City of Hannibal v. Winchester, No. 50068

CourtMissouri Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtEAGER; HOLMAN, HENLEY and FINCH, JJ., and STONE; HYDE; STORCKMAN; HYDE; I fully concur in the opinion of EAGER; STORCKMAN
Citation391 S.W.2d 279
PartiesCITY OF HANNIBAL, a municipal corporation, Appellant, v. Ben N. WINCHESTER and Ruth Winchester, his wife, et al., Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. 50068
Decision Date14 June 1965

Page 279

391 S.W.2d 279
CITY OF HANNIBAL, a municipal corporation, Appellant,
v.
Ben N. WINCHESTER and Ruth Winchester, his wife, et al., Respondents.
No. 50068.
Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc.
June 14, 1965.

Page 281

Dennis R. Davidson, City Counselor, Ely & Hibbard, Ben Ely, Hannibal, for appellant.

William B. Spaun, Hannibal, for respondents.

EAGER, Judge.

This case involves the validity of proceedings by the City of Hannibal, a charter city, to annex territory. A petition for declaratory judgment under the Sawyers Act, Section 71.015, RSMo 1959, V.A.M.S., 1 was filed as a class suit against the interested owners in the adjacent territory. No objection is made here to the use of a class action. The petition contains the allegations appropriate to a Sawyers Act case, namely, that the proposed annexation was reasonable and necessary to the proper development of the city, that the city had the ability to furnish normal municipal services to the area within a reasonable time, and other factual statements deemed pertinent. The City Council had adopted appropriate resolutions concerning the annexation, including one eliminating from the suit a part of the area originally proposed for annexation, because of an agreement with certain property owners resulting in a partial annexation. Defendants filed their motion to dismiss the second amended petition on the following grounds, among others: that the said petition stated no cause of action; that the court did not have jurisdiction of the subject matter or the parties; that Sec. 71.015 does not apply to constitutional charter cities and that the statute is unconstitutional as so applied, because it is in conflict with Art. 6, Secs. 19 and 20 of the Missouri Constitution, V.A.M.S.; that plaintiff must proceed under Section 82.090, RSMo 1959, V.A.M.S., because its corporate limits were defined and set out in its charter, and that the present proceedings are repugnant to that statute; that the boundaries of plaintiff can only be extended by charter amendment, and that the present proceedings would deprive defendants of their property without due process. The Honorable James D. Clemens was assigned to hear the case, in lieu of the regular judge. The Court sustained the motion and dismissed the petition with prejudice for lack of jurisdiction of the subject matter; it relied upon the cases of McConnell v. City of Kansas City, Mo., 282 S.W.2d 518, and State ex inf. Taylor ex rel. Kansas City v. North Kansas

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City, 360 Mo. 374, 228 S.W.2d 762. This appeal followed immediately.

In effect, the trial court held that a constitutional charter city may only annex territory or alter its corporate limits by a charter amendment as provided in Sec. 20 of Art. 6 of our Constitution which it regarded as a self-enforcing provision, and that the Sawyers Act was inapplicable and, indeed, invalid as to constitutional charter cities. Section 19 of Art. 6 permits any city of more than 10,000 inhabitants to frame and adopt a charter for its government 'consistent with and subject to the constitution and laws of the state * * * '; it provides very specifically the method for doing so, requiring a vote of the electors. Section 20 of Art. 6 provides the method for the amendment of any such city charter; the basic requirement of that section is the vote of a majority of the electors which shall follow the adoption of an ordinance proposing the amendment, the submission of the proposal by a commission, or the presentation of a petition of at least 10% of the qualified electors.

The points upon which appellant city relies here are substantially these: that the charter of the City of Hannibal expressly provides that it may extend its corporate limits by ordinance 'pursuant to the applicable laws,' and that it was within the powers of the Charter Commission and the voters, under the Constitution and legislative acts, to insert that provision in the charter; that this is a matter germane to the government of the city; that on such matters affecting the 'form of organization' of a city, the Constitution has granted to the Charter Commission and the electors full legislative power coordinate with that of the legislature; that the provision of a 'workable method' for annexation is vital, not only to cities but also to the interest of the inhabitants of the territory to be annexed and to the state; and, finally, that under the charter provisions of plaintiff the Sawyers Act is applicable and a declaratory judgment suit proper.

Our Court has held rather recently on two different occasions that the exclusive method by which Kansas City may annex territory is by a charter amendment. State ex inf. Taylor ex rel. Kansas City v. North Kansas City, Banc, 360 Mo. 374, 228 S.W.2d 762; McConnell v. City of Kansas City, Mo., 282 S.W.2d 518. In Taylor, the primary question was which of two municipalities had first instituted valid annexation proceedings. It was held that the enactment of an ordinance by Kansas City providing for the annexation by means of a charter amendment under Sec. 20, Art. 6, gave that municipality priority, and that its proceedings by that method were not only proper but exclusive; also that the provisions of Sec. 20 are broad enough to include annexation proceedings even though they are not expressly mentioned as such. After discussing prior cases, the Court said: 'Sec. 20 of Article VI of the 1945 Constitution is likewise self-enforcing. That section supplies a rule for the enjoyment of the right granted; it descends to details and provides that amendments to city charters may be proposed by the city legislative body by ordinance and submitted to the city's electors at a certain election; that if approved by a majority voting thereon the amendment shall become a part of the charter at the time and under the conditions therein fixed. State ex rel. Randolph County v. Walden, 357 Mo. 167, 206 S.W.2d 979. * * * As above ruled, relator has authority to amend its charter. An extension of relator's corporate limits must be by and is an amendment of its charter. * * * Whatever may be the rule in any other jurisdiction, or however any court in some other jurisdiction may have construed some other constitution, we hold that under the Constitution of Missouri relator has a constitutional grant of power and authority to extend its city limits by amendment of its charter in compliance with Sec. 20 of Article VI of the Missouri Constitution of 1945. Specific legislative authority to extend relator's limits is unnecessary. It was legally sufficient for adoption that a majority of the qualified electors voting

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thereon approved relator's proposal to amend its charter to extend its boundaries. The approval by a majority met constitutional requirements.' The Charter of Kansas City expressly provided that annexation should be accomplished by charter amendment. That is urged here as a vital distinction.

In McConnell v. City of Kansas City, Mo., 282 S.W.2d 518, a taxpayer sought to enjoin the submission of an annexation ordinance to the voters as a charter amendment, on the ground that the city must proceed by declaratory judgment under the Sawyers Act. The Court held that the statute was inapplicable because it was in conflict with the provisions of Sec. 20 of Art. 6 regulating the time of the submission of an annexation proposal to the voters as a charter amendment. The Court said there in part, loc. cit. 520, 521, 522: 'Art. VI, Sec. 20, of the Constitution (all references to the constitution are to Mo.Const.1945, V.A.M.S., unless otherwise indicated), applicable to Kansas City, is a self-enforcing provision conferring the power, and providing the procedure for, constitutional charter cities to amend their charters; and an extension of a city's corporate limits is a charter amendment within the purview of Art. VI, Sec. 20. State ex Inf. Taylor ex rel. Kansas City v. North Kansas City, 360 Mo. 374, 228 S.W.2d 762, 769-771. * * * It seems clear that the people of the state have 'authorized' constitutional charter cities, through their electors, to annex territory by a direct constitutional grant of power to do so. * * * It must be apparent, then, that the Sawyer[s] Act, which postpones the submission to the electors of an annexation proposal until a declaratory judgment action shall have been filed (and, incidentally, the time for filing such action is not specified) and finally determined, conflicts with the procedure provided by Art. VI, Sec. 20, of the Constitution and, therefore, that the Act is invalid as to charter cities to which Section 20 is applicable. This, because the time necessarily consumed in obtaining a final declaratory judgment would, at least in many instances, make it impossible for the charter city to submit annexation proposals to its electors within the time limits prescribed by the procedure set forth in the constitution.'

In McConnell, the Court apparently assumed that the word 'resolution,' as used in the Sawyers Act, was the equivalent of an annexation 'ordinance.' We make no such assumption. Rather, it appears to us that the resolution might well be a ministerial direction to the city's legal officers to institute and prosecute a declaratory judgment suit. 5 McQuillin, Municipal Corporations, 3rd Ed., Sec. 15.02. Considered in that light, an ordinance of annexation under Sec. 20, and the vote thereon, might be deferred until after the declaratory judgment had been obtained, thus conforming the timing of those two procedures. However, as pointed out in McConnell, there are two other methods provided in Sec. 20 for instituting charter amendments (and annexations, as we hold); one, the submission by a charter commission, and the other, by a petition of not less than ten per cent of the registered electors. In either of such instances, the legislative body shall at once provide by ordinance that such amendment be submitted to a vote of the...

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22 practice notes
  • Murphy v. Kansas City, Missouri, No. 18578-4.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • July 28, 1972
    ...eliminate the constitutional requirement of charter amendment or to fix any method inconsistent with it. City of Hannibal v. Winchester, 391 S. W.2d 279 (Mo., 1965). It has been further held that a constitutional charter city may not ignore the established method of annexation by charter am......
  • City of O'Fallon v. Bethman, No. 38819
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 13, 1978
    ...suit or any other manifestation of intent to annex. The city need not adopt an annexation ordinance. City of Hannibal v. Winchester, 391 S.W.2d 279, 283 (Mo. banc 1965); City of Salisbury v. Nagel, 420 S.W.2d 37, 43 (Mo.App.1967). Prior to instituting its declaratory judgment action under §......
  • Rail Switching Servs., Inc. v. Marquis-Missouri Terminal, LLC, No. ED 105242
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 7, 2017
    ...townships under township organization, special road districts, and drainage districts). Second, RSSI cites to Hannibal v. Winchester, 391 S.W.2d 279, 287 (Mo. banc 1965), for the proposition that a municipal corporation must have both a defined territory and inhabitants. However, Hannibal a......
  • City of Kirkwood v. Allen, No. 49920
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • January 10, 1966
    ...my view concerning Sec. 71.015, called the Sawyers Act, in a separate concurring opinion in City of Hannibal v. Winchester, Mo.Sup., 391 S.W.2d 279, 290, as follows: 'All the Act says is: 'Whenever the governing body of any city has adopted a resolution to annex any unincorporated area of l......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
22 cases
  • Murphy v. Kansas City, Missouri, No. 18578-4.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Western District of Missouri
    • July 28, 1972
    ...eliminate the constitutional requirement of charter amendment or to fix any method inconsistent with it. City of Hannibal v. Winchester, 391 S. W.2d 279 (Mo., 1965). It has been further held that a constitutional charter city may not ignore the established method of annexation by charter am......
  • City of O'Fallon v. Bethman, No. 38819
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 13, 1978
    ...suit or any other manifestation of intent to annex. The city need not adopt an annexation ordinance. City of Hannibal v. Winchester, 391 S.W.2d 279, 283 (Mo. banc 1965); City of Salisbury v. Nagel, 420 S.W.2d 37, 43 (Mo.App.1967). Prior to instituting its declaratory judgment action under §......
  • Rail Switching Servs., Inc. v. Marquis-Missouri Terminal, LLC, No. ED 105242
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Missouri (US)
    • November 7, 2017
    ...townships under township organization, special road districts, and drainage districts). Second, RSSI cites to Hannibal v. Winchester, 391 S.W.2d 279, 287 (Mo. banc 1965), for the proposition that a municipal corporation must have both a defined territory and inhabitants. However, Hannibal a......
  • City of Kirkwood v. Allen, No. 49920
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • January 10, 1966
    ...my view concerning Sec. 71.015, called the Sawyers Act, in a separate concurring opinion in City of Hannibal v. Winchester, Mo.Sup., 391 S.W.2d 279, 290, as follows: 'All the Act says is: 'Whenever the governing body of any city has adopted a resolution to annex any unincorporated area of l......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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