Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, No. 52848

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBECKER
PartiesLLOYD E. CLARKE, INC., et al., Appellees, v. CITY OF BETTENDORF, Iowa, a municipal corporation, et al., Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 52848
Decision Date09 April 1968

Page 125

158 N.W.2d 125
261 Iowa 1217
LLOYD E. CLARKE, INC., et al., Appellees,
v.
CITY OF BETTENDORF, Iowa, a municipal corporation, et al., Appellants.
No. 52848.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
April 9, 1968.

[261 Iowa 1218] Albert J. Stafne, Jr., Bettendorf, for appellants.

Herrick, Langdon, Sandblom & Belin, Des Moines, Hoersch & Werner, Davenport, and Peart, Lincoln & Wells, Davenport, all for appellees.

BECKER, Justice.

This case comes to us after ruling on motion for judgment on the pleadings. Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment decreeing invalid and void an ordinance of the City of Bettendorf providing charges for connection to the city sanitary sewer system. The trial court held the ordinance illegal and void but granted defendants time to amend their answer. Defendants by amendment alleged plaintiff were estopped from challenging the validity of the ordinance. Thereupon defendants amended and renewed their motion for judgment on the pleadings. [261 Iowa 1219] Again, the trial court ruled in favor of plaintiffs. As to the plea of estoppel the court held a power which a city does not have by statute cannot be created by estoppel. Plaintiffs also moved to strike portions of defendants' amended answer but the court found no need to rule on that motion.

The factual background comes from the pleadings. Defendants admit in their answer all the factual allegations of plaintiffs' petition. They deny only two paragraphs containing plaintiffs' conclusions. Since plaintiffs filed the motion for judgment

Page 126

on the pleadings and no reply has been filed to any of the facts pleaded as an affirmative defense, the well pleaded factual allegations in defendants' answer are taken as true. Nall v. Iowa Electric Company, 246 Iowa 832, 835, 69 N.W.2d 529.

We therefore recite the facts chronologically for easier understanding and without regard to the source of the allegations.

Plaintiffs are corporate real estate subdividers and developers. Prior to April 12, 1966, the date the ordinance in question was adopted, plaintiffs requested the city extend sanitary trunk sewers to their respective subdivisions. The developers and the city held meetings to discuss financing new sewer extensions through large underdeveloped areas to reach plaintiffs' land and the necessary enlargement of present equipment occasioned by such developments.

On February 9, the parties orally agreed the city at its initial expense would extend the sewers as requested to serve plaintiffs' properties. This would include necessary additions to the existing system. The improvements were to be financed by the city's issuing general obligation bonds to be retired partially by a connection charge of $125 for each house connection in the subdivision. An ordinance to that effect was contemplated. Without such an agreement the city would not construct the sewer.

The city went ahead with the planned extensions and concurrently passed the ordinance in question regulating connection methods and providing in pertinent part as follows:

'(1) The basic connection fee for each connection made to the sanitary sewer system of the City of Bettendorf, Iowa, [261 Iowa 1220] shall be as hereinafter stated and shall be based upon the following three classes of building sewer permits:

'(I) Residential properties-connection fee shall be One Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($125.00).

'(II) Commercial or business properties-connection fee shall be Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).

'(III) Establishments producing industrial wastes-connection fee shall be Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00).'

Plaintiffs made application to connect their various new houses to the sewer. They tendered a $5 inspection fee and $1 digging fee but refused to pay the $125 connection fee. The city denied the application for failure to pay the latter sum. Plaintiffs paid the full fee under protest and started this action seeking to have the pertinent parts of the ordinance declared illegal and void. They allege the city intends to continue to collect the fees in question under what they contend is an illegal ordinance.

The trial court held the city had no statutory or other authority to levy the connection fees provided in the new ordinance and could not gain that authority by estoppel. We agree.

I. Code of Iowa, 1966, sections 368.26 and 391.11 authorize a city to construct, repair and regulate connections. The first issue here is whether the city can finance such construction in whole or in part by charging connection charges in excess of the normal and nominal inspection fee; the excess to be used to finance initial construction.

Section 391.13 empowers the city to finance the construction of any main sewer or system of main sewers by assessing the cost to the respective lots as adjacent property. Section 391.18 to 391.91 regulates the powers and procedures of the city in levying such assessments. These regulations are specific and detailed. This assessment power is one method of financing sewer construction.

A second method of financing construction, reconstruction or repair of main sewers and sewage purifying plants is by issuance of general obligation bonds as

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provided in section 396.2 and section 404.9. The latter section also allows for use of a combination of the first and second methods.

[261 Iowa 1221] II. No other provision is provided for payment for sewer construction unless section 391.8 is broad enough to allow for connection fees or hook-on charges to be used as a method of financing. Section 391.8 provides: 'Gas, water, and other...

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7 practice notes
  • Faust v. Metropolitan Government
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • May 3, 2006
    ...284 S.W. 372, 376 (1924); Moore v. Tunica County, 143 Miss. 821, 107 So. 659, 661 (1926); Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, 261 Iowa 1217, 158 N.W.2d 125, 129 Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Davidson County, is not estopped to remove civilian employees of the police and fir......
  • Iowa Power and Light Co. v. Board of Water Works Trustees of City of Des Moines, No. 2-62048
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • May 31, 1979
    ...affirmative defense, then the factual allegations in defendant's answer are taken as true. Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, 261 Iowa 1217, 1219, 158 N.W.2d 125, 126-27 (1968). The granting of a motion for judgment on the pleadings may be appropriate in such a situation. 1 A. Ves......
  • Brooks v. Dickey, No. 52883
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 9, 1968
    ...75 N.W.2d 253, 255. IV. Two other well-recognized rules of law, favorable to defendant, are here applicable. First, where two vehicles [261 Iowa 1217] are approaching from opposite directions a narrow bridge or other place in the roadway, the vehicle reaching the bridge or place first is, i......
  • Depue v. City of Clinton, No. 52978
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 5, 1968
    ...exclusive manner of procedure and shall be given substantial compliance, * * *' See Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, Iowa, 158 N.W.2d 125, Richardson v. City of Jefferson, 257 Iowa 709, 134 N.W.2d 528 for our interpretation of the effect of the above quoted V. In its approach to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Faust v. Metropolitan Government
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • May 3, 2006
    ...284 S.W. 372, 376 (1924); Moore v. Tunica County, 143 Miss. 821, 107 So. 659, 661 (1926); Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, 261 Iowa 1217, 158 N.W.2d 125, 129 Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Davidson County, is not estopped to remove civilian employees of the police and fir......
  • Iowa Power and Light Co. v. Board of Water Works Trustees of City of Des Moines, No. 2-62048
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Iowa
    • May 31, 1979
    ...affirmative defense, then the factual allegations in defendant's answer are taken as true. Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, 261 Iowa 1217, 1219, 158 N.W.2d 125, 126-27 (1968). The granting of a motion for judgment on the pleadings may be appropriate in such a situation. 1 A. Ves......
  • Brooks v. Dickey, No. 52883
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • April 9, 1968
    ...75 N.W.2d 253, 255. IV. Two other well-recognized rules of law, favorable to defendant, are here applicable. First, where two vehicles [261 Iowa 1217] are approaching from opposite directions a narrow bridge or other place in the roadway, the vehicle reaching the bridge or place first is, i......
  • Depue v. City of Clinton, No. 52978
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • September 5, 1968
    ...exclusive manner of procedure and shall be given substantial compliance, * * *' See Lloyd E. Clarke, Inc. v. City of Bettendorf, Iowa, 158 N.W.2d 125, Richardson v. City of Jefferson, 257 Iowa 709, 134 N.W.2d 528 for our interpretation of the effect of the above quoted V. In its approach to......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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