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not be combined. The board is to have nothing to do with individual assessments, except by appeal. and by sections 8553 and 8554 it is clear that the Legislature intended that the board should act upon certain classes only. These two sections need no construction. The classes of property are expressly indicated. The abstract of assessments required by section 8552, so far as real estate of the character here in question is concerned, must show “the value of all land in each civil township without improvements, the value of all improvements thereon, and the value of such land with improvements,” and shall be arranged in such manner "as to show by civil townships the number of acres, value, and average value of improved lands, and in like manner the number of acres, value, and average value of unimproved lands, total number of acres, total value and average value per acre of all lands, and the total value of all property, real and personal," and that "the value to be given in said abstract shall be the assessed valuation," except as to railroad property.
It is argued that the fact that this abstract, upon which the state board acts, must show the value of lands without improvements and the value with improvements, shows the legislative intention to keep improvements separate from the lands. This abstract shows the assessment of property as it appears in the county auditor's office. Real estate and the improvements thereon are listed separately, but the two together are assessed as real property, as the statute (section 8411) says that, "for the purpose of taxation, real property shall include all lands
and all buildings and fixtures thereon and appurtenances thereto.
A sufficient reason for listing lands and the improvements thereon separately is found in the requirement (section 8522) that the assessor shall annually "note and list all changes found in improvements on real estate, and make return thereof to the county auditor as in the year in which real estate is to be assessed." While the abstract does show the value of the land and the improvements separately, yet the ultimate showing required is “by civil townships, the number of acres, value and average value of improved lands and in like manner the number of acres, value and average value of unimproved lands, total number of acres, total value, and average value per acre of all lands." The statute does require that the abstract shall show the value of all improvements separate from the lands in each civil township, but it does not require that it shall show the total value of all improvements separate from the lands in the whole county. The equalization of the townships is not a matter for the state board to consider, but for the county board of review, and the total number of acres, total values and average value per acre of all lands in the county as the political subdivision, is
the subject-matter upon which the state board is to act. So that there is nothing in the above section furnishing any reason to authorize the state board to separate the improvements from the lands in the whole county. By section 8553 the board acts upon the totals of the several classes in each of the counties, and by section 8554 it acts upon the totals of all these classes except railroad property. If, from the wording of the above section, the board is authorized to consider the improvements separate from the land, it could also make other classifications, such as improved lands with improvements, improved lands without improvements, unimproved lands, city inlots, city outlots, improvements on such lots, and other classifications. It is true that the effect of the action of the board in increasing the value of the improvements was to increase the value of the land on which situated. But this cannot be said to amount to a mere irregularity, and therefore not necessarily invalid, for the reason that this would be dividing the lands of the county, other than city and town lots, into improved lands and unimproved lands, a classification the board is not authorized to make. The duty of equalizing the different classes of personal property in a county is imposed upon the county board of review, and it certainly could not be claimed that the board might, under the statute, increase the assessed valuation of the personal property in the county by dividing personal property into classes and increasing the assessed value of one of such classes, cattle for instance, by adding a certain per cent. to the total value of all the cattle in the county. Yet there is as much authority in the statute for making this classification as for classifying lands into improved lands and unimproved lands. If the board has jurisdiction of improvements on lands it must be because improvements are part of the land on which situated, because they cannot be within any of the other enumerated classes. But, if they constitute part of the lands within the meaning of the statute, there is no authority for considering them separate from the lands and thus in effect dividing this particular kind of land into two classes. There would be equally as good reasons for making other classifications as above indicated. We see no escape from the conclusion that lands means the lands and the improvements, and that it takes both to constitute the class designated in the statute. The state board of tax commissioners is a creature of the statute. The only author. ity it has relating to the assessment of property for taxation and equalizing assessments is to be derived from the statute. If the statute designates the subject-matter upon which it is to act, it has jurisdiction only of such subject-matter. If the statute has classified property for the purposes of equalizing assessments, such classification is conclusive upon the board. It is immaterial that a
different classification would bring about the two boards is entirely different. The state equally as good, or perhaps better, results. board may, no doubt, raise or decrease, by a The board has no authority to determine for uniform per cent., the valuation of all lands itself whether it will follow the statute or in a county, without changing the valuation of disregard the statute and follow a method personal property, or it may raise or decrease, of its own. The statute marks the limit of by a uniform per cent, the valuation of all its power and if it goes beyond the statute personal property in a county, without disits acts are void.
turbing the valuation of real estate; but it It is argued that statutes providing for the has nothing to do with adjusting the values assessment and collection of the public reve- of different parcels of land in the same counnues, being for the public good, should be ty. It is a board of special and limited powliberally construed. The reason underlying ers, and when it steps outside of its jurisdicthis is that the government must have reve- tion its acts are void. We can but conclude nue. But the ultimate result of the action of that the state board had no power to make the board may be a decrease in the amount of these orders, and that they are void." In public revenue. The object of equalization State v. Empanger, 73 Minn. 337, 76 N. W. is not to increase assessments or the public 53, the state board of equalization was aurevenues, but to take out inequalities in as- thorized to add to or deduct from the aggre sessments already made in some authorized gate valuation of real property in every counway. The end sought is relative equality ty, and to add to, or deduct from, the valuaamong the assessments throughout the state. tion of real property in any town or district Tax laws are not to be construed from the in any county, or the real property in any standpoint of the government alone, nor from county not in villages, towns, or cities, the standpoint of the taxpayer alone. There without raising or reducing other real propis not sufficient reason for saying that any erty in the county. In holding that the statute should be liberally construed in deter
board could not increase the assessable value mining the subject-matter upon which it is of acre property in a town 50 per centum and to operate. The question in every such case leave the value of lands platted into town is what did the Legislature intend? When lots in the same town unincreased, the court the subject-matter has been determined, as in said: “In none of these rules is the board tax laws, the provisions of the statute provid- given the power to distinguish between differing for the collection of the tax should be lib
ent kinds or classes of property in a district, erally construed. If the statute designates
If the statute designates town, or county, or to add to, or deduct from, certain subject-matters, it should not, by a the aggregate valuation of one kind or class liberal construction, be extended to cover
without raising or reducing the valuation of others, although they may be analogous. If another. It may increase or reduce the ag. classifications are expressly made, all other gregate valuation of real property in a counclassifications are excluded, and to include ty, treating such county as an entirety, or it classifications in addition to those designated may equalize by adding to, or deducting from, by the statute is not liberal construction, but valuations as between towns, villages, and is legislation. In United States v. Wiggles
cities in the same county, or as between real worth, 2 Story, 369, Fed. Cas. No. 16,690, Mr. property within these political subdivisione Justice Story said: “It is, as I conceive, a
and that without, in the same county, but in general rule in the interpretation of all stat- so doing it must treat alike all real property utes, levying taxes or duties upon subjects or within any of these subdivisions." citizens, not to extend their provisions, by im It was held in Orr v. State Board, 2 Idaho plication, beyond the clear import of the lan- (Hasb.) 923, 28 Pac. 416, that a statute, emguage used, or to enlarge their operation so powering the board to equalize the valuation as to embrace matters not specifically pointed of the real and personal property among the out, although standing upon a close analogy."
several counties and towns, did not authorize See, also, Hart v. Smith, 159 Ind. 182, 61 N. the board to raise or diminish the valuation E. 661, 58 L. R. A. 949, 95 Am. St. Rep. 280. put upon any class or classes of property, nor In State v. Vaile, 122 Mo. 33, 26 S. W. 672, a to fix the valuation of any class of property. state board of equalization, having power to In Campbell V. Minnehaha, etc., Bank, 11 adjust the valuation of real and personal S. D. 133, 76 N. W. 10, under a statute auproperty among the several counties, had no thorizing the state board of equalization to authority to reduce the valuation in one coun- consider certain classes of personal property, ty of town lots at one rate and of lands at an- one of which was “the total value of stocks other, and such order was held void, the or shares," it was held that the board was court saying: “The meaning of this statute, not authorized to divide the property so clasit seems to us, is clear. It gives the board sified and raise the valuation of bank stock power to equalize the value of property, real witbout increasing that of other stocks and and personal, among the counties, but it gives shares, The court in that case said that the the board no power to go into any county and state board is limited to the abstracts reequalize the value of parcels or classes of real turned by the county auditors and “must acestate therein. That is a matter confided by cept, as a unit of computation, the classificathe law to the county boards. The power of tion therein contained, compare each class
respectively with others of a like class, and board was required to "consider real estate, its without power to divide a class for the sole including town and city lots, and personal purpose of increasing assessment of a part property separately," and "add to the aggrethereof, leaving the valuation of like prop- gate valuation of the real, and several kinds erty in the same class unchanged. It was cer- or classes of personal property, in every tainly without warrant of law, unjust, and county," etc. By the oath of office the board equivalent to an individual assessment, for the was to "equalize all the property, both real board to select the item of bank stock from and personal, as enumerated upon the equalits class, which included all kinds of stocks ized county assessment rolls of the sereral and shares, and assess the same throughout counties.” It was claimed in argument that the state at 60 per cent. of the par value the board should consider all real property thereof, regardless of the actual value." In as one class, but the court held that the McCutcheon v. Board of Supervisors, 95 Iowa, board might revise and equalize the aggre20, 63 N. W. 455, a statute required the state gate valuation of the several classes of real board of equalization to equalize the value of property authorized by law and enumerated real property among the several counties and upon the assessment rolls. This was followtowns by adding to, or taking from, the ag- ing the classification made by statute, and gregate valuation of real property of each was authorized by the statutory duty placed county such percentage in each case as will upon the board. But, upon the action of the raise or reduce the same to its proper valua- board in creating a class (the question in tion, and that the county board should equal- the case at bar) known as railroad land and ize the assessments of townships, cities, and in holding that this was not a valid classifitowns substantially as the state board equal- cation, the court said: “This [the above ized assessments among the several coun- classification) is the only classification of real ties. The county board raised the assess- property known to the law, and the only one ment on farm lands of tracts of more than the state board is authorized or empowered 10 acres situated within the limits of a cer- to adopt or consider. It cannot subdivide tain town. In holding this order void the these classes into other or different classes court said: "The order in question does not by reason of the source of title or present add to the aggregate valuation of the real ownership. The classification of property property in Rock Rapids, but to a part there- for the purposes of assessment and taxation of, the part used for a particular purpose is a legislative function, and the assessors farm lands. It is not substantially as the and boards of equalization are bound by the state board equalizes assessorarts. With the classification made by the Legislature. Desty same propriety might the county board add on Taxation, 96. * * * It may add to, to the valuation of business property, or resi- or deduct from, the aggregate valuation of dence property, or to the real property in a the class to which these lands belong a cerparticular part of the assessorial district." tain per centum, if necessary to equalize such In Montis v. McQuiston, 107 Iowa, 651, 78 valuation as between the counties, but it has N. W. 704, the county board was authorized no power to change the individual assessto equalize the assessments of the several ment, or adopt a classification based solely townships, cities, and incorporated towns of on the present ownership or source of title. their counties substantially as the state board If it may adopt a classification based upon equalized assessments among the several present ownership, and add to the county counties. The state board equalized among valuation thereof a different rate per cent. the counties by adding to or taking from the from that added to other property of the aggregate valuation of real property. Al- same kind, it may treat the property of every though a statute divided a city into districts | individual taxpayer the same way, and therewith an assessor in each, it was held that by increase the individual assessment withthe county board had no authority to equalize out notice to the taxpayer, and in violation as between the districts, but could only equal of the constitutional provision which requires ize by adding to or taking from the aggre- a uniform and equal rate of assessment and gate valuation of the city. See, also, People taxation." The above case and also Smith v. State Board, 205 Ill. 296, 68 N. E. 943. v. Kelley, 24 Or. 464, 33 Pac. 642. both People v. Ames, 27 Colo. 126, 60 Pac. 346. held that the state board could consider the
In Oregon, etc., R. Co. v. Croisan, 22 Or. classes made upon the assessment rolls as 393, 30 Pac. 219, cited by counsel for appel- the statute required that they should be so lant, the law of Oregon designated three made, but also held that the board has no classes of real property for the purpose of as- authority to make any classification not sessment and taxation: (a) City, village, or made by the statute. town property; (b) mortgages, deeds of It is argued at some length in appellant's trust, etc.; (c) all other real property. This brief that the construction given this statute classification was made upon the assessment | by the state board, and acted upon for a term rolls, and the state board was bound by such of years, should be given due consideration classification and had no authority to change and weight by the court. But as appellants the assessment rolls or the classification of refused to plead further after their demurproperty as indicated thereon. The state rer to the complaint was overruled, and as
the complaint does not disclose the fact of such continued construction of the statute by the state board, the question is not presented by the record.
(193 Mass. 47)
LEE et al. v. METHODIST EPISCOPAL
CHURCH IN UNITED STATES et al.
Worcester. Oct. 16, 1906.) 1. RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES-PROPERTY-TRUSTS.
A grantor conveyed land to grantees by a deed which recited that, in consideration of a sum paid by the grantees “as trustees of” an unincorporated church, the land was conveyed to the grantees 'trustees, their heirs and assigns." The building erected on the land was paid for by the members of the church. The church did not become affiliated with a denominational organization. Held, that the only trust affecting the property was that which resulted from the payment of the money for the building, and the same was not subject to the control of a denominational organization.
[Ed. Note.—For cases in point, see vol. 42, Cent. Dig. Religious Societies, $ 146.] 2. APPEAL-EXCEPTIONS TO RULINGS OF MASTER-NECESSITY.
Where no exceptions were taken to the exclusion of evidence by the master, the questions are not open to review.
[Ed. Note.—For cases in point, see vol. 2, Cent. Dig. Appeal and Error, $ 1504.] 3. RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES–TITLE TO PROPERTY -EVIDENCE-MATERIALITY.
A grantor conveyed land to grantees by a deed reciting that, in consideration of money paid by the grantees as trustees of an unincorporated church, the land was conveyed to the grantees, “trustees, their heirs and assigns." A building erected on the land was paid for by the members of the church. Held, in a suit by new trustees against persons acting as new trustees, involving the right to the property, that the intention of the grantor to vest the property in the grantees as trustees was immaterial; for, if the deed was to the grantees as trustees, the title to the property did not vest in others by force of their appointment as trustees.
Appeal from Supreme Judicial Court, Worcester County.
Suit by Reason T. Lee and others against the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States and others. From a decree dismissing the bill, plaintiffs appeal. Affirmed.
J. L. Mitchell, for plaintiffs. Jos. K. Greene, for defendants.
the same religious faith, for the control of the church building used by the Bethel Church and the land on which it stands, to wit, the African Methodist Episcopal Church of America, chartered under the laws of Ohio, and the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, incorporated under the laws of New York. We shall speak hereafter of them as the African Methodist and the Methodist Churches respectively.
For the past 26 years of its existence, that is to say, until 1892, the Bethel Church held services in a hall hired for the purpose. On April 14, 1892, the land in question was conveyed to Amos T. Jackson and three others by one Merrell, who then owned it. This deed stated that in consideration of one dollar and other valuable considerations paid by Jackson and the others "all of the city and county of Worcester and commonwealth aforesaid, as trustees of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church," the land is conveyed to Jackson and the others, “trustees, their heirs and assigns forever," to have and to hold to the grantees, “trustees, and their heirs and assigns, to their own use and behoof forever.” The master finds that the land and building were paid for with money raised and contributed by the members of said Bethel Church.
From the beginning up to June, 1904, the pastors of the Bethel Church were appointed by the African Methodist Church. Until 1891 the Bethel Church was known as a “mission”; after 1891 as a "station." While a mission it was not regularly supplied with a pastor, but since it became a station a pastor has been annually assigned to it by the African Methodist Church. The salary of the pastor thus assigned was paid by the Bethel Church.
The master states in his report that “there was no evidence introduced before me to warrant the conclusion that Bethel Church had ever been dedicated as a church of the African Methodist Episcopal connection, nor that any formal union between the said two churches ever existed. The evidence tended to show that there never was any dedication of said Bethel Church, nor any formal union with the said Methodist Episcopal Church.”
It appears that in 1904 the Bethel Church thought its building inadequate for its needs, and raised $409.08 for the construction of a new church building. They applied to the African Methodist Church for aid, without success. They then opened negotiations with the Methodist Church, looking toward severing their connections with the African Methodist Church and taking on ecclesiastical connections with the Methodist Church, if the latter would give them the aid they wished. This the Methodist Church promised to do. Thereupon a special meeting of the Bethel Church was called for November 9. 1904, at which the offer of the Methodist Church was accepted. The membership of Bethel Church, on November 9, 1904, was 35.
LORING, J. This case comes before us on an appeal from a decree confirming a report made by a master and dismissing the plaintiffs' bill. Exceptions were taken to the master's report, which are impliedly overruled by the decree in question.
The master found that for 40 years last past there has been in the city of Worcester an unincorporated religious society by the name of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. We shall speak of it hereafter as the Bethel Church. The contest here is in effect between two corporations of
How many were present at this meeting was them the $109.08 raised for building a new not disclosed in the evidence. On December
ber church. The conclusion of the master was
. 7, 1904, 28 members of the Bethel Church that the bill should be dismissed. sent to one Jacobs, the presiding elder of the The case was recommitted to the master. African Methodist Church, a withdrawal On the second hearing conflicting evidence from that church. Jacobs was the presiding was offered by the plaintiffs, for the purpose elder "into whose official charge the said of showing that it was the intention of the Bethel Church was given" by the Afri- grantor in the deed to Jackson and others to can Methodist Church. On December 14th, .
convey the property to the trustees in a Jacobs came to Worcester and announced trust capacity and not in their individual that he would preach on January 25th, and capacity. This evidence was heard de b?ne would hold a meeting to investigate the with- and finally excluded by the master. No exdrawal on Monday, January 26, 1905. The ception was taken to the master's report by meeting was not held. "After January 26, reason of this ruling. 1905, Dr. Jacobs, acting on the theory that Neither counsel dealt specifically with the the Rev. W. B. Perry had resigned as pastor several exceptions. We shall deal with the of said Bethel Church, and that the trustees case accordingly. duly elected in June or July, 1904, had also The plaintiffs' contention here is that “the resigned by the effect of said letter and cer- defendants having severed their membership tificate, proceeded to assume the duties as with Bethel A. M. E. Church, a religious pastor of said church, and also, about Febru- society, forfeited their rights to its property." ary 1, 1905, proceeded as pastor to appoint In support of this contention he has cited three trustees of said Bethel Church, and among other cases Shannon v. Frost, 3 B. appointed Reason T. Lee, James McKinney Mon. (Ky.) 233; Watson v. Jones, 13 Wall. and Stephen Cook, named in the entitling (U. S.) 679, 20 L. Ed. 606; Rose v. Christ, clause of the plaintiffs' bill. After January 193 Pa. 13, 41 Atl. 240; Francke v. Mann, 26, 1905, Dr. Jacobs did not formally call 106 Wis. 118, 81 N. W. 1014, 48 L. R. A. any other meeting of the members of Bethel 856. But the difficulty with that argument Church for any purpose.” On or about Feb- and those citations is that no facts like the ruary 1, 1905, “as a further step in carrying facts on which those cases were decided are out the said agreement between” the Bethel found by the master in the case at bar. The Church and the Methodist Church, the mem- plaintiffs' counsel has assumed in his argubers of the Bethel Church in a body and as ment that the Bethel Church became a part a church were received into the Methodist of the African Methodist Church, and that Church, and on April 1, 1905, their pastor, by force of the "discipline" of that church its Rev. W. B. Perry, was received into confer- | property became the property of that church. . ence relations with the New York church. But on the findings of the master the Bethel "Since April 1, 1905, said Bethel Church has Church did not become a part of the African been conducted by the said Perry, under the Methodist Church, and we cannot say that supervision of a presiding elder appointed by its property would have become the property the New England Conference of the Method- of the African Church by force of the "disciist Episcopal Church and in accordance with pline” of that church if it had. For we have the discipline thereof, and has since ceased to no means of knowing what the "discipline" have ecclesiastical or other relations with the so often referred to by counsel for the plainsaid African Methodist Episcopal Church." tiffs is. It is not made a part of the master's
On March 9, 1905, the present bill was report, and the evidence before the master is filed by the three persons appointed by Dr.
not before us. Jacobs as trustees after January 26, 1905, All that appears is that the land in quesagainst the Methodist Church corporation tion was conveyed to Jackson and others to and Albert A. Nunally and two others who, their own use and that the land and buildin December, 1901, were the trustees of the ing were paid for by money raised and conBethel Church, and who had undertaken to tributed by members of the Bethel Church. convey the land and church building as That church never has been dedicated as a trustees of the “Bethel African Methodist church of the African Church, and no formal Episcopal Church" to themselves as “trus- union between the Bethel Church and the tees of the Bethel Methodist Episcopal African Church has ever existed. Church.” It does not appear that Jackson Under these circumstances the only trust and the other grantees in the deed of April affecting the property in question was that 14, 1892, ever conveyed the premises therein which results from the payment of the described to Nunally and his associates or money. Just what that trust would be need anyone else. The prayer of the bill was not be considered here. It is enough that on for an injunction restraining the defendants the facts before us it does not result in a from preventing the plaintiffs from enjoy- trust subjecting the land to the ownership ing the use of the land and church building and control of the African Methodist Churchi. in question; that Nunally and his associates On the findings of the master, which be directed to convey the land and church alone are before us, the plaintiffs have failed building to the plaintiffs and deliver up to to show any right of property, possession or