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In Re Application of County Collector

OCTOBER 10, 1973.

IN RE APPLICATION OF COUNTY COLLECTOR OF COOK COUNTY FOR JUDGMENT AND ORDER OF SALE AGAINST CERTAIN REAL ESTATE — (THE PEOPLE EX REL. BERNARD J. KORZEN, COUNTY TREASURER AND EX OFFICIO COUNTY COLLECTOR, RELATOR-APPELLEE,

v.

W.E. BREWSTER, OBJECTOR-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HARRY G. COMERFORD, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE BURMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Appellant, W.E. Brewster, as a taxpayer, filed objections to the 1969 tax rate levied pursuant to the annual appropriation ordinance adopted by the Chicago park district. After considering the stipulation of facts entered into by the parties and the briefs and argument of counsel, an order was entered overruling the objections from which Brewster appeals.

The sole issue on appeal is whether the Chicago park district appropriation for "Custodial Care — Chicago Board of Education School Facilities," item 522 in the 1969 appropriation ordinance in the amount of $816,000, is vague, indefinite, and insufficiently itemized.

The challenged appropriation is described in the ordinance as follows:

"DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION

Responsible for programing and activating all recreational activities throughout the Park District, requiring consultation and cooperation with other community agencies when planning, developing, and directing recreation programs; supervision of technical staff in organizing and administering such programs; supervision and operation of beaches and swimming pools, together with such other related duties as provided in the Code or directed by the Board of Commissioners.

Code EXPENSE CLASSIFICATIONS Amount * * * Appropriated

500 — Contractual Services

522 — Custodial Care — Chicago Board of Education School Facilities

$816,000"

The taxpayer's objection to this appropriation is that it is vague, indefinite, unintelligible, and does not state its object or purpose as required by the applicable statute and therefore is invalid. The trial court overruled the taxpayer's objection upon the ground that the object and purpose of the appropriation are plain upon its face and we find that the record supports this conclusion. The appropriation is not subject to the criticism that it is indefinite and uncertain.

The statutory requirements for the 1969 Chicago park district budget were set forth in section 17 of the Chicago Park District Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1967, ch. 105, par. 333.17), the pertinent part of which is as follows:

"The statement of proposed expenditures shall show separately the amounts for ordinary recurring expenses, for extraordinary expenditures, for debt service, and for capital outlays, and shall be accompanied by detailed estimates of expenditure requirements setting forth the objects of expenditure such as personal service, contractual services, supplies and materials, and the like, and showing such further classification, by character, object, or purpose as may be required by the system of expenditure accounts adopted by the commission."

• 1-3 We agree with appellant that a taxpayer has a right to have the purpose of an appropriation stated in a sufficiently clear and intelligible manner, so that he can understand, from reading it, what it is for, and so that he may have a basis for determining its propriety. The appropriation ordinance of any taxing body must comply with the terms of the applicable statute and must be neither unduly vague nor insufficiently itemized. (People ex rel. McWard v. Wabash Ry., 395 Ill. 243, 70 N.E.2d 36; People ex rel. Wangelin v. Pitcairn, 371 Ill. 616, 21 N.E.2d 753.) With regard to the degree of itemization ...


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