Kraus said an appeals court has reversed a Common Pleas Court decision, siding 2-1 with a group of 11 communities — including Strongsville — that had challenged the stormwater program developed by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.
"The bottom line is, the court of appeals found the establishment of a stormwater program was done without legal authority and (the sewer district) was enjoined from levying the fee," he said.
A Common Pleas judge ruled in early 2012 that the NEORSD did have authority to establish the program and levy the fee — $57 a year for residential customers.
Judge Thomas Pokorny also determined that the fee was not an "unlawful imposition of a tax," as the opponents had contended.
More than a dozen cities had originally fought the fee, and 11 remained in the fight to appeal the decision.
Kraus said he learned of the latest ruling Friday.
"We thought from the beginning this program was misplaced," he said, noting that the NEORSD did not discuss the idea with cities first and that it would be detrimental to economic development efforts.
NEORSD said its Stormwater Management Program would address flooding, erosion and water quality problems and assume responsibility for millions of dollars of necessary maintenance that is now done by local governments.
Kraus said the NEORSD's plan didn't take into account that many cities, including Strongsville, already spend millions of dollars on stormwater maintenance.