TAX - GEORGIA

Stanford v. City of Atlanta

Court of Appeals of Georgia - September 27, 2021 - S.E.2d - 2021 WL 4397479

Commercial property owner brought putative class action against city, alleging that city’s assessment of annual frontage fees constituted an illegal tax as opposed to a reasonable fee for solid waste services.

The Superior Court granted city’s motion to dismiss. Owner appealed.

The Court of Appeals held that:

Commercial property owner sufficiently pled the terms and provisions of city ordinances that modified the city code section on frontage fees by increasing annual solid waste fees assessed on commercial property owners and initiating a new mandatory multi-family unit fee to owners of multi-family units, even though she did not attach certified copies of city code or ordinances to her original or amended complaints, so as to withstand city’s motion to dismiss in her putative class action alleging that the collection of the frontage fees constituted an illegal tax, where copies of the ordinances had been made part of the record after being introduced at a certification hearing by owner’s predecessor-in-interest and owner demonstrated that a certified copy of the ordinances could be introduced at trial or during an evidentiary proceeding.

Right for any reason doctrine did not apply to affirm trial court’s grant of city’s motion to dismiss commercial property owner’s putative class action alleging that city’s assessment of solid waste and multi-family unit frontage fees constituted an illegal tax as opposed to a reasonable fee for solid waste services, where judicial economy would be maximized by returning the case to the trial court due to issues having been left undecided by the trial court, including owner’s allegations that city had not engaged in collection of solid waste from owners of commercial properties despite collection of solid waste fees and that assessment of mandatory solid waste and multi-unit fees substantially exceeded the actual reasonable cost of the services.



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