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BETHEL PARK CITIZENS FOR BETTER EDUCATION LESS TAXES (BELT) v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/06/89)

decided: September 6, 1989.

BETHEL PARK CITIZENS FOR BETTER EDUCATION LESS TAXES (BELT), AN UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION BY PHILIP G. DEHUFF AND MARGARET L. RECTENWALD TRUSTEES AD LITEM ET AL., PETITIONERS,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS AND BETHEL PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT, RESPONDENTS



PETITION FOR REVIEW (DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS.

COUNSEL

Robert L. Byer, Timothy P. Ryan, and Robert D. Hazlett, Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, Pittsburgh, for Bethel Park School Dist.

Ira Weiss, Mistick, Sittig & Weiss, for petitioner.

Joel Weisberg, Ellen M. Coggins, Carol P. Cocheres, Eckert, Seamans, Cherin & Mellott, Harrisburg, and William C. Andrews, Sol., Bethel Park School Dist., Pittsburgh, for respondents.

Barry and McGinley, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Barry

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 441]

OPINION

This is an expedited appeal of an order of the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) dismissing petitioners' complaint challenging the validity of proceedings of Bethel Park School District (School District) in connection with the issuance of general obligation bonds. We affirm.

On June 29, 1989, the School District adopted a resolution (Debt Resolution) which authorized incurring non-electoral indebtedness in the principal amount of $30,510,000 for school construction purposes. The debt is in the form of general obligation bonds. On July 7, 1989, the School District, pursuant to Section 411 of the Local Government Unit Debt Act (Debt Act), Act of July 12, 1972, P.L. 781, as amended, 53 P.S. § 6780-161 (Supp.1989), filed the proceedings with DCA together with its application requesting DCA to approve delivery of the bonds. Delivery of the bonds was scheduled for August 2, 1989.

On July 19, 1989, petitioners filed their complaint with DCA asserting invalidity of the proceedings. The filing of the complaint was in accordance with Section 901 of the Debt Act, 53 P.S. § 6780-401 (Supp.1989). The complaint set forth five allegations on the basis of which petitioners requested DCA to withhold approval of the bond issue.

[ 128 Pa. Commw. Page 442]

Petitioners pursue only two of the allegations on appeal. Those allegations, as stated in petitioners' complaint, are:

1. The only item of construction, acquisition, extraordinary maintenance or repair which has been undertaken by [School District] to the present time is improvements to the stadium and bus garage at a combined estimated cost of $1,578,250. [School District] has neither finally determined, or otherwise sufficiently identified, for purposes of the definitions and other provisions of the Debt Act, those items of school construction beyond the stadium and bus garage which it has attempted to include in its definition ...


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