485 P.2d 948 (Mont. 1971), 12072, State ex rel. Conrad v. Managhan

Docket Nº:12072.
Citation:485 P.2d 948, 157 Mont. 335
Party Name:STATE of Montana ex rel. Ed CONRAD et al., Relators, v. Ray MANAGHAN, Assessor of Flathead County, Montana et al., C. W. Reynolds, as Assessor of Lake County, Montana et al., Kay Ruth Baenen, as Assessor of Lincoln County, Montana et al., Mary K. Noonan, as Assessor of Mineral County, Montana et al., Paul J. Farlan, as Assessor of Sanders County, M
Case Date:June 07, 1971
Court:Supreme Court of Montana
 
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Page 948

485 P.2d 948 (Mont. 1971)

157 Mont. 335

STATE of Montana ex rel. Ed CONRAD et al., Relators,

v.

Ray MANAGHAN, Assessor of Flathead County, Montana et al.,

C. W. Reynolds, as Assessor of Lake County, Montana et al.,

Kay Ruth Baenen, as Assessor of Lincoln County, Montana et

al., Mary K. Noonan, as Assessor of Mineral County, Montana

et al., Paul J. Farlan, as Assessor of Sanders County,

Montana et al., John C. Alley, J. Morley Cooper and Ray J.

Wayrynen as members of Board of Equalization et al., Respondents.

No. 12072.

Supreme Court of Montana.

June 7, 1971

Submitted June 2, 1971.

[157 Mont. 336] Risken & Scribner, A. William Scribner, argued, Helena, Robert N. Helding, argued, Missoula, for relators.

William A. Douglas, County Atty., argued, Libby, M. Dean Jellison, argued, Kalispell, E. Jene Bell argued, State Bd. of Equalization, Helena, James Oleson, County Atty., Kalispell, Richard P. Heinz,

Page 949

County Atty., Polson, Walter T. Murphy, County Atty., Superior, Alex C. Morrison, County Atty., Thompson Falls, for respondents.

PER CURIAM:

This is an original proceeding seeking a declaratory judgment and ancillary relief by injunction or other appropriate writ to compel valuation and assessment of timberlands for taxation in five counties of northwestern Montana as directed by the State Board of Equalization and to prohibit county tax officials from employing a different valuation and assessment.

Relators are ten owners of timberlands located in one or more of the five counties involved. They have brought the instant class action on behalf of themselves and all other owners of [157 Mont. 337] timberlands in the five counties. Respondents are the respective county assessors and boards of county commissioners in Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, and Sanders counties. Also named as respondent is the State Board of Equalization.

The basic occurrences forming the background of the present suit are not in dispute. On October 9, 1967, the State Board of Equalization issued a directive setting forth a comprehensive formula for the computation of values of timberlands and prescribing the use of such formula as a basis for assessment of such lands for ensuing taxable years. This formula applied to all counties except Flathead which adopted a different system with the approval of the State Board of Equalization; this separate system resulted in assessments substantially in line with those obtained by the Board formula. In our view, the position of Flathead County in this appeal is no different from the other counties involved.

On or about September 5, 1969, the State Board of Equalization held a hearing in Missoula for the purpose of considering an increase in the assessment of timberlands. Thereafter on November 19, 1970, the State Board of Equalization issued a directive authorizing the counties to increase the values of timberlands by the addition of land values according to accessibility and topography classification as follows...

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