The Iowa Supreme Court this morning reversed a Warren County District Court judgment that would have lowered street assessments for a group of Indianola residents by thousands of dollars. In their decision, the justices affirmed the use of a formula that has been used by many Iowa cities for decades to calculate street assessments.

In Phillip Gray et al. v. City of Indianola, 10 Indianola residents sued the city after receiving special assessments that averaged $15,000 for the paving of West Euclid Avenue following construction of a new elementary school on that street, which until then had been a gravel road.

In their appeal, the residents argued their property values had decreased due to the increased traffic prompted by the paving of the road and the location of the school in the neighborhood. They also argued that the formula on which their assessments were based, known as the Flint Formula, was inappropriate for their residential acreage properties.

The justices reversed the district court decision, which had reduced the assessments to less than $8,500 per property, concluding that "the assessments levied by the city of Indianola against the plaintiffs for the road improvements did not exceed the special benefits conferred upon the plaintiffs' properties."

The Supreme Court's decision was an important affirmation of the Flint Formula, which has been used by many Iowa cities for the past 90 years, said Ivan Webber, an attorney with Ahlers & Cooney P.C. who represented the city of Indianola in the case. Webber is representing the city of Urbandale in a similar case now under appeal with the Iowa Court of Appeals.

To read the Supreme Court's opinion, click here.