Government Incompetence

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.

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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.

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But, none of this is what Gov Snyder promised Michigan Taxpayers after the bailout???

Unless you have the Pollyanna-ish worldview that a certain sitting Michigan Governor possesses, honestly none of this should come as a surprise to anyone.

Round two in the Detroit Mayoral Race (which in case anyone is interested, has the first and only televised debate tonite).

And the sad part here is that I could’ve found more rundown areas of Detroit than are featured below.

 

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Well that didn’t take very long.

Here comes the first proverbial shot across the bow.

Grab some popcorn, this should be fun.

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10 Years Later

The 'temporary' tax hike is still with us.

It didn’t go away.

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the signing of Jennifer Granholm’s income tax hike in October 2007.  Liars lie, and we have had our share over the years. On whether a particular democrat would sign on to such a drastic measure as reducing the net income of every single Michiganian?

Which is why it may have been encouraging for job makers and Michigan families when Bieda got the nod. After all, just last fall while campaigning for reelection he told the Detroit News that he was not out to raise taxes on Michigan businesses.

Q: There’s growing talk in Lansing about placing a sales tax on services that are now exempt. Would you support that approach?

A: Generally speaking, I think a tax on services, with perhaps some very limited exceptions, is something that I do not support.

One of a majority signing on to the temporary tax.

It was temporary. It was supposed to be rolled back.  Given GOP has had control of all branches of the state since 2010, and how we have been sold a bill of goods on the (NEW) gas tax, who is it that really needs a kick in the ‘ass?’

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Grow a spine, Governor!

You DO know that whole “Freedom of Speech” thing isn’t just limited to only aggrieved community agitators.

After recently engaging in security theater on a grand-scale, I didn’t really have a whole lot of respect for what passes law enforcement here in Michigan.

My thoughts on that issue echo those Benjamin Franklin made over two centuries ago.

And then they(/she) doubles-down on bad decision making.

Yes, this is becoming disappointing.

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Deja Vu (all over again)

Remember: Give generously and give often to these pillars of republican values!

Now, why does this list look so familiar???

 

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University Wannabes

Empire building adds to cost of education

Community college is an affordable option for those who wish to pursue higher educational choices.

Or not. Or maybe .. not so much anymore.

The mystery of unaffordable post secondary education is really no mystery at all.  Scooby doo wouldn’t even need the rest of ‘the gang’ to find a clue with such overt fiscal madness that is seemingly mainstream. From today’s ticker:

Much of the Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) campus is a construction zone this summer. A 21st-century residence hall is almost finished, and the completion of a glass-walled addition to the Dennos Museum that will double the amount of display space isn’t far behind.

The biggest project hasn’t even commenced: construction of a new library and “innovation center” is set to begin in the spring and will cap $34 million in projects that will transform the campus.

Into what?

A ‘white elephant’ no doubt?

Maintaining the college extravagance and operations outside its primary and logical mission (cheap & local higher ed) will always be borne out by higher tuition, and pilfering from taxpayer.  Attracting the dozens of students from such far off places as Ohio or maybe even Indiana is certainly worth the millions of dollars in investments, and the ongoing maintenance of such ‘investments.’

Right?

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Crony Capitalism: Not Just For Companies And Politicians!

'Scandal Free' Obama Administration AG Eric Holder Spiked Criminal Charges Against UAW VP General Holiefield Sometime In 2014.

Detroit is atwitter over the criminal indictments that dropped on 26 July against former FCA (Chrysler) labor negotiator Alphons Iacobelli, UAW VP General Holiefield’s widow, Monica Morgan, and FCA financial analyst Jerome Durden. They looted the the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center (NTC) and bought a lot of bling with the proceeds, which were laundered through a charity called Leave the Light On Foundation created by General Holiefield.  Criminal use of bogus charities is a whole story in itself best left to another day.

Prior to this little imbroglio, General R. Holiefield and his wife Monica Morgan are fondly remembered for a ‘gun cleaning accident’ on 30 December 2013. In light of last week’s indictments, that event is now probably subject to some reinterpretation.

Were they battling over ill-gotten lucre?

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