Unconstitutional Northeast Ohio Sewer District tax on “impervious surfaces” is without legislative authorization, and is a property tax without the required voter approval.  

1851

Columbus, OH – The Supreme Court of Ohio will on Tuesday morning hear oral arguments on whether the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, a Cleveland-Akron area administrative agency, lacks authority to tax and regulate property in response to rainwater, which is not “sewage”.

The Sewer District seeks to levy a tax on “impervious surfaces” on hundreds of thousands of Northeast Ohio residential and business property owners. These surfaces include roofs, patios, driveways, and parking lots, and the taxes are levied based upon the square footage of each.  The District maintains that this is a means of addressing rain-related erosion, run-off and flooding.

The 1851 Center’s amicus brief argues that a sewer district, as an administrative agency of defined and limited powers, has no authority to impose taxes and regulations related to rainwater falling from the sky, i.e. something other than sewage.  The brief further maintains that even if the agency had power to address rainwater, it may not tax property owners because the Ohio Constitution prohibits the raising of property taxes without voter approval through a tax levy election.

  • Watch the oral argument live, beginning at approximately 9:30 am on Tuesday September 9, HERE.
  • Read the Amicus Brief HERE.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court previews the argument HERE.

“Agencies like this are entirely unaccountable to the public, and this case stands for the principles that such agencies cannot take control of every facet of our lives, down to rainwater and the size of our patios, while taxing development in a manner that punishes and discourages it, with no regard to economic factors or public approval,” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a non-projfit, non-partisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse.  The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, voting rights, regulation, taxation, and search and seizures.