Judge to Hear Storm Water Fee Lawsuit, Aiming for Refunds for Lubbock Residents

LUBBOCK, TX - A lawsuit over storm water fees filed in 2015 by a Lubbock business man will go to court this Thursday for a summary judgment hearing. A judge will decide whether the city was illegally charging certain fees, and whether citizens should be refunded for those fees. 

John Beck of Beck Steel said the two years of litigation will all be worth it, if changes are made. 

“It had to be challenged,” Beck said. “If I hadn't a done it, somebody else would have done it eventually.  You can't sue a city government, or any government, if you disagree with their policy. You can only sue them if they've broken the law.”

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the city for storm water fees that Beck called “illegal” and unauthorized by state law, along with a refund for Lubbock citizens because of its class-action status. 

Beck said he noticed the storm water drainage fees jump hundreds of dollars at his business, after a rate change in 2015. 

"Small businesses have been really hurt by this. Residential people have been really hurt by this,” Beck said. “I think it will set a huge precedent for how the City Council is governed moving forward. Hopefully this will send them a signal that they can't just stack on whatever fees they want to the citizens."

EverythingLubbock.com reached out to the city for comment, but a spokesperson said it was against policy to comment on pending litigation. According to court documents, the city stated Lubbock’s status as a Home-Rule Municipality allowed it to impose certain “other drainage charges.” 

If a decision is made, the case may not go to trial. Beck said it has been a long two years, but he feels the judge will rule in their favor. 

“It has turned into a profit center for the city, and they have made millions and millions of dollars from it," Beck said. "It did fund some good drainage projects that the city really needed, but that has been retired, and they are still collecting these fees and they are spending it illegally. I don’t see how a judge could rule against us to tell you the truth.” 

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