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IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF LANCASTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA CIVIL ACTION PATRICIA J. KABEL v. No. Cl-17-09663 MANHEIM TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT OPINION BY: ASHWORTH, J., MARCH 29, 2019 Before the Court for disposition is a motion for summary judgment brought by Defendant Manheim Township School District (the District). Plaintiff Patricia J. Kabel has filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory judgment and injunetive relief relative to her duties as the elected tax collector for Manheim Township.’ For the reasons set forth below, this ‘motion for summary judgment will be denied. 1. Background The District is a political subdivision and taxing district of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. First Complaint at | 1. The District is comprised solely of Manheim Township. Id. at 4. The District imposes a real estate tax pursuant to the Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. §§ 1-101, ef seq., and is a taxing district for purposes of the Local Tax Collection Law, 72 P.S. §§ 511.1, of seq, (the Tax Law). Id. at 13. ‘Manheim Township is a political subdivision organized under the First Class Township Code, 53 P.S. §§ 55101, et seq. Kabel was initially elected as the Manheim Township tax collector in 2013 for a term beginning January 1, 2074, and ending on December 31, 2017. She ran for re-election in 2017 for the four-year term beginning on January 1, 2018. Kabel was re- elected as tax collector for Manheim Township on November 7, 2017. Kabel, as the elected tax collector for the only municipality within the District, is solely responsible for the collection of District real estate taxes, unless Kabel chooses to i appoint a deputy in accordance with 72 P.S. § 8511.22(a)(1), pursuant to the procedures | and requirements of the Tax Law. First Complaint at] 4-6. Historically, the District has collected its own taxes, through a variety of collection techniques, including the use of District employees. Defendant's Answer with New Matter to First Complaint at {ff 47-48.? Kabel has never deputized the District to collect taxes on her behalf nor has she otherwise delegated her statutory authority to collect District real estate taxes to any other party. First Complaint at J 16. On November 6, 2017, Kabel, who was the incumbent tax collector and who was a candidate for election to that office in the 2017 election, filed a complaint against the District (the First Complaint), seeking declaratory judgment, and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, Kabel claims “[{Jhe District's attempt to deprive [her] of her right, and prevent [her] from executing her duty, of collection of District taxes in Manheim Township is invalid, void, and ultra vires,” and she seeks a declaration that she has the sole duty and right to collect District real estate taxes in Manheim Township and that the District must pay a reasonable rate of compensation to the tax collector commensurate with the statutory obligations associated with the office. First Complaint at {if 17-18. Kabel further seeks to enjoin the District from collecting taxes and from interfering with Kabel's duty and right to collect taxes. Id. at ff 20-30. [Manheim Township] School district records Indicate that the school district has been collecting taxes internally with the cooperation of previously elected tax collectors . . . since at least 1985." Manheim Township School District Website, District News, Law Suit Re: Tax Collection in Manheim Township, by Marcie Brody, Feb. 15, 2019. 2 On December 11, 2017, the District filed an answer and new matter to the First Complaint. On January 4, 2018, Kabel filed a reply to the District's new matter, thereby closing the first round of pleadings in this litigation. On May 8, 2018, the District fled a motion for expedited case management order and emergency hearing, to which Kabel stipulated. By Order dated May 9, 2018, | granted the expedited discovery and briefing, and set a hearing date for May 30, 2018, to resolve the claims raised by Kabel in the First Complaint. On May 17, 2018, the District adopted a resolution titled, Resolution Establishing Policies and Procedures for Elected Tax Collectors” (the Resolution). In chambers on May 30, 2018, prior to the start of the scheduled hearing, Kabel informed the parties that she intended to raise challenges to certain procedures in the Resolution. As a consequence, an agreement was reached to postpone disposition of the claims raised by Kabel in the First Complaint so that all of Kabe'’s challenges could be resolved at one time. To effectuate that agreement, the parties stipulated to an order that was entered on June 8, 2018. In relevant part, that order: (1) authorized Kabel to collect real estate taxes on behalf ofthe District; (2) prohibited the Distrit from challenging, in ths itigation, Kabe''s legal right to collect the District’s taxes; (3) obligated Kabel to comply with all the terms of the Resolution pending further order of the Court; and (4) directed Kabel to obtain a bond by June 11, 2018, to protect the Districts tax funds against loss and misappropriation.? See June 8, 2018 Order at fl 1, 2(a), 2(f), 5. °On February 14, 2018, Kabel received a bond from Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America in the amount of the municipal and county taxes she collects, or $15,419,850.00, See Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition, Appendix “A,” Exhibit "6” (bond). 3