APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. JOHN S.
PAGE, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE GUILD DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied July 17, 1978.
This is a purported class action for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. The six plaintiffs own residential properties outside of the City of St. Charles. These homes, as well as the homes of other individuals similarly situated, are connected to the city sewage system. This action concerns the rates presently charged the plaintiffs for sewage service, and the conflict between these rates and those set by alleged contracts between the parties. The original complaint was dismissed; the court specifically finding that the contracts relied upon by the plaintiffs were unenforceable and that various rate setting ordinances were valid. Leave was granted to file an amended complaint which was dismissed with prejudice in the same order. The plaintiffs appeal.
The parties appear to assume here that those reasons given regarding the initial dismissal apply to the dismissal of the amended complaint. The major issue before us is whether the amended complaint was properly dismissed.
The facts of this matter are as follows. On January 1, 1963, the St. Charles city council passed an ordinance setting the monthly rate for residential sewage service at $1.50. On January 6, 1964, the city entered into a contract with four development companies which allowed those four companies to connect a sewage system developed by them in the Wildrose Valley area to the municipal sewage system. By the provisions of that contract (hereinafter known as the four company contract) the city was ceded title to the developed sewage system. In return, the city agreed to allow the four companies to connect lots still owned by them to the city sewage system and to afford the owners of lots previously sold by the four companies the opportunity to connect to the system. Under that contract the city was acknowledged as having the final authority to modify or change the various fees charged to the users of the system as economic conditions made necessary.
Subsequent to the execution of the four company contract the plaintiffs and approximately 150 other individuals executed documents, drafted by the city, which purported to be contracts. These documents (hereinafter referred to as property owner contracts) provide, in pertinent part, as follows:
"It is therefore agreed that upon a connection being made thereto and the necessary fees being paid therefor the User will pay the current sewer service charge plus 50% surcharge for the use of the disposal plant plus Fifty Cents (50¢) per month for the sewer main maintenance charge."
On May 16, 1967, the city council passed ordinance No. 1967-16 which provided for a sewer service charge based upon the gallons of water used by a city resident. The same ordinance provided that nonresident users would be charged a 50% surcharge in addition to the resident rate. This ordinance was clearly consistent with the property owner contracts.
On August 4, 1975, ordinance No. 1975-M-30 was passed. It provided that residents of the city would be charged, based on metered water consumption, as follows:
"$4.50 per quarter plus $0.45 per 1000 gallons of water used or where water consumption does not reflect the actual quantity of waste water tributary to the waste water treatment works $4.50 per quarter plus $0.45 per 1000 gallons of waste water actually discharged into the sewer system."
The August 1975 ordinance further provided that those city residents not using metered city water would be charged at the flat rate of $3.50 per month for their sewer service.
As to nonresident sewer service users, ordinance No. 1975-M-30 stated as follows:
"Residential: A sewer service availability charge for sewer service to residential users outside the city limits shall be the sum equal to an additional 150% over the applicable basic user charge."
On December 15, 1975, the city council passed ordinance 1975-M-45 amending the nonresident provision of ...