Monthly Archives: November 2017

Decision Time: DW&SD Rain Tax Comes To A Head In Court

Detroit Water & Sewerage Division Has Colluded With Trial Lawyers To Avoid A Constitutional Test Of Their Outrageous 'Stormwater Fee'

The Detroit Water & Sewerage Department’s Non Residential Drainage Rate became a political hot potato in 2013 when the City finally started applying this breathtaking, disguised tax to all non residential properties within the City.  Mayor Duggan is scraping the bottom of the barrel for every revenue dollar he can find.

Prior to 2013, the City of Detroit only extracted this rate from 12,000 non residential property owners, although 41,237 non residential property owners should have been paying it. They also extracted this rate from the State of Michigan and Wayne County for roads in Detroit, after a lengthy appeals process which ended in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Detroit shielded politically preferred and connected property owners from this tax for 35 years, notably the politically powerful black churches.  But that ended in 2013 when the City of Detroit “discovered….that there are some errors with respect to our billing of stormwater charges”.

This rate, which is often referred to as a stormwater fee or the rain tax, is not inconsequential. It is now $ 660 – $ 750 per acre, per month. Run of the mill churches with on site parking were rudely surprised with $ 3,500 monthly charges in 2015, on top of their already expensive water bills. They thought as religious entities they were tax exempt. Tee-hee.  No one in Michigan is truly tax exempt!  Michigan Public Act 178 of 1939 (MCL 123.161 et seq.) converts unpaid DW&SD stormwater fees into a property lien, same as unpaid property taxes, so these fees quickly result in property foreclosures.

Ever wonder why Detroit has such a problem with commercial property blight? Now church blight is in the offing.

Non residential property owners in Detroit have just received a legal notice in the mail announcing a proposed settlement of a Wayne County Circuit Court class action case filed by Michigan Warehousing Group LLC and Midwest Valve and Fitting Company against the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department over the DW&SD’s outrageous stormwater fee. This case is identified in the Wayne County Circuit Court as 15-010165-CZ. The parties reached a settlement agreement which is carefully constructed to cripple legal challenges to the constitutionality of the stormwater fee in higher courts and handsomely pay off the trial bar.

The settlement notice fails to inform non residential property owners that another, far more comprehensive class action law suit is progressing in the Michigan Court of Appeals. Detroit Alliance Against The Rain Tax v. City Of Detroit in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Case Number 339176, just got consolidated with a similar suit on 24 October and appears ready for litigation – also as a class action.

You Betcha! (10)Nuh Uh.(0)

Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

This piece started off when I was asked for my $0.02 this weekend on something in the local paper (which I freely admit that I do still read), written by someone whom I consider an absolute imbecile (which I’d told my friend on multiple occasions what I thought of this particular writer).

Still, if this wasn’t coming from a friend of mine, it probably would’ve ended differently.

{Post continues below the fold}

 

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Thank You.

For God, Family, & Country .. Thank You

Frequently, the wife and I find ourselves at an event which is dedicated to, or populated by our local veterans.

Neither of us served, however we each have family members who have, and can only respect the sacrifice one makes to be a part of the bigger picture. We understand that it is through the strength and love of God, Family, and Country that those who take up arms are able to do so.

The first district of Michigan is well populated by those who have served at different times. There is no shortage of opportunities to associate with those who risk it all in defense of a nation that still holds the promise for the greatest liberties attainable by man.

But the veteran population is roughly 60,000 out of about 570,000 and it is aging fast. The great number of those who served in wartime are already reaching retirement, and moving on to a ‘better place.’  Michigan’s average age for veterans is in the low to mid 50’s, and with few WWII vets remaining, it remains one of the states with the higher aged veteran population.

They won’t be with us forever.

Take each opportunity today, as well as all others to show your appreciation to those who serve.  A simple “thank you,” volunteering to assist in veteran events, showing up at the airports when a currently serving serviceman returns home from a long tour can remind those who have put the uniform on that they are appreciated, and valued.

We applaud those of you who have served, are serving, or have suffered for your commitment.  We honor you for the sacrifices you have made, and appreciate your investment in our nation’s future.

Thank you.

You Betcha! (14)Nuh Uh.(0)

Something In the Water

Incumbency protection planning gone wrong?

If Karen Weaver survives the Flint Mayoral ‘recall’ contest,will anyone be particularly surprised?

Weaver, supposedly a solution to decades of infrastructure neglect and poor city service planning, became the target of big city politicos because of the normal big city shenanigans.  From Global financial Market Review:

” Mayor Karen Weaver sailed into office two years ago promising to clean Flint’s lead-tainted water and to restore trust in government, after previous leaders brought poisoned water to the city and ignored residents when they complained. Ms. Weaver declared a state of emergency, met with the president and made the rounds on cable television, quickly becoming one of America’s most visible mayors.

But as her celebrity grew, so too did a revolt within her own City Hall. She now faces City Council members accusing her of corruption, a court battle over Flint’s long-term water source and, on Tuesday, a recall election that could snuff out her four-year term at the halfway point.”

Once upon a time, a recall actually meant something however.

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