Ferndale Residents to Receive Water Bill Refunds

A lawsuit against Ferndale charged the city was violating the state’s tax policy.


Ferndale residents who pay their water bills could soon receive a refund in the mail.  In a recent lawsuit the city agreed to pay back Oakland County drainage district fees that were added to customers’ water rates. Ferndale Assistant City Manager Joseph Gacioch says a businessman claimed the fees were a form of taxation, which is a violation of state policy.  

“It’s not a question of who, it’s a question of how. There’s no dispute that the citizens of Ferndale as consumers of this service should pay for it. The question is how, and the question is a definition of fee vs. tax.”

Gacioch says Ferndale agreed to a settlement of $4.25 million. He says drainage district and storm water treatment fees will migrate from resident’s water bills to their property taxes starting in January 2016.