On Wednesday, the Oregon Court of Appeals released its decision in Manley v. City of Coburg, concluding that under the terms of its water-services contract, the city was not required to charge non-resident water users the same rate it charged to residents. Although the court based its decision on the terms of a 1963 water services agreement between the city and a developer, cities that provide water to non-residents and those with similar water services agreements should be aware of this case. Cities are encouraged to review this case with their city attorneys if they have questions about whether or how this case impacts contractual obligations.
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Court Rules Sick Leave Law is Unfunded Mandate
On December 8, the Linn County Circuit Court issued a ruling on SB 454, which requires certain employers, including cities and counties, to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year to each of their employees. The bill passed during the 2015 legislative session and became law January 1, 2016.
Eight counties joined together to challenge SB 454 as an unfunded mandate provision in the Oregon Constitution. Under that constitutional provision, local governments have the right to decline to participate in unfunded programs mandated by the state, when certain conditions are met. (LOC has developed a guide to understanding Oregon’s unfunded mandate law, which can be read here.) The circuit court agreed with the counties and concluded that they did not have to follow the new sick leave law.