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City of Passaic v. Passaic County Board of Taxation

Decided: June 25, 1958.

CITY OF PASSAIC, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
PASSAIC COUNTY BOARD OF TAXATION, AND DIVISION OF TAX APPEALS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



On certified appeal from the Division of Tax Appeals, Department of the Treasury, to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court.

For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Heher, Wachenfeld, Burling, Francis and Proctor. For reversal -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Heher, J.

Heher

We certified, sua sponte, an appeal taken by the plaintiff City of Passaic from a judgment of the State Division of Tax Appeals affirming the Passaic County Equalization Table established by the county board of taxation for the year 1957 under R.S. 54:3-18, attesting to "the assessed valuations of real property, the ratio of assessments to true value, the percentages by which such valuations have been increased or decreased, and the true valuations as finally determined by us for the year."

On September 28, 1956 the Director of the State Division of Taxation promulgated a table of equalized valuations for Passaic County under the State School Aid Law. L. 1954, c. 85, N.J.S.A. 18:10-29.30 et seq. The table was on that day forwarded by the Director to the clerk of each municipality and the secretary of each county board of taxation,

as required by L. 1954, c. 86, N.J.S.A. 54:1-35.1, accompanied by a letter stating that the table had been certified to the State Commissioner of Education for use in the determination of the amount of state school aid for the school year 1957-1958, and was thereby promulgated according to the terms of the last-cited act; that "there are being sent to the assessor's office in each municipality copies of the lists of usable and non-usable sales transactions used by the Division of Taxation in determining the assessment ratio and equalized valuation of that district"; that "[c]opies of such lists are also being furnished to the county board of taxation together with statements setting forth the procedures and computations used in developing the assessment ratios and equalized valuations for each of the municipalities within the county," and "[t]his additional information is, of course, available to interested municipal officials at the office of the county board." Reference was made to the "adequacy of sampling," the Division's experience, and the method used "in developing the 1955 Table."

On the petition of certain taxing districts of the county directed to the State Division of Tax Appeals, a review of the table was had and the result was changes in the ratios of four districts, as follows:

Passaic 38.39 to 38.93

Pompton Lakes 26.29 to 27.08

Totowa 31.22 to 32.13

West Milford 22.81 to 24.38

On January 17, 1957 the Passaic County Board of Taxation issued a preliminary county equalization table for 1957 pursuant to R.S. 54:3-17, and then came the final certification of March 8, 1957, sustained by the judgment of the State Division of Tax Appeals now under review.

The insistence is that the Division and the county board erred (a) "in failing to lay before the representatives of the taxing districts the data underlying the determination of average assessment ratios" and "to afford the taxing districts ...


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