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People Ex Rel. Condon v. Commonwealth Edison

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 20, 1978.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. HARRY R. CONDON, COUNTY TREASURER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

COMMONWEALTH EDISON COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Tazewell County; the Hon. IVAN L. YONTZ, Judge, presiding.

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

This appeal concerns tax objection proceedings in the Circuit Court of Tazewell County. The plaintiff-appellant, the People of the State of Illinois ex rel. Harry R. Condon, county treasurer and ex-officio collector of taxes of Tazewell County, Illinois, filed an application for judgment for delinquent taxes for the year 1974 against the defendant-appellee, Commonwealth Edison Company. The defendant filed an objection as to the method of levy by School District No. 108 for its working cash fund. The plaintiff has appealed from the judgment order of the trial court sustaining defendant's tax objection.

The Board of Education of School District No. 108 in Tazewell County made a levy for working cash purposes for the year 1974 in the amount of $117,500, for which a rate of $0.005 on $100 of assessed valuation was extended for such purposes. School District No. 108 in making the levy for working cash purposes did not levy by separate resolution but rather included the levy with all of its other levies to provide funds for the operation of the school district. The levy, for working cash purposes, was made timely and, in all other respects, was properly made.

The issue presented for determination is whether the tax levy for a working cash fund, as provided for in section 20-3 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 122, par. 20-3), must be levied by a separate resolution, or can it be levied along with the educational and building taxes under section 17-11 of the School Code. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 122, par. 17-11.

The authority for levying a working cash fund for the year in question was only in section 20-3 of the School Code which provided in pertinent part:

"For the purpose of providing moneys for a working cash fund, the school board of any such school district may also levy annually upon all the taxable property of their district a tax, known as the `working cash fund tax,' not to exceed .05% of value, as equalized or assessed by the Department of Local Government Affairs. Provided, that: (1) no such tax shall be levied if bonds are issued in amount or amounts equal in the aggregate to the limitation set forth in Section 20-2 for the creation of a working cash fund; (2) no such tax shall be levied and extended if the amount of the tax so to be extended will increase the working cash fund to a total amount exceeding 75% of the taxes last extended for educational purposes of the district. The collection of the tax shall not be anticipated by the issuance of any warrants drawn against it. The tax shall be levied and collected, except as otherwise provided in this Section, in like manner as the general taxes of the district, and shall be in addition to the maximum of all other taxes, either educational or operations, building and maintenance fund taxes, now or hereafter to be levied for school purposes. It may be levied by separate resolution by the last Tuesday in September in each year." (Emphasis added.) Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 122, par. 20-3.

School District No. 108 levied the tax for their working cash fund pursuant to the above quoted statute without the benefit of a separate resolution. The certificate of levy used was that form provided by section 17-11 of the School Code which section otherwise provides in part: "The school board of each district shall ascertain, as near as practicable, annually, how much money must be raised by special tax for transportation purposes if any and for educational and for operations, building and maintenance purposes for the next ensuing year." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 122, par. 17-11.) The same section then sets out the only form of the certificate provided in the statute:

"CERTIFICATE OF TAX LEVY

We hereby certify that we require the sum of _________ dollars, to be levied as a special tax for transportation purposes and the sum of__________ dollars to be levied as a special tax for educational purposes, and the sum of __________ dollars to be levied as a special tax for operations, buildings and maintenance purposes, on the equalized assessed value of the taxable property of our district, for the year 19__.

Signed this ____ day of ___________, 19__.

A __________________ B _______________, President C __________________ D _______________, Clerk (Secretary) Dist. No. ___________, _______________ County."

(Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 122, par. 17-11.)

The language of that form was obviously adjusted to include the working cash fund tax.

The argument of the plaintiff county treasurer is that it is not mandatory under the language of section 20-3 of the School Code that a school district pass a separate resolution to levy a working cash tax. We agree with this argument and believe that the judgment order of the ...


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