Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, in case of In Re: Appeal of Jostens, Inc., from the decision of the Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes of Centre County, No. 84-355.
Robert K. Kistler, Miller, Kistler & Campbell, Inc., for appellant.
Anthony R. Thompson, Thompson, Somach & Vangilder, for appellee.
Judges MacPhail, Doyle and Colins, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins. Dissenting Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 107]
The Centre County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes (Board) appeals a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County (trial court) reducing the Board's assessment of a parcel of land (parcel), taxes
[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 108]
on which are paid by Jostens, Inc. (Jostens). Jostens is a corporation with home offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota, doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The parcel was found by the trial court to belong to Jostens through a subsidiary known as the American Yearbook Company Division.
Situated on this parcel is an industrial structure, used for the manufacture of school year books. The parcel itself consists of approximately twenty (20) acres of land located in an industrial park. The Board's assessment as of January 1, 1984, was $169,753.00, from which Jostens took a timely appeal. The Board of Assessment Appeals (Appeals Board) of Centre County increased the assessment to $175,151.00.
Jostens then appealed to the trial court, which conducted a de novo trial in accordance with the provisions of The Fourth to Eighth Class County Assessment Law (Assessment Law).*fn1 After considering the testimony of an expert presented by each side, the trial court detemined that the fair market value of the parcel as of January 1, 1984, was $1,390,000.00 (1.39 million dollars) and that the current common level ratio of assessed value to current market value (common level ratio) as last determined by the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) was 8.6%. Since the predetermined ratio of Centre County was 20%, and the common level ratio varied from it by more then 15%, the trial court proceeded to multiply the market value by the common level ratio in accordance with Section 704 of the Assessment Law.*fn2 This process yielded an assessment of $119,540.00.
[ 97 Pa. Commw. Page 109]
The Board makes three arguments on appeal. Since we find none to be of merit, we will affirm the trial court.
The Board first contends that the trial court erred in utilizing the STEB common level ratio of 1984 rather than the 1983 STEB common level ratio. It argues that as a matter of law the trial court was required to utilize the common level ratio last determined and published by STEB before the assessment of January 1, 1984, which would be the 10.1% common level ratio of Centre County for calendar year 1982, published by STEB in 1983. Appellee Jostens urges that the trial court was correct in using the 8.6% common level ratio of Centre County for ...