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In Re Special Sidewalk Tax

OPINION FILED JANUARY 14, 1980.

IN RE SPECIAL SIDEWALK TAX. — (JOHN W. YODER ET AL., OBJECTORS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE CITY OF BLOOMINGTON, PETITIONER-APPELLEE.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. LUTHER H. DEARBORN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE TRAPP DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Objectors appeal from the order of the trial court which overruled and disallowed their objections to a special tax for sidewalk purposes and sustained the tax as valid and lawful.

By ordinance approved August 25, 1975, the municipality required the repair and construction of certain sidewalks to be paid as provided in sections 11-84-1 through 11-84-8 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, pars. 11-84-1 through 11-84-8).

Section 11-84-2 provides, in part:

"The ordinance shall require all owners of lots, blocks, tracts, or parcels of land touching the line of a proposed sidewalk to construct or repair a sidewalk in front of or touching upon their respective lots, blocks, tracts, or parcels of land in accordance with the specifications of the ordinance, within 30 days after the mailing of notice of passage of the ordinance, addressed to the party who last paid the general taxes on the respective lots, blocks, tracts, or parcels." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, par. 11-84-2.

Section 11-84-3 authorizes a billing of the costs for the work and directs the preparation of a list of the parcels of the real estate touching the sidewalks and "the names of the parties who last paid the general taxes on the respective lots, blocks, tracts, or parcels * * *." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, par. 11-84-3.

The tax assessed for the sidewalk repairs associated with the commercial property of the objectors was approximately $2,000. The filed objections did not challenge the validity of the tax or of the proceedings incident to the adoption of the ordinance specifying the work done. The sum of the objection is that objectors did not receive the actual mailed notice of the passage of the ordinance and thus they were deprived of the "opportunity to construct or repair of the sidewalk" rather than permit the city to do so. Objectors asked that the entire assessment be declared void as to them and that the installment of tax paid be ordered to be refunded.

Objectors were grantees in a deed dated May 27, 1975, from a grantor identified as a "devisee * * * of Edna Ostrum, deceased." This deed was recorded on June 17, 1975. On June 16, 1975, an objector paid the 1974 real estate taxes by his business check.

Section 196 of the Revenue Act of 1939 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 120, par. 677) made applicable in these proceedings through section 11-84-5 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, par. 11-84-5) provides:

"Whenever any person pays the taxes charged on any property, the collector shall enter such payment in his book, and give a receipt therefor, specifying by whom paid (if other than the assessee and if so requested), the amount paid, what year paid for, and the property and value thereof on which the same was paid, according to its description in the collector's books, * * *. The collector shall enter, opposite each tract or lot of land, the name and post office address of the person paying tax if such person is other than the assessee and has requested a receipt specifying by whom the tax was paid." (Emphasis added.)

It is not contended that the objector who paid the 1974 real estate tax in 1975 requested that the tax records show that payment was by a person other than the person in whose name the tax was assessed, i.e., Edna Ostrum. As a result the tax payment was recorded "PD. BY ADDRESSEE" in the records of tax payments.

The parties stipulated that the notice of the passage of the ordinance was mailed on or about May 28, 1976. The trial court found that on the date of the mailing of the notice "Edna Ostrum, according to the records of the Treasurer of McLean County, was the person who last paid the general real estate taxes on the subject property." This finding of fact is not contested by the objectors.

The trial court further found that:

"In sending notice of passage of Ordinance No. 1975-94 to Edna Ostrum on or about May 28, 1976, the City of Bloomington complied with the requirements of Section 11-84-2 of the Illinois Municipal Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 24, § 11-84-2) which requires that notice of passage of special tax ordinance be sent to the ...


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