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Maricopa County Municipal Water Conservation District Number One v. Oglesby

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 5, 1939

MARICOPA COUNTY MUNICIPAL WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT NUMBER ONE, an Irrigation District, Appellant,
v.
ED OGLESBY, as Treasurer of Maricopa County, Arizona, and Ex-officio Treasurer of MARICOPA COUNTY MUNICIPAL WATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT NUMBER ONE, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of thw County of Maricopa. M. T. Phelps, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Messrs. Hayes & Allee, for Appellant.

Mr. Richard R. Harless, County Attorney, and Mr. Leslie C. Hardy, his Deputy, for Appellee.

Mr. Chas. H. Reed, for San Carlos Irrigation & Drainage District, Amicus Curiae.

OPINION

[53 Ariz. 512] LOCKWOOD, J.

Maricopa County Municipal Water Conservation District No. 1, hereinafter called plaintiff, brought an action in mandamus against Ed Oglesby, as treasurer of Maricopa county and as ex-officio treasurer of plaintiff, hereinafter called defendant, asking that he be compelled to pay over to plaintiff, and credit to the fund of plaintiff which was in his possession as such ex-officio treasurer, the sum of $7,318.39, being interest upon delinquent taxes of plaintiff and which had been collected by defendant in his capacity as county treasurer. An alternative writ was issued, and in his reply defendant demurred to the complaint, which demurrer was sustained by the [53 Ariz. 513] court. Plaintiff electing to stand on the complaint as filed, judgment of dismissal was rendered, and this appeal taken.

The only question at issue is whether the laws of Arizona, as they existed during the times referred to in plaintiff's complaint, authorize and sanction the payment of interest on delinquent taxes due the plaintiff and collected by the defendant as county treasurer, to the general fund of Maricopa county.

Irrigation districts, such as plaintiff, were first established by chapter 67, Session Laws of 1912, which chapter was carried forward in substance as chapter 4 of title 55 of the Code of 1913. Section 5388 of that Code provided for the raising of money by taxation to meet the expenses of operating the districts. The tax was to be levied upon the real estate only in the district, and instead of being the ordinary ad valorem tax, based on the true value of the land, it was in effect an acreage tax, for all land in the district subject to the tax was required to be valued at the same rate per acre. The amount required was certified by the directors of the district to the board of supervisors, and the latter body made the levy, which was collected by the county treasurer, and when collected by him was credited to the special fund of the district, of which he was made ex-officio district treasurer. Section 5392 provided:

"The revenue laws of this state for the assessment, levying and collection of taxes on real estate for county purposes, except as herein modified, shall be applicable for the purposes of this chapter, including the

Page 258

enforcement of penalties and forfeitures for delinquent taxes."

At that time chapter 7 of Title 49 of the Code of 1913 dealt with delinquent taxes. Section 4924 thereof provided that certain fees should be charged for the collection of these taxes, and that

[53 Ariz. 514] "... All fees collected by any county officer under the provisions of this act shall be by him paid to the county treasurer for the benefit of the general fund of the county, taking the county treasurer's receipt therefor in duplicate, one of which he shall retain; the other must be filed with the clerk of the board of supervisors." (Italics ours.)

In 1917 our revenue system was amended by chapter 37 of the regular session to provide that the taxes for all municipalities not operating under special charters, which had theretofore been assessed, levied and collected in the manner provided by the local ordinance, should be assessed and collected by the county treasurers in the same manner as state and county taxes. The only thing which the municipalities had to do was to compute and levy the rate necessary to raise the amount of revenue which they desired, and to certify it to the board of supervisors, and to ...


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