Appeal, No. 10, Jan. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Misc. No. 11401 of 1957, in case of Edwin C. Prichard v. School District of Willistown Township. Judgment reversed.
John O. Platt, Jr., with him P. Richard Klein, and MacElree, Platt & Marrone, for appellant.
Norman M. Brown, with him Takiff & Bolger, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and Bok, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE BENJAMIN R. JONES.
This appeal involves the constitutionality of Section 677.1 of the School Code of 1949*fn1 which provides for the reassessment of property after the regular assessment period has passed.
In April 1955, Edwin C. Prichard (appellee) acquired title to certain unimproved lots of land situated in Willistown Township, Chester County, Pa., a fourth class county. In December 1955, appellee began the
construction of a residential building on each of four of said lots, all of which buildings were substantially completed on June 1, 1956. On that date the district assessor, at the request of the School Board of Willistown Township, a fourth class school district, and, pursuant to § 677.1 of the 1949 School Code, inspected and reassessed the said lots and buildings erected thereon. On July 2, 1956 Prichard was mailed a notice of school tax for the 1956 school year covering ten lots (including those presently involved), based upon the assessment of bare ground shown by the tax duplicate of the preceding fall. A total of 18.63 acres of land was assessed at $3,384 for a total tax of $87.98. In July 1956, a second notice for the ten lots was mailed to appellee, also covering the 1956 school tax, but based upon the reassessment of June 1, 1956. In terms of building lots the land was reassessed at $8,000 and the improvements at $57,000 for a total tax of $1690. Appellee, upon receipt of this second notice, paid the tax of $87.98 shown by the first notice.
In connection with the sale of some of the ten lots and buildings thereon constructed by appellee, separate tax bills were requested for each of said lots and buildings dated as of July 2, 1956. At that time, appellee having previously paid a tax of $87.98 for the bare ground assessment of $3,384 contained in the erroneous first notice, the individual notices were "corrected" to show reassessment of buildings only, at $5700 each, and a tax on each, at 26 mills, of $148.20.
On April 26, 1957 appellee mailed a statement of intention to appeal. On April 30, 1957 he filed a petition for a declaratory judgment wherein he requested that the court determine the validity of Section 677.1 of the 1949 School Code. President Judge HARVEY of the Court of Common Pleas of ...