Amicus Brief

Charter Township of Chesterfield v Fox LLC

Case Year: 2014
Case Forum: Michigan Supreme Court
Keywords: sewer system, sewer fee, Headlee Amendment
Amicus Counsel:

Robert Thall | Bauckman, Sparks, Lohrstorfer, Thall, & Seeber, P.C. | 458 West South Street | Kalamazoo, MI 49007-4621 | [email protected]

CoAmicus Parties:

The Michigan Municipal League Legal Defense Fund joined the Michigan Township Association brief (MTA)


The Court of Appeals opinion’s analysis should not have reached a Bolt analysis. The Court of Appeals failed to determine whether the Headlee amendment restriction is even applicable since the township’s sewer privilege fee was authorized by law prior to Headlee and did not represent a new tax. The Revenue Bond Act allows for user fees or charges to be imposed “for the services, facilities and commodities furnished by any public improvement”. Public improvements under the Revenue Bond Act includes “plants, works, instrumentalities and properties used or useful in connection with ‘the system'”. The Revenue Bond Act in 1933 authorizes municipalities to construct facilities, services and commodities as public improvements such as a sewer system. The Revenue Bond Act authorizes and mandates user fees in order to finance such improvements and further allows for the use of its authority even where bonds are not issued. Prior courts have reviewed the Revenue Bond Act user fees in the past and upheld them.


On order of the Court, the motion for reconsideration of this Court’s September 29, 2014 order is considered, and it is DENIED, because it does not appear that the order was entered erroneously.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

Chesterfield Township imposed a $30,000 sewer privilege fee upon Fox. The township determined there were 15 tap factors ($2000 per tap factor) for a 5,700 sq. ft. commercial addition made by Fox. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Fox and the trial court with respect to a Headlee argument. The Court of Appeals ruled that the sewer privilege fee is in reality a tax imposed to collect revenue to cover future capital investments and that it was passed in violation of Headlee.

Case Number: 2014-04
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