The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled that a lower court was wrong to dismiss a lawsuit filed by group of northwest Iowa taxpayers suing Osceola County over the distribution of tax revenue from wind turbines.
In 2015, city leaders of Harris, Iowa, said the town’s sewer system had to be repaired, or risk fines from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Loans and grants weren’t enough to cover the cost, so city leaders applied to Osceola County Supervisors for Tax Increment Financing. Supervisors later created an urban renewal area, and created a TIF district that included Harris.
The landowners, who filed suit against Osceola County and the city of Harris, were unhappy that supervisors designated two-million dollars of TIF money from wind turbines in the urban renewal area for repairs to the Harris sewer system. Wind farm revenue is usually dispersed throughout the county.
The county, and the city of Harris, petitioned a judge for summary judgment, and the court granted the motion, which meant the judge believed the plaintiffs had no case because there were no facts at issue.
On appeal, the appeals court found the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was filed before the enactment of the ordinance they challenged. But, the appeals court reversed part of the lower court’s ruling, saying that the plaintiffs do have facts at issue, and are able to pursue the lawsuit.
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