ILNews

Court decides Carmel annexation case

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Carmel has another appellate win on the issue of annexation after an Indiana Court of Appeals ruling today.

The state's second-highest appellate court decided that the city adequately proved it could afford to annex part of a nearby community into its municipal borders, and that a Hamilton County judge erred in auditing a financial plan and ruling in favor of the remonstrators.

The unanimous decision in City of Carmel v. Certain Home Place Annexation Territory Landowners, No. 29A04-0510-CV-578, comes not even a month after a three-judge appellate panel heard arguments in the case Sept. 18.

Arguments had been halted for almost a year as the Indiana Supreme Court considered a similar annexation case involving the same city and trial judge, and the court dug into Home Place again after the justices decided the other case this summer.

This suit involves the attempted annexation of historic Home Place, a 1.6-square mile area centered at 106th Street and College Avenue that involves more than 2,200 property owners. Nearly three-quarters of the property owners remonstrated against the annexation because of higher taxes. In a 2005 decision, Hamilton Superior Judge William Hughes ruled that despite Carmel's submission of a fiscal plan outlining how it would pay for the annexation, the city did not prove it could afford to provide services to the area.

During arguments, attorneys debated how much authority a trial judge has to determine credibility of what's in a fiscal plan, especially when opposing expert witnesses point to conflicting information.

Judge Hughes determined the fiscal plan's statement that "other available revenues" would be used to pay for the annexation was not sufficient

In writing for the majority, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote, "Carmel met its burden of proving the statutory prerequisite that the fiscal plan must show 'the method or methods of financing the planned services.' The trial court's judgment to the contrary is akin to a judicial audit and constitutes clear error."

The court relied on past rulings from the Indiana Supreme Court, including a June decision involving a Carmel annexation of another area in Southwest Clay Township. Justices reversed the trial ruling - also of Judge Hughes - and allowed the annexation to proceed, and distinguished between signing a remonstrance and opposing an annexation.

"At the end of the day, it is apparent Carmel has made credible and enforceable commitments to provide equivalent services to Home Place," Judge Vaidik wrote in today's opinion.
ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  3. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

  4. For some strange reason this story, like many on this ezine that question the powerful, seems to have been released in two formats. Prior format here: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263 That observed, I must note that it is quite refreshing that denizens of the great unwashed (like me) can be allowed to openly question powerful elitists at ICE MILLER who are on the public dole like Selby. Kudos to those at this ezine who understand that they cannot be mere lapdogs to the powerful and corrupt, lest freedom bleed out. If you wonder why the Senator resisted Selby, consider reading the comments here for a theory: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263

  5. Why is it a crisis that people want to protect their rights themselves? The courts have a huge bias against people appearing on their own behalf and these judges and lawyers will face their maker one day and answer for their actions.

ADVERTISEMENT