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REASSESSMENT APPEAL FRANK BONIN. FRANK BONIN (03/11/82)

decided: March 11, 1982.

IN RE: REASSESSMENT APPEAL OF FRANK BONIN. FRANK BONIN, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County in the case of In Re: Reassessment Appeal of Frank Bonin, No. 78-2385.

COUNSEL

David L. Kurtz, for appellant.

Robert L. Knupp, Knupp and Andrews, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Mencer, Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Palladino did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Blatt

[ 65 Pa. Commw. Page 279]

The appellant, Frank Bonin, appeals a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bradford County denying his challenge of the assessment of five parcels of his land.

In his appeal before the court below, the appellant alleged that the Bradford County Board of Assessment had used, in assessing five parcels of his land, an illegal method of appraisal known as the "replacement cost less depreciation method." Additionally, he alleged that the county's assessment ratio of 25 percent of actual value was not the actual or common level of assessment utilized throughout the county. Finally, the appellant alleged that the market value of the parcels involved was less than that determined by the Board. After holding hearings, the court below

[ 65 Pa. Commw. Page 280]

    granted the appellant partial relief*fn1 but found that the county's method of appraisal was legal because it utilized a "multitude of factors" in arriving at a fair market value for the parcels and, that the appellant failed to meet his burden of proving a lack of uniformity of taxation.

Before us, the appellant contends that the court below erred in (1) finding that the county did not utilize the replacement cost less depreciation method, and (2) in disregarding as immaterial a sales ratio study prepared by a witness for the appellant.

In a tax assessment appeal case where, as here, the court below has taken evidence, our scope of review is limited as follows:

The court of common pleas is the fact finding body . . . [and] it is clear that the findings of the court of common pleas have great force and will not be set aside by this Court unless clear error is made to appear. . . . Nor will the appellate court disturb the findings and substitute its judgment for that of the court of common pleas, because it is clear that market value is a factual question to be determined by the trial court on the basis of expert testimony. (Citations omitted.)

Marx Tax Assessment Case, 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 496, 500, 377 A.2d 199, 200 (1977) (emphasis added) (quoting Park Drive Manor, Inc. Tax Assessment Case, 380 ...


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