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Erie Railroad Co. v. Kelly

Decided: June 5, 1944.

ERIE RAILROAD COMPANY, A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, PETITIONER,
v.
WILLIAM D. KELLY, STATE TAX COMMISSIONER OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND CITY OF JERSEY CITY, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS



On application for determination as to taxable status of property.

For the petitioner, Collins & Corbin (Robert J. Bain).

For Jersey City, Charles A. Rooney, John F. Lynch, Jr., and Edward M. Malone.

For the State of New Jersey, Walter D. Van Riper and Benjamin C. Van Tine.

Before Justices Case, Bodine and Porter.

Bodine

The opinion of the court was delivered by

BODINE, J. The present proceeding was instituted under Pamph. L. 1941, ch. 291; R.S. 54:29A-41-42 to determine whether certain property of the petitioner was properly assessed for taxes for the year 1943 by the state as property used for railroad purposes, or by the City of Jersey City as property used for other purposes.

The property consists of a piece of the terminal lands of the Erie Railroad Company at the foot of Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City, having an area of 32,886 square feet or .755 acres, and a six story brick and concrete building erected thereon. The building was formerly known as the "Standard Milling Building" but is now designated by the Erie Railroad Company as Dock 2 Warehouse.

The land and building were assessed by the State Tax Commissioner for taxes for the year 1943 as property used for railroad purposes, the land as part of a large parcel described as Block 16, Lot B 10, and the building as a six story brick and concrete warehouse. The land and building were also assessed by the City of Jersey City for taxes for the year 1943, being described for assessment by the city as Block 16, Lot B 10. The value of the property is not involved in this proceeding.

Only about eight per cent. of the property is used for railroad purposes; the balance of the property is leased as a warehouse and produces a considerable tax reduced revenue to the petitioner. We are not unmindful of the case of Lehigh Valley Railroad Co. v. Jersey City, 80 N.J.L. 298, but think that case rests upon other provisions of law and that it is not applicable to the present legislation which contemplates a different result. See Hoboken v. State Board Equalization of Taxes, 83 N.J.L. 784.

R.S. 54:29A-41 provides as follows: "State and local assessment of same property. If property of a taxpayer has or shall have been, in any year, assessed by the local authorities of a taxing district, and has or shall have been also assessed by the State Tax Commissioner as property used for railroad purposes, the Supreme Court or any three justices thereof, assigned by the Chief Justice, shall determine, in a

summary manner, the character of the property and whether used for railroad purposes and by whom it has lawfully been assessed. This determination shall be made whether the taxes in question have been paid or not and whether a ...


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