Jayne, Francis and Schettino. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.A.D.
On May 2, 1955 the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals and directed compliance with the obligation imposed by N.J.S.A. 54:2-37 to revise and correct the 1954 Passaic County equalization table. Comprehensive instructions were given as to the scope and manner of performance of the duty. City of Passaic v. Passaic County Board of Taxation , 18 N.J. 371 (1955).
Pursuant to the mandate, hearings were held and a revised table was promulgated. The judgment was entered on August 30, 1955.
Under this judgment the City of Paterson received a credit of $586,000.
On October 6, 1955 all of the municipalities in the county, except Paterson, moved to reopen the judgment so that inaccuracies with respect to the Paterson ratio could be demonstrated. The motion was granted over objection and further hearings held. They resulted in the issuance of a corrected judgment on January 5, 1956. The effect, Paterson claims, was to reduce its credit by about $190,000.
The merits of the factual basis of the corrected judgment are not argued as a ground of appeal. Appellant contends that once judgment on the equalization table had been entered, the only remedy for errors therein was by review in the Appellate Division under R.R. 1:3-1(b); 4:88-8.
The argument for reversal has three aspects: (1) in the absence of express legislative grant, the Division has no authority to reopen its judgment or to grant a rehearing thereon; (2) N.J.S.A. 54:2-43 specifically bars a reopening; and (3) N.J.S.A. 54:2-37 prevented such action after September 10, 1955.
In our opinion, none of these grounds has validity. As to (1) it has been declared that administrative agencies generally, and the Division of Tax Appeals specifically, have implied power to reopen or to reconsider their judgments in the absence of legislative fiat to the contrary. Mackler v. Board of Education , 16 N.J. 362, 369 (1954); In re Plainfield-Union Water Co. , 14 N.J. 296, 305 (1954); New Jersey Bell Telephone Co. v. Department of Public Utilities, etc. , 12 N.J. 568, 578 (1953); Handlon v. Town of Belleville , 4 N.J. 99, 106 (1950); Appeal of City of Newark , 37 N.J. Super. 175 (App. Div. 1955). The limitation to be deduced from these cases is that the application to do so must be made within a reasonable time. It is not suggested that the proceedings were not timely here.
With respect to (2), N.J.S.A. 54:2-43 is not at all pertinent. That act is commonly called the "freeze statute." It relates to judgments entered on appeal from individual property assessments and provides that they shall be conclusive
and binding on the municipal assessor, the taxing district and parties to the appeal for the assessment year and for the two succeeding years, except as to changes in the value of the property occurring after the assessment date. Nothing in its language operates as a qualification on the rule to which we have referred.
N.J.S.A. 54:2-37, on which objection (3) is predicated, is no more helpful to appellant. In connection with revision and correction of the county board equalization table, the Division is authorized to "make all orders necessary to carry out the provisions of this section, ...