Sanitation district files lawsuit over stormwater fees

The Clifton Sanitation District doesn’t want to pay stormwater charges to the Grand Valley Drainage District, the sanitation district said in a Mesa County District Court lawsuit.

The suit cites five reasons that the sanitation district ought not be required to pay the fee, one of which is that “there is no reasonable likelihood that the (sanitation district) would ever benefit from the fee being charged” by the drainage district.

That’s exactly wrong, said Tim Ryan, general manager of the drainage district.

“A stormwater utility system benefits all the individuals, businesses and not-for-profits” within the drainage district boundary, Ryan said.

The suit is the second one against the drainage district over its charge to residences and businesses to construct a stormwater-control system separate from the drainage district’s existing system that carries irrigation and seep water to the Colorado River.

The drainage district is awaiting a decision by Judge Lance Timbreza in a case brought by Mesa County and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce to invalidate the charge as an illegal tax.

Action in the sanitation district suit is awaiting a ruling in the county-chamber case against the charge.

Ben Wegener, the Grand Junction attorney representing the sanitation district, also represents the county and chamber.

Some areas of disagreement have been worked out, but, “We still have issues,” said Brian Woods, general manager of the sanitation district.

The drainage district billed the sanitation district $2,694 in a stormwater-related invoice. The sanitation district also says it ought not have to pay because it does work for the drainage district, something the drainage district disputes.

The drainage district charges most residents within its 90 square miles $36 a year for the stormwater system it plans to construct. Businesses, local governments and nonprofits are charged $36 a year for each 2,5000 square feet of impervious surfaces that shed, rather than absorb, stormwater.


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Sounds like Mr. Wegener found a way to squeeze more bucks out of this case.

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