Challenge to safety fee rejected

SHADY COVE — A legal challenge to the city's Public Safety Act was rejected in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The act established a $15 monthly surcharge on residents' utility bills to supplement the police department's budget. It was expected to generate $250,000 to bring the chief and clerk to full-time and fund an additional police officer.

Judge Mark Schiveley on Monday denied a petition challenging the fee, filed June 15 by Shady Cove resident James Collier. Collier requested the act be ruled invalid and the court review the process followed by the City Council when passing it on April 19.

"We are challenging a procedure, not a decision," said Collier's attorney, Eric Kaufman. "They didn't follow their own rules."

The petition also said because the city had not included a police department in its revised 1998 charter, "The people of Shady Cove got rid of their police department when they voted for this charter."

Shady Cove City Attorney Steve Rich argued that it was not necessary to include the police department in the new charter and that the plaintiff should have addressed any concerns back in 1998.

Schiveley listened and questioned both attorneys for about 15 minutes before making his decision.

Saying the City Council acted in its legislative function and not in a quasi-judicial role, Schiveley ruled in favor of the city's request to end further proceedings.

Collier said he was surprised by the decision, but he is conferring with his attorney and "there will be further action."

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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