consultants are sandburs

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

RAMSEY - Franchise fees, and Country Joe [no fish].

During the last Charter Commission meeting the Country Joe, Inc. v. City of Eagan case from the 1990s came up for discussion. What was involved there is different, but akin to what Ramsey is considering, apart from use of a franchise fee having a statutory authorization basis. And Eagan then was a statutory and not a Charter city. For what that's all worth in considering precedent.

To see the arguments both ways for that case, and the factual posture in comparison to things now under city review in Ramsey, the situation is ideal. The Court of Appeals went one way, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed. As expected, reading one case then the higher court's exposition, you can see how spinning the facts and law is a judicial art.

Both versions are online. Appeals court, here. Supremes, here. Google's "how cited" page for the Supremes, here.

One wonders why the League of Minnesota Cities' lobbying has not intervened to create new legislated taxing authorizations specific to road upkeep needs. The franchise fee approach is a backdoor approach, clearly, not as clean as things would in a best world be. Years have passed. Still precedent, but how limited/distinguishable? Unless Ramsey were to do something that gets litigated, it's really moot. With everyone on the same true civic responsibility page the process can get moving productively, now, without anybody making it a ballot political football. Big "if" yeah, but expect it to be maneuvered onto the 2014 ballot. That is how the informed [smart?] money is betting.

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