Churches file lawsuit against Texas city over allegedly excessive water fees | 5/22/2019 | Staff
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Three churches have filed a lawsuit against a city in Texas, accusing the local government of charging them water fees that are higher than that for commercial businesses.

Magnolia - Bible - Church - Magnolia - First

Magnolia Bible Church, Magnolia’s First Baptist Church and Believers Fellowship filed the petition against the city of Magnolia last week in the District Court of Montgomery County.

According to the suit, Magnolia took “unprecedented action to recoup property tax revenue from churches” when in March 2018 they adopted an ordinance for tax-exempt entities that increased the fees for water usage by changing their status from “commercial” to “institutional.”

Mike - Berry - Chief - Staff - First

Mike Berry, chief of staff for First Liberty Institute, which is representing the churches, said in a statement that “Texas law clearly exempts religious and non-profit organizations from taxation.”

“Magnolia’s water fee scheme hinders these churches from providing many vital services to the community because of the government’s unquenchable thirst for taxpayer money,” stated Berry.

Churches - Multitude - Services - Communities - Water

“These churches offer a multitude of services to their communities, and over-charging their water limits the services they can provide the community.”

According to the lawsuit, the city’s decision came as a way to help close a financial gap between the rising cost for providing water to a growing population and revenues that were not increasing fast enough.

Water - Rate

“This new ‘Institutional Water Rate’...
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