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COA: annexation detailed summary sufficient

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Ruling on the issue of whether or not a city's "detailed summary" of a fiscal plan followed statutory notice requirements, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed judgment today in favor of the city in a suit filed by remonstrators.

In Gary West, et al. v. The City of Princeton, No. 26A01-0806-CV-280, Gary West and other residents of a parcel of land Princeton was looking to annex challenged the approval of annexation by the Princeton Common Council. The remonstrators filed for summary judgment in their remonstrance action; the trial court denied it and entered judgment in favor of Princeton following a bench trial.

On appeal, West and others claimed Princeton failed to strictly comply with the relevant notice statute, Indiana Code Section 36-4-3-2.2, and that the trial court judgment is clearly erroneous in several respects.

The remonstrators argued they didn't receive a "detailed summary" of the fiscal plan as is required under statute. The notice sent to homeowners included information about what services Princeton would provide to homeowners, when they would begin paying property taxes to the city, and that a copy of the fiscal plan could be inspected at the Clerk-Treasurer's office or sent to a landowner on request.

In a footnote, Judge Cale Bradford wrote that the legislature didn't define "detailed summary" in this context, and in the court's view, the precise meaning will vary greatly depending on context. But the clear purpose of the statute is to put the affected landowners on notice of the city's proposed annexation, so the detailed summary need only be detailed enough to further that purpose, wrote the judge. The detailed summary in this case does that, providing services information and allowing them to receive or inspect a copy upon request. In addition, the remonstrators don't argue they were ever denied access to the full fiscal plan or how a denial would have prevented them from knowing about the annexation.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed the trial court's judgment followed Indiana Code Section 36-4-3-13, which governs the approval or denial of proposed annexation facing a challenge.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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