Oakland Township is the defendant in two suits filed in Oakland County Circuit Court seeking refunds of millions of dollars of previously collected water tap fees. Since September 1998 developers and individuals who obtained building permits for new residences paid a $2500 Water Fee for each residential parcel that would be connected to a water system. Together, the suits Kozyra v. Oakland Township and Moceri et al v. Oakland Township allege that over $4 million of Water Fees were collected from the Plaintiffs and, in Kozyra, the members of its class. The resolution adopted by the Board of Trustees in Sept. 1998 stated that the Water Fees would be used to finance the cost of extending the Detroit Water System to connect to the Oakland Township water system which is a number of interconnected community wells which serve many residences in the Southwest and Southeast areas of the Township. The 1998 resolution also said that if the Detroit Water System was not or would not, in the reasonable near future, beconnected to the Oakland Township Water System the Water Fees would be refunded. The plaintiffs in these suits say that the Township has failed and/ or refused to refund the Water Fees.
The suits alleges four counts of improper action:
- BREACH OF CONTRACT
- UNJUST ENRICHMENT
- BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY
- COMMON LAW AND STATUTORY CONVERSION
The suits seek:
- the refund of all the Water Fees paid by the plaintiffs and the class
- payment of all interest earned on the Water Fees
- Treble Damages – which are only allowable if Common Law and Statutory Conversion or Theft is found
- costs and expenses incurred by the plaintiffs for attorneys’, accountants’ and experts’ fees.
The potential cost to the taxpayers of the Township for this suit could be more than $20 million not counting the Township’s own legal fees. In order to pay sums this large the Township could have to add a special assessment to our tax bills.