Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of In Re: Appeal of Cabot 95 Trust, Gerald W. Blakeley, Jr. and D. G. Wheeler et al. from the Bucks County Board of Assessment Appeals, Bucks County, Pa. Tax Parcel Nos. 22-21-66-6, 22-21-66-5, 22-21-66-4, 22-21-66-3, 22-21-66-1, 22-21-66, 22-57-8-6, 22-57-8-3, 22-21-10, 22-57-8-4, 22-21-8, 22-57-8-1, 22-21-66-9, 22-21-66-7, 22-57-40 (includes 22-57-41), 22-57-28-1, 22-57-8, 22-57-26-2, 22-57-8-7 and 22-57-25.
Edwin C. Angstadt, Jr., with him Eastburn and Gray, for appellant.
Thomas J. Profy, III, with him George T. Kelton, and Begley, Carlin, Mandio, Kelton & Popkin, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Judge Kramer did not participate. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 215]
This case illustrates the difficulty, if not impossibility, of achieving perfect uniformity in the assessment of real estate for local tax purposes. The appellants are individuals who, under the name of Cabot 95 Trust (hereinafter referred to as Cabot), own twenty parcels of real estate located in Middletown Township, Bucks County. The procedures for assessment applicable in Bucks County, a County of the Third Class, are those provided by the Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law, Act of May 21, 1943, P.L. 571, as amended, Section 101 et seq., 72 P.S. § 5453.101
[ 27 Pa. Commw. Page 216]
et seq. This is so by reason of the Act of September 19, 1961, P.L. 1509, 72 P.S. § 5347(b).*fn1
The basis of Cabot's appeal of its 1975 assessments, first to the Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Bucks County, then to the Court of Common Pleas and now to us, is its assertion that its properties have not been assessed uniformly with the assessment of other properties in Bucks County. It says that while the County Commissioners' predetermined ratio of assessment to fair market value of 25% has been applied in reaching the assessment of each of its properties, a lesser ratio has actually been applied on a wholesale basis to other properties in the County. At the hearing in the court below, in which the Township and School District participated as intervenors, Cabot depended principally upon the testimony of one John T. Welsh, a licensed real estate broker and appraiser, who said that he studied about 350 actual sales of property and concluded that the mean average ratio of assessed to actual market value used in Bucks County during the twelve month period from September 1973 to August 1974 was 15.72%. Cabot also depends on a part of a stipulation entered into between its counsel and counsel for the Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes, and for the Township and School District reading as follows:
"7. The Board determined the values and assessments as of September 1, 1974 for the following properties to be:
Parcel Market Assessment To Land To Improvements" Number Value
[There followed under the respective headings the information from the tax records for each of ...