Circuit Judge Dan Dildine of Lincoln County, Missouri, has ruled against the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) in the case of Zweig, et. al. vs. MSD. The judgment means MSD will lose its ability to collect funds for stormwater services. The suit was filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court by Dr. William Zweig and others on behalf of a class of ratepayers over the validity of MSD’s impervious stormwater user charge under Missouri’s Hancock Amendment. Judge Dildine was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court.
In response to today’s ruling, MSD issues the following statement:
”MSD is very disappointed in today’s decision. It is important to note that MSD funds wastewater services and stormwater services through separate user charges. Thus, the result of the ruling will be that funding is no longer available for stormwater services in our St. Louis community. This means that MSD will no longer be able to build and replace stormwater infrastructure, maintain and repair stormwater sewers, and respond to customers’ stormwater complaints – just a few of the stormwater services that MSD provides customers throughout its service area.
In 2007 and 2008, MSD went through a very thorough and public rate setting process to implement its impervious stormwater user charge. After nine public hearings, widespread community outreach, and extensive public input, MSD’s independent rate commission recommended to the board of trustees that the impervious stormwater user charge should be implemented. This recommendation was made in response to inequalities in the previous stormwater funding structure and the overriding need for comprehensive stormwater services in our St. Louis community.
MSD has not yet determined what its course of action will be in terms of appealing the decision or finding a means to replace the stormwater funding. These issues will be addressed once the decision has been reviewed.”
A background document on why and how the stormwater impervious user charge was developed is available . Also available is a slide show that visualizes how the stormwater impervious user charge has already been used to save several homes from severe erosion in the Vance Road/Highway 141 area of St. Louis County – work that, due to the lawsuit, will not be available for others in our St. Louis community. The erosion problem – which has been fixed and was located behind homes in the 1400 block of Pepperdine Court – was extensively chronicled by local St. Louis media on June 10, 2008.
The full ruling can be found here.