Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.A.D.
[40 NJSuper Page 538] The Borough of Little Ferry appealed from the dismissal by the Division of Tax Appeals of its action seeking a review, correction and revision of the 1954 equalization table promulgated by the Bergen County Board of Taxation. The Supreme Court reversed (Borough of Little Ferry v. Bergen County Board of Taxation , 18 N.J. 400 (1955)) and remanded to the Division with directions to hold a hearing in accordance with certain rules outlined
therein and more particularly in City of Passaic v. Passaic County Board of Taxation , 18 N.J. 371, which was decided on the same day.
Following the remand, hearings were conducted and the Division, by judgments of September 6, 1955, promulgated, revised and corrected equalization tables for Bergen County for 1954 and 1955. The table for the latter year was dealt with also because it had been brought up for review and expediency prompted disposition of both matters at the same time.
The present appellants, Borough of East Paterson and Fair Lawn, who seek a review of both judgments, were not parties to the original Little Ferry appeal. Moreover, although both received notice of the hearings on the remand, neither one appeared, offered any evidence, made any objection to the course being pursued or any criticism of the sufficiency or propriety of the methods followed in arriving at the average ratios of assessed to true value in the various municipalities. In fact, none of the 70 municipalities in the county presented any evidence in aid of equalization and the Division was left to rely largely upon data gathered by the county board. All but two of them apparently are satisfied with the judgments. Only East Paterson and Fair Lawn prosecute the appeal.
Appellants do not attack the ratios reached for any other municipality in the county. They claim only that those fixed for them are erroneous because the sales study on which they were based was improper and because the Division did not consider either the Sixth Report of the State Tax Policy Commission or the 1954 and 1955 equalization tables of the State Director of the Division of Taxation prepared for distribution of school aid under N.J.S.A. 54:1-35.3.
None of the testimony adduced at the hearings has been furnished to us. The appendix contains little more than the report and recommendations of the hearing panel and the judgments. The report is a comprehensive one which summarizes the testimony and details the method by which the municipal ratios of assessed to true value were determined.
The absence of the testimony makes it plain that appellants do not raise any factual issue or assail any factual finding. Their contention is that as a matter of law the formula used by the county board and approved by the Division is arbitrary and unreasonable.
The report shows that as far back as 1943 the county board adopted the practice of making a record of every real property sale in the county. From 1950 through substantially all of 1953, 26,101 photostats of deeds had been accumulated representing sales in the various municipalities under its supervision. 7,125 additional transfers during 1954 were noted. These sales were analyzed and certain types were excluded from consideration upon the same basis as that discussed in Borough of Carteret v. Division of Tax Appeals , 40 N.J. Super. 439 (App. Div. 1956). Then the ratio of assessment to sale price (determined from or checked by the revenue stamps) was computed in each case and the data were separated according to municipalities.
The average of the ratios for each municipality was ascertained and the sales were weighted on an arbitrary scale so as to give the newer ones greater significance. Specifically, the 1950 sales were listed and the average of their assessment ratios was found. This schedule was designated series A. The same was done with sales of 1951 and part of 1952; it became series B. Series C derived from the remaining 1952 sales and those of 1953; series D came from 2,835 additional 1954 sales which were analyzed and used as part of the basis for the composition of the 1955 equalization table. In arriving at the ratio used in formulating the 1954 table, the county board averaged the average of series A and B with the average of series C; the resulting A, B, C average was adopted as the ratio of assessed to true value in each municipality. For purposes of the 1955 table, the A, B, C average was averaged with the D average and the result became the applicable ratio.
In addition to the sales study, the board employed an appraising firm to make spot checks throughout the county. Such appraisals were ...