Amicus Brief

Village of Stevensville v Southwest Michigan Regional Sanitary Sewer and Water Authority

Case Year: 2008
Case Forum: Michigan Court of Appeals
Keywords: water system, sewer system, PA 233 of 1955, Water and Sewer Authority
Amicus Counsel:

Eric D. Williams (P33359) | 524 North State Street | Big Rapids, MI 49307 | 231-796-8945


The primary issue presented by this case is the illegal action of forming a second authority without the consent and voluntary participation of the Village of Stevensville, thereby depriving Stevensville of its vote as a constituent municipality, and thereafter exercising control over Stevensville’s water and sewer infrastructure without its consent, contrary to the purpose and terms of the statute.Because a village is defined as a
municipality on equal legal footing with a county, township and city within the structure of the statute, the plain language of MCL 124.282(1) requires that the Village of Stevensville join in an authority by adopting the articles of incorporation, and MCL
124.282(2) limits the territory of an authority to that “lying within the incorporating municipalities.” Because the Village of Stevensville was not an incorporating municipality of the second (Southwest) authority, the territory of the Village of Stevensville is not included within the territory of the second authority. Focusing on the geographic location of a village (or city) within a township boundary offers a facile and inadequate analysis of the statutory framework. As a result, the assertion of jurisdiction and power under the statute by the second
authority over the Villages of Stevensville and Shoreham was illegal, invalid, and of no effect. The circuit court erred in failing to reach this result, reciting erroneous conclusions and misconstructions of the statute.


A stipulation agreeing to the dismissal of the appeal has been filed. By actin of the Chief Clerk under the authority of MCR 7.218, this appeal is DISMISSED.

MSC requested LDF amicus brief? No

In 1964 the Village of Stevensville joined in the formation of the Lake Michigan Shoreline Water and Sewage Treatment Authority, or “Shoreline.” This was accomplished by adoption of the articles of incorporation by the Village Board, and endorsement by the Village President and Clerk. Amendments to the articles of incorporation were approved by each constituent municipality as recently as 1999. Rather than seek an amendment to its articles of incorporation to resolve
operating issues with the Village of Stevensville, the three township constituent members of the first authority, Shoreline, formed a second authority, “Southwest,” without the statutorily prescribed formal consent of the Village of Stevensville or the
Village of Shoreham.

Case Number: 2007-25
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