POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Pocatello will begin mailing settlement checks Monday to ratepayers affected by the city's "Payment in Lieu of Taxes" (PILOT) program.
PILOT was originally intended to set aside money for future utility infrastructure investment. In 2014, a lawsuit was filed asking the city to refund user fees collected under the PILOT component of the city's utility services. The Idaho Supreme Court determined the PILOT was "not a reasonable user fee." In 2018, District Judge Stephen Dunn granted class certification to utility fee payers.
Earlier this year, Pocatello entered into a settlement agreement for the class in the amount of $4.5 million. Of that amount, the court awarded $1,103,217.94 for attorneys' fees and costs. The balance of $3.3 million will be distributed to affected customers.
The amount to be paid will be approximately 8% of the amount ratepayers paid the city during the effective time period. According to the city, "based on the applicable statute of limitations, the City will reimburse Class members for the PILOT component of their utility bills paid from April 2012 through April 2014. In December 2013, the City of Pocatello stopped collecting PILOT fees; therefore the settlement is based on payments received by the City between April 14, 2012 to December 19, 2013."
"We're pleased to have this matter behind us so the City of Pocatello can move forward," said Mayor Brian Blad. "Thank you to the Council for their work on the City's budget and ensuring that the City did not have to bond for the settlement amount."
Ratepayers can find more information about the settlement and forms for applying for compensation here.