T.J. MAHONEY, Judge.
This is an appeal by certain property owners of West Bartlett and East Bartlett Estates from an order quashing a temporary
Paid employees of the City of Phoenix were directed to and did, solicit property owners within the areas described as West Bartlett Estates and East Bartlett Estates for the purpose of securing sufficient signatures to annex those areas to the City of Phoenix. The petitions requested the City to annex "our property" within a legally described area. On February 4, 1957, the Clerk of the City of Phoenix, having in his possession and control the annexation petitions, informed the appellants' attorneys that he had examined the petitions and that they contained the signatures of property owners owning property valued at 50% or more of the entire assessed value of all property in the area sought to be annexed. The Clerk refused to allow the attorneys to see the petitions and informed them that it was the intention to hold such petitions until immediately before filing on Monday, February 18, 1957, and that an ordinance would be prepared and published on the same date. Appellants then secured the temporary injunction and restraining order referred to above.
The restraining order remained in effect and nothing further was done in the matter until a hearing was had on a motion for summary judgment on the 9th day of April, 1958, at which time the court quashed the restraining order. Thereafter, the case was set for trial the 13th day of May, 1958. On that date defendants filed an amended answer which was received by the court over plaintiffs' objections and the trial proceeded. On June 30, 1958, the Superior Court of Maricopa County made findings of fact and conclusions of law and entered judgment for the defendant, City of Phoenix. The court found that the signatures on the annexation petitions were valid for the purpose of vesting jurisdiction in the City of Phoenix to annex areas described in such annexation petitions.
The City, after the restraining order was quashed, then acted upon the petitions on April 4, 1958, and by ordinance annexed the said area to the City of Phoenix.
A.R.S. § 9-471 provides:
It is alleged that the petitions were not those of the property owners of the area since the signatures were solicited by paid city employees having no property interest in the area to be annexed.
A study of A.R.S. § 9-471, subd. B and of its legislative history indicates that the use of paid city employees to secure the signatures on the petitions is not prohibited. A.R.S. § 9-471, subd. B reads, "The petition submitted to the owners of property * * *." There is no restriction on who must present or submit the petitions to the property owners and, in turn, on who must present the petitions to the city council. It is our opinion that the voluntary and conscious act of the property owner in signing the petition submitted to him indicates his desire to be annexed regardless of who presents the petition, whether it be a city employee or a fellow property owner.
It is also alleged that the petitions requested the City to only annex "our property" and not the entire proposed area. The petitions are not invalid because the property owners ask for annexation of "our property." The statute above referred to requires only that "the petition * * * shall set forth a description of all the exterior boundaries of the entire area proposed to be annexed to the city or town."
Some of the petitions were circulated in May, 1956. The annexation took place April 14, 1958. On this plaintiffs contend that the time lapse between the circulation of the petitions and the annexation ordinance was unreasonable and rendered the petitions ineffective. An examination of the abstract of record indicates that it was
At the time of the commencement of this action and at all times thereafter, prior to the first day of August, 1957, the City of Phoenix was without authority to provide water to the residents and property owners of West Bartlett Estates and East Bartlett Estates. On, or subsequent to, August 1, 1957, the City of Phoenix acquired the private water company that had been providing the property owners of West Bartlett Estates and East Bartlett Estates with water under a certificate of convenience and necessity.
The contention of the appellants that the annexation of the area by the City was invalid because it had no authority to provide the residents thereof with water is without merit. There is nothing in our statutes requiring the City to provide this service prior to annexation. A.R.S. §§ 9-511 to 9-519 provide the procedure for the acquisition of an existing utility by the City.
By assignments of error numbers five and six it is contended that the trial court erred in quashing the restraining order after the hearing on a motion for summary judgment. Appellants urge that there remained a disputed issue of fact and the court could not grant that portion of the motion for summary judgment asking to quash the restraining order until this fact was determined. Whether it was proper for the court to so order is now moot. Thereafter, trial was held, evidence received and the court made findings of fact to which no error is assigned and conclusions of law which sustain a refusal to further enjoin the annexation. If the petitions filed be insufficient as a matter of law to give the city council jurisdiction to enact the ordinance, the superior court has power and jurisdiction to enjoin its passage. Gorman v. City of Phoenix, 70 Ariz. 59, 216 P.2d 400. However, if the city is acting within its legitimate legislative power as delegated to it by the State, the superior court has no power to interfere therewith by the issuance of an injunctive restraining order. If the petitions in law were sufficient, the court did not have the power to restrain the annexation proceedings. Its action in quashing the restraining order, if premature was not prejudicial.
Appellants assign as error the court's permitting appellees to file an amended answer the day of the trial. They assert that irrelevant and immaterial matter was included in the amended answer to their prejudice. Appellants do not specify the precise items which are deemed prejudicial nor did they request a continuance of the trial.
Review of the transcript reveals that appellants objected to the city's being permitted to insert matters pertaining to acquisition of water facilities subsequent to the filing of the annexation petitions. As above stated, the existence of authority to furnish water to the annexed area is not a prerequisition to the power to annex the area.
Reception of amended pleadings is within the due discretion of the trial court and in the absence of showing the court abused its discretion, its action in accepting the amended answer will not be disturbed. Baxter v. Harrison, 83 Ariz. 354, 321 P.2d 1019; Wilson v. Byrd, 79 Ariz. 302, 288 P.2d 1079; White v. White, 78 Ariz. 397, 281 P.2d 111; Sanders v. Brown, 73 Ariz. 116, 238 P.2d 941.
For the reasons above stated it is the opinion of this Court that the petitions in this action complied with the requirements of A.R.S. § 9-471 (1956). Under our present statutes there was no denial of due process or equal protection of the laws pertaining
STRUCKMEYER, C.J., UDALL and LOCKWOOD, JJ., and ROSS F. JONES, Judge, concurring.
Note: The Honorable Charles C. BERNSTEIN, Vice Chief Justice and Renz L. JENNINGS, Justice, being disqualified, the Honorable T.J. MAHONEY and ROSS F. JONES, Judges, were called to sit in their stead.