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Commission OK to rule on territory dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed an order by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, finding the commission had the authority to hear a dispute between a town and a water company.

At issue in Town of Chandler, Indiana v. Indiana-American Water Co., and Town of Newburgh, Indiana, No. 93A02-0801-EX-00005, is Indiana Code Section 8-1-2-86.5, which defines when the commission may determine a territorial dispute within a 4-mile area regarding water utilities.

The town of Chandler owns and operates a water utility for the delivery of water within and around the corporate limits of the town. The town adopted an ordinance that stated it would be the only provider of water within the 4-mile area surrounding the town. Indiana-American Water Co. filed a complaint with the regulatory commission, requesting that it determine the unincorporated areas in the 4-mile area surrounding the town were open competition for water customers.

There was also a dispute involving the town of Newburgh, because it passed a similar ordinance and some of its 4-mile area overlapped with the surrounding Chandler area.

The commission issued an order denying Chandler's second motion to dismiss the complaint and granted Indiana-American's requested relief and ruled that Indiana-American could provide water service to a prospective customer within the 4-mile area, regardless of Chandler's ordinance.

The Court of Appeals examined the construction of I.C. Section 8-1-2-86.5 to determine whether the commission had the authority to determine a territorial dispute. Chandler argued that the commission can't determine a territorial dispute because the statute only applies to the municipalities that meet the conditions of subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2), and since Newburgh doesn't meet those conditions, the commission can't settle the dispute.

The Court of Appeals disagreed with Chandler's arguments, finding the plain reading of the statute leads the court to conclude the exception to the exception, which allows the commission to determine disputes between two municipalities located within the same 4-mile area, applies whenever the territorial dispute concerns an area located within more than one 4-mile area of any municipality, wrote Judge Paul Mathias.

The appellate court also found the commission's treatment of Chandler didn't violate Article I, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution because a municipal corporation isn't a citizen of Indiana and the section is inapplicable to its case.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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