Tuesday, May 25, 2010
MSD SUED OVER RATE INCREASE: ONE GROUP SAYS JUST STOP I.T.!
The boys from STOP I.T. are at it again. Many of you may recall that while the City was arguing over how to get a tipline the STOP I.T. group led by President Ray Pierce, and Operations Manager Paul Holliger, established the independent tipline at (502)410-1009 last year. Since then I am told many tips have come in and been forwarded to the proper investigative agencies.
I have worked in conjunction with STOP I.T. on many issues one of the biggest being MSD.
STOP I.T. has now went a step further towards working on behalf of the community by filing a lawsuit against MSD for illegal rate increases. You can read the Courier article about the rate increase here: MSD board favors rate hike courier-journal.com The Courier-Journal
You can watch the story at WLKY here: MSD Sued Over Rate Hike - Louisville News Story - WLKY Louisville
The best line from that interview is this: "I think we're probably as transparent as anyone in the community," Schardein said.
Of course we all know how great our transparency in Louisville is but I digress.
For a copy of the suit you can write me here at firstname.lastname@example.org
The suit contends that MSD has been illegally raising rates by using faulty logic that Shardein says allows him to raise rates "up to" 7% annually with no approval necessary. According to the lawsuit MSD is in violation of KRS statutes specifically KRS 76.090 (1) and (2):
(1) Prior to the final adoption or modification of the schedule for the district area, the district shall adopt a proposed schedule and publish notice thereof pursuant to KRS Chapter 424. The notice so published shall be dated as of the date of first publication thereof and shall state that the proposed or revised schedule of rates, rentals, and charges will remain open for inspection in the office of the district for thirty (30) days from the date of the notice, and that objections thereto in writing may be filed during that period with the district by any person aggrieved thereby. The district shall examine and hear any and all complaints, may modify the proposed schedule, and shall adopt and establish a final schedule within sixty (60) days after the date of the notice; the schedule, however, shall not become final....... within a city of the first class, unless and until it has received the approval of the legislative body of the city of the first class by ordinance approved by the mayor....
Still further the suit attaches an Attorney General opinion to backup their case.
The Kentucky Attorney General issued opinion OAG 97-8 on March 7, 1997:
“ … KRS 76.090 (requires) … approval of each of the legislative bodies for the areas within their respective jurisdictions. … Rate schedules of the joint sewer agency, to be effective, must be approved by separate actions of the city and the county legislative bodies. …” The intent of that opinion seems to be that KRS 76.090 mandates legislative and executive branch approval PRIOR to the implementation of ANY rate schedule change being sought by any metropolitan sewer district within Kentucky.
It would seem that MSD may finally be held accountable for illegal rate increases. The court case will be interesting to say the least.
Since the suit was filed and only addresses the last increase started which went into effect August 1, 2009 the amount of the damages will come to about $10.5 million. STOP I.T. has requested that all money gets refunded to every customer with appropriate interest.
Knowing MSD's history my bet is MSD will use the rate increase money to defend this as far as they can. Millions will be spent by MSD to avoid losing this case as is common for them. Look how much they spent against Sarah Lynn Cunningham from her whistle blower suit.
A case she won.
You can read throughout this site many articles detailing MSD problems and the enormous debt they carry for substandard decision making. You can also see how that debt will affect us all and put us on the brink of bankruptcy. One is here: Louisville News and Politics: JEFFERSON COUNTY MAYOR CONVICTED ON CORRUPTION AND FRAUD CHARGES OVER MULTI BILLION DOLLAR SEWE...
We must begin to gain control of our future and hold those accountable to illegalities in Government accountable. This is a start to doing just that.
While Bud Shardein and Jerry Abramson like to use the term "quasi-governmental agency," in regards to naming exactly what MSD is, the fact is that MSD is no different than any other governmental agency in reality and as such they are required to accept oversight for their actions.
No matter how this suit turns out one thing is for sure.
STOP I.T. has served notice that we the people are watching and have proven they are willing to do what it takes to gain accountability. Citizen involvement is beginning to take hold and I for one am glad to see someone standing up for us all.
For more on STOP I.T. you can visit their website at www.STOPIT.us.
Stay tuned this will get interesting............
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