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Hackensack Water Co. v. Division of Tax Appeals

Decided: September 14, 1948.

HACKENSACK WATER COMPANY, PROSECUTOR,
v.
DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE AND TOWNSHIP OF NORTH BERGEN, RESPONDENTS; TOWNSHIP OF NORTH BERGEN, PROSECUTOR, V. DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION AND FINANCE AND HACKENSACK WATER COMPANY, RESPONDENTS



On certiorari.

For the Hackensack Water Company, Milton, McNulty & Augelli (Joseph Keane and Samuel W. Zerman, of counsel).

For the Township of North Bergen, Nicholas S. Schloeder.

Before Justices Donges, Colie and Eastwood.

Colie

The opinion of the court was delivered by

COLIE, J. Two of the writs under consideration were allowed to Hackensack Water Company to review judgments of the Division of Tax Appeals fixing the 1944 and 1946

assessments on personal property of the Water Company at $1,225,000. The writ allowed to the Township of North Bergen seeks the review of a judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals dismissing the appeal of the township from the 1945 assessment on personal property of the Water Company. Consideration will first be given to the writs attacking the assessments for the two years above mentioned. As to the year 1944, the Township of North Bergen assessed the personal property of the Water Company at $1,400,000. The County Board of Tax Appeals reduced this assessment to $940,000. The township thereupon took an appeal to the County Board, acting in its appellate capacity, which appeal was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. It then appealed to the Division of Tax Appeals, which body, after considering the testimony fixed the assessment for the year 1944, at $1,225,000.

As to 1946, the township assessed the same property at $1,400,000, but in this instance the County Board did not revise the assessment figure. The Water Company took an appeal to the County Board of Taxation and the assessment was reduced to $1,250,000. Not satisfied, the Water Company appealed to the Division of Tax Appeals and that body dismissed the appeal.

Before considering the meritorious questions raised, we note that "in a proceeding of this nature, the duty of the Supreme Court is to review the evidence and render such decision as it deems proper in light of that evidence, but it is also settled that this court will not disturb the judgment of the State Board of Tax Appeals unless the evidence is persuasive that the board erred." Hackensack Water Co. v. State Board of Tax Appeals, 129 N.J.L. 535; affirmed, 130 Id. 483. The background of prior litigation between the parties is set forth in the cited opinions and need not be repeated.

In the present proceeding, the Water Company contends that the Supreme Court and the Court of Errors and Appeals having, in prior litigation, determined the assessed valuation at $940,000 and no change having taken place since then, that that valuation should have been accepted. There is no merit in this contention; it being well settled that each year is deemed a separate assessment. United New Jersey Railroad,

&c., Co. v. State Board, 101 N.J.L. 303. Furthermore, several years have elapsed since the true value was fixed by the courts at $940,000 and it is a matter of common knowledge that the ...


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