Residents in Sandy Creek leading the charge against impact fees are responding to a judge's ruling. Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet issued a final judgment approving the City of Callaway's plan to bring Utilities Inc. customers onto their system, a ruling customers disagree with.
"We're dealing with taxation without representation." Joe Ivey says, a 10 year resident of Sandy Creek frustrated with the system.
"We can't vote in their elections and we have no say in their government." Ivey tells us he was asked to pay more than $11,000 in impact and capital extension fees in addition to the 25% surcharge assessed to customers living outside city limits. The city assessed the fees once they took over Utilities Inc.
"It's very frustrating to come here, buy a house, have a utility that is providing service, and then all of a sudden have that utility changed and be charged as if we had just built the house." Ivey says.
And others felt the same. "It's a lot of money and a lot of people are going to be really hard pressed to pay it and I suspect that some people might end up leaving or losing their homes because of it." Keep Sandy Creek Beautiful HOA President says.
So they took it court, but Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet made over 40 detailed determinations all in Callaway's favor. "It validates and gives credibility to the process that we follow in providing service and charging fees for that service." Mayor Thomas Abbott says.
"We're obviously disappointed by the ruling by Judge Overstreet. But the problem we had is that there's not a lot of case law." Anderson adds.
Callaway says they're within their right to charge fees, based on necessary improvements. The Home Owner Association says an appeal is open option, but Anderson says they won't make that determination until the board meets.