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YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION v. READING. (01/16/61)

January 16, 1961

YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT,
v.
READING.



Appeal, No. 164, Jan. T., 1960, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, No. 2783 Equity Docket, 1958, in case of Young Men's Christian Association of the City of Reading v. City of Reading et al. Decree affirmed in part and reversed in part.

COUNSEL

Robert F. Shapiro, Assistant City Solicitor, with him C. Wilson Austin, City Solicitor, for City of Reading, appellant.

George B. Balmer, with him David H. Roland, and Snyder, Balmer & Kershner, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 402 Pa. Page 593]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN.

The Young Men's Christian Association of the City of Reading, Pennsylvania, filed a complaint in equity seeking to enjoin officials of the City of Reading from collecting real estate taxes on those portions of its building used for dormitories and a coffee shop by it and for office space by other rent-paying charitable organizations. The remainder of its building is exempt from taxation and the Y.M.C.A.'s position is that it should be totally exempt. After hearing and argument,

[ 402 Pa. Page 594]

    the lower court entered an order granting the injunction and the city has appealed.

The chancellor's findings of fact and the record reveal that approximately twenty percent of the assessed value of the Y.M.C.A.'s property is assessed for tax purposes; that of a total of 119,000 square feet, 43,552 square feet comprise the dormitory area, 1160 square feet are occupied by the coffee shop and 3900 square feet are rented to other organizations; that of a total income for the fiscal year December 1, 1957, to November 30, 1958, of $184,014.16, dormitory operations provided $76,594.23, the coffee shop brought in $18,197 and the rental of office space provided $4,832; and that of total expenses for the same fiscal year of $183,994.17, building and dormitory expenses were $100,104.92 (no segregation of the amount attributable only to the dormitories were made). Expenses of maintaining the coffee shop were not given, but the testimony indicates that this enterprise generally operated close to the break-even point.

Further, room rentals run $8 to $10.75 a week for a single room (single night rate is $2.25 plus a .25 cent membership fee); the age of residents as of November 15, 1958, varied greatly, 46.6 percent being under forty years of age and 53.4 percent being over that age; most hotels charge higher rates although one charged about the same as the Y.M.C.A.; while coffee shop rates are generally competitive with nearby lunchrooms. Finally, it seems clear that the income from all of these activities is used for the Y.M.C.A.'s general charitable purposes.

On these facts the Y.M.C.A., relying upon Young Men's Christian Association of Pittsburgh Tax Case, 383 Pa. 176, 117 A.2d 743 (1955), claims complete exemption from tax; while the City of Reading, relying upon Young Men's Christian Association ...


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