Is the Municipality's Power to Transfer the Right to Use a Street to a Public Utility a Power of Local Self Government ?
In Billings v. Cleveland Ry. Co. (1915), 92 Ohio St. 478, 111 N.E. 155, 13 Ohio L. Rep. 199, the Ohio Supreme Court recognized that the power of a municipality, to transfer to a public utility the right to occupy a municipal street with its equipment and facilities, was a power of local self-government (narrowly construed). When neighboring property owners challenged the municipality's power to transfer such a right without obtaining its consent as required by a state statute, the court said that the subject matter of the statute (the transfer of rights to use the street) was a matter of local concern and that, consequently, the state statute "would fall simply because it is inconsistent."
Since the court found the municipal ordinance granting the right to the utility to be superior to the state's general law, the court had determined that power to transfer to a utility a right to use the street was a power of local self-government (narrowly construed).