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Southern Pacific Co. v. Maricopa County

Supreme Court of Arizona

September 28, 1942

SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY, a Corporation, Appellant,
v.
MARICOPA COUNTY, a Political Subdivision and Municipal Corporation of the State of Arizona, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Howard C. Speakman, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Messrs. Baker & Whitney and Mr. Lawrence L. Howe, for Appellant.

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

OPINION

[59 Ariz. 370] ROSS, J.

This action was brought by the Southern Pacific Company against Maricopa county and the tax collector thereof to recover the sum of $5,004.78 levied against it and paid in 1936 under protest, to be applied upon the bonded indebtedness of Buckeye Union High School District, through which its line of railroad passes. It claims its property is not liable for the tax and that it was levied and collected without authority of law.

The railroad company recovered judgment in part, from which no appeal has

Page 313

been taken. It was denied relief in part upon the facts appearing below, and has appealed.

On April 15, 1928, and while the boundaries of Common School District No. 33 and Buckeye High School District were identical, the latter district was bonded [59 Ariz. 371] by a vote of its property taxpayers for the sum of $38,000.

On July 1, 1929 Buckeye High School District enlarged its boundaries by adding thereto Common School Districts Nos. 25 and 47. This enlargement was effected by an order of the board of supervisors of Maricopa county as provided by law. Sec. 54-408, Arizona Code 1939. The district thereafter was known as Buckeye Union High School District. On December 15, 1929, such Buckeye Union High School District voted another bond issue in the sum of $60,000, making a total bonded indebtedness of said district of $98,000. Thereafter, and before the year 1936, the Buckeye Union High School District was again enlarged by the board of supervisors to include therein Common School District No. 49.

In 1936 the tax levied and assessed against plaintiff's property in Common School District No. 25 to apply on the amount due and accrued interest on the bond issue of $38,000 amounted to $228.23; the tax levied and assessed against its property in Common School District No. 47 to apply on the amount due and accrued interest on both bond issues, or $98,000, amounted to $746.97, and in Common School District No. 49 to $753.60. It is these sums, among others, the taxpayer seeks to recover.

The plaintiff's position is that the Buckeye Union High School District could not be enlarged, as was done, without an affirmative vote of the qualified real property taxpayers of the common school districts at an election called for that purpose, and that, since such procedure was not had, the tax levies against its property were made without authority of law.

In Southern Pacific Company v. Pima County, 38 Ariz. 11, 296 P. 533, 534, this court, after a careful consideration of the same question and the law bearing thereon, held contrary to plaintiff's contention. [59 Ariz. 372] Plaintiff asks us to reconsider the decision in that case. Its chief reliance, as set forth in its argument and assignments, is upon the wording of section 13, Article VII of the state Constitution, reading as follows:

"Questions upon bond issues or special assessments shall be submitted to the vote of real property taxpayers, who shall also in all respects be qualified electors of this state, and of the political ...


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