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JOHN E. SCHEETZ AND ROBERT W. QUINN v. BOROUGH LANSDALE ET AL. (01/07/82)

decided: January 7, 1982.

JOHN E. SCHEETZ AND ROBERT W. QUINN, APPELLANTS
v.
THE BOROUGH OF LANSDALE ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of John E. Scheetz and Robert W. Quinn v. The Borough of Lansdale, a Municipality of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Henry Kauflie, Jr., F. Lee Mangan, Joseph Caltabiano, Robert Gilmartin, Mary Madill, Robert Rosenberger, Richard Stricker and Edmund J. Walsh, No. 79-18400, In Equity.

COUNSEL

Thomas J. McNally, with him Leo Kostman, for appellants.

C. Stephens Vondercrone, Jr., Pearlstine, Salkin, Hardiman and Robinson, for appellees.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig. This decision was reached prior to the expiration of the term of office of Judge Palladino.

Author: Craig

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 25]

John E. Scheetz and Robert W. Quinn, mayor and a councilman respectively of the Borough of Lansdale, appeal an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County which granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of the borough, the eight other council members and the borough manager.

Questioning the validity of council proceedings with respect to the purchase of and payment for land for a firehouse, the mayor and the one councilman, as taxpayers and residents of the borough, sought a preliminary

[ 64 Pa. Commw. Page 26]

    injunction to prevent the council from purchasing the property; their complaint alleged that the council's resolutions to purchase the property were in violation of the Borough Code*fn1 because they were not in the form of an ordinance, required to be duly published before enactment, and were never presented to the mayor for approval or veto. Despite the rather confusing record, there is no substantial factual dispute.

We gather that the council pursued two distinct methods to finance the purchase.

First, while the council was looking into the purchase of the real estate, it attempted to pass a debt-incurring ordinance to finance the acquisition of property and construction of the firehouse by borrowing. Despite the mayor's repeated vetoes, the council authorized the publication of that debt-incurring ordinance. However, although there has been much debate over the presence or absence of a two-thirds vote necessary to overcome the mayor's veto of that ordinance,*fn2 we deem the point to be immaterial because council never borrowed the money.

At a special meeting on August 22, 1979, council passed Resolutions Nos. 79-6 and 79-7, authorizing the purchase of the property. No ordinance was published or enacted for that purpose.

Before the September 27 closing date, council embarked upon the second financing approach by adopting a motion transferring surplus from the borough's electric revenue fund to the general ...


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