Feds drop lawsuit after being charged fee at VA

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Federal prosecutors have dropped a lawsuit against Des Moines and MidAmerican Energy after the city changed an ordinance so a fee was charged to the utility and not the government.

The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/KAVchv ) the federal government sued the city and MidAmerican last year, arguing a franchise fee levied against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs violated a constitutional provision against cities taxing federal agencies.

The government filed the lawsuit after MidAmerican told the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Des Moines it would shut off service if it didn’t pay $8,086 owed for the franchise fee.

In December, Des Moines changed the city code to make clear the city would charge the fee to MidAmerican, which could then charge its customers. The federal government dropped its lawsuit Friday.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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