Town of Wickenburg v. Sabin

In Town of Wickenburg v. Sabin, 68 Ariz. 75, 200 P.2d 342 (1948), the Town of Wickenburg operated water and electric utilities within the town limits. 68 Ariz. at 76, 200 P.2d at 342. After the town annexed the subdivision in which Sabin lived, he paid the customary fee to establish water and electric service but was told his application would be denied unless he also paid a substantial deposit. Id. at 76, 200 P.2d at 343. Sabin refused to pay the deposit and his application was denied. Id. The owner of the lot next to Sabin's was required to pay only the customary establishment fee. Id. at 77, 200 P.2d at 343. The superior court issued a writ of mandamus compelling the town to provide water and electric service, and our supreme court affirmed, concluding there was ample evidence Sabin's property was located in an established "service zone" and the town's exaction of a deposit not required of others amounted to "arbitrary and unjust discrimination." Id. at 80, 200 P.2d at 345. However, the court suggested that, if providing utility services to Sabin "involved an extension of services into an entirely new territory," then "rejecting service to him might well be justified." Id. Although the court stated it was not "passing upon this point," it nevertheless noted "there is very respectable authority to the effect that a municipality . . . may exercise a governmental discretion as to the limits to which it is advisable to extend its water mains and power lines, and an extension will not be compelled by the courts at the instance of an inhabitant." Id. at 79, 200 P.2d at 345.