This bill was filed in the Circuit Court of Marshall County, in Equity, by the City of Albertville, a municipal corporation; Floyd Brown, as vice-president and member of the Board of Directors of the Marshall County Gas District and as Mayor of the City of Albertville; and by Joe M. Davis, Robert Dickson, A. E. Childs, R. J. Chafin, and E. B. Adams, as members of the City Council of the City of Albertville, against the Marshall County Gas District, a public corporation; T. C. Crain and Woodrow Hinds, as members and Joe Starnes, as Secretary of the Marshall County Gas District.
The bill seeks injunctive and declaratory relief.
The respondents demurred to the bill as a whole and to each of its aspects; that is, grounds of demurrer were properly addressed to the bill as a whole, to the aspect seeking injunctive relief and to the aspect seeking a declaratory judgment.
The trial court sustained the demurrer of respondent Joe Starnes. As to the other respondents, a decree was rendered overruling their demurrer generally, without referring to the demurrer or grounds thereof addressed to the two aspects.
From that decree the respondents other than Joe Starnes have appealed to this court.
By separate assignments of error the appellants complain of the action of the trial court in overruling their demurrer to the bill as a whole and to each of the aspects to which their demurrer was addressed.
As we have heretofore shown, the trial court rendered a decree overruling appellants' demurrer generally, without referring to the demurrer or grounds thereof addressed to the separate aspects. Under our holding in Rowe v. Rowe, 256 Ala. 491, 55 So.2d 749, the effect of such a decree was a ruling only on the demurrer to the bill as a whole. Percoff v. Solomon, 259 Ala. 482, 67 So.2d 31, 38 A.L.R.2d 1100; Shaddix v. Wilson, 261 Ala. 191, 73 So.2d 751; Tarlton v. Tarlton, 262 Ala. 67, 77 So.2d 347.
If either aspect of the bill asserts matter of equitable cognizance, the demurrer to the bill as a whole was properly overruled. Percoff v. Solomon, supra; Sellers v. Valenzuela, 249 Ala. 627, 32 So.2d 517.
On April 15, 1953, the cities of Albertville and Guntersville and the town of Arab, all in Marshall County, organized the Marshall County Gas District, under and pursuant to the provisions of Act No. 762, approved September 11, 1951, Acts of Alabama 1950-1951, Vol. 2, p. 1319, which provisions are included in the 953 Cum. Pocket Part to Vol. 6 of the 1940 Code of Alabama at pp. 258-267, as §§ 402(47)-402(66) of Title 37. We will sometimes hereafter refer to the Marshall County Gas District as the gas district and to the act approved September 11, 1951, supra, as the act.
Section 1 of the act reads:
During the negotiations leading up to and culminating in the organization of the gas district, "it was represented to and agreed with the City Council and people of the City of Albertville by the defendant and others interested in the project that the principal office of said Gas District would be in the City of Albertville, Alabama and on the basis of such representation and agreement the City Council of Albertville, Alabama adopted a resolution authorizing the participation of the City of Albertville in said Gas District and its incorporation, without the adoption of which said resolution the City of Albertville would not have participated in or been a party to said project."
Section 3 of the act provides that the certificate of incorporation shall state, among other things, "the location of the principal office of the district and its post office address", and the certificate of incorporation of the gas district contains the following statement: "The location of the principal office of said district and its post office address are Albertville, Alabama."
The method for amending the certificate of incorporation is spelled out in § 3 of the act, but no effort has been made by the board of directors, the governing body of the gas district, to have the certificate of incorporation amended in the manner so specified.
On or about July 13, 1954, at a time when no office of the gas district had been constructed contracted or arranged for in the City of Albertville, a majority of the members of the board of directors, namely, the defendants T. C. Crain and Woodrow Hinds, voted to purchase a tract of land in the City of Guntersville on which to erect a building to house the office, records and personnel of the gas district, and also voted in favor of a resolution authorizing themselves, together with the secretary of
Paragraph 9 of the bill reads as follows:
The prayer of the bill reads in part as follows:
Controversies touching the legality of acts of public officials or public agencies, challenged by parties whose interests are adversely affected, is one of the favored fields for declaratory judgment. Scott v. Alabama State Bridge Corp., 233 Ala. 12, 169 So. 273.
The averments of the instant bill show a controversy between the directors of the gas district, a public corporation, which involves a construction of the act. See § 157, Title 7, Code 1940.
By an amendment to § 167, Title 7, Code 1940, the legislature has provided that the remedy for declaratory judgment shall not be construed by any court as an unusual or extraordinary one, but shall be construed to be an alternative or cumulative remedy. See § 167, Title 7, Code 1940, as amended, 1953 Cum.Pocket Part, Vol. 2, p. 37; Vinson v. Vinson, 256 Ala. 259, 54 So.2d 509; Dozier v. Troy Drive In Theatres, 258 Ala. 417, 63 So.2d 368.
The City of Albertville became a member of the gas district by virtue of action taken by its governing body and we think the mayor and the members of the city council, in their official capacity, were proper parties complainant to the instant bill.
The bill, in our opinion, shows such an actual controversy as to support the jurisdiction of the trial court for a declaratory judgment, and hence we hold that the trial court did not err in rendering a decree overruling the demurrer generally.
The decree is affirmed.
LIVINGSTON, C. J., and STAKELY and MERRILL, JJ., concur.