Forbes v. City of Meridian

Decision Date19 June 1905
Citation86 Miss. 243,38 So. 676
CourtMississippi Supreme Court

FROM the circuit court of Lauderdale county, HON. ROBERT F COCHRAN, Judge.

Forbes and others, appellants, who opposed the extension of the limits of the city of Meridian, were treated without objection as being plaintiffs in the court below, and the city of Meridian accepted there the position of a defendant. From a judgment in the city's favor Forbes and others appealed to the supreme court. [See Jackson v Whiting, 84 Miss. 163, where under like conditions the city of Jackson was treated as plaintiff and her tender of issue as a plaintiff maintained by the supreme court.]

The municipal authorities of the city of Meridian passed an ordinance extending the limits of said city. Appellants Forbes and others, made bond and appealed to the circuit court from the ordinance. In the circuit court appellants tendered an issue that the extension was unjust, oppressive and unreasonable in various particulars--to wit, that a large territory just outside of and contiguous to the territory embraced had been surveyed into lots and blocks, and residences had been built there, and a large number of people lived there, and that these Jots were valuable, and that the extension was unreasonable in not including that territory that some parts included in the extension had never been surveyed into lots, and were two miles from the business part of the city, and could not be benefited by being placed in the city; that other portions embraced had no dwellings or business houses on them, and would receive no benefits or protection from the city government; and that the only purpose the city had in including them was to tax them. On this tender the city, without objection, joined issue, and considerable testimony was heard on the trial of the issue. There were verdict and judgment for the city, and from that this appeal is taken. The errors principally complained of are the giving of certain instructions for the city and the refusal of instructions asked by appellants.

The court gave the following instructions for the city:

"(1) The court instructs the jury that even though they may believe that some parts of the territory intended to be included in the ordinance in dispute are low and marshy, and that other parts of it are vacant, yet this fact does not make the ordinance unreasonable or authorize the jury to find against the city in this case. The court further instructs the jury that the city boards have a right to extend the city limits so as to include people living within the extension, without their consent, and in passing upon the ordinance in dispute the sole question for the jury is whether the extension is reasonable or unreasonable, and in the present case the burden is upon the appellants to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the extension is unreasonable.

"(2) The court further instructs the jury that if they believe from the evidence that it is necessary for the protection of the health of the citizens of Meridian and of the territory proposed to be included under the ordinance in dispute that said ordinance shall be sustained, or that it be necessary for the citizens within the proposed extension to have the benefit of police protection, and also the benefits of lights and other municipal improvements, then the jury should find that the proposed extension is reasonable.

"(3) The court charges the jury that even though the jury may believe from the evidence that there are vacant lots in the present city limits, and also vacant parcels of land in the proposed extension, and also although they believe from the evidence that there are low and marshy places in the territory proposed to be included as provided by the. ordinance, these facts will not of themselves authorize a verdict against the ordinance.

"(4) The court instructs the jury that if they believe from the evidence that because the fertilizer factory, the Eagle Cotton Oil Company, Grant's Mills, and the Meridian Cotton Oil Mills are located so near the city as to enjoy the benefits, either from lower rates of insurance or other benefits derived from the city as now constituted, then the jury can consider these benefits in passing upon the question as to whether the ordinance in dispute is reasonable or unreasonable; and the fact that they will have to pay an additional or municipal tax if included in the city limits will not be any reason why they should not be included.

"(5) The court charges the jury that the taxing of the property proposed to be taken into the city limits is not the taking or damaging of the property of the owner without authority of law, and if the jury believe that the mere extension of the city boundaries and the consequent liability to municipal taxation that should be imposed upon said lands constitute the only objection to extending the city limits in behalf of the city, then they should find a verdict in favor of the city."

In the sixth instruction the court told the jury that if the lands embraced in the ordinance were contiguous to the city, and some of them were platted and mapped and held for sale, and that other parts of the land were settled and represented the actual growth of the city, and that other vacant lands were needed for residences, and that other parts of said lands were valuable for residences or business purposes, or if the territory added was needed for the extension of police regulations, the jury should find for the city.

The court refused the following instructions asked by appellants:

"(2) The court instructs the jury that the line of the city limits as fixed by the ordinance is an entire line, and if it is unreasonable at any one point thereof, the plaintiffs are entitled to the verdict.

"(4) The court charges the jury that if they believe from the evidence any of the territory within the proposed extension would not be benefited by being included in the city, and the only effect of so embracing it would be to tax it, then the ordinance is unreasonable, and the jury will find for the plaintiffs.

"(5) Although the jury may believe from the evidence that a part of the territory in the proposed extension would receive benefits from being part of the city, yet if the jury believe that such territory is so situated that the cost to the city of giving it the benefits of the city government be greater than the rewards derived by the city from taxing said territory, then it was unreasonable to so embrace it, and the jury will find for the plaintiffs.

"(8) If the jury believe from the evidence that a part of the territory in the proposed extension was included because it had been platted into lots, blocks, and streets, and that other parts were included which were not so platted, then such was an unreasonable ground for fixing said line.

"(9) If, from the evidence, the jury believe that a part of the territory embraced within the proposed extension was put in to make the boundary lines of the city straight and to make the form of the city as drawn on the map...

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46 cases
  • State v. Kansas City
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • February 9, 1911
    ...including territory. Parker v. Zeisler, 73 Mo. App. 537; New Orleans & N. W. R. R. Co. v. Vidalia, 117 La. 561, 42 South. 139; Forbes v. Meridian, 86 Miss. 243, 38 South. 676; Catterlin v. Frankfort, 87 Ind. 45; Paul v. Walkerton, 150 Ind. 565, 50 N. E. 725; Langworthy v. Dubuque, 13 Iowa, ......
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    ...share of taxes, Texas Gas Transmission Corp. v. City of Greenville, 242 So.2d 686, 689 (Miss.1971); Forbes v. Mayor & Board of Aldermen of City of Meridian, 86 Miss. 243, 38 So. 676 (1905); and (12) any other factors that may suggest reasonableness vel non. Bassett v. Town of Taylorsville, ......
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    ...never be permitted when made solely for the purpose of taxation or increasing the revenues of the city by this means.' Forbes v. Meridian, 86 Miss. 243, 38 So. 676, 678, declared: '* * * Municipalities are not devised for the purpose solely, nor chiefly, of raising revenue. The power of ext......
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