A federal judge has ruled in favor of Bay County in its lawsuit against Tyndall Air Force Base over unpaid water bills.
For decades, the county has provided drinking water and wastewater to the base. Beginning in 2009, Tyndall refused to pay increased rates because Air Force officials said some system upgrades did not directly benefit the base.
After unsuccessfully trying to recover the money through negotiations, the county filed a lawsuit in March 2011 to recover the delinquent amount.
On Wednesday, Judge Charles Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor of the county and ordered Tyndall to pay $850,000 in delinquent charges plus interest. "In light of the Air Force's admitted refusal to remit all of the invoiced amounts under these legally enforceable rates, no rational trier of fact could find in the government's favor," Judge Lettow wrote in his opinion.
Click on the link on the right to view Judge Lettow's Opinion and Order.
"It's just a great day," Commissioner George Gainer said. "We've worked very hard and many, many hours on this thing… so it's just a really good day and a great surprise."
According to Valerie Sale, the county's public information officer, the final amount owed by Tyndall is still being calculated. "It will be well over a million dollars," Sale said.
Tyndall has the right to appeal the decision to the 9th Circuit Court.