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ELIZABETH J. MEANS ET AL. v. TWIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL. (08/01/84)

decided: August 1, 1984.

ELIZABETH J. MEANS ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
TWIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in case of Elizabeth J. Means, Mahlon Kurtz, G. Ronald Beaton, Catherine E. Stoltzfus and William D. Killian v. Twin Valley School District and Board of School Directors of Twin Valley School District, No. 1979-4557.

COUNSEL

Frank Jenkins, with him, Raymond Jenkins, Mabel D. Sellers and George B. Ditter, Jenkins, Tarquini & Jenkins, for appellants.

Jon S. Malsnee, with him, James A. Stapleton, Edelman, O'Pake, Malsnee and Orwig, P.C., for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr. and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins.

Author: Colins

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 272]

This is an appeal by incumbent tax collectors (appellants)*fn1 from a decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County which approved a resolution by the Twin Valley School Board (appellee) decreasing the rate of compensation previously paid to appellants.

The Twin Valley School District is a school district of the third class which includes four municipalities in Chester County and two in Berks County.

On January 17, 1977, the Board of School Directors adopted a resolution reducing the appellants' compensation to Twenty Cents ($.20) per tax bill.*fn2 Appellants commenced an equity action in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County challenging the validity of this resolution. In their complaint, they alleged that the proposed remuneration was grossly inadequate for the duties and responsibilities involved in the collection of the school taxes, and that the resolution attempted to set up a tax collection system contrary

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 273]

    to that provided by the State Legislature. The appellants requested the Court, inter alia, to declare the resolution null and void and to enjoin the appellee from enforcing this resolution. The Court denied the preliminary injunction. At the prayer of the appellee, this action was subsequently transferred to Berks County.

Judge Wesner of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County heard testimony on this matter and determined that the resolution represented a capricious abuse of discretion and ordered the School Board to submit new proposed rates of compensation. New rates were adopted by the Board which provided for a minimum compensation of Twenty Cents ($.20) per bill to a maximum of One Dollar Twenty-Five Cents ($1.25) per bill, depending on the extent to which appellants delegated the responsibilities of their office to the School District or deputized a bank to collect taxes. Judge Wesner approved these rates. The appellants filed exceptions which were dismissed. This appeal followed.

The appellants first argue that since Judge Wesner found the rate of Twenty Cents ($.20) per bill to be so inadequate, as to constitute an arbitrary and capricious abuse of discretion, then the entire resolution is void. We disagree.

The appellants seek support for their position in the case of Allentown School District Mercantile Tax Case, 370 Pa. 161, 87 A.2d 480 (1952). However, in that case, the resolution was declared void because (1) the resolution violated the tax uniformity clause of the ...


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