Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in the case of In Re: Appeal from Settlement and Audit of the Auditors of Buckingham Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, of the Annual Audit and Financial Report for the year 1978, No. 79-6418-09-6.
Peter Hearn, with him Lynne E. Delanty and Joan A. Yue, Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz, for appellants.
Anita F. Alberts, with her Robert W. Valimont, Power, Bowen & Valimont, for appellees.
Thomas L. Wenger, Wix, Wenger & Weidner, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 615]
The Buckingham Township Supervisors (supervisors) appeal here an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County which subjected them to a surcharge in the amount of $35,743.23*fn1 for monies unlawfully paid from Township funds. Section 545 of the Second Class Township Code (Township Code), Act of May 1, 1933, P.L. 103, as amended, 53 P.S. § 65545.
It was stipulated that the supervisors, in their official capacities, approved*fn2 the expenditures here in question and that these expenditures were made in a
[ 74 Pa. Commw. Page 616]
successful effort to lobby before the state legislature for the passage of laws to amend various provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. Following the annual audit during which these expenditures came to light, several township citizens (taxpayers) filed a surcharge petition in the common pleas court. That petition was successful and the supervisors now seek review here.
The supervisors argue first that the trial court erred in not quashing the taxpayers' appeal from the auditor's report because only one of the taxpayers had signed the recognizance. They note that Section 554 of the Township Code, 53 P.S. § 65554, provides in pertinent part:
No appeal by a registered elector or taxpayer or officer shall be allowed unless the appellant shall enter into recognizance to prosecute the same with effect, and to pay all costs accruing thereon, . . . . (Emphasis added.)
The supervisors, however, cite Mayo's Appeal, 315 Pa. 269, 172 A. 848 (1934) and Monroe County Auditor's Report, 319 Pa. 63, 179 A. 752 (1935), and contend that the recognizance is fatally defective and therefore, that the trial court was without jurisdiction to hear the matter. These cases cited, however, were decided under ...