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Crisci v. Board of Commissioners

Decided: October 21, 1937.

ANGELO CRISCI, PROSECUTOR,
v.
THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF RARITAN, RESPONDENT



On certiorari.

For the prosecutor, Chiaravalli & Fioravanti (Edward Sachar, of counsel).

For the respondent, John Macko (Winfield S. Angleman, of counsel; John T. Trimble, of the New York bar, on the brief).

Before Justices Bodine, Heher and Perskie.

Perskie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PERSKIE, J. Did the board of commissioners of Raritan have authority to enact the challenged ordinances relating to its sewage and garbage disposal? We think so.

Generally stated, the stipulated facts disclose that one of the ordinances in question, passed under date of April 9th, 1937, authorizes the construction of a garbage incineration plant. The other ordinance, passed April 26th, 1937, provides for the improvement of the sanitary sewer system of Raritan by means of an extension of the existing system plus the construction of a sewage treatment plant, a pumping station and an intercepting sewer. Both enactments additionally provide for the acquisition of the necessary interests in land, and for bond issues in order to raise the required

money. The projects are further financed by a grant from the federal emergency administration of public works of the United States of America.

The prosecutor seeks to set aside each ordinance on the grounds that the town of Raritan was incorporated for special and limited purposes only; that the challenged ordinances cannot be brought within these purposes; and, therefore, the board of commissioners had no authority to adopt the aforesaid ordinances.

In order to understand more clearly the problem before us, it becomes necessary to outline the history and development of the governmental affairs of Raritan. The board of commissioners, the elective body answerable for the passage of the challenged ordinances, was created by Pamph. L. 1868, ch. 333, p. 776. Further powers were conferred upon this body by two supplements to the original act. Pamph. L. 1870, ch. 282, p. 638, and Pamph. L. 1875, ch. 409, p. 607. The geographical scope of the board's authority was determined by legislation in 1927 which fixed the boundary lines of the town of Raritan. Pamph. L. 1927, ch. 62, p. 117. The conduct of the administrative and governmental functions of the town is vested in this board which has for many years controlled, inter alia, the surface drainage and storm sewers of the town. The present sewage system, by these ordinances sought to be improved, began in 1896 pursuant to an election of the inhabitants of the town who, by that election adopted the provisions of Pamph. L. 1890, ch. 195, p. 310. Ordinances creating and concerning the present system were passed on October 7th, 1896, November 1st, 1897, May 12th, 1890 (probably May 12th, 1898, is meant), June 14th, 1898, August 6th, 1917, and June 20th, 1928. None of these ordinances, so far as is made to appear, has ever been questioned. The present sewage system was financed partly by general taxation, partly by special assessments, and partly by bond issues pursuant to Pamph. L. 1916, ch. 252, p. 525, as amended and supplemented.

On March 17th, 1930, the state department of health ordered the town of Raritan to cease ...


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