No. 186 March Term 1978 Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth Court at No. 1923 C.D. 1977.
T. Robert Brennan, Harvey E. Robins, John Daley, Brennan, Robins & Daley, Pittsburgh, for appellants.
Alexander J. Jaffurs, County Sol., Thomas M. Rutter, Jr., Second Asst. Co. Sol., Pittsburgh, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J.,*fn* and O'Brien, Roberts, Manderino, Nix and Larsen, JJ. Manderino, J., did not participate in the decision of this case. Roberts, J., filed a dissenting opinion.
Pursuant to the "Uniform Declaratory Judgment Act," Act of June 18, 1923, P.L. 840, § 1, as amended, 12 P.S. §§ 831 et seq., a group of owners of realty and taxpayers of Allegheny County filed actions in the Court of Common Pleas seeking a declaratory judgment determining the applicability to Allegheny County of Act 100, a 1976 amendment to section 402 of the General County Assessment Law [hereinafter: Act 100]*fn1 which requires completion of a countywide revised assessment of real property before taxes may be levied on any revised assessment of real property located therein "[e]xcept in counties of the first class." The actions*fn2
were consolidated for hearing, and later the Court of Common Pleas, per a judge from another judicial district specially presiding, entered an adjudication and order declaring that Act 100 applies to Allegheny County and precluding the levying of taxes for the years 1977, 1978 and 1979 based on a 1976 revised assessment of real property in the northern triennial assessment district of Allegheny County until the assessment of real property in the entire county was completed. Appeals were filed in the Commonwealth Court and, subsequently, that court entered an unanimous order and opinion reversing the order of the Court of Common Pleas.*fn3 Because the issue is one of first impression and of great importance, this Court granted allocatur.
Allegheny County is a county of the second class.*fn4 Authority for triennial district assessments of real property in counties of the second class is contained in provisions of two statutes, viz., the General County Assessment Law, 72 P.S. § 5020-401(b),*fn5 and the Second Class County Assessment Law, Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 626, § 7, as amended, Act of November 9, 1965, P.L. 668, § 1, 72 P.S. § 5452.7 [hereinafter: Second Class County Assessment Law].*fn6 In accordance with section 5452.7, the Board of Property Assessment, Appeals and Review divided Allegheny County, a county of the second class, into three districts: (1) the northern district; (2) the city of Pittsburgh; and, (3) the southern
district. The Board authorized assessments to be made each year in one of the districts to ...