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Wood Dale Pub. Lib. Dist. v. Vil. of Itasca

SEPTEMBER 27, 1974.

THE WOOD DALE PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

THE VILLAGE OF ITASCA ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Du Page County; the Hon. LE ROY RECHENMACHER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE BEAM DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This appeal is from a judgment of the circuit court of Du Page County in a statutory proceeding for judicial review of action taken by the Village of Itasca. Two parcels of land situated in the Wood Dale Public Library District were annexed to the Village of Itasca. This resulted in the disconnection of the land from the Wood Dale Public Library District. The Library District commenced the present litigation by filing petitions opposing the disconnections.

The petitioner, Wood Dale Public Library District, has operated as a public library district since 1962 and the respondent Village of Itasca is a municipal corporation that maintains a public library with elected library directors.

The Village of Itasca annexed a parcel of 113 acres referred to as the Commonwealth Edison property. Then, later, by a separate ordinance, Itasca annexed another parcel of 61 acres referred to as the Ralston Purina property. The two parcels which are situated on the perimeter of the Wood Dale Library District, are not subdivided. The parcels were assessed as farmland under the assessment roles of 1970 and are now zoned "M" (limited manufacturing) under the annexing ordinances.

Separate petitions were filed by the Wood Dale District opposing the disconnections. These were ultimately consolidated. The circuit court found that the loss of the assessed valuation of the two parcels by reason of disconnection from the Wood Dale Library District "will and would impair" the ability of the Library District to render adequate library services and ordered the disconnection of the two parcels "not to occur." The Village of Itasca and its library directors filed a post-trial motion which was denied. The Village appeals.

• 1 The controlling issue is whether the Wood Dale Public Library District as a matter of law under the petitions opposing disconnections met the burden of proving the truth of the allegations that the loss of assessed valuation by reason of such disconnections "will impair the ability of the District to render fully adequate library service to the territory remaining with the District." We hold that petitioner failed to sustain its burden of proof by competent evidence that disconnections "will impair" its ability to render fully adequate library service to the territory remaining within the district.

The 1970 assessed valuations for tax assessment purposes applicable to our case are: Commonwealth Edison parcel $67,020; Ralston Purina parcel $33,970; and a total valuation of $34,861,528 for all of the Wood Dale Library District. The combined total assessed valuation of the two parcels is less than three one-thousandths of the total assessed valuation of the District.

Section 3-1 of the Illinois Public Library District Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 81, § 1003-1) provides that a library district may levy for library purposes an annual tax not exceeding .12% of the taxable property within the district, as equalized and assessed by the Department of Local Government Affairs. The annual tax rate levied by the Wood Dale Library District was approximately 11.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The Wood Dale Library District could have extended the 1970 assessed valuation by the 12-cent rate that would have resulted in a levy of $41,833.83; instead, under the 11.9-cent rate it levied $348.61 less, or $41,485.22. The annual rate levied against the two parcels under the 1970 valuations produced total taxes in the amount of $120.17. If the Library District, exclusive of the two parcels in question, had levied the full 12-cent rate permitted, the taxes produced would have been $41,712.63 or $227 more than the District levied.

• 2 The Wood Dale Library District argues that the court must look to the tax year in which the court hearing was being held and thus must take into consideration the most recent valuations as of the date of the hearing. We cannot agree with this proposition which is speculative. If the court relied on that premise, then it would be necessary to have evidence as to the present value of all the property situated in the library district at the time of the hearing. The only just way in determining the ultimate issue is to compare the two parcels that were disconnected with the assessed valuation of the district and thus use the year 1970 for all purposes in order to compare the financial loss to the library district.

A witness testified that the value of the two parcels of real estate presently zoned "manufacturing" have a value far in excess of the then assessed valuations. His testimony further reflects that the subject property would be improved with manufacturing buildings or commercial enterprises within 5 to 10 years. The lower court properly sustained an objection to this testimony as to the cash value and projected assessed value. The testimony was highly speculative. In any event, the testimony failed to consider values of the entire Wood Dale District.

• 3 Testimony of Mrs. Hannoy, a member of the board of trustees and treasurer of the Library District, concluded that the Library District does not have adequate tax funds to operate the Library District in a manner to meet the minimum standards prescribed by the American Library Association. There was no comparision with other library districts nor an analysis of the operation of the Wood Dale District. Thus we find this testimony was founded on conclusions.

• 4 Wood Dale District contends that under section 3-7(b) of the act relating to public libraries (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 81, § 3-7(b)), the Village of Itasca shall pay to Wood Dale District library taxes collected by Itasca from taxes levied upon taxable property within the library district. There is no reported case interpreting this statute. We hold for purposes of this case that this statute is construed to cover the disbursement of taxes levied and extended prior to the annexation of the two parcels and pending the disconnection of the two parcels through final court proceedings.

Wood Dale District further urges that section 4-11 should be considered. We conclude this statutory provision has no application to the facts here presented during the interim period of annexation and has no force or effect subsequent to a valid disconnection proceedings.

The Wood Dale District cites People ex rel. Kelly v. Lund, 25 Ill.2d 387, 185 N.E.2d 174, which interpreted the Fire Protection Districts Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 127 1/2, § 31b) (comparable in some respects to the library act, ch. 81, § 4-11). The court there concluded that where a portion of a fire protection district was subsequently annexed to a city with a fire department, the city should not exercise any powers over that portion of the district with respect to fire protection, and regulation, and objections to fire protection taxes by the city over that portion of the district were sustained. This case was decided prior to the passage of the Fire Protection Districts Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 127 1/2, § 38.3). This statute entitled "Disconnection by operation of law * * *" is virtually the same as section 2-9a of the Public Library District Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 81, par. 1002-9.1). Section 20 of the Fire Protection District Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 127 1/2, par. 38.3), is interpreted by the court in the recent case of In re Roberts Park Fire Protection District, 20 Ill. App.3d 282, 314 N.E.2d 208. The order of the trial court permitting disconnection was reversed. The facts in that case are decidedly different from the instant case. In the Park Fire District cause, the portion of the district which was located within the ...


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