When I questioned the “refuse fee”, the City was very careful to define it as a fee and not an assessment nor a tax. If a tax, the city is required to put it on the ballot as a levy for additional taxes and if approved by the voters, they would be required to go back to the voters to increase the tax.
After several weeks of studying the “fee” and several more weeks of searching for an attorney who was willing to “fight city hall”, Kurt Wicklund agreed with my conclusion that it was not legal. However, we had the dilemma of how to proceed. Since the ordinance reference a “fee” the lawsuit was filed against the city ordinance regarding the “fee”. The court has to decide if this is a fee or a tax since it is legal to pass an ordinance for a fee, but not for a tax. How could we file a lawsuit against the city for a “tax” which does not appear in the Municipal Code? It had to be filed as against the “fee” and have the courts decide, fee or tax.
R.C. § 2723.01 requires each person protesting an assessment must file a protest or a tax… it does not state the protest must be filed against a fee. However, we believe filing a civil complaint in court meets the requirement regardless of what the City called it.
I’m distressed by the negative comments regarding Attorney Ciolek and the actions taken. The is a complicated case which does not have clearly defined parameters or history to follow, nor any clear cut cases to research. The attorneys working on this case have a huge battle being waged on our behalf and if any attorney out there has case law that could help the case, please offer it. I reached out to a number of attorneys, legal agencies, activists groups, professors and law schools and all I received were “lots of luck” until Wicklund and Ciolek took up the challenge.
Attorney Ciolek has taken on a number of cases against a city administration which rules by punitive, unreasonable action, cases that no one else would touch, and he has received more rulings in his favor than against him. He is deliberate, thoughtful and thorough. I challenge any attorney out in blogland to offer assistance in the case, which has profound impact on every community in Ohio. The power of this “fee” is huge as can readily be seen by a call to raise the “fee” to $16.00 per month. When we elect our leaders we elect with the hope they will comply with the law. I say they have not and it is costing us millions of dollars a year in illegally gained taxes.
Please visit the following blogs for more information: http://trashtax.blogspot.com/ and
http://shanahanselect.blogspot.com/. As the courts denied class action, I suggest you file your protest today and let the attorneys know by emailing: Trashtax@gmail.com to ensure there is a record you filed. To date we have 75 who have let us know they filed. That leaves 89,925 to go.