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Judge rejects Tucson’s attempt to move water rate lawsuit

UA forum to focus on groundwater contamination
Posted at 5:14 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 20:14:43-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A Maricopa County Superior Court Judge rejected the city of Tucson’s attempt to move the water rate lawsuit between Pima County and arbitration.

Judge Randall Warner will proceed with the suit.

The City Council approved a 10% rate increase on Dec. 1 for about 70,000 Tucson Water customers in the unincorporated county.

On Dec. 17, the Board of Supervisors voted in November to sue the City over the rate increase.

The suit alleges the City’s action:

  • Violates state law requiring water rates be “just and reasonable”
  • Is discriminatory by not treating similarly situated customers equally
  • Violates the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article II, Section 13 of the Arizona Constitution, providing for equal protection under the law and protection against race-based discrimination; and
  • Violates Article IV, Part 2, Section 19 of the Arizona Constitution prohibiting governments from enacting “special laws.”

The City of Tucson filed a request to compel arbitration and move the proceedings from the public.

Judge Warner denied the motion, stating that the dispute before the court is over "...constitutional, statutory, and common law responsibilities purportedly due to ratepayers."

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Bivian Contreras is a real-time editor for KGUN 9. Bivian graduated from the University of Arizona School of Journalism with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast and is currently pursuing a degree in Broadcast Operational Meteorology at Mississippi State University. She is an Arizona native from Nogales and looks forward to becoming a meteorologist one day or a news anchor. Share your story ideas and important issues with Bivian by emailing bivian.contreras@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, and Twitter.

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