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AN APPEAL FROM ANNUAL AUDIT AND FINANCIAL REPORT TOWNSHIP PENN (05/26/88)

decided: May 26, 1988.

IN RE: AN APPEAL FROM THE ANNUAL AUDIT AND FINANCIAL REPORT OF THE TOWNSHIP OF PENN, WESTMORELAND COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR THE YEAR 1984. JOHN HARVISON, TREASURER OF THE TOWNSHIP OF PENN, APPELLANT


Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, in the case of In Re: An Appeal from the Annual Audit and Financial Report of the Township of Penn, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, for the year 1984, No. 13 Civil 1985.

COUNSEL

Donald P. Tarosky, Ceraso & Tarosky, for appellant.

Leslie J. Mlakar, Loughran, Mlaker & Bilik, for appellee.

Judges Craig and Smith, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Senior Judge Narick.

Author: Narick

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 382]

Before us is an appeal by John Harvison (Appellant) from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County which entered judgment in the amount of $9,613.76 in favor of the Township of Penn (Township) and against Appellant. We affirm.

The facts surrounding this case can be summarized as follows. Appellant has served as Township Treasurer for five successive terms -- 1969, 1973, 1977, 1981, and 1985. In 1984, the Township, which is a first class township, filed an appeal to the court of common pleas to the Township's 1984 annual audit and financial report. An issue raised by the Township in this appeal was that Appellant received compensation for his services as Township

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 383]

    treasurer and tax collector exceeding $10,000 contrary to Section 34 of the Local Tax Collection Law (Tax Collection Law), Act of May 25, 1945, P.L. 1050, as amended, 72 P.S. ยง 5511.34.*fn1 The trial court entered judgment against Appellant in the amount of $9,613.76 and Appellant appealed to this Court.*fn2

Appellant presents five issues for our resolution which we will address seriatim. The first argument presented by Appellant is that Section 34 of the Tax Collection Law violates Article III, Section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution because it is a local or special law which regulates the affairs of townships. Specifically, Appellant contends that (1) there is an improper classification between tax collectors of first class townships and second class townships because Section 34 of the Tax Collection Law limits compensation of tax collectors of first class townships but Section 35 of the Tax Collection Law which applies to tax collectors of second class townships does not limit the compensation of tax collectors; and (2) townships are classified based upon population density and this classification is unconstitutional.

Section 34 of the Tax Collection Law pertinently provides:

[ 116 Pa. Commw. Page 384]

The township treasurer shall receive for his duties as treasurer and tax collector for the township, a sum equal to five per centum of all township taxes received or collected by him, and in addition thereto, a sum equal to one per centum Page 384} on all other moneys received or collected by him for the township, unless a different rate or annual compensation shall be fixed by ordinance of the township commissioners: Provided, That in no case shall the total compensation of the treasurer, as treasurer and tax collector for the township, exceed the sum of $10,000. The township treasurer as collector of township taxes shall be allowed such actual printing and postage expenses as shall be incurred in performing the duties prescribed in this act. Such amounts shall be adjusted by the township auditor or controller . . . (Emphasis added.)

Articles III, Section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides in relevant part:

The General Assembly shall pass no local or special law in any case which has been or can be provided for by general law and specifically the General Assembly ...


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