DOVER, Del. — A judge has ruled that a central Delaware town cannot collect $27,000 from a local water and sewer authority as a building permit fee for a million-gallon water storage tank.

The judge ruled Monday that the purported building fee demanded by the town of Camden is actually a tax, from which the Camden-Wyoming Sewer and Water Authority is exempt.

In applying for a building permit, the authority sought a waiver of any permit fees. The town refused to waive the fee and issued a stop-work order after the authority did not pay it, leading to a Chancery Court lawsuit.

The judge noted that the $27,000 was intended to support town government in general, as opposed to supporting any licensing or inspection function that might be related to a building permit.