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IA Appeals Court Rules in Franchise Fee Case


Eighteen businesses in Dubuque can chalk up a victory in a fight with the city over franchise fees. Today, the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision and ruled the city must pay them back.

 Michelle O'Neill reports.

In 2003, Dubuque adopted a natural gas franchise fee. And even though some companies were exempt, they had to pay the fees with their utility bills. Problem was, some businesses didn't know they were exempt and never requested refunds from the city, as others did.

Ten years later, 18 businesses learned about it and asked Dubuque for refunds totalling nearly $300,000. The city said, "No." And in 2014 aldermen amended the franchise fee, requiring that refund requests to be filed before the end of each fiscal year (June 30th).

Last year, a Dubuque County judge ruled the city did not have to refund the money. But now that the appellate court has overturned that decision, the case goes back to district court to figure out how much Dubuque should pay the companies.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor. She does everything there is to do in the newsroom and whatever may be needed around the radio station.
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