Sewer Connection Fee Was Not An Unlawful Tax
In Petoskey Investment Group, L.L.C. v. Bear Creek Township, Michigan Court of Appeals, Nos. 292811 and 294122, November 18, 2010, a township's sewer connection fee constituted a permissible fee rather than an unlawful property tax in violation of the Headlee Amendment to the Michigan Constitution. The fee was not intended to raise general revenue, but rather was calculated to cover the cost of additional sewer system capacity.
The improvements to the sanitary sewer system at issue benefited only users connected to the system, not the general public. The evidence also showed that the connection fee was proportionate to the taxpayers' impact on the sewer system's capacity. Further, the connection fee was not compulsory for all because it was imposed only on those who chose to connect to the sewer system. Therefore, the fee was voluntary.