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SUPERVISORS BRANCH TOWNSHIP v. TAX CLAIM BUREAU SCHUYLKILL COUNTY AND BOROUGH MINERSVILLE (04/23/75)

decided: April 23, 1975.

SUPERVISORS OF BRANCH TOWNSHIP, APPELLANT,
v.
TAX CLAIM BUREAU OF SCHUYLKILL COUNTY AND BOROUGH OF MINERSVILLE, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in case of In Re: Proposed Private Sale by Tax Claim Bureau of Schuylkill County of 6.30 Acres Surface, Lindsay Coates Tract, 63.974 Acres Surface, Daniel Jones Minor Tract, in Branch Township, County of Schuylkill and State of Pennsylvania, No. 514 March Term, 1965.

COUNSEL

Isadore E. Krasno, with him Krasno & Krasno, for appellant.

Charles L. Frank, for appellee, Tax Claim Bureau.

James F. Geddes, Jr., with him Ben R. Jones, III, for appellee, Borough of Minersville.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judges Kramer and Wilkinson, Jr. did not participate. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 461]

On September 25, 1964 the Tax Claim Bureau (Bureau) of Schuylkill County (County) received a letter from the Solicitor of the Borough of Minersville (Borough). The letter indicated that the Borough wished to purchase for $100 a certain tract of land assessed in the name of L. L. Franks and located in Branch Township (Township). The tract had apparently been on the delinquent tax rolls for some time before it was offered for private sale by the County. The price was approved by the Bureau and on February 2, 1965 notice was sent to the Township and to the School District of the Township (School District) describing the property and stating that the Bureau had approved the $100 offer from the Borough. The notice also indicated that if either the

[ 18 Pa. Commw. Page 462]

Township or the School District was not satisfied that the sale price was sufficient, it would be required to petition the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County within fifteen days to disapprove the sale. This notice was pursuant to Section 613 of the Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1368, as amended, 72 P.S. ยง 5860.613 (1974-75 Supp.). On February 15, 1965 the School District petitioned the Court of Common Pleas to disapprove the sale on the basis that $100 was not a sufficient price. No representative of the Township itself made any formal objection within the required fifteen days.

The Borough subsequently raised its offer to $300 and, after a considerable but unexplained delay, the School District withdrew its objection. On August 20, 1971, therefore, the Court of Common Pleas ordered approval of the $300 purchase price.

In the meantime, however, on February 14, 1970, the Township Supervisors had offered $500 to the County for the tract. This offer had been rejected by the County on the basis that the Borough's offer had already been accepted and that the Township had made no timely objection.

On November 8, 1971, after the Court of Common Pleas had approved the $300 sale, the Township Supervisors filed a petition to disapprove the sale, and, after a hearing, the lower court issued an order dismissing the petition on April 22, 1974. An appeal to this Court ensued.

The central issue here is whether or not the Township's failure to make a timely objection to the $100 sale price prevents it from now contesting a $300 sale to the same ...


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