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Williams v. City of Sherwood

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

October 23, 2019

ROBERT T. WILLIAMS, OWEN HONEYSUCKLE, ROSE WHITE, WAYNE NUNNERLY, LELA BURNS, AND BARBARA MITCHELL HICKS APPELLANTS
v.
CITY OF SHERWOOD, ARKANSAS; AND CHARLES HARMON, KENNETH KEPLINGER, KEVIN LILLY, MARINA BROOKS, MARY JO HEYE, MIKE SANDERS, TIM MCMINN, AND TONI BUTLER, IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES AS ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF SHERWOOD, ARKANSAS APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, THIRD DIVISION [NO. 60CV-14-4864] HONORABLE CATHLEEN V. COMPTON, JUDGE

          James F. Lane, P.A., by: James F. Lane, for appellants.

          Stephen Cobb, Sherwood City Attorney, for appellee.

          WAYMOND M. BROWN, JUDGE

         This case is the latest in a series of challenges to issues addressed in and related to the Pulaski County Circuit Court's order entered in October 2005 in which Central Arkansas Water ("CAW") was appointed as receiver for Brushy Island Public Water Authority. In the instant appeal, appellants argue that the circuit court erred in denying their petition for declaratory judgment and granting summary judgment in favor of appellees City of Sherwood et al. Finding no justiciable controversy, we affirm.

         The Brushy Island community was annexed into the City of Sherwood as a result of the 1974 and 1982 general elections. Water service was provided to Brushy Island residents exclusively from the Brushy Island Water Association, Inc., a nonprofit corporation. On July 15, 2003, during an annual membership meeting, Brushy Island Water Association, Inc. was converted to a public water authority known as Brushy Island Public Water Authority ("Authority") pursuant to and in accordance with Arkansas Code Annotated section 4-35-202 (Supp. 2003). Some residents of the Brushy Island community challenged the conversion vote; however, on October 18, 2005, the Pulaski County Circuit Court entered an order denying the challenge, granting the Authority's motion for appointment of a receiver, and appointing CAW as receiver for the Authority.[1]

         Based on evidence indicating the state of disrepair of the Authority's water-system facilities, CAW was ordered to, within six months of the date of the order, contract for and begin construction on the improvements necessary to bring the system up to the standards of other water systems operated by CAW. Specifically, CAW was ordered to install improvements, detailed in the order as follows:

The Improvements consist of the installation of approximately 4400 Linear Feet (LF) of 24-inch Ductile Iron (DI) pipe, 4900 LF of 12-inch DI pipe, 4900 LF of 8-inch DI pipe, 4300 LF of 3-inch PVC pipe, and 5900 LF of 2-inch PVC pipe and appurtenances. The Improvements will also include the installation of 10 new Fire Hydrants, 320 new service meters and Pressure Regulators, as well as repair and/or replacement of existing service lines as required.

         Additionally, financing for the improvements to the water system was addressed in the order as follows:

37. CAW has estimated that the costs for construction and completion of the Improvements will be approximately $1, 949, 100 (the "Project Costs").
38. CAW shall contribute approximately $165, 690 toward payment of the Project Costs.
39. The City of Jacksonville, Arkansas has agreed to pay CAW, for the use and benefit of Brushy Island, the sum of approximately $554, 703 as a contribution toward payment of the Project Costs.
40. The City of Sherwood, Arkansas has agreed to pay CAW, for the use and benefit of Brushy Island, the sum of $170, 000 as a contribution toward payment of the Project Costs.
41. Brushy Island is currently indebted to Arkansas Natural Resources Commission in the approximate amount of $100, 000 (the "Old Debt"). Arkansas Natural Resources Commission shall forgive all late fees and other default charges due on the Old Debt and refinance the outstanding amount of the Old Debt in the new financing as provided in paragraph 42 hereof.
42. Within sixty (60) days of the date of this Order, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission shall enter into an agreement with CAW, as receiver for Brushy Island, to loan Brushy Island the remaining balance of the Project Costs, including any costs overruns, and the refinancing of the Old Debt, after crediting the contributions referred to in paragraphs 38, 39 and 40 hereof, provided such amount does not exceed $1, 353, 600 (the "New Debt"), in accordance with the terms set forth on the term sheet attached hereto as Exhibit "C" and such other terms and conditions as are usual and customary in Arkansas Natural Resources Commission ...

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