CHALMETTE, La. - A lawsuit has been filed to block a recently approved monthly fee for the St. Bernard Parish fire department.
Peter Rupp of Arabi is alleging that the $32 fee attached to parish water bills is unconstitutional because it is an illegal tax.
In his lawsuit, Rupp requests a temporary injunction to stop the measure.
Judge Robert Buckley ordered the St. Bernard Parish Council and President Dave Peralta to file briefs before a September 28 court hearing to rule on the injunction.
Parish officials approved the fee last month, saying it is the only way to avoid laying off fire department employees. The fee expires in December, when parish residents will vote on a proposition for a 20-mill tax is to shore up fire department.
Parish officials say the fire department has an annual budget deficit of $5.5 million.