Lincoln CA: Citizens Sue City And Win, City Found To Be Illegally Charging, $1.2 Million To Be Refunded

Citizens of Lincoln California won a lawsuit against their rouge city and were awarded $1.2 million. The city was found to be illegally charging residents higher rates for water. (See video below) The citizens warned them not to raise the rates because they would be violating proposition 218. The city said screw you and went ahead and did it anyway. Back on May 03, 2017 Lincoln News Messenger wrote,

“Jerry Jackson and Chuck Schmidt filed a class-action lawsuit April 25 against the city of Lincoln over the city’s use of tiered water rates. The suit was filed in Placer County Superior Court. According to the suit, Jackson and Schmidt filed a claim Feb. 9 with the city seeking a refund on behalf of the city’s water rate customers. The city rejected the claim, according to allegations stated in the lawsuit.

“Jackson and Schmidt, both Lincoln residents, are former members of the grassroots L.I.F.T. (unified in lifting Lincoln to new heights through Integrity, Financial responsibilit, and total Transparency) Group of Lincoln. The L.I.F.T. Group challenged the Lincoln City Council on Dec. 13 to address their concerns regarding tiered water rates.

“Specifically, the L.I.F.T Group claimed the city is not in compliance with Proposition 218; a constitutional initiative passed by voters in 1996. The proposition changed local government finances by making all taxes and most charges to property owners subject to voter approval, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

“And a Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling in a 2015 case, Capistrano Taxpayers Association, Inc. v the City of San Juan Capistrano declared tiered water pricing in violation of Prop. 218. The court ruled San Juan Capistrano was in noncompliance with Prop. 218 because municipalities may not charge fees that are more than the cost of providing the service. Jackson and Schmidt are represented by Benjamin Benumof, the attorney who successfully represented the Capistrano Taxpayers Association in a similar lawsuit.”

Jackson was hit very hard by the cities overbearing illegal hikes. He said,

“my own bill was sometimes six or seven hundred bucks, I mean it was ridiculous.”

Jackson also said,

“It wasn’t right and we proved it with the limited little lawsuit that we filed.”

Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has run out. Jackson said,

“You guys are in violation you need to refund about 10 million bucks”

The residents were not finished with the city yet and they showed up at the Council meeting to tell them how they felt. via Lincoln News Messenger,

“One after another, for nearly an hour, angry Lincoln residents came to the podium Tuesday night and asked the Lincoln City Council to “do the right thing” and pay out larger refunds than called for in a nearly settled water-rate lawsuit. At least 65 residents attended the City Council meeting to voice their opinion about the water rates.

“Two members of the L.I.F.T Group – or unified to lifting Lincoln to new heights through Integrity, Financial responsibility, and total Transparency – filed the lawsuit April 25. The two, Jerry Jackson and Chuck Schmidt, had filed a claim, rejected by the city, against Lincoln Feb. 9 seeking refunds on behalf of Lincoln’s water customers.

“L.I.F.T. members expect the suit to be settled soon and a term agreement has already been signed by city leaders. The lawsuit alleged the city’s tiered water rates are not in compliance with Prop. 218, a constitutional amendment passed by California voters in 1996. According to the proposition, and subsequent court rulings, municipalities can not charge fees that are more than the cost of providing the service.

“Many of the city’s water customers will receive a refund for rates paid during the last year, according to a term agreement signed Sept. 25 by Lincoln Mayor Peter Gilbert and City Manager Matt Brower. According to a report by Brower, $1.4 million is earmarked for Prop. 218 refunds in the city’s five-year water-operating cash flow.Under the term agreement, water customers charged under tiers four and five will receive a refund for the period between February 2016 and March 2017.

“Tier three customers, who paid for water in excess of 21,000 gallons and in excess of $2.76 per 1,000 gallons between April 2017 and the time the city adopts a new rate, will also receive a refund. Customers who are due a refund of $1,000 or less will be issued a credit to their water bill.

“Customers entitled to more than $1,000 will receive a refund check. Many Lincoln residents were angry Tuesday night about a statute of limitations element of Prop. 218 that only allows municipalities to be sued for up to one year previous. They asked City Council to provide refunds going back to 2013”

It is absolutely ridiculous that these residents were being treated that way. The City council should be ashamed of themselves. You have forgotten who you work for. It is totally awesome that they took the city to court and won. The city of Lincoln needs to do the right thing and refund all of the money they illegally took from their residences.

I hope the residents of Lincoln do everything in their power to make sure that the current city council members do not get re-elected again! You are a bunch of disrespectful elitists and you need to remember who you work for. Congratulations to the residents of Lincoln, chalk one up for the little guy.

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I am a Conservative American. I believe in the Constitution of the United States. I am a Patriot who is fighting the lies of the phony Media and Liberals by calling out their bullsh*t and poking fun at it.