Press-Tribune: Caldwell Officials Accuse Pioneer Irrigation of 'Illegal Assessments'

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The Pioneer Irrigation District, which pumps water to more than 34,000 acres throughout Canyon and western Ada counties, is denying new claims in a lawsuit that alleges it has "repeatedly and unfairly" charged small-parcel land owners.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the claim, filed by a Caldwell City councilman, alleges that Pioneer's charges to customers who own less than one acre subsidized large-parel landowners' rates.

In a Nov. 13 letter to its customers, Pioneer admitted to incorrectly assessing some of its 2013 rates, but the Press-Tribune reports that city of Caldwell officials believe the Pioneer district has "incorrectly charged citizens for years."

In September, Pioneer announced that it was raising its 2013 irrigation assessment by 7.6 percent and that payments were due by Friday, Dec. 20, from its 5,800 customers.

But Caldwell officials, according to the Press-Tribune, say improper assessments have "been going on for years and could result in millions of dollars of past illegal assessments against Caldwell citizens and others."