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SOUTHWEST DELAWARE COUNTY MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY v. ASTON TOWNSHIP (ET AL. (03/17/64)

March 17, 1964

SOUTHWEST DELAWARE COUNTY MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY, APPELLANT,
v.
ASTON TOWNSHIP (ET AL., APPELLANT).



Appeals, Nos. 22 and 29, Jan. T., 1964, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Sept. T., 1961, No. 1587, in case of Southwest Delaware County Municipal Authority v. Township of Aston, Penn-Delco Union School District, Penn-Delco Union School District Authority et al. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Joseph W. deFuria, with him deFuria, Larkin & deFuria, for plaintiff.

Malcolm B. Petrikin, for defendants.

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

Author: Jones

[ 413 Pa. Page 527]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

Southwest Delaware County Municipal Authority*fn1 (Sewer Authority), on March 1, 1961, completed that construction of a sewer system in Aston Township (Township), Delaware County. Prior to the date,

[ 413 Pa. Page 528]

    the Township, by ordinance,*fn2 had required that the owners of improved property in the Township adjoining or adjacent to any accessible public sewer system must connect therewith. To pay the construction and maintenance costs of the sewer system, the Sewer Authority, by resolution, provided that assessments be made, on a front foot rule basis, against properties benefited by the sewer construction and also provided for the imposition of connection charges and sewer rentals.

Adjoining and adjacent to the new sewer system, the Township owns property to be used for a municipal building and other municipal purposes; the Aston Township School District Authority (School Authority), owns property which it leases to Penn-Delco Union School District (School District), upon which the School District operates an elementary school; Penn-Delco Union School District Authority (School Authority), owns property which it leases to the School District upon which the School District operates a junior-senior high school.

The Sewer Authority called upon the Township, the School Authorities and the School District (a) to pay their share of the sewer assessments and (b) to connect with the sewer system paying the necessary connection charges and sewer rentals. The Township now takes the position that it will pay the assessments and connect with the sewer system paying the necessary connection charges and sewer rentals. The juniorsenior high school is connected with the sewer system but the elementary school, - which, admittedly, has "adequate" on-the-site sewage disposal - , is not so connected.

[ 413 Pa. Page 529]

The School Authorities and the School District maintain that they are exempt from the payment of any sewer assessments and that they do not have to connect with the sewer system or pay connection charges and sewer rentals.

The Sewer Authority instituted declaratory judgment proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County against the Township, the School Authorities and the School District. The court below held that, while the School Authorities and the School District are exempt from payment of the sewer assessments, they must connect their schools to the sewer system and pay the necessary connection charges and sewer rentals. From the former portion of this judgment the Sewer Authority has appealed (No. 22 January Term 1964) and from the latter part of this judgment the School Authorities and the School District have appealed (No. 29 January Term 1964).

These appeals present two principal issues: (1) is property used for public school purposes immune from the assessment of benefits arising from the construction of sewer system? (2) is such school property required to connect with the accessible public sewer ...


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