Former City Councilmember Bryant Moynihan has for years railed against what he calls the city's misappropriation of sewer and wastewater fees, threatening to sue if the city didn't address his concerns about the issue. He did so on Jan. 6, filing a complaint with Sonoma County Superior Court.
In a statement emailed to the Argus-Courier on Tuesday, Moynihan wrote, "...it is with deep regret I realize a lawsuit is the only manner left to protect the citizens of Petaluma from unwarranted and unapproved taxation."
Specifically, Moynihan is suing to stop Petaluma from using wastewater funds to maintain storm drains, which he says is illegal.
He is asking that the court order the city to restore to the wastewater fund money that he says has been misappropriated since 2004-05, totaling about $4.7 million.
Mayor David Glass said money had never purposefully been taken from the wrong fund: "Any expenditures that were made, were made in good faith with the goal of things running more smoothly."
He added that, if it is determined that money was taken from the wrong place, he'd support reimbursing the proper fund.
Moynihan is known for initiating two related ballot measures — he proposed in 2008 to roll back sewer and water rates, and in 2010 to roll back sewer rates. Both measures were rejected by voters.
(Contact Jamie Hansen at jamie.hansen@argus courier.com)