Step 1: Illegally collect a fee from “customers” who by law must use your service.
Step 2: Get caught and get told to stop.
Step 3: Keep the $90,000,000 you’ve already collected.
A judge says the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District does not have to refund $90.9 million it collected from a storm-water service charge that he ruled was improper.
Dildine recently decided a refund is not needed because the district used money from the charge to provide storm-water service and comply with federal and state environmental laws. He also said customers did not follow proper procedures to seek refunds. Through the district’s taxes, customers would end paying the refunds to themselves, he said.
In other news, municipal water companies, power companies, and pre-selected, compulsory waste haulers are thinking up the names for the new “fees” they’re about to tack onto your bill, legal or not. After all, as long as they use the money to provide their service, they get to keep it if and when they get caught and called out.