Pima County may take city to court over differential water rates

Pima County may take the city of Tucson to court over a proposal to charge residents outside the city limits more for water.
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 7:23 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 8:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors released a confidential legal opinion from the county attorney Tuesday, June 22.

It outlines the ways the proposed differential water rate increase may be legally challenged by the county and whether the process used by the city of Tucson violated of state law.

The Tucson City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to go ahead with the increase, which could mean water bills up to 40% higher for Tucson Water customers who live in unincorporated areas.

According to the opinion, the city has a legal right to raise the water rates but they must be “just and reasonable.”

In the five-page legal opinion, it claims charging people in unincorporated Pima County more than city residents may be a violation of the “equal protection clause” of the Arizona Constitution. It also claims it would discriminate among customers who live close to one another but are on opposite sides of the judicial boundary.

Whether the county will go ahead with a legal challenge has not been decided yet. The only thing that was obvious is the county released this legal opinion as a show of possible intent just before the city makes its decision.

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