Utica Realty Co. v. Local Bd. of Review of Des Moines, No. 45576.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtWENNERSTRUM
Citation231 Iowa 380,1 N.W.2d 213
Decision Date09 December 1941
Docket NumberNo. 45576.
PartiesUTICA REALTY CO. v. LOCAL BOARD OF REVIEW OF CITY OF DES MOINES et al. CENTRAL NAT. BANK & TRUST CO. et al. v. SAME.

231 Iowa 380
1 N.W.2d 213

UTICA REALTY CO.
v.
LOCAL BOARD OF REVIEW OF CITY OF DES MOINES et al.
CENTRAL NAT.
BANK & TRUST CO. et al.
v.
SAME.

No. 45576.

Supreme Court of Iowa.

Dec. 9, 1941.


Appeal from District Court, Polk County; W. S. Cooper, Judge.

Action in mandamus to compel board of review of the city of Des Moines, Iowa, to comply with order of state board of assessment and review as to assessment valuations of certain properties. The opinion states the facts.

Reversed and remanded.

[1 N.W.2d 214]

Parrish, Guthrie, Colflesh & O'Brien, of Des Moines, for plaintiffs-appellants.

Charles Hutchinson, B. J. Flick, Francis J. Kuble, Howard M. Hall, and James P. Irish, all of Des Moines, for appellees.


WENNERSTRUM, Justice.

Plaintiffs, in the action now before us on appeal, sought in a mandamus proceedings in the district court to compel the local board of review of the City of Des Moines to comply with prior orders of the state board of assessment and review, now the State Tax Commission. The defendants claimed that they had complied with the orders of the State Tax Commission, and upon submission of the issues to the court the petitions of the plaintiffs were dismissed. They have appealed.

The two cases herewith submitted were tried upon the same record in the district court and upon application to this court it has been ordered that they be submitted on the same abstract of record and the same briefs and arguments. By reason of the procedure followed in the district court and the order heretofore entered in this court, this opinion will apply to the two respective cases.

As a result of the appeals to the district court by the interested taxpayers in the cases now under consideration from the final action of the board of review, valuations were agreed upon and placed upon the properties in question in decrees entered in the district court. Thereafter as a result of orders of the state board, which occasioned other litigation and to which reference will be hereinafter made, valuations of virtually all properties in the city were ordered changed depending upon the zone or district in which they were located. The question involved in this appeal is whether the change of valuation should be made on the basis of the original assessment or on the valuation set in the decree entered in the district court.

A statement as to the development of this litigation seems advisable.

The real inception of the difficulties that has brought about the present controversy developed as a result of the tax assessments made in Des Moines in 1937. In making the assessments under date of January 1, 1937, the assessing authorities of the City of Des Moines divided the entire assessment districts into a number of taxing zones or subdivisions.

The manner of assessment followed is succinctly described in State ex rel. State Board of Assessment and Review v. Local Board of Review of Des Moines, 225 Iowa 855, 857, 283 N.W. 87, where the initial history of this tax litigation is set out. In this case, in further describing the mode of assessment, it is stated:

“* * * The land values in such various zones or districts were appraised separately from the improvements thereon. Measurements of the cubical contents of the improvements or buildings thereon were made and classified according to type. There was no appraisal of individual residences or business structures as separate items, but all structures were valued according to certain unit costs based upon reproduction minus depreciation.

“The ground or lot values minus the improvements were then added to the unit estimated costs of said improvements, minus depreciation. The valuation so determined was entered on the assessment rolls and then arbitrarily discounted from 2 to 50 per cent, the discount not being based upon the physical condition of the improvements but according to location. * * *”

A number of taxpayers appealed to the board of review from the assessments made by the assessor, and after the assessments were finally made by that board further appeals to the district court of Polk County were taken by a large number of taxpayers. It appears that the refusal of the board of review to further reconsider assessments was made in July 1937.

As a means of obtaining adjustments and reductions in their assessments certain interested and objecting taxpayers thereafter appealed to the state board of assessment and review as is provided by statute. This board after consideration of the matters before it made an order on September 18, 1937, wherein it directed the local board of review in Des Moines to reduce the assessments in the district wherein the property now under consideration is located in the amount of 11.8 per cent. Changes as

[1 N.W.2d 215]

to valuations in varying proportions were made in the different zones or taxing districts. Several supplemental orders were made by the state board of assessment and review relative to the board of review complying with the original order.

However, on November 17, 1937, the city council of Des Moines, sitting as a board of review, passed a resolution to the effect that the 1937 real estate assessment of the city of Des Moines be “modified by reducing the amount of the assessment on each and every parcel of property, in an amount equal to 7 per cent of the assessment on said parcels of property.”

This resolution further incorporated the following statement: “That the order of the State Board of Assessment and Review filed with this council, ordering and directing certain reductions in the assessments and certain increases in the assessments, be disregarded.”

As a result of the refusal of the city council sitting as a local board of review to carry out the orders of the state board of review, a...

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2 practice notes
  • Sevde v. Board of Review of City of Ames, No. 88-456
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 25, 1989
    ...assessment should be relating back to the time when the assessment was required to be made. Utica Realty Co. v. Local Bd. of Review, 231 Iowa 380, 387-88, 1 N.W.2d 213, 217 (1941); Davison, 209 Iowa at 1339, 230 N.W. at 307. Adherence to this requirement is necessary in order that the statu......
  • Allgood v. City of Oskaloosa, No. 45767.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 9, 1941
    ...civil service commission, and that the failure of the proper officers of the city to appeal gave him the right to proceed by mandamus a [1 N.W.2d 213]year and nine months after his discharge. In Wilson v. Stipp, 194 Iowa 346, 189 N.W. 665, 666, a proceeding in certiorari, this court had occ......
2 cases
  • Sevde v. Board of Review of City of Ames, No. 88-456
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • January 25, 1989
    ...assessment should be relating back to the time when the assessment was required to be made. Utica Realty Co. v. Local Bd. of Review, 231 Iowa 380, 387-88, 1 N.W.2d 213, 217 (1941); Davison, 209 Iowa at 1339, 230 N.W. at 307. Adherence to this requirement is necessary in order that the statu......
  • Allgood v. City of Oskaloosa, No. 45767.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • December 9, 1941
    ...civil service commission, and that the failure of the proper officers of the city to appeal gave him the right to proceed by mandamus a [1 N.W.2d 213]year and nine months after his discharge. In Wilson v. Stipp, 194 Iowa 346, 189 N.W. 665, 666, a proceeding in certiorari, this court had occ......

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