A month ago I wrote about Canyonville Christian Academy and their battle with the Canyonville city council who was charging non-profits double the rates for water and sewage. The academy discovered that the city had placed a special surcharge on them and other non-profits including churches, to compensate for their inability to collect other taxes from them. They offered to settle the outstanding balance of their $200,000 bill if the city stopped the double charging practice. The city refused and the academy took the matter to the Douglas County District Court after seeking legal advice from the state attorney general and private attorneys.
Both sides sat down for talks, but according to the latest WND report, those talks did not go well and the city officials seem bound and determined to get their money from the non-profit organization one way or another. The city did say that they had approved a measure to eliminate the water and sewer surcharges in lieu of taxes, however, they announced a new plan in which they would be able to charge the school more for water and sewer than the illegal surcharged had netted them.
In what seems to be a retaliation against the legal actions taken by Canyonville Christian Academy, the Canyonville city council informed the academy they are reclassifying the school’s dorm buildings as multiple family dwelling units (apartments) and that they would be charging a base water and sewer fee for each building regardless if it had a water meter or not. The fees would be $75 for water per building and $81.25 for sewer per building. The academy has three dorm buildings on their property which would amount to $225 per month for water and $243.75 per month for sewer.
Additionally, it is reported that the city is going to treat each dorm room as an apartment. The city then plans to charge the academy between $25 to $43 per month per dorm room for sewer usage. This could cost the academy an additional $1,425 to $2,451 per month for their 57 dorm rooms.
When the controversy first became public last year, one city councilwoman was asked why they were imposing the surcharges on all non-profits in the small town. She responded by saying,
“We do it because we can.”
The surcharges that were levied for over 30 years affected the four Christian schools and ten churches. However the latest action of reclassifying dorm rooms as apartments is aimed directly at Canyonville Christian Academy. The actions of the Canyonville city council amount to a flagrant case of religious discrimination and should be brought up on charges for such. I hope the citizens of Canyonville are outraged and impeach every one of their city officials involved in this atrocity. They need to be held accountable for their actions and sent to prison where they will have plenty of time to contemplate how they unfairly targeted religious institutions.