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WALLINGFORD-SWARTHMORE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BOROUGH SWARTHMORE TAX APPEALS (12/27/72)

decided: December 27, 1972.

WALLINGFORD-SWARTHMORE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BOROUGH OF SWARTHMORE TAX APPEALS


Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in cases of In Re: Appeal of Swarthmore-Rutledge Union School District from the Interim Assessments of January 1, 1970, April 1, 1970 and January 1, 1971 by the Board of Assessment Appeals of Delaware County, Pennsylvania on: property of Wildman Arms, Inc., Harvard and Yale Avenues, Borough of Swarthmore, Nos. 5659 Term 1970, 5660 Term 1970 and 3821 Term 1971.

COUNSEL

F. Martin Duus, for appellant, Wallingford-Swarthmore School District.

Clarence G. Myers, for appellant, Borough of Swarthmore.

Ralph B. D'Iorio, with him Cramp, D'Iorio, McConchie and Surrick, for appellee, Wildman Arms, Inc.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.

Author: Bowman

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 61]

The dissatisfaction of two local taxing districts with a series of interim assessments made by the Delaware County Board of Assessment Appeals against an apartment house-hotel complex under construction prompted the litigation now before us on appeal from the trial court's determination of the "right and proper" interim assessments in question. Act of June 26, 1931, P.L. 1379, Section 9, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5350.

Our scope of review in this class of appeals is limited. The trial court will be affirmed if it has considered all relevant factors, has not abused its power and has not made an error of law. Wynne, Inc. Tax Assessment Case, 434 Pa. 59, 253 A.2d 632 (1969); Pittsburgh Miracle Mile Town and Country Shopping Center, Inc., Tax Appeals, 6 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 187, 294 A.2d 226 (1972). Unfortunately, as to these consolidated appeals, the record before us on appeal makes it impossible for us to perform our responsibilities, and we must remand.

While it is not clear when the requests were made nor the procedure then followed, the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District and the Borough of Swarthmore, appellants here, did request the Delaware

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 62]

County Board of Assessment Appeals to make interim assessments against an apartment house-hotel complex then under construction.*fn1

From the briefs in these appeals before this Court we learn that prior to commencement of the construction of the apartment house-hotel complex in question, the land, then vacant, was assessed at a $13,100 valuation.*fn2 As a result of the requests of these taxing bodies, interim assessments as of January 1, 1970, April 1, 1970, and July 1, 1970, were made against the property in the amount of $100,000 and as of January 1, 1971, in the amount of $800,000. The property owner appealed to the Board from the interim assessments of January 1, 1970, April 1, 1970, and January 1, 1971. As to the first two, the Board reduced the assessment to the prior assessed value of the land alone of $13,100 and as to the January 1, 1971, interim assessment reduced it from $800,000 to $600,000. An appeal to the Board by the taxing districts from the interim assessment as of July 1, 1970, was never disposed of by the Board. It would also appear that the Board heard and disposed of the property owner's appeals without the knowledge of or notice to the taxing districts, which learned of the reduced interim assessments sometime afterward. See Section 8, Act of 1931, 72 P.S. § 5349.

These reductions of previously made interim assessments prompted appeals to court by the school district in ...


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