Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in case of In Re: Increasing Real Property Tax Revenue of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, for the year 1981, No. S-1683, 1980; and in case of In Re: Funding Unfunded Debt Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, No. S-1684, 1980.
Kathleen A. Weeks, with her John R. Zonarich, Skarlatos and Zonarich, for appellant.
Frederick H. Hobbs, County Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 457]
The Schuylkill County Concerned Citizens appeal an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, which granted that fourth class county's board of commissioners special revenue raising relief.
In 1980, the commissioners concluded that at the end of that fiscal year, the county would have unfunded
[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 458]
debt totaling nearly 4 million dollars.*fn1 Accordingly, they resolved to file petitions in the common pleas court requesting authority: (1) to fund the unfunded debt with general obligation notes under section 510(a) of the Local Government Unit Debt Act,*fn2 and (2) to increase the real estate tax rate beyond the five percent limitation imposed by section 701(b) of the Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law.*fn3
The common pleas court, President Judge Bowe, Judge Heffner, Judge Lavelle, Judge McCloskey and Judge Dolbin, sitting en banc, granted certain citizens, calling themselves the Concerned Citizens, leave to intervene, consolidated the petitions, and conducted lengthy hearings.
At the close of the hearings, the court, recognizing its general authority to deal with the fiscal affairs of local government, see Lower Nazareth Township Supervisors' Appeal, 336 Pa. 250, 9 A.2d 545 (1939), held discussions with the commissioners, the intervening individuals (including the Concerned Citizens), and members of the local financial community.
The result of the joint effort was the formulation of an economic plan set forth in a written stipulation, which was signed by the commissioners and one of the intervening citizens (but not by the Concerned Citizens) and presented to the court for approval. Although not ...