Fee or Tax?
The Grand Valley Drainage District of Grand Junction, Colorado, has already collected more than $10,000 in stormwater fees in spite of uncertainty as to whether they are allowed to do so. The local Chamber of Commerce has raised questions about the legality of the fee, specifically, whether it is in actuality a tax, which would require a public vote according to the state’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
The district points to a 2015 ruling by a judge in Adams County, Colorado, which upheld a stormwater fee on the grounds that the county stormwater utility was exempted from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The same ruling found that the fee was “reasonably related to the overall cost of providing services related to water drainage and water-related activities.”