The following is a news release from the city of Pocatello.
Today, the City of Pocatello will begin mailing settlement checks to ratepayers who paid user fees collected under the payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) component of the City’s utility services.
Class members are comprised of citizens who paid for utility services from April 14, 2012 to December 19, 2013. Class members who are not currently paying utilities to the City of Pocatello must file a claim by September 16, 2020. The settlement checks to be paid today will include all Class members currently paying utility bills and that had active utility billing accounts during the April 14, 2012 to December 19, 2013 timeframe as well as those who filed claims as of December 11, 2019. Any valid claims received after December 11, 2019 will be paid in January and then on a monthly basis until September 16, 2020.
Earlier this year, the City entered into a settlement with the Class for $4.5 million dollars, which was approved by the District Court. Of the $4.5 million, the Court awarded $1,103,217.94 to the Class counsel for attorneys’ fees and costs. The balance of $3,396,782.06 will be distributed to the members of the Class. The amount to be paid will be approximately 8% of the amount the ratepayers paid to the City during the effective time period and represents the PILOT component of the utility services.
“We’re pleased to have this matter behind us so the City of Pocatello can move forward,” said Mayor Brian Blad. “Thank you to the Council for their work on the City’s budget and ensuring that the City did not have to bond for the settlement amount.”
In 2014, a suit was filed against the City of Pocatello asking for the City to refund user fees collected under the PILOT component of the City’s utility services. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled the PILOT “was not a reasonable user fee” and in 2018, District Judge Stephen Dunn granted Class certification to City-user fee payers. Based on the applicable statute of limitations, the City will reimburse Class members for the PILOT component of their utility bills paid from April 2012 through April 2014. In December 2013, the City of Pocatello stopped collecting PILOT fees; therefore the settlement is based on payments received by the City between April 14, 2012 to December 19, 2013.
For more information on the settlement and to file a claim, visit pocatello.us/756/Class-Action-Settlement.