Storm water fee lawsuit to be heard by a judge Thursday morning
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A lawsuit over storm water fees will go for a summary judgment hearing on Thursday morning. John Beck, a Lubbock businessman, filed the lawsuit back in 2015.
The judge will decide if the city is illegally charging and misusing using certain fees and if citizens should be refunded.
"At our company the rates went from $92 to $690 a month," said John Beck, Beck Steel Inc. Chairman.
That was in 2015 when the City of Lubbock changed the storm water utility fee rates, when Beck first realized there was a such thing as a storm water fee.
"It showed up on the books on the general overhead and so I started asking the city questions about why it went up and they were giving me answers that didn't really make a lot of sense," Beck said.
That's when Beck contacted his attorney and they looked into it.
"The state law said it has to be for the service of storm water removal and we found out that they were using the money for other purposes, which was against state law," Beck said.
Beck continued asking the city questions, but he said they were "stonewalled" and told to do what they had to do, which is when they decided to take it further.
Beck said this is hurting small businesses and churches across the Hub City that are paying these high storm water fees.
"One thing led to another. I didn't realize it was going to take over two years and three months to get to this point, but still, the deeper we got into it, the more grievous it was," Beck said.
Beck says not only is the city using the money to pay general obligation debt, but he says they are overcharging in the first place.
"Whether it be by the water meter or whether it be by how much parking lot you have, how much roof surface you have, hard surfaces on your property, that would create storm water runoff, whichever methodology they use they're still overcharging for their service and they are spending the money on unauthorized expenditures," Beck said.
Beck is confident they can prove this to the judge. He hopes all of this shows citizens you can stand up when you think something isn't right.
"I think the message needs to be, you know what, anyone can do this. I'm just a regular Joe Shmoe. Anybody can do it and it can be done," Beck said.
But no matter the outcome tomorrow, Beck isn't giving up.
"It's got to stop somehow, it's got to stop, it's out of control. Hopefully this will do it, but if it doesn't then we will just see what the next step is. I'm in it for the long term I'm not going to give up," Beck said.
Beck says he feels strongly about the judge ruling in his favor.
We will be at the hearing Thursday and will bring you the latest details.
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