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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
JARRETT v. CITY OF BOSTON.
18071.
CANDLER, Justice.
Petition for injunction. Before Judge Lilly. Thomas Superior Court. October 24, 1952.
1. Under its charter of 1921 (Ga. L. 1921, p. 700), the City of Boston has authority to own and operate a waterworks system, and the power of its governing body to fix water rates, and to regulate the distribution of water to consumers, is legislative or governmental in character. Screws v. City of Atlanta, 189 Ga. 839 (8 S. E. 2d, 16).
2. The governing body of a municipality has a discretion in the management of its property, and where such power is exercised in good faith, equity will not interfere. Code, 69-203; Wells v. Mayor &c. of Atlanta, 43 Ga. 68; Darnelly v. Cabaniss, 52 Ga. 211; City of Atlanta v. Holliday, 96 Ga. 546 (23 S. E. 509); City of Atlanta v. Stein, 111 Ga. 789 (36 S. E. 932). And where a municipality has charter power to do a particular act in a discretionary manner or way, the courts wilt not control the manner or way in which it acts unless its discretion is manifestly abused, nor inquire into the propriety and general wisdom of the undertaking, or into the details of the manner adopted to carry the matter into execution. Chipstead v. Oliver, 137 Ga. 483, 485 (73 S. E. 576).
3. Where a municipality, as here, owns and operates a waterworks system, it is fundamental that its rates for water must be uniform, in the sense that they must not be unreasonably or unjustly discriminatory as between consumers; but it is not of itself unreasonable or unjust discrimination to furnish water to some consumers at flat rates and to others of the same class at meter rates, even though the rate by the gallon actually used is ordinarily lower to the former than to the fatter. 43 Am. Jur. 691, 180; 67 C. J. (Waters) 1257, 811; 4 McQuillin on Munic. Corp., (1912 ed.) p. 3591; Consolidated Ice Co. v. City of Pittsburgh, 274 Pa. 558 (118 Atl. 544); Richardson v. City of Greensboro, 174 N. C. 540 (94 S. L. 3); Parker v. City of Boston, 83 Mass. 351. As was held by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in the Consolidated Ice Company case, supra, the fact that flat rate consumers pay less per gallon for water than meter consumers does not show discrimination. A difference in conditions of service justifies a difference in charge; but when a difference in charge is based on a difference in service, it must have some reasonable relation to the amount of difference, and can not be so great as to produce an unjust discrimination. Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Call, 181 U. S. 92 (21 Sup. Ct. 561, 45 L. ed. 765). And in cases involving the rates of a city owned and operated waterworks system, it will be presumed, in the absence of a clear showing to the contrary, that the city's governing body properly performed its official duty, and did not exceed his authority, in fixing the city's water rates, adjusting them between the consumers upon a difference in conditions of service. Code, 38-113; Fine v. Dade County, 198 Ga. 655, 663 (32 S. E. 2d, 246). So considered, the facts alleged in the petition in the instant case are not sufficient to show an unjust or unreasonable discrimination in the defendant city's water rates; and, this being true, it failed to state a cause of action for the injunctive relief sought and was, therefore, properly dismissed on general demurrer. Accordingly, no error is shown.
Jesse J. Gainey and James T. Gainey, for plaintiff in error.
ARGUED JANUARY 13, 1953 -- DECIDED FEBRUARY 9, 1953.
Saturday May 23 04:14 EDT


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