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EVANS v. WEST NORRITON TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY (03/24/52)

March 24, 1952

EVANS, APPELLANT,
v.
WEST NORRITON TOWNSHIP MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY



Appeal, No. 70, Jan. T., 1952, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, Feb. T., 1951, in Equity, No. 11, in case of Ida T. Evans v. West Norriton Township Municipal Authority. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Malcolm Campbell, with him Arthur R. Kane, Jr., for appellant.

George F.B. Appeal, with him Russell J. Brownback, Caspar W. B. Townsend, Jr., and Townsend, Elliott & Munson, for appellee.

Before Drew, C.j., Stern, Stearne, Bell, Chidsey and Musmanno, JJ.

Author: Bell

[ 370 Pa. Page 151]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BELL

This case involves several important questions: What is the proper construction of § 4B(s) of the Municipality Authorities Act of May 2, 1945,*fn1 and does this Authority created thereunder violate Article III, § 20 of the Pennsylvania Constitution?

We are informed that this is a test case which will affect many, if not all, of the Authorities which have been or are about to be incorporated under the above-mentioned Act in connection with the Pure Streams Program. The Stream Pollution or so-called Pure

[ 370 Pa. Page 152]

Steams Program is one of the most beneficial programs for protecting and improving the health of the people of Pennsylvania ever enacted. The importance of clean, pure water for drinking purposes and for many industrial purposes while not yet universally recognized is very great. This policy or program can be practically and effectively carried out only if sewage disposal plants or incinerator plants or other measures costing large sums of money can be built at local expense. Many communities throughout the State are able to finance such a plan and carry out such a project only by the creation of a quasi-public governmental body such as an Authority. Remedial legislation which preserves or promotes the health of all the people of this Commonwealth should certainly be given the benefit of any reasonable doubt as to its constitutionality.

Plaintiff, a taxpayer, filed a bill in equity to enjoin defendant from imposing and collecting (sewer) charges assessed against her property, for the reason that § 4B(s) of the Municipality Authorities Act, supra, was in contravention of Article III, § 20 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania. The court below sustained defendant's preliminary objection and dismissed the bill in equity.

The Board of Township Commissioners of West Norriton Township, by Ordinance dated June 6, 1947, created the West Norriton Township Municipal Authority, pursuant to and in accordance with the Municipality Authorities Act. The township commissioners, by Ordinance dated May 5, 1950, approved the plan and report of the Authority's engineers and also approved the Authority's proposal to assess not exceeding ...


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