After the Brown County Board of Commissioners (“the Commissioners”) passed an ordinance creating a county-wide fire protection district, several property owners (hereinafter referred to as “the Freeholders”) filed a complaint in Brown Circuit Court requesting a declaratory judgment that the ordinance was void. After summary judgment motions were filed, the trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the Intervenor-Defendant, the Board of Fire Trustees (“the Trustees”), and concluded that the Commissioners had the authority to create a fire protection district pursuant to Indiana Code section 36-8-11-4. The Freeholders appeal and argue that the Commissioners lacked statutory authority to create a fire protection district.
Complaint (slip op. at 9): We conclude that the Commissioners had the authority pursuant to section 36-8-11-4 to pass the Ordinance, which created a county-wide fire protection district. Accordingly, the trial court properly entered summary judgment in favor of the Trustees. Affirmed.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 9): If the General Assembly intended the freeholder petition process to be a prerequisite for the establishment of the fire protection district by the county legislative body, it could have easily provided for such limitation in [the Indiana Code] . . . the General Assembly desired to empower freeholders with the ability to create the fire protection district if the county legislative body does not do so.