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CURTIS S. MOHN ET AL. v. GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL. (08/02/84)

decided: August 2, 1984.

CURTIS S. MOHN ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., APPELLEES. CHESTER A. MOHN, JR. ET AL., APPELLANTS V. GOVERNOR MIFFLIN SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County in case of Chester A. Mohn, Jr., Curtis S. Mohn, Anna Lou Stamm and Stanley E. Wiechecki v. Governor Mifflin School District and Board of School Directors of Governor Mifflin School District, No. 4248 Equity Docket, 1977 and in case of Curtis S. Mohn, Gordon S. Teter and Lucille M. Schlouch v. Governor Mifflin School District and Its Board of School Directors et al., No. 4848 Equity, 1981.

COUNSEL

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

John M. Stott, with him, Robert K. Boland, Austin, Boland, Connor & Giorgi, 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 338]

The Governor Mifflin School District, by its School Board (appellees), enacted a resolution which drastically reduced the rate of compensation paid to its local tax collectors (appellants). The appellants commenced an action challenging this resolution in the

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 339]

Court of Common Pleas of Berks County. After protracted litigation, the Court entered final decrees affirming the resolution. This appeal followed.

The Governor Mifflin School District is a duly constituted school district of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, comprising the townships of Cumru and Brecknock, and the Boroughs of Shillington, Kenhorst and Mohnton, with its principal administrative office in Shillington. The School Board is the duly constituted governing body of Governor Mifflin School District.

Prior to 1977, the Governor Mifflin School District paid to the tax collectors the sum of Two Dollars ($2.00) for each real estate tax bill and paid Fifty Cents ($.50) for each per capita tax bill collected. On January 10, 1977, the School Board adopted a resolution reducing this compensation to Ten Cents ($.10) per tax bill collected for the term of office beginning January 1, 1978. In conjunction with this reduction in compensation, the School Board's resolution proposed a scheme whereby the appellants would deputize a bank, selected by the School District, to serve as the actual collector of taxes, while the School Board would assume the burden of preparing and mailing tax bills.

On March 4, 1977, the appellants filed a Complaint in Equity seeking an injunction against the appellees to enjoin them from enforcing the above resolution. A preliminary hearing was held on March 10, 1977, at which time the injunction was denied.*fn1 On June 1, 1979, the appellants filed a motion for summary judgment. This matter was argued and denied in July of 1979. On September 9, 1980, a hearing was held before the Honorable Grant E. Wesner of Berks County.

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 340]

Judge Wesner, in an adjudication dated November 14, 1980, found the fixing of the Ten Cent ($.10) rate to be a capricious abuse of discretion and the plan of the School Board to take over the tax billing process to be ultra vires. Judge Wesner also ordered that the School Board submit new proposed rates of compensation. The School Board's new Resolution set a sliding scale of compensation awarding greater compensation to appellants who appointed a deputy to collect taxes than to appellants who collected the taxes themselves. Judge Wesner again ordered the Board to submit a new proposed rate of compensation. Judge Wesner approved this rate, which provided as follows:

Per

Property Capita

OPTION 1: Tax collector

     prepares, and mails the

     bills, and collects and

     deposits the taxes. $.85 $.50

OPTION 2: Tax ...


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