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Mint Management, LLC v. City of Richmond

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 15, 2017

Mint Management, LLC, and J&MW Holdings, LLC, Appellants-Plaintiffs.
v.
City of Richmond, Indiana, Appellee-Defendant.

         Appeal from the Wayne Superior Court Trial Court Cause No. 89D01-1310-PL-44 The Honorable Charles K. Todd, Jr., Judge

          Attorneys for Appellant Steven E. Runyan Justin Leverton Kroger, Gardis & Regas, LLP Indianapolis, Indiana

          Attorneys for Appellee James R. Williams Matthew L. Kelsey Defur Voran LLP Muncie, Indiana

          PYLE, JUDGE.

         Statement of the Case

         [¶1] Appellants/Plaintiffs, Mint Management, LLC and J&MW Holdings, LLC (collectively, "Property Owners"), appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellee/Defendant, the City of Richmond, Indiana ("the City"), on the Property Owners' declaratory judgment claim. The Property Owners filed a claim for a declaratory judgment on the issue of whether they were required to pay the City's fee ("Stormwater Fee") for financing its stormwater system. The City filed a motion for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion. It reasoned that all owners of real estate parcels in Richmond were required to pay the Stormwater Fee pursuant to the language of the City's stormwater ordinance.

         [¶2] On appeal, the Property Owners argue that we should interpret the City's stormwater ordinance as exempting their properties from the Stormwater Fee because the stormwater runoff from their properties does not enter the City's stormwater system. Because we conclude that the language of the ordinance as a whole requires all property owners in Richmond to pay the Stormwater Fee, we conclude that the trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of the City.

         [¶3] We affirm.

         Issue

         Whether the trial court erred when it granted summary judgment in favor of the City.

         Facts

         [¶4] On April 16, 2007, the City adopted Ordinance No. 47-2006 ("the Ordinance"), which created a Stormwater Management District in Richmond ("Stormwater District"). The Stormwater District was created "for the purpose of managing the stormwater collection and conveyance systems and activities in the [C]ity, establishing rates and charges for the users of the stormwater system of the [C]ity[, ] and other related matters." (App. 234). In order to finance the Stormwater District, Section 59.06 of the Ordinance, the "Stormwater Service Charge" section, provided that:

A [Stormwater Fee] shall be imposed on each and every lot and parcel of land within the City which directly or indirectly contributes to the storm water system of the City, which charge shall be assessed against the property owner thereof, who ...

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