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MCCANDLESS TOWNSHIP APPEAL. (04/21/64)

April 21, 1964

MCCANDLESS TOWNSHIP APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 218, March T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1961, No. 3165, in re petition of Township of McCandless for appointment of viewers, etc. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

James W. Dunn, Jr., with him Scott, Neely & Dunn, for appellant.

John O. Wicks, Jr., with him Thomas P. Geer, for appellees.

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

Author: Jones

[ 414 Pa. Page 169]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

This appeal is from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which affirmed a supplemental report of a board of viewers (Board) wherein the Board levied assessment benefits, arising from the installation of certain water lines in McCandless Township, Allegheny County, against properties which were improved by such project.

McCandless Township (Township) duly authorized the installation of certain water lines in the Township. Pursuant thereto, the water lines were installed. Installation of the water lines was by the West View Water Authority, under a contract with the Township, and the ultimate cost of such installation to the Township was $41,841.27.*fn1

[ 414 Pa. Page 170]

At the Township's instance, the court of common pleas appointed a board "to ascertain the costs, damages,*fn2 if any, and expenses of [the project] and to assess the benefits of said improvement". The Board prepared a report - herein called the schedule - in which the Board found there were no damages involved and that the total cost of the project was $41,841.27 and it imposed the entire cost of the project upon the property owners charging nothing against the Township. Certain property owners excepted to this schedule and, after a hearing,*fn3 the Board levied assessments for benefits against the property owners totaling $30,595.50 and charged to the Township the difference between the entire cost and the total amount of benefits assessed, to wit, $11,245.77. An examination of that report indicates that the Board made a general "across the board" reduction of the assessments. As we noted in McCandless Appeal, supra, this "report contain[ed] no findings of fact nor any reason or explanation for the reduction of the assessments made in the original report or for the placement of a portion of the costs of this project on the Township." (p. 287).

On appeal to this Court from an order of the court below which had confirmed this report, in view of the completely unsatisfactory nature of the Board's report, we remanded the matter to the court below with "instructions that [the Board] file a new report wherein are included appropriate findings of fact and reasons ... in justification of its determination". Pursuant to our mandate, the court below properly returned the matter to the Board with instructions that the Board comply with our order.

[ 414 Pa. Page 171]

The Board then filed a supplemental report to which the Township filed exceptions, which exceptions were dismissed by the court below. From that ...


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