Indian Hills sewer fee battle sent back to district court

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Opponents of the Indian Hills General Improvement District decision to raise sewer connection fees have won a new hearing in district court.

The district originally published notice it intended to reduce sewer connection fees by about $150. After a July 2000 public hearing, the board voted to increase the fees from $4,804 to $4,975. The issue was raised because the district replaced a pond-sewer treatment system with a new mechanical plant.

DGD Development filed a petition with the district court and was denied after the judge concluded the district was within its legal rights to raise the fees.

But the district court made that decision after considering new evidence beyond what was in the original hearing before the district board. District Judge Michael Gibbons acknowledged he heard "a whole bunch of evidence of things that were not considered at that hearing..."

Nevada Supreme Court justices Bob Rose, Bill Maupin and Deborah Agosti found that, in these cases, state law "allows a court to examine only the evidence already adduced at the prior hearing before the agency."

"We conclude that the district court should not have considered evidence outside the record generated by the district," they wrote.

The justices rejected arguments the district had no legal right to increase the fees, saying the plain language of state law allows the increase and that the district board complied with open-meeting law requirements.

The issue goes back to district court for new arguments over whether the court should review the decision to raise fees.


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