MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Judge Michael Youngpeter is expected to issue a ruling soon on the future of the Prichard Water Board following a hearing on Monday.
For years, FOX10 News has been reporting the stories of Prichard residents who say they've been paying outrageous water bills for years, some even hundreds of dollars a month.
In November, voters passed Amendment 5 , which would transfer all assets of the water board over to the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System, but the Prichard Water Board has been fighting that takeover.
On Monday morning, the two sides met inside Judge Youngpeter's courtroom; you couldn't find an empty seat. They were packed with Prichard residents sick of paying high water bills.
Prichard resident Jimmie King showed a reporter a $302 water bill. In 2011, FOX10 News reported the story of Linda Blount, who was charged $1200 for water.
"I don't have the money to pay this bill!" Blount said at the time.
Prichard resident Charlie Carter said, "I'm tired of paying that high water bill. I can't even buy nothing but pork 'n beans and crackers."
In court on Monday, the Prichard Water Board argued Amendment 5 violates the Alabama Constitution.
And even though it passed with a majority statewide, a Water Board attorney argued there were a couple of precincts that voted against the measure. The judge rejected that argument.
MAWSS attorneys argue the Prichard Water Board is a public entity and since a majority of the public wants it gone, it should be dissolved.
The judge will issue a ruling either Monday or Tuesday.
But after the ruling comes down, both sides say the fight may not end. Attorneys are willing to take it to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Prichard Water Board Attorney Jay Ross aid, "There's no other case exactly on point in the country that either side could find, so it might set some new precedent in Alabama law."
MAWSS Attorney Jim Atchison said, "Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's morally right to do it."
For Prichard residents, this is a war that's been raging on-and-on.
Concerned Prichard resident Severia Campbell-Morris said, "We are not going to stop this. Whether it goes to the Alabama Supreme Court or the United States Supreme Court, we will get some relief."
State Representative Napoleon Bracy said if the courts rule in favor of the Prichard Water Board, he will present another bill to the Alabama legislature to dissolve the water board.
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