It was previously reported on this website that Oakland Township was being sued by two developers for fees they paid Oakland Township to connect with the Detroit Water System, as well as a separate class action suit for individual homeowners. Since the Township Board has decided to stop any future efforts to connect to the Detroit Water System, the lawsuits were filed against the Township to have the fees returned. The total amount that the Township has collected for the water tap fees is approximately $5 million.
At the May 13, 2014 Board meeting, the Board agreed to return approximately $2 million of the $5 million to the two developers that filed suit. There were a number of legal items that were included in the settlement. As a result of the agreements, the issue will no longer need to be resolved in court for the two developers. The class action suit appears to still be unresolved.
A $2,500 water tap fee was paid to the Township by the developers for each home they built. However, some residents may have paid the $2,500 fee directly to the Township when they built their home. It appears that these residents may be entitled to receiving a refund, just like the two developers that filed suit with the Township. The key here is that they personally paid the $2,500 fee to the Township, and did not have the developer pay the fee. It appears that the class action suit intended to cover the claims for all individual residents who personally paid the water tap fee.
Here is a copy of the class action suit:
Here is a video of the May 13, 2014 Board proceedings:
Here are several links to previous posts or a published article on this topic:
Oakland Press article (1/11/14)
Original Post (01/14/2014)
Updated Post (03/26/2014)
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? It is not clear if the Township is proactively identifying the individual homeowners that paid the fee themselves. So, if you had a home built in the Township between January 1998 and September 2013, and you paid the $2,500 fee yourself, I would suggest you contact that Township office to determine if you are entitle to a refund. They may tell you that your refund is dependent upon the outcome of the Kozyra vs. Oakland Township lawsuit in Circuit Court.
It’s unfortunate that the developers and some others did not allow what I would consider a reasonable amount of time before going into law suits. If I were an affected homeowner, I would consider a settlement with the township for even a little less than the $2500. Why? The members of the “class” will get what the lawyers leave them. 40% maybe?
I believe that we are not upon the one-year anniversary of the new board discovering this. This problem was almost 14 years in the making. 14 months to sort it out without lawyers would be reasonable.
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