Civil trial ends with refunds

By Dennis Box-The Courier-Herald

A four-day civil trial between a local developer, Palermo, and the city of Bonny Lake ended Thursday with mixed results.

The trail centered on a dispute over water system development charges (SDCs) that Palermo paid to the city in 2005 while building condominiums in Lakeland Hills.

Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan E. Chushoff's ruling means the city will have to refund about $150,000 to Palermo. However the cost could have been much higher had the court used Palermo's figures.

The basic dispute was over SDC charges for multifamily units (townhouses or apartments). The multifamily unit charges are based on a percentage of the SDC rate for one residential home, known as an equivalent residential unit charge (ERU).

The city charged Palermo $6,500 per ERU in 2005.

Palermo contended the city should have charged $4,700.

The judged ruled the city charge should have been $6,100.

A second issue in the suit was a disagreement over the amount specifically charged for multifamily units or townhouses. Multifamily units are charged a percentage of the ERU or single-family unit charge.

Palermo asked for 70 percent of the ERU per unit and the city requested 80 percent.

The judge ruled the city should use 75 to 77 percent for multifamily dwellings, which based on an ERU of $6,100 would be between $4,575 and $4,697.

Either party can appeal the decision.

Dennis Box can be reached at

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