Jackson Discusses Storm Fee Refunds, Solutions to Make Up Lost Revenue

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It's a saga that's been playing out for some time now in Jackson over the city's now illegal storm water fees.

The city is in the midst of a class action lawsuit over the fees following a court ruling last month saying they were unconstitutional.

Thursday night city leaders, headed up back Jackson City Councilman Derek Dobies, held a neighborhood meeting to update residents on where the city currently stands and what should be done to make up the revenue lost after the city was forced to stop collecting the fees.

"It's important to make sure the residents know where we're at in the game and make sure they can help us in getting where we need to be," Dobies said.

The next chapter in the saga will deal with figuring out how to move forward in dealing with the lawsuit seeking a full year of refunds--about $1 million--from the city.

The lawsuit was filed by Lansing attorney and Jackson business owner Brian Surgener on Aug. 15.

The city rejected an offer to settle the suit last week.

During Thursday night's meeting several possible solutions to make up the city's lost revenue were proposed including bringing the fees back, this time legally by putting the initiative on the ballot for voters to decide.

It was a proposal which several at the meeting supported.

"I think we need the services," Peg Stapleton said. "I want something done to my house I have to pay for it."

"If it's going to make my city better, if it's going to make my streets clean and keep my grates free of debris then yes," Barbara Shelton said.

But Dobies said they were not committed to any one solution just yet.

"I think all options are on the table right now," he said.

Meanwhile, the class action lawsuit over the storm water fees is expected to take months to be resolved.

Another big concern brought up during the meeting was regarding leaf collection services which were cut when the fees stopped.

Many residents said they were worried what would happen when fall begins but Dobies said while the city won't be collecting leaves at the curb homeowners can still drop them off at the waste water treatment plant for composting.

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