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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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