Friday, February 29, 2008

Trash Tax Lawsuit

Local attorney Kurt Wicklund, on behalf of Karen Shanahan, has filed a lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court asking for a permanent injunction against the 'trash tax' ... also referred to as the garbage fee.

I broke the story last night on Eye On Toledo and you can listen the podcast here (at the 6:45 p.m. mark).

As Karen explains, she believe the garbage fee is actually a tax - and an unvoted one at that. She's asking for both a temporary and permanent injunction, return of all monies collected and attorneys fees.

Of course, in today's paper, City of Toledo Law Director John Madigan calls this a political ploy.

"Initial review of the complaint leads to the conclusion that it is politically motivated and utterly devoid of merit," he said in the e-mail.

"The city will take appropriate action in response to this suit and is confident that it will prevail in any court proceedings."

I've talked to Karen about her position on this numerous times and consider myself to be a pretty shrewd judge of political actions. I don't think this is even remotely politically motivated. Karen believes this is wrong and that it was implemented illegally. She's worked extensively on this for several months, doing research on her own and then talking with numerous professionals about the issue and her questions. Karen raised questions that no one from the city answered - and now they'll have to ... in court.

Further, even Councilman Joe McNamara raised the issue of the legality of the 'fee.'

"Mr. McNamara said he has been fearful that a taxpayer would file a lawsuit, claiming the refuse fee was enacted illegally."

I'll keep you posted on the details of the court case as they evolve.


Robin said...

I've always been under the impression that the "fee/tax" is illegal. Since we already pay for garbage pick up through our taxes and that what that 3/4% tax was suppose to go through. So, we're basically being charged three times for garbage.

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Good for Karen, and may her efforts bear fruit.


Frank said...

Thanks for the information once again Maggie.
While I agree it does not seem to be a political move by Ms. Shanahan, you would think that some would want to use this as such.
While listening to the various news reports concerning this issue, there seem to be conflicting terms used by reporters and city council members as to what it actually is-- trash tax or fee.
I looked it up and here is what Webster's dictionary has for both terms.
Tax-(Noun) A sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
2. a burdensome charge, obligation, duty, or demand.

Fee-1. a charge or payment for professional services.
2. a sum paid or charged for a privilege.

In my opinion, it seems we have been paying a tax since our trash is covered under our property tax in the general budget category and should be repealed.

We can only hope.

Unknown said...

Hi Maggie I don't live in the city of Toledo,but I follow the politics of Toledo. It never seems to suprise me that what the current mayor and other public officals will do or say to get what they want. I'm pleased to finally see someone in the city stand up for themself and say enough is enough.All of us just outside Toledo and Lucas county wish Ms. Shanahan the best of luck and she will need it.Because as we all know the judges are also put on the bench from the same folks who elected Carty The Great.... thanks Rob your friend from Fulton County.

Unknown said...

It seems to me that no matter the topic, the city council/mayor takes everything as if they are outraged that someone has a differing opinion - that they are the experts and only they know what is best. Please continue to report this story and let us know if there is anything other Toledo residents can do to help.

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