Mayor's Office Press Release

Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Challenge to City's Drainage Fee

October 17, 2019 -- The state First Court of Appeals today affirmed a trial court’s dismissal of all claims against the City defendants in a 2015 lawsuit alleging that the City’s drainage fee ordinance was invalid, that collection of drainage fees was illegal, and that city officials had spent drainage fee revenue illegally.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Perez of Houston sought a declaration that the drainage utility ordinance was invalid, an injunction preventing the assessment, collection, and expenditure of future drainage fees, and reimbursement of all drainage fees paid by all citizens to date.

But the appeals court held that “Perez has failed to establish that she has taxpayer standing to challenge any illegal expenditure by the City” since the plaintiff did not show that the City “is actually expending money illegally,” and her mere allegation that the drainage utility ordinance was illegal did not confer standing.

“The Court’s decision makes clear that the City is and has been a careful steward of drainage fee revenue,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “Everyone at the City takes very seriously our responsibility to do all we can to prevent flooding and this decision, hopefully, will silence baseless claims about the City’s administration of the drainage fee.”