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DUQUESNE LIGHT COMPANY v. BOARD PROPERTY ASSESSMENT (09/25/62)

September 25, 1962

DUQUESNE LIGHT COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF PROPERTY ASSESSMENT, APPEALS AND REVIEW, APPELLANT.



Appeals, Nos. 155 and 166, March T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Oct. T., 1960, No. 141, in case of Duquesne Light Company v. Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of County of Allegheny. Order vacated.

COUNSEL

John F. Murphy, Assistant County Solicitor, with him Francis A. Barry, First Assistant County Solicitor, and Maurice Louik, County Solicitor, for County of Allegheny.

Frank W. Ittel, with him A. Sieber Hollinger, and Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for property owner.

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

Author: Cohen

[ 408 Pa. Page 348]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

These appeals involve the 1960 triennial assessment of property known as Brunots Island, situate in the Ohio River within the limits of the City of Pittsburgh.

The island which is owned in its entirety by appellant-appellee, Duquesne Light Company (Duquesne) comprises an area of approximately 156 acres. Part of the land, about 75.5 acres, is used for public utility purposes and is exempt from taxation. The remainder, comprising approximately 80.5 acres, is used for the storage of coal and ashes and is subject to taxation.

Under the authority of the Act of 1939, June 21, P.L. 626, 72 P.S. ยงยง 5452.1-5452.20, appellant-appellee, Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review of the County of Allegheny, Pennsylvania (Board), assessed the entire island property at $10,460,125. Of this amount, $9,934,685 was exempt property. The above figures include a total assessment of the land area of the island of $1,018,760, of which exempt portion was assessed at $493,320, and the taxable acreage at $525,440. The taxable portion of the land of the island had been assessed at the previous triennial at $305,000.

Duquesne filed two appeals in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. One was from the assessment of the total exempt property valued at $9,934,685, which represents the assessed value of the personalty and realty located on the exempt tract. This appeal was discontinued when the case came to trial.

[ 408 Pa. Page 349]

The second appeal, the one in issue herein, was from the increase in the assessment of the taxable land from $305,000 to $525,440, an increase of approximately seventy-two per cent.

The lower court concluded that the assessment of $525,440 was excessive and entered an order reducing the assessment to $340,000. Both Board and Duquesne appealed, the former contending that the reduction of the assessment was error, and the latter alleging that the record did not justify a valuation of the property in ...


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