District Court: Street Maintenance Program is Illegal

In a significant blow to the City’s current Street Maintenance Service Program, the District Court has just ruled that the new program is no different to the old one.

The City’s previous Right of Way (ROW) assessment scheme was struck down by the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2016. That’s how we got the current Street Maintenance Service Program (SMSP), which moved some services into the general fund but still taxes individual properties for street sweeping, lighting, seal coating, and mill and overlay based on cost.

Delivering the District Court’s new opinion in First Baptist from the bench, Judge Millenacker ruled that the new SMSP program was functionally equivalent to the ROW program. In other words, it’s still a tax, not a fee. That renders it illegal in its current form – just like the old program.

That’s what we’ve been saying all along: the new program isn’t just unfair, it’s illegal.

This new decision is regarding charges for street sweeping and lighting, which is directly comparable to the mill and overlay charges we are challenging. We’re urging the City to delay action, including their vote scheduled for Wednesday May 22nd, until they’ve had a chance to review the court’s published opinion.
Update (8/9/19): Judge Millenacker has since delivered her written opinion in the above case. You can download it in full below.
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