Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County in the case of In Re: Delinquent Tax Sale (former Johnson Bronze Real Estate, situated in Fourth Ward, Seventh Ward and Eighth Ward, New Castle, Pennsylvania), No. 120A of 1982, M.D.
Perry C. Perino, with him, Joseph V. Bullano, for appellant.
John W. Hodge, County Solicitor, for appellee.
Judges Craig, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 412]
This appeal results from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County which denied a petition to approve a compromise of delinquent taxes, penalties, interests and costs filed by appellant, Bertin Realty Company (Bertin).
In January of 1982, Robert A. Frank submitted a bid of $300,000.00 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania for the purchase of real estate owned by the former Johnson Bronze Company. The premises, located in New Castle, Lawrence County, included a building which had been vacant for over one year containing 650,000 square feet of industrial and office space. As Mr. Frank's bid was the highest of all those submitted,
[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 413]
the bankruptcy court approved the sale, with Mr. Frank taking the property subject to any and all municipal liens entered against the property. At the time the property was conveyed by a duly recorded deed to Bertin Realty Company, a partnership consisting of Mr. Frank and Bernard W. D'Ambrosi, the taxes levied and assessed against the property for the years 1980, 1981 and 1982, including interest and penalties, exceeded $450,000.00. Because of these delinquencies, the Lawrence County Tax Claim Bureau, appellee herein, scheduled a tax sale for September 13, 1982. Before the scheduled date for the sale, Bertin and the taxing districts, i.e., the City of New Castle (City), the County of Lawrence and New Castle Area School District (School District), filed a petition to stay the sale which the court of common pleas granted on September 10. The court granted a stay for ninety days and ordered the appellee to reschedule the sale for December 9, 1982.
In early November, Bertin delivered a written proposal to each of the taxing districts, offering to pay all delinquent taxes, plus penalties and interest, in forty quarterly payments, commencing in January, 1983. Bertin also promised to pay all current and future taxes as they became due. Both the City and the School District accepted the proposal of compromise; the Lawrence County Commissioners, however, refused to go along with the proposal.
On November 29, 1982, Bertin, with the joinder of the School District and the City, filed a petition to approve the compromise in the court of common pleas pursuant to the Act of November 23, 1938, Sp. Sess., P.L. 90, 72 P.S. § 5551 (Compromise Act). The trial court, however, denied the petition, holding that provisions of the Real Estate Tax Sale Law, Act of July 7, 1947, P.L. 1368, 72 P.S. §§ 5860.101-5860.803 (Tax
[ 83 Pa. Commw. Page 414]
Sale Act of 1947), had impliedly repealed the 1938 act, as the earlier act's provisions were irreconcilable with and repugnant to vital provisions of the subsequent legislation. ...