Court Rules in Bridgeport's Favor on Fire Fee
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on February 11, 2013 @ 11:41PM
Created on February 11, 2013 @ 2:47PM
(Connect Bridgeport) - Bridgeport City Manager Kim Haws has long felt comfortable about his city’s decision to charge a fire fee to non-residents that lived in the city’s first due response area. But that comfort didn’t guarantee that a challenge of the legality of the fire fee on non-residents would survive a test of the courts.
On Friday, it was learned the fee that has been in place since 2011 is legally sound, according to Harrison County Circuit Judge Thomas A. Bedell. Bedell ruled in favor of Bridgeport’s motion of summary judgment.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Haws said. “We’ve always felt comfortable that we were well within the law to do what we did. This just confirms that what we’re doing, making sure everyone pays their fair share, is backed by the law.”
Norm Farley, the city’s attorney on the case, was much like Haws. He was comfortable with the case going in Bridgeport’s favor.
“I thought we had a very strong case. The city used a statute which specifically provides for having people who receive a service – water, sewer, storm water or others – that live outside the city providing that service, that they pay a fee for that service,” Farley said. “There are cases in West Virginia over the years for such services out of Princeton, Charleston, Huntington and one a year or two ago involving the City of Hurricane on this type of topic that ruled in the favor of the cities. We thought there was last in the state that supported the action of (Bridgeport) City Council in imposing the fire free through ordinance.”
While Bridgeport has won this round, it doesn’t necessarily mean the battle is over. Farley said the plaintiff, listed as Adam Davisson, could file an appeal with the West Virginia Supreme Court. Click Here to read more.
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