Public votes down proposed stormwater tax
    Two out of three Jackson voters cast their ballots against the city's proposed stormwater tax on property owners during the primary election. With 3,207 reported votes – representing 14 percent of the 23,151 registered voters in the city – 2092 voted against the proposed fee, with 1032 voting for it.
  • Court reschedules class action refund hearing

    Court reschedules class action refund hearing
    Originally scheduled for Friday, Sept. 5, officials rescheduled the hearing for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, before Judge John McBain. McBain was on vacation Sept. 5, compelling court officials to reschedule.
  • Refund hearing scheduled

    Refund hearing scheduled
    Rescheduled stormwater refund hearing on tap. At the hearing, McBain may take other action with regard to the refund. A refund will be given pursuant to the court's order and instructions. Due to a statute of limitations, the city is required to pay back a maximum of one year's worth of payments, which would total about $900,000.