AL BRUEGGEMAN, DAN BREUKER, TOM BREMER, ROGER BOSMA, MARK DILLEHAY, RANDY ROWE, ALLEN ROWE, and JARROD WALLACE, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
OSCEOLA COUNTY, IOWA and THE CITY OF HARRIS, IOWA, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Iowa District Court for Osceola County, David A.
plaintiffs appeal from the district court's ruling
granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment on
the threshold issues of timeliness and standing and
dismissing the plaintiffs' claims. AFFIRMED IN PART,
REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED.
W. Ahrendsen and John C. Werden Jr. of Eich, Van Dyke, Werden
& Steger, P.C., Carroll, for appellants.
Stephen G. Kersten of Kersten, Brownlee, Hendricks, L.L.P,
Fort Dodge, for appellees.
by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
plaintiffs are named resident taxpayers of Osceola County and
of the Harris-Lake Park School District. They filed a
petition for writ of certiorari and declaratory judgment
challenging a resolution and an effectuating ordinance passed
by or involving the defendants, Osceola County and the City
of Harris. In conjunction, the resolution and ordinance
established an urban renewal area and an urban renewal plan
and divided the tax revenue levied on that area as tax
increment financing (TIF) to fund the plan. The plaintiffs
challenged the actions claiming they would be harmed as
taxpayers. The defendants filed a motion for summary
judgment, and the district court granted it, finding the
plaintiff's lacked standing to challenge the resolution
and their claims involving the ordinance were untimely. The
plaintiffs' petition was dismissed. On appeal, the
plaintiffs challenge the district court's ruling and
maintain the merits of their motion for summary judgment
should have been granted instead.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
general terms, this case is about the actions taken by
Osceola County and the City of Harris to fund improvements to
Harris's lagoon project, pursuant to Iowa Code chapter
403 (2015). The following facts are undisputed:
March 2015, Harris was under an administrative order from the
Iowa Department of Natural Resources to update its lagoon,
but the city did not have the debt capacity to take on the
improvements. As a result, on March 10, the city sent a
letter to the Osceola County Board of Supervisors
"asking for help with possibly doing a TIF on the
windmills for infrastructure within the City." Within a
couple of weeks, at a meeting of the board, the Harris mayor
"asked that the supervisor consider establishing an
urban renewal area including the turbines and city of Harris
to help fund needed projects."
August 2015, an attorney hired by the county sent a letter to
the county auditor, indicating, "It is our understanding
that the initial focus of our representation will be on
establishing an urban renewal area and TIF district and
adopting an urban renewal plan (the "Plan") to
facilitate the use of tax increment financing."
October 20 board meeting, the board conducted a public
hearing on and ultimately adopted Resolution 10-15/16. It
stated, in part:
Resolution to declare necessity and establish an urban
renewal area pursuant to section 403.4 of the Code of Iowa
and approve urban renewal plan and project for Osceola County
Urban Renewal Area 7.
. . . .
WHEREAS, a portion of the Property lies within the corporate
boundaries of the City of Harris (the "City"), and
a joint agreement (the "Joint Agreement") has been
executed and delivered by the City in satisfaction of the
consent requirement of section 403.17 of the Code of Iowa.
. . . .
WHEREAS, the proposed Plan will authorize initial projects to
be undertaken in the Urban Renewal Area entailing the use of
tax increment financing to support the undertaking of the
economic development and blight alleviation initiatives in
the City . . . .
adoption of the resolution established the urban renewal area
and the urban renewal plan.
same meeting, the board also introduced Ordinance No. 47 for
"its initial consideration." The ordinance
stated, in part:
An Ordinance Providing for the Division of Taxes Levied on
Certain Taxable Property in the Osceola County Urban Renewal
Area 7, Pursuant to ...