Arthur H. James, Arthur Silverblatt, Wilkes-Barre, for appellant.
R. Lawrence Coughlin, County Sol., Donald S. Mills, Asst. County Sol., Wilkes-Barre, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Reno, Dithrich, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 277]
Abram Nesbitt, 2nd, filed appeals from the 1948 revised assessment and the 1949 triennial assessment of his real estate located in Dallas Township, Luzerne County. Following dismissal of the appeals by the Board for the Assessment and Revision of Taxes and the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County further appeals were taken to this Court. While the appeals were heard together in the court below, they were decided in separate opinions. However, the assessments for both years being identical and the same issues being involved in both appeals, records and briefs were consolidated for review by this Court and, therefore, the appeals will be considered together and disposed of in this opinion.
In substance the court below found the following: (1) the fair market value of appellant's property in 1948 and 1949 was $77,993; (2) the property was assessed in those years at $32,114; (3) the assessments were based on 25% of the 1942 market value of the property; (4) no change was made in the assessments although from 1942 to 1948 the property increased 45% in market value. It concluded that the assessments were in compliance with the law.
Appellant contends that the court erred in not applying to his real estate the uniform standard of valuation in general application throughout the taxing district and that the assessments in question, therefore, were not in compliance with the constitutional mandate of uniformity in taxation. It is argued that since there is no figure in the record representing 1942 market value and since a uniform standard of valuation of 25% of 1942 market value was proved, the 1942 market value would have to be determined by computation in order to correctly apply the uniform standard in arriving at the 1948 and 1949 assessments.
[ 171 Pa. Super. Page 278]
It is argued further that in view of the court's findings relating to the market value of the property in 1948 and 1949 and the increase in its market value since 1942, the 1942 market value could only be the product of 100/145 A $77,993. It would follow that an application of the uniform standard of valuation would require the multiplication of the quantity (100/145 A $77,993) by 25%. According to appellant the resulting assessment would be $13,413 or 17.2% of the market value in 1948 and 1949.
The argument, while persuasive, cannot prevail in view of the facts. Francis G. Youngblood, the field assessor for Dallas Township for the years 1940 to September, 1948, made the 1948 assessment and did most of the work on the 1949 assessment. Called as a witness by appellant, his testimony, accepted by the court, was that in the year 1942 in making his assessments in Dallas Township he used a ratio of assessment to market value of 25%. In addition, he testified that from 1942 on he generally maintained the same assessments in the township, basing them on 25% of 1942 market values. This testimony was sufficient, not only to establish the uniform standard of valuation employed in the taxing district but also to establish that the standard was applied to appellant's real estate. Hence, the assessment of $32,114 must be taken to represent 25% of the 1942 market value and, consequently, it was unnecessary, in our opinion, for the court below to compute the assessment in the manner proposed.
Appellant seeks to fortify his argument by citing and printing as an appendix to his brief the opinion of the court in Re Assessment and Valuation of Hedden, 41 Luz.Leg.Reg. 79, a case decided by the court below in January of 1950. In that case, which involved real estate in Dallas Borough, a ...