Simpson, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).
[104 NJSuper Page 501] The Bergen County Board of Taxation brought this action in lieu of prerogative writs, in the nature of mandamus, to compel the governing bodies and tax assessors (or boards of assessors, as appropriate) of seven municipalities to comply with its orders of August 18, 1967, the significant thrust of which were to require complete revaluation programs whereby each parcel of real estate in the respective municipalities would be appraised. Most of the facts were stipulated, and the testimony of the only witness, Dante Leodori, secretary of the Bergen County Board of Taxation, was undisputed.
Consent orders for revaluation were entered with respect to four boroughs, so that the trial proceeded against only the Borough of Fairview, and Cities of Garfield and Hackensack. Because of the passage of time, plaintiff amended its complaint to require the revaluations to be effective for the year 1970 instead of 1969.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 54:4-2.27 plaintiff has established the percentage level of taxable value of real property for assessment purposes in Bergen County at 100% of true value. It also has made continuing studies and determined "average assessment ratios" and "coefficients of deviation" for the 70 municipalities in the county. An "average assessment ratio" is an average of percentage ratios of assessed values to selling prices, while a "coefficient of deviation" is the ratio of the average deviation to the average assessment-sales ratio. The figures are not disputed, and for the three municipalities were as follows:
Average Assessment Coefficient of
Municipality Ratio Deviation
Plaintiff then decided that municipalities would be ordered to proceed with revaluation programs where their average assessment ratio was less than 85% and their coefficient of deviation exceeded 10%. By the time of the trial, figures were available for a subsequent sampling period, but in none of the three municipalities did the average assessment ratio reach 85%, and in all three the coefficients of deviation were in excess of 10%. Although plaintiff acted in a formal manner, with minutes and resolutions supporting its actions and orders, there has been no approval by the Director of the Division of Taxation, Department of the Treasury, State of New Jersey (hereinafter "Director") of either the orders to revalue or the 85% and 10% figures which were the basis for the orders. On the other hand, the "Rules of the Bergen
County Board of Taxation" have been so approved, including rule XIV which provides as follows:
"The Assessor or Secretary of the Board of Assessors of any taxing district which has commenced a revaluation or reassessment program, shall submit to the Secretary of the County Board of Taxation reports of the progress of the revaluation or ...