COLUMBIA − Columbia has won a $54 million judgement against CenturyLink, or Spectra Communications Group, following unpaid business license taxes stemming back from 2007 to the present. 

The lawsuit was jointly filed in 2014 by Columbia and Joplin, which filed for similar reasons. Columbia will receive $53,802,060.70 and Joplin will receive $1,153,628.73. 

St. Louis County Circuit Judge Ellen Ribaudo issued the judgement on June 3.

A summary judgement said CenturyLink was liable for the taxes and cities' damages were considered in a separate hearing last year. The price tag also includes interest, penalties and attorneys' fees. 

According to the Columbia Missourian, Spectra CommunicationsGroup argued that business taxes that cities levy for phone services should apply to some services a company provides, including long-distance tolls and private line services. 

Local governments are allowed to tax gross receipts of utility providers within their boundaries. Columbia levies a 7% tax on gross receipts of companies that provide natural gas, electric and telephone services, and a 5% tax on gross receipts of cable TV companies and providers.