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Government can create fire protection district

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A board of commissioners in a southern Indiana county had the authority under Indiana statute to pass an ordinance creating a county-wide fire protection district, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

At issue in Ronald Sanders, Paul Hardin, Dallas Kelp, et al. v. Board of Commissioners of Brown County, Indiana, et al., No. 07A01-0803-CV-104, is whether a county legislative body may only establish a fire protection district if those who are defined as freeholders under Indiana Code Section 36-8-11 file a petition requesting the district.

The appellants in this case, who are property owners, filed a complaint in Brown Circuit Court requesting declaratory judgment that an ordinance passed by the commissioners was void because they believed Indiana statute only allowed a fire protection district to be established if initiated by the freeholders.

After examining I.C. Sections 36-8-11-4 and -5, the Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the sections are not ambiguous when read together and they provide two methods for establishing a district - by petition from the freeholders or by a county's legislative body.

The trial court's interpretation was consistent with I.C. Section 36-8-2-3, which allows for a county, municipality, or township to establish, maintain, and operate a fire prevention system, wrote Judge Paul Mathias. In addition, the appellate court concluded that the General Assembly desired to empower freeholders with the ability to establish a district if a county's legislative body doesn't do so based on the language of I.C. Section 36-8-11-5, which states "Freeholders who desire the establishment of a fire protection district..."

The appellate court affirmed the entry of summary judgment in favor of the Board of Commissioners of Brown County, and the Board of Fire Trustees of Brown County Fire Protection District.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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