The Town of Chandler (“Chandler”) appeals from the order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (“the Commission”) granting the relief requested by the petition of Indiana-American Water Co. (“Indiana-American”) and denying Chandler’s motion to dismiss. Upon appeal, Chandler claims: (1) that the Commission has been statutorily deprived of the authority to hear the dispute at issue, and (2) that the Commission’s ruling violates Article 1, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution.
Conclusion (slip op. at 12): The Commission rightly determined that I.C. 8-1-2-86.5 did not deprive it of authority to determine the territorial dispute between Chandler and Indiana-American. In addition, the Commission’s decision does not violate Art.1, Sect. 23 of the Ind. Const. because Chandler is not a “citizen” to which this constitutional provision applies. Affirmed.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 10, 11): Generally, the Commission may, after notice and hearing, determine by order territorial disputes between all water utilities [with the exception] that, if a municipality has a population of less than 7,500 and has passed the appropriate ordinance to regulate the furnishing of water within its four mile area, then the Commission is without power to determine a territorial dispute within that four mile area unless the territorial dispute concerns a geographic area located in more than one four mile area . . . Here, it is undisputed that the territorial dispute in question concerns a geographic area which lies within more than one four mile area. As such, the exception to the exception is applicable, and the Commission rightly determined that it had the authority to determine the territorial dispute.