LEWISTON — Androscoggin County Superior Court has issued a decision validating the city’s storm-water utility ordinance and rejecting a legal challenge by a local taxpayer who was ordered to pay more than $12,500 in fees, interest and penalties.
According to a press release issued by city hall Wednesday, the challenge to the fee by Robert Gladu was rejected by the court in a 17-page opinion issued by Justice MaryGay Kennedy on Tuesday.
“The court upheld the city’s ordinance and its storm-water fees, rejecting Gladu’s claims that the city had no legal right to impose or collect those fees or that such fees constituted a tax,” according to the release.
“Specifically, the court confirmed the legitimate purpose of the storm-water utility — to fund expenses necessary to provide the storm-water management services that are needed to comply with federal and state water quality requirements.”
The court also upheld the city’s use of “impervious surface” as the basis for determining the fee applied to a property.
The court issued a judgment for the city for the unpaid fees, interest, penalty and a portion of the city’s attorney’s fees.
City Manager Ed Barrett said Wednesday that Gladu’s outstanding bill for the fee was $7,619.70, plus $1,197 in interest.
Kennedy ordered Gladu to pay the city a penalty of $825, plus $2,539.90 in attorney’s fees and another $350 for the cost of collection.
“Lewiston’s fee is a fair approximation of the cost to the government and the benefit to the individual of the services provided,” Kennedy wrote in her opinion.
David Jones, director of Lewiston Public Works, said the decision confirmed the city’s position since the adoption of the ordinance in 2006.