John W. Pollins, III, Edgar T. Hammer, Jr., Hammer & Pollins, Greensburg, for appellants.
William L. Kimmel, County Sol., Somerset, for appellees.
Jones, C. J., and Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix and Manderino, JJ. Eagen, J., concurs in the result.
Appellants brought this action in equity attacking the 1973 assessment of taxable real property in Somerset County. After a pre-trial hearing, the trial court granted
judgment on the pleadings to appellees and dismissed the complaint. On this appeal,*fn1 we affirm.
In 1973, the authorities of Somerset County undertook a re-assessment of all real property in the county for the purpose of determining 1974 real estate taxes. Notices of assessment for 1974 taxes were mailed to property owners throughout the period from September 7, 1973, to November 6, 1973. The notices informed the owners that they could take an appeal from the assessment within 10 days of the date of the notice.*fn2 Accompanying the notice were a letter from the chief assessor and a form for use in taking an appeal from the assessment.
Appellants' attack in the trial court focused on the right to appeal from the assessment. They contended that the notice, letter, and appeal form misrepresented the proper procedure to be employed in appealing the assessment. They also contended that the representation that the owner had a 10-day period in which to appeal was false and misleading because, under the applicable statute,*fn3 the owner in fact had until September 1, 1974, to take an appeal.
In this appeal, appellants have abandoned the contentions that the notice, letter, and appeal form misrepresented the appeal procedure and the time limit for taking an appeal. They now for the first time urge two quite different theories. First, they contend that the applicable statute*fn4 required that the owners have appealed by September 1, 1973, and therefore, because assessment notices were not mailed until after September 1, they have been denied any appeal*fn5 (even though thousands of appeals were in fact filed and considered on their merits by the Board of Assessment Appeals). Second, citing Moyer Appeal, 57 Pa.D. & C. 261, 268 (C.P.Montgomery County 1971), they contend that the authorities failed to adhere to the statutory schedule for re-assessment,*fn6 and that this failure renders the re-assessment void.
Appellants are requesting this Court to review the decree on entirely different theories than they presented to the trial court. We will not do so. It is a fundamental principle of appellate review that we will not reverse a judgment or decree on a theory that was not presented to the trial ...