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Borough of Haworth v. State Board of Tax Appeals

Decided: July 25, 1941.

BOROUGH OF HAWORTH, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE COUNTY OF BERGEN AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PROSECUTOR,
v.
THE STATE BOARD OF TAX APPEALS AND HACKENSACK WATER COMPANY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY (1938 ASSESSMENT), RESPONDENTS; BOROUGH OF HAWORTH, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE COUNTY OF BERGEN AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PROSECUTOR, V. THE STATE BOARD OF TAX APPEALS AND HACKENSACK WATER COMPANY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY (1939 ASSESSMENT), RESPONDENTS



On certiorari.

For the prosecutor, Hennessy & Mowry.

For the respondent Hackensack Water Company, Morrison, Lloyd & Morrison (Milton, McNulty & Augelli, of counsel).

Before Justices Bodine, Perskie and Porter.

Perskie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PERSKIE, J. The single question for decision is whether the State Board of Tax Appeals erred in fixing the amount of $250,000 as the value of the property in question for the purpose of taxation for the years of 1938 and 1939.

The property in question is located in the borough of Haworth, in the County of Bergen, and consists of 243.7 acres of land described as Plots 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D in Section

1 of the Assessment Map of the Borough of Haworth. The assessment of this same land for the year of 1937 has previously been reviewed by this court. Hackensack Water Co. v. State Board of Tax Appeals, 122 N.J.L. 596; 7 A.2d 628. It is land which is owned by the Hackensack Water Company and which makes up part of the Oradell Reservoir, situated partly in the Borough of Oradell and partly in the Borough of Haworth. It is the valuation of that portion of the reservoir which is located in the Borough of Haworth only with which we are here concerned.

The 1938 assessment of this property by the Haworth taxing district was fixed at $300,000 and was affirmed by the Bergen County Board of Taxation. The 1939 assessment of the same property was fixed at $395,000 (excluding certain improvements not here in question) and upon appeal to the Bergen County Board of Taxation, this valuation was reduced to the sum of $250,000. The respondent water company thereupon petitioned the State Board of Tax Appeals to lower the 1938 valuation of $300,000 fixed by the county board, whereas the Borough of Haworth petitioned the State Board to raise the valuation of $250,000, as fixed by the same county board for the year of 1939. After hearing the testimony and reviewing the briefs of counsel, the State Board of Tax Appeals fixed the value of the property at $250,000 for both the years of 1938 and 1939.

Prosecutor, the Borough of Haworth, having been granted a writ of certiorari, here seeks to have the judgment of the State Board of Tax Appeals reversed and the assessments restored to their original amounts, namely, $300,000 for the year of 1938 and $395,000 for the year of 1939. Although the borough has returned separate states of the case for each assessment, both the proofs and the arguments of counsel are the same for both of these.

It becomes our duty to weigh the evidence independently and to render whatever decision we deem proper according to our view of the evidence submitted. It is clear, however, that in weighing the evidence and in making our finding, "we do not disturb the judgment of the State Board of ...


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