“The City Manager of Whitefish (Dana Smith) said this “accident” was no big deal and that there would be “minimal refunds necessary”? Now the Class Action will get to the bottom of this through discovery, and all of the other areas of malfeasance should come to light.”
MISSOULA, Mont. — Impact fees have the city of Whitefish in the hot seat. Attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit the same week city officials announced a mistake that forced close to $200,000 in refunds.
It all started last year. That’s when Paul Gillam from Whitefish asked us to look into overcharges on impact fees.
The fees are one-time payments to meant offset the infrastructure costs of new buildings.
It turns out Gillam was right, and now Whitefish is paying out at least $196,000 for charging builders too much in water and sewer fees.
“Our cash reserves will still grow. But these funds will be remitted back to the property owners, not the contractors or developers, because state law calls for that very specifically,” Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith told the City Council this week.
Part of the problem is the city charged for two showerheads, even if the builder just called for one.
The average refund is anywhere between $700 to $850.
Meanwhile, contractors filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court. It claims Whitefish started charging illegal, unconstitutional, and unreasonable impact fees in January 2019.
This article was first published by newskudo.
Keep checking back here at Montana Daily Gazette as the story unfolds.