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Town of Bloomfield v. Academy of Medicine of New Jersey

Decided: June 27, 1966.

TOWN OF BLOOMFIELD, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
THE ACADEMY OF MEDICINE OF NEW JERSEY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



For reversal -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall and Schettino. For affirmance -- None.

Per Curiam

We granted certification on appellant's petition (46 N.J. 56 (1965)) from so much of the judgment of the Appellate Division (87 N.J. Super. 420 (1965)) as affirms the judgment of the State Division of Tax Appeals which held taxable appellant's property known as Block 517, Lot 23, 317 Belleville Avenue, Bloomfield, New Jersey. The sole question is whether appellant's property meets the test within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6 holding as tax-exempt, property which is "actually and exclusively used in the work of associations and corporations organized exclusively for the moral and mental improvement of men, women and children * * *." Appellant has specifically abandoned before us the argument that its property is tax-exempt by virtue of its use for "colleges, schools, academies and seminaries," as provided for in the same section.

For the 1960 year respondent levied an assessment of $17,200 on this property -- $9,200 on land and $8,000 on improvements which consisted of a building containing executive offices of The Academy of Medicine, meeting rooms, rooms with historical material of The Academy and of medicine

in New Jersey, and a barn-type structure in the rear used solely for storage purposes.

The Academy appealed to the Essex County Board of Taxation on the ground that all its properties were exempt from taxation under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6. A hearing was held and the Essex County Board of Taxation cancelled said assessments. Bloomfield then appealed to the Division of Tax Appeals which reversed the judgments of the county board and reinstated the assessments on both properties.

The Academy then appealed to the Appellate Division which affirmed the judgment of the Division of Tax Appeals relating to 317 Belleville Avenue. At the same time, the Appellate Division remanded to the Division of Tax Appeals that portion of the appeal concerning the exempt status of the Library (307 Belleville Avenue) itself for the purpose of allowing the parties to present evidence as to whether the library is exempt as "actually and exclusively used as a public library" under N.J.S.A. 54:4-3.6. As will appear from the discussion upon the exempt status of the executive office building we find that the remand is unnecessary by virtue of our holding the 317 Belleville Avenue building to be tax-exempt.

Concededly, appellant was organized under the name "The Academy of Medicine of Northern New Jersey" by a group of physicians and dentists as a nonprofit association, pursuant to L. 1898, c. 181, p. 422, "An Act to incorporate associations not for pecuniary profit," as amended (which law is the source of N.J.S.A. 15:1-1, et seq.), and L. 1907, c. 247, p. 587, "An Act to provide for the incorporation of pathological and anatomical associations for the advancement of medical and surgical science," as amended, which is the source of N.J.S.A. 45:9-43 et seq. At the time of The Academy's founding in 1911 New Jersey lacked a medical or dental school and had few resources for post-graduate medical or dental education. The name of appellant was changed to "The Academy of Medicine of New Jersey" on March 10, 1953. The Academy was located in Newark from the time

of its founding until April 1959, when it moved to Bloomfield.

The objects of the appellant are stated in its Certificate of Incorporation as follows:

"The purposes for which the Association shall be formed are pathological and anatomical study and investigation, and the advancement and promotion of medical and surgical science, by such means as to them shall appear expedient and proper, and also maintenance of a public medical library."

Appellant has a membership of over 1,800 physicians and dentists. It maintains the medical library of over 30,000 volumes, which is the largest medical library in New Jersey. The library is open to the public and is used by elementary and high school students, medical and dental students, ...


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