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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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