Again the Mayor is calling for City Council to increase the Refuse Fee to balance the budget. My attorneys, Ciolek and Wicklund, filed a lawsuit against the City in February of 2008 Lawsuit disputing the legality of the refuse fee on behalf of all residents and property owners of Toledo. It is still in the courts pending a decision by the 6th District Court Appeal of our appeal of the denial for class action by the Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Let me state unequivocally, this “fee” is a tax and as such it is not legal. When the Courts finally decide in our favor, it will be decided in the favor of every resident and property owner of Toledo. It may take a couple more years until the case is decided and no one in the City is anxious for a resolution, as they believe the revenue is essential to maintain services.
As City Council again weighs the recommendations of the Mayor to increase the fee, Council should consider the effect of having to reimburse the millions of illegally assessed taxes to the residents, which the courts will require. Continuing and increasing the “fee” will be a temporary repair to the budget and though it may seem wise at this time to assess these “fees”, Council would be prudent to resist the temptation, as it is only a temporary measure.
Until the District Court hears the case on class action, all residents paying the refuse “fee” are encourage to file the letter of protest with the Department of Public Utilities. The form can be accessed through the blog: Shanahanselect.blogspot.com and follow the instructions within the blog.
To the Mayor, this is folly to continue assessing an illegal tax, which is protested in the courts. To City Council, when the Courts decide in favor of the residents of Toledo on this illegal tax, the required refunds will be painful; to increase them would not be prudent. The residents of Toledo have faith that Scott Ciolek, Attorney, and I will continue to fight the battle on your behalf.