Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, No. 63175

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtConsidered by REYNOLDSON; REYNOLDSON
Citation291 N.W.2d 15
PartiesLes HAMILTON, Appellee, v. CITY OF URBANDALE, Iowa; E. J. Giovannetti, Mayor; Donald Brush, Councilman; James Vroman, Councilman; Wayne Brundage, Councilman; Willliam Courtney, Councilman; Jerry Pierce, Councilman, Appellants.
Decision Date23 April 1980
Docket NumberNo. 63175

Page 15

291 N.W.2d 15
Les HAMILTON, Appellee,
v.
CITY OF URBANDALE, Iowa; E. J. Giovannetti, Mayor; Donald Brush, Councilman; James Vroman, Councilman; Wayne Brundage, Councilman; Willliam Courtney, Councilman; Jerry Pierce, Councilman, Appellants.
No. 63175.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
April 23, 1980.

Page 16

John F. McKinney, Jr., and Lance A. Coppock of Ahlers, Cooney, Dorweiler, Haynie & Smith, Des Moines, for appellants.

Joseph L. Marks of Marks, Marks & Marks, Urbandale, for appellee.

Considered by REYNOLDSON, C. J., and LeGRAND, REES, UHLENHOPP, and McGIVERIN, JJ.

REYNOLDSON, Chief Justice.

This controversy arises from Urbandale's asserted right to issue, without a special election, $250,000 in general obligation bonds to build four softball fields in a city park. Plaintiff Hamilton and other Urbandale residents and taxpayers filed objections at a public hearing before the city council, asserting Iowa statutes require such an election before issuance of bonds for that purpose. After these objections were overruled, Hamilton appealed to district court as permitted by section 384.25(2), The Code 1977. The district court reversed, finding the council had exceeded its statutory authority. Urbandale appeals to this court, and we affirm.

The project involved clearing, grubbing, excavation, grading, backfill, topsoil mixing, constructing a retaining wall and railing, and installing a sprinkler system, waterline and sanitary sewer for a "softball quadplex" in Urbandale's Walker Johnston Park.

Hamilton, appealing, sought a district court ruling that construction of the softball diamonds was a "general corporate purpose" as defined in section 384.24(4)(b), The Code (construction of recreation grounds), thus compelling a section 384.26 referendum and a sixty percent voter approval before the general obligation bonds could be issued. Urbandale's answer in district court asserted the bonds were to be issued for an "essential corporate purpose" under section 384.24(3)(o) ("The rehabilitation and improvement of parks already owned, including the removal, replacement and planting of trees thereon."), and therefore no special election was required. See § 384.25, The Code.

Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. In a February 2, 1979, "decree on appeal" granting Hamilton's motion, district court concluded that the softball quadplex was a "recreation ground," and consequently the bonds were for a "general corporate purpose." The court held Urbandale had exceeded its authority by not following statutory procedure to authorize issuance of the bonds.

Urbandale appealed to this court. Hamilton cross-appealed. Subsequently, Hamilton filed a motion to dismiss the appeal as moot, alleging Urbandale had proceeded with the project by utilizing funds not derived from bonds. We ordered this motion submitted with the appeal. We made a similar order with respect to Urbandale's motion to dismiss Hamilton's cross-appeal because his brief was not filed on time. Before discussing the merits, we dispose of these motions.

I. Motion to dismiss the appeal.

Hamilton's motion asserts the softball project has been completed and paid for with other city funds and the issue before us therefore is moot. In view of our disposition of this motion, we pass for now the question whether this issue can be

Page 17

raised by thus supplementing the record made in district court. In any event, the city, while conceding these facts, asserts it intends to issue the bonds to replenish the city funds used to pay the project cost, and thus the controversy has not been mooted.

A case is moot if it no longer presents a justiciable controversy because the issues involved have become academic or nonexistent. Board of Directors v. Green, 259 Iowa 1260, 1264, 147 N.W.2d 854, 856 (1967). It is apparent from the opposing contentions with respect to this motion that the issue is not merely academic. Further, the question is of substantial public interest and may likely recur in the future. See City of Des Moines v. Public Employment Relations Board, 275 N.W.2d 753, 758 (Iowa 1979); Iowa Civil Liberties Union v. Critelli, 244 N.W.2d 564, 568 (Iowa 1976). We therefore overrule Hamilton's motion to dismiss this appeal.

II. Motion to dismiss the cross-appeal.

Hamilton's cross-appeal was grounded on the theory that if the softball project was not a section 384.24(4)(b) "general corporate purpose," alternatively it was a combination of one or more general corporate purposes with one or more essential corporate purposes, thus requiring a special election to authorize the bonds, under the provisions of section 384.28, The Code. The same concept was urged in district court and submitted here as a division of Hamilton's responsive brief on the city's appeal. Hamilton may seek affirmance in this court on grounds rejected by district court as well as the ground which was accepted. Howard v. Des Moines Register & Tribune Co., 283 N.W.2d 289, 291-92 (Iowa 1979), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 100 S.Ct. 1081, 63 L.Ed.2d 320 (1980).

The cross-appeal furnishes nothing additional which is helpful in deciding this matter. We therefore sustain the motion to dismiss it.

...

To continue reading

Request your trial
33 practice notes
  • Iowa Freedom of Information Council v. Wifvat, No. 67221
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 19, 1983
    ...acquitted. Generally we will not consider an action if it no longer presents a justiciable controversy. Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, 291 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Iowa 1980). But claims should not be dismissed on mootness grounds where matters of public importance are presented and the problem is li......
  • Iowa Bankers Ass'n v. Iowa Credit Union Dept., No. 68254
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 15, 1983
    ...controversy because the issues involved are academic or nonexistent. Women Aware, 331 N.W.2d at 92; Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, 291 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Iowa 1980). Our test is whether an opinion would be of force or effect in the underlying controversy. Wederath v. Brant, 287 N.W.2d 591, 595 ......
  • State v. Zacarias, No. 19-0838
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 23, 2021
    ...as a whole and give it ‘its plain and obvious meaning, a sensible and logical construction.’ " (quoting Hamilton v. City of Urbandale , 291 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Iowa 1980) )). The emphasis in the offense under section 708.2(5) is on the penetrative nature of the assault, not on whether a defendan......
  • Iowa Comprehensive Petroleum v. Mobil Oil, No. 98-372.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 16, 2000
    ...to examine the history and language of the Tank Fund Act to discern the intent of our legislature. Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, 291 N.W.2d 15, 19 (Iowa In interpreting the statute, our ultimate goal is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. Iowa Federation of Labor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • Iowa Freedom of Information Council v. Wifvat, No. 67221
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 19, 1983
    ...acquitted. Generally we will not consider an action if it no longer presents a justiciable controversy. Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, 291 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Iowa 1980). But claims should not be dismissed on mootness grounds where matters of public importance are presented and the problem is li......
  • Iowa Bankers Ass'n v. Iowa Credit Union Dept., No. 68254
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • June 15, 1983
    ...controversy because the issues involved are academic or nonexistent. Women Aware, 331 N.W.2d at 92; Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, 291 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Iowa 1980). Our test is whether an opinion would be of force or effect in the underlying controversy. Wederath v. Brant, 287 N.W.2d 591, 595 ......
  • State v. Zacarias, No. 19-0838
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 23, 2021
    ...as a whole and give it ‘its plain and obvious meaning, a sensible and logical construction.’ " (quoting Hamilton v. City of Urbandale , 291 N.W.2d 15, 17 (Iowa 1980) )). The emphasis in the offense under section 708.2(5) is on the penetrative nature of the assault, not on whether a defendan......
  • Iowa Comprehensive Petroleum v. Mobil Oil, No. 98-372.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • February 16, 2000
    ...to examine the history and language of the Tank Fund Act to discern the intent of our legislature. Hamilton v. City of Urbandale, 291 N.W.2d 15, 19 (Iowa In interpreting the statute, our ultimate goal is to ascertain and give effect to the intent of the legislature. Iowa Federation of Labor......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT