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Judicial decisions of the State Superintendent of Common Schools, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Commissioner of Education, from 1822 to 1913 online

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the public roads of the State, is not well taken. There is no proof that the said
Hartshorn owns the fee of said land used and occupied by said railroads, subject
to the rights of the corporations of the user thereof ; and it is shown by the sworn
statements of Hartshorn that his land was taken by the C. N. Y. & W. Railroad
Company under condemnation proceedings, and he has been paid therefor. The
N. Y., L. E. & W. Railroad was constructed many years ago through the farm
or real estate of which Hartshorn is now the owner, and admitting, for the
purpose of argument only, that said Hartshorn has the fee of its roadbed etc.,
through his said farm, it is not material, as the property of the C. N. Y. & W.
Railroad Company divides and separates said real estate or farm of said Harts-
horn into two separate parcels.

This Department has uniformly held that in the numerous cases in which
land lying in one body, etc., as stated in said section 63, is crossed or cut through
by a railroad, the land of the railroad company being taxable property, and
coming between the two parcels of land, divides them so that the tracts of land
on each side of the railroad will not, under the meaning of said section 63, be
deemed or regarded as land lying in one body.

Superintendent Ruggles in appeal no. 3232, decided October 5, 1883, held
that when a farm lies in different districts, but is separated by railroad property,
it cannot be regarded as land lying in one body, and the respective parts must
be assessed in the district in which they lie.

I find and decide, That in November 1894, said real estate or farm of said
Charles H. Hartshorn, comprising 385 acres, and situate in two school districts,
was not, within the meaning of said section 63, article 7, title 7, of the Consoli-
dated School Law of 1894, "land lying in one body"; that in November 1894,
the board of education of school district no. 7, of the town and city of Hornells-
ville, had no jurisdiction or legal authority to assess and tax for school purposes
the said real estate or farm consisting of 385 acres to said Charles H. Harts-
horn, and that such assessment and taxation was and is void; that the trustee
of said school district no. 9, town of Hornellsville, in the year 1894, had no
jurisdiction or legal authority to assess and tax for school purposes the said
real estate or farm consisting of 385 acres to said Charles H. Hartshorn, and
that such assessment and taxation is void ; that the respective parts or portions
of said real estate or farm of said Charles H. Hartshorn, consisting of 385
acres, situate respectively in said school districts no. 7 and no. 9, should be
assessed and taxed for school purposes by the trustees of said districts respec-
tively, in the school districts in which said parts or portions respectively lie.

The appeal herein is sustained.



JUDICIAL decisions: assessments 79

It is ordered. That so much of the tax Hst and assessment made by the
board of education of school district no. 7, town of Hornellsville, on or about
Xovember 12, 1894, as assessed and taxed said Charles H. Hartshorn for a
stock farm of 385 acres, at a valuation of $20,000, be, and the same hereby is,
vacated and set aside.

It is further ordered, That so much of the tax list and assessment made
by Oscar Wheeler as trustee of school district no. 9, town of Hornellsville, in
1894, as assessed and taxed said Charles H. Hartshorn for a stock farm of
385 acres, at a valuation of $20,000, be, and the same hereby is, vacated and set
aside.

It is further ordered. That the board of education of said school district
no. 7, and the trustees of said school district no. 9, of the town of Hornellsville,
respectively, be, and they are, hereby ordered and directed to correct their
respective tax lists and assessments, made and issued in the year 1894, in rela-
tion to said assessment and taxation of said real estate or farm of said Charles
H. Hartshorn of 385 acres, in conformity with the foregoing finding, decision
and orders made by me herein.



.\ person set off from one district to another, by an order that does not take effect until
three months after its issue, will be liable on any taxes levied in the district from which
he is set off, prior to the taking effect of such order.

Decided June 2, 1857

Van Dyck, Superintendent

In March 1857, an order was made, by the school commissioner having juris-
diction, transferring the lands of the appellant and others, from district no. 1
to district no. 2. The trustees of no. i having withheld their consent, this order
will not take effect till the expiration of three months from the 1st day of April
1857, when notice thereof was served. While the alteration was inchoate, the
district meeting was held, against the proceedings of which this appeal is directed,
and a tax to defray the expenses of changing site and building a new school-
house was voted. The appellant objects that the effect will be to charge him with
the payment of a tax for constructing a schoolhouse from which he receives no
benefit.

Held, That this was a proper consideration for the judgment of the inhab-
itants of district no. i, in determining whether they would build at once or post-
pone till after the alteration should have taken effect. The appellant continues
an inhabitant of the district for all purposes until the ist day of July. If the
appellant is set off from the district with'out his consent, he will be exempted
from paying a tax from building in no. 2, for four years. If he has given his
consent, he is responsible for all the consequences, and can not be permitted to
trammel the action of either district for the purpose of avoiding any personal
charge or inconvenience.



liO THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

3723

In the matter of the difference between school district no. i, Franklinville, and
school district no. 7, Lyndon, in the county of Cattaraugus.

Under chapter 59, Laws of 1886, a person whose place of residence is divided by a town
line may elect in which of two towns he will pay his tax, and this statute is held to
apply to school district taxes.

Decided November 14, 1S88

Draper, Superintendent

This matter comes before me by an agreed statement of facts out of which
has arisen a question as to the proper place of taxing the lands of one Matthew
Newman for school purposes.

It appears that Mr Newman is the owner of a farm which lies in two dis-
tricts. He occupies the land and works it all as one farm and resides in a house
situate thereon, which is divided by the line which divides the districts. Mr
Newman claims to be a resident of the town of Franklinville, where he votes
and to which town he pays taxes on the land in question. Under chapter 59
of the Laws of 1886, Mr Newman, in a case of this kind, would have a right
to elect in which of the two towns in which his property is situate he would
pay taxes, and it appears from the papers submitted that he has so elected, and
wishes to pay his entire tax in the town of Franklinville.

I therefore decide that school district no. i of the town of Franklmville,
Cattaraugus county, is entitled to assess the entire farm of Matthew Newman
for school purposes.



3538

In the matter of the appeal of J. W. Rood v. John Latimer, trustee of school
district no. 16, town of Pomfret, Chautauqua county.

Trustees, in assessing railroad property, are to take tlie assessors' valuation, filed pursuant

to chapter 694, Laws of 1867.
Decided April 18, 18S7

Draper, Superintenden t

This is an appeal by a taxpayer in district no. 16, town of Pomfret, Chau-
tauqua county, N. Y., against John Latimer, sole trustee of said district.

The appellant alleges as a ground for appeal, that in preparing a certain
tax list, said trustee failed to include all the property within the district, belong-
ing to a certain railroad company, and all of certain other property belonging to
a certain telegraph company.

It appears from the pleadings of the appellant, that the town assessors
apportioned to the district, the railroad and telegraph property in question, pur-
suant to chapter 694, Laws of 1867, as amended, and filed the statement thereof
in the town clerk's office. It is provided by said act that all taxes against said
companies shall be levied and assessed upon the said assessors' valuation, until



JUDICIAL decisions: ASiESSMENTS 8l

their next annual assessment or apportionment. This it appears the trustee did ;
consequently, there is no ground for tliis appeal, and the same, therefore, is
dismissed.



3946

In the matter of the appeal of David Horton v. Philip Antis, as trustee of
school district no. 15, town of Greenville, county of Greene.

An inhabitant of a school district, whose assessed valuation upon property by the town
assessors was $2500, was assessed upon the same property by the school district trustee
for school purposes upon a valuation of $5000, without receiving notice of such increase
in assessed valuation. Held, illegal.

Decided December 30, 1890

Draper, Superintendent

The appellant, a taxable inhabitant of school district no. 15, town of Green-
ville, county of Greene, alleges that the trustee has wrongfully and illegally
increased an assessinent of $2500 upon the property as it appears upon the town
assessment roll, to $5000, without giving to him notice thereof, and an oppor-
tunity to show that the increase was unwarranted.

The trustee has attached a warrant dated November 19, 1890, to tlie tax list,
and delivered the same to the district collector.

No answer has been received, and the irregularity complained of is admitted
by the trustee who has requested and been given permission to withdraw and
correct the tax list.

The appeal is sustained, and the trustee is directed to correct his tax list,
and comply with the provisions of law relating to the taxation of property for
school purposes.



4006

In the matter of the appeal of George W. IMartin v. Eli B. Shelmandine, trustee
of school district no. 6, town of Blenheim, county of Schoharie.

Appeal by a minister of the gospel from the action of a school trustee in refusing to allow
an exemption of $1500 upon certain property in the school district.

The statute provides for an exemption to ministers of the gospel of the amount claimed
from the value of the property, real and personal, or either, if the value thereof ex-
ceeds $1500.

But this appeal is dismissed for the reason that the evidence does not disclose what property
the appellant may be possessed of in the district and elsewhere.

Decided September 17, 1891

Draper, Superintendent

This appeal is taken from the action of the trustee of school district no. 6
of the town of Blenheim, Schoharie county, in refusing to allow the appellant



82 THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YOKK

an exception of $1500 from the assessed valuation of his real estate lying in
the above-mentioned district, which he claims as a minister of the gospel. The evi-
dence is that upon the town assessment roll the exemption claimed by the appel-
lant was allowed him, but that the trustee in preparing the district tax list, dis-
allowed the exemption and so advised the appellant, basing his action upon the
fact that the property assessed was not occupied by the appellant, and that the
appellant resided in another district. The appellant appeared before the trustee
at a time designated by that officer, and made statements claiming the exemption,
but declined to make a statement in writing.

It is conceded by the respondent that the appellant is a minister of the
gospel and is pursuing his vocation in an adjoining district. The appellant insists
that his home is still in district no. 6 of the town of Blenheim, and that he spends
some time there with his family, and that the property is in charge of his son
and managed under his direction.

There is some conflict in the evidence as to the exact position the son occupies
as the possessor of the farm, but if it is a fact that the son is working the farm
upon shares, he would be liable to taxation for the property, but that question
does not necessarily arise upon the consideration of this appeal.

Under section 5 of title i of chapter 13 of part i of the Revised Statutes,
the appellant would be entitled to have deducted from the value of his property
вАФ if the same both real and personal or either of them, exceeded in value the
sum of $1500. From the evidence submitted, I am unable to determine what
property, both real and personal, the appellant is possessed of. Whatever it may
be, he is entitled to but one exemption of $1500. He may have other real estate
situated elsewhere, or he may have personal property of a sufficient amount or
more, which would cover, the exemption to which the law entitles him. The
courts have held that a minister of the gospel is entitled to this exemption,
whether he occupies his real estate or not. (See People ex rel. Mann v. Peterson,
31 Hun 421.)

It follows, therefore, that this appeal must be dismissed.



3551

In the matter of the appeal of Myra Kent from the action of Marvin Phillips,
sole trustee of school district no. 16, town of Harmony, county of Chau-
tauqua, in assessing her for personal property.

A tax upon personal property will be set aside when it appears that a trustee made an
original assessment, and did not give to the party assessed twenty days notice of such
assessment before delivering the ta.x list to the collector.

Decided January 3, 1887

F. A. Brightman, Esq., attorney for appellant
A. C. Packard, Esq., attoniev for respondent



JUDICIAL decisions: ASSESSiMENTS S3

Draper, Superintendent

This is an appeal by Myra Kent, a resident of school district no. i6. town
of Harmony, Chautauqua county, N. Y., from the action of the trustee of said
district in making an original assessment against her for personal property m
a tax list delivered to the collector of said district on or about November 23,
18S6.

The appellant alleges as grounds of appeal :

1 That she was not assessed for personal property upon the last assessment
roll of the town.

2 That she has no personal property liable to assessment or taxation.

3 That although the assessment of personal property to the appellant, by
the trustee, was an original assessment, notice thereof was not given to her ui.til
several days after the tax list containing such assessment had been delivered to
the collector.

The notice served is annexed to appellant's papers.

The trustee, answering the appeal, seeks to justify his assessment of appel-
lant by certain allegations relative to property controlled by another, apparently
for the benefit of appellant, and seeks to convey the idea that it is in the control
of some person as guardian or trustee of the appellant.

From the allegations of the answer, it is not at all clear that this appellant
has any property liable to taxation. The appellant unqualifiedly denies that she
has. In any event, the trustee has neglected to proceed according to the statute,
\n making an original assessment in the following particulars :

1 Twenty days notice should have been given the appellant to enable her
to appear and show cause why the assessment for personal property should not
have been made. The notice served, gave her but nineteen days notice.

2 The roll containing an original assessment should have been open for
inspection for twenty days and notice thereof given; and this before the delivery
thereof to the collector.

It appears the roll was delivered to the collector three days earlier than
the date of the notice given to the appellant.

I shall not pass upon the question as to whether the appellant is liable to
taxation upon personal property, but she is certainly entitled to the opportunity
the law gives her to examine the tax list and present her objections to the
assessment.

I sustain the appeal and set aside the tax on personal property against the
appellant and direct the respondent to withdraw and correct the tax list
accordingly.



84 THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK

3857

In the matter of the appeal of Henry Ziengenfuss v. school district no. 2, of
the town of Avoca, county of Steuben.

The exemption of certain propertj' of ministers of the gospel from taxation is only intended
to persons who are acting as sucli and derive their support from such employment.

Trustees must follow the town assessment roll except in special cases, when an original
assessment may be made, but only after giving the statutory notice. In a case where
the town assessors granted a person exemption from taxation as a minister of the
gospel, and the school trustees had given no notice of an original assessment, but had
included his property in a tax list, licld, that it must be stricken out.

Decided February 17, 1890

Draper, Superintendent

Subdivisions 8 and 9, title i, chapter 13, of the Revised Statutes, provide
that the real estate of every minister of the gospel or priest of any denomination,
when occupied by him, and not exceeding the value of $1500, shall be exempt
from taxation. In case the value of such real estate exceeds $1500, then only
the excess is to be ta.xed.

The appellant in this case claims to be an ordained minister of a sect known
as "Advent Christians." He is not serving any organized church. He holds
meetings in his neighborhood occasionally, at which collections are taken for his
benefit. He is regularly engaged in the saddlery business, and maintains a shop
or store where he carries on such business, and sells articles appertaining thereto.
He owns real estate in which he resides and carries on his business, valued by
the town assessors at the suin of $1600. It seems to be the fact that the town
assessment rolls in 1S87 and i888 contained this property at its assessed valua-
tion, with memoranda to the effect that $1500 thereof was exempt from taxation.
It also seems to be the fact that such memoranda were placed upon the rolls in
one or two instances, at least, only after the payment of taxes by the appellant,
and that his demand for the return to him of such taxes as had been levied upon
$1500 of valuation, had in each case been complied with. But the school trustees,
in making out a tax list for school taxes in the district, have assessed him upon
the valuation of $i6oo. This appeal is brought in order to avoid the taxation
for school purposes upon the sum of $1500.

1 am not at all certain that the appellant is in circumstances to entitle him
to the exemption named in the statute. It seems to me very clear that he depends
for a livelihood upon the saddlery business more than upon ministerial service,
and it is very doubtful if it was the purpose of the Legislature to extend the
exemption to such a case, but I do not deem it necessarj' to determine that ques-
tion in this connection. It is the policy of the school laws to require trustees, in
making out a tax list, to follow the last revised assessment rolls of the town,
except in special cases where they have power to make an original assessment,
but it can be done only upon notice to the person interested. There was evidently
no such notice given in this case. In the absence of it, I think the trustees are
bound to follow the town assessment rolls. In any case of a character similar



JUDICIAL DECISION'S: ASSESSMENTS 85

to the one under consideration, it would seem to be the wisest and safest policy
for trustees to follow such rolls. It is always to be borne in mind that the town
assessment rolls are prepared by officers who are chosen with special reference
to such a service, and who must be presumed to be better informed as to what
circumstances will be sufficient ground for an exemption from taxation, within
the provisions of the statute, than school trustees are likely to be. While there
was evidently some doubt in the minds of the town assessors as to what their
duty was in this particular case, and while there is some confusion about what
they actually did. and the precise time when they did it, it still remains clear that
up to the present time the exemption has in fact been granted to him by the town
authorities. In view of this fact, and of the other one that the trustees have
never given him legal notice of an original assessment by them, I am constrained
to sustain his appeal, and direct that in the tax list appealed from, they grant him
the same exem.ption which the town authorities have extended to him.



BOARD OF EDUCATION

5202

In the matter of the appeal of Francis W. Borden and George Deuel from the
action of the board of education of union free school district no. 5, town
of Easton, Washington county.

A board of education is not authorized by law to borrow money to meet the general ex-
penses of maintaining a school except as provided in subdivision 19, section 15, title 8,
of the Consolidated School Law.

The afifairs of a school district should be managed within its resources and a board of educa-
tion should not incur a liability in excess of appropriations voted by the district or
authorized by law.

Decided September 21, 1905

Clarence E. Akin, attorney for appellant

Draper, Coiumissioner

This appeal is brought by two members of the board of education of union
free school district no. 5, Easton, Washington county, to compel such board to
issue a tax list to raise sufficient funds to meet the indebtedness of the district.
No answer has been filed in this appeal, but members of the board of education
who have voted to borrow money to meet outstanding bills have consulted this
Department on the questions involved herein and have agreed to issue a tax list
and raise an amount sufficient to liquidate the district's indebtedness. It is quite
probable that the board has already authorized the issuance of such tax list. It
is necessary, however, to take some action in this appeal in order to clear the
records of this Department.

This district is located in a prosperous farming community. It does not even
contain a small village. Several of the surrounding districts have contracted
with this district for the education of their children. The people of this district
are entitled to much credit for their efforts to maintain a school of advanced
grade under such adverse circumstances. It appears that the cost of maintain-
ing the school about three years ago was more than the board believed advisable
to raise by tax that year. The board therefore borrowed a sum of money to aid
in meeting the cost of maintaining the school. This indebtedness now exceeds
$600. Subdivision 19 of section 15 of title 8 of the Consolidated School Law
authorizes a board of education to borrow money in anticipation of taxes levied
but uncollected for the then current year and to issue certificates of indebtedness
therefor. These certificates can not be issued for a longer period than nine
months and not in excess of the amount of the tax levied. This is the only pro-
vision in the Consolidated School Law authorizing a board of education to borrow
money to meet the expense of maintenance of school. The money borrowed by

[S6]



JUDICIAL DECISIOiNS: BOARD OF EDUCATION 8/

tilis board was not borrowed in accordance with the provision of law above stated
and was therefore without legal authority. It appears that some of the trustees
gave personal notes to meet these obligations. The spirit shown by these indi-
viduals is commendable, but the transaction is not based upon sound business
methods or wise school administration. The affairs of a school district should be
managed within its resources and a board of education should not incur a liability
in excess of appropriations voted by the district or authorized by law.

The necessary funds for maintaining a school should be obtained by levying
a tax on the property of the district annually or as such funds are needed. Carry-
ing an indebtedness from year to year and paying interest thereon is unwise and
can not be permitted.

The appeal herein is sustained.

It is ordered, That the board of education of union free school district no.
5, town of Easton, Washington county, shall within 30 days from the date hereof
levy a tax on the taxable property of such district sufficient to meet all outstand-
ing indebtedness and cause the same to be collected as the Consolidated School
Law of the State provides.



5187

In the matter of the appeal of Janette E. Hutchins and Lillian A. Hutchins from
the action of the board of education of union free school district no. i,
town of Norfolk, St Lawrence county.

Ordinarily this Department will not interfere with the action of a board of education in



Online LibraryNew York (State). Superintendent of Common SchoolsJudicial decisions of the State Superintendent of Common Schools, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Commissioner of Education, from 1822 to 1913 → online text (page 10 of 188)