We've been reporting Friday how a Circuit Court Judge in Lincoln County ruled an MSD stormwater charge violated the Missouri Constitution.
MSD spokesman Lance LeComb told me his agency is very disappointed and says it will result in MSD not being able to do important stormwater runoff improvements. LeComb points to a situation in West County off Vance Road near Highway 141 where several homes were about to be swept away into a creek by erosion. MSD created the fee (about $3.50 a month on average) and spent a million dollars to shore up the banks behind Pepperdine Court. He says there are other customers who need that kind of work done and MSD won't be able to do it now.
I also talked to the man who filed the lawsuit. Dr. William Zweig told me he felt MSD was circumventing the Constitution and is pleased the judge felt the same way. Zweig says it wasn't about the money, but the process. He says MSD provides an important service for the public and does a good job, but in this case it was increasing revenue without going to the people for a vote on the fee. He says if the citizens had had the chance and voted for it, he wouldn't have had a problem paying it.
So what happens now? MSD board members hope to answer that question soon. They're looking to schedule an emergency closed-to-the-public meeting before the end of the month to discuss their options. Will they appeal the ruling?... Will they raise they tax MSD reduced to zero when it created the stormwater charge back in 2008? Stay tuned.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.