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Eye On Boise

Thu., July 8, 2010, 12:15 p.m.

SupCourt says I.F. needs vote for BPA power agreement, cites Frazier decision

The Idaho Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, has overturned a lower-court ruling that the city of Idaho Falls' long-term agreement to purchase power from the BPA was an "ordinary and necessary" expense and therefore didn't require a vote of the people; Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman appealed the district court's order. Justice Roger Burdick wrote the majority opinion, in which justices Dan Eismann and Joel Horton concurred; Justice Jim Jones wrote the dissent, in which Justice Pro-Tem Wayne Kidwell concurred. In his dissent, Jones wrote that the city of Idaho Falls has been providing electrical power for a century, so acquiring power was part of its ordinary activities, "to carry on an on-going and long-standing municipal service," rather than a new venture creating special indebtedness.

Burdick, in the majority opinion, wrote that under the court's earlier Frazier decision, the power purchase agreement, which wouldn't have taken effect until Oct. 1, 2011, wasn't urgent, so there was time for a public vote. You can read the court's decision and dissent here.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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