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ceived ; and on the opposite page credit themselves with the respective expenditures and payments, specifying particularly to whom, when paid, and for what purpose, and referring to the proper vouchers on file, whenever practicable. On another page they should make an accurate inventory of all the moveable property belonging to the district, such as the library of the district, stating the number of volumes, and their condition, and giving a catalogue of the books, wherever a general reference cannot properly be made, as to the 1st, 2d, 3d, &c. series of the Harper Library, or Nos. 1, 2, 3, &c. of the Harper Library or Family Library, &c. &c. and the furniture, appendages and apparatus of the school-room, specifying each article. The whole to be followed by a certificate in the following form:
We, the subscribers, Trustees of District No. in the town of Trenton, do hereby certify that the preceding, from page page inclusive, contains a true and accurate account of all the moneys received by us, for the use of said district, and of the ex. penditure thereof : and a correct statement and inventory of all the moveable property belonging to said district. Dated this day of 18
The library money is to be paid over to, or on the order of, a majority of the trustees, on its appearing from the annual report that “the library money received at the last preceding apportionment was duly expended according to law, (in the purchase of books suitable for a district library, or in the purchase of maps, globes, blackboards, or other scientific apparatus for the use of the schools, in the cases and in the mode prescribed by the late law, and which will be hereafter considered) on or before the first day of October subsequent to such apportionment.” The report must uniformly be accompanied with a catalogue of ihe library, and must state accurately the number or volumes and their condition; and when the money has been expended in the purchase of apparatus, &c. the authority under which such expenditure has been made, and a full and particular inventory of the articles purchased, must be specifically reported.
II. THE CALLING OF ANNUAL AND SPECIAL MEETINGS.
Trustees have power to call special meetings of the inhabitants of their district liable to pay taxes, whenever they shall deem it necessary and proper. should be liberally exercised for the benefit of the district; and special meetings should be called by the trustees, whenever requested for a proper and legitimate purpose, by a respectable number of inhabitants. The trustees should act as a board, whenever such meetings are directed to be called ; and they, or a majority of them, when all have been notified, may require the clerk of the district, either verbally or in writing, to give the necessary notices to the inhabitants. The object of the meeting should, in all cases, be specified in the notice. Where there is no clerk of the district, or he is absent or incapable of acte ing, any one of the trustees, designated by the board, may give the notices.
Where the time for holding the annual meeting has for any reason passed, without the election of officers, and neither the clerk nor acting trustees give the necessary notices for a special meeting, authorized by $ 18, (No. 81,) within twenty days thereafter, any inhabitant of the district, qualified to vote, is authorized by $ 17 of the act of May 26, 1841, (No. 79,) to notify such meeting in the manner provided by law, in case of the formation of a new district.
III. ASSESSMENT AND COLLECTION OF DISTRICT TAXES.
This duty is one of the most difficult and perplexing devolved upon trustees; requiring for its proper and legal exercise, a strict conformity to the statutes in form as well as substance. A careful examination and collation of their various provisions in this respect becomes indispensable. Any departure from the specific directions thus given, is almost sure to subject the trustees to serious personal liability, for which no indemnity is provided, as well as to cause embarrassment and confusion in the affairs of the district generally. In order to enable them to execute this portion of their duties with accuracy and ease, the several steps of the process will be distinctly and particularly pointed out; and such directions given, as will,
it is hoped, prevent all liability to error in its future performance.
1. GENERAL PROVISION.
The general duty of trustees under this head, is comprised in the 3d and 4th subdivisions of $ 75, (No. 103,) and is as follows: “To make out a tax list of every district tax voted by any such meeting, (special, annual or adjourned,) containing the names of all the taxable inhabitants residing in the district at the time of making out the list, and the amount of tax payable by each inhabitant set opposite to his name ; to annex to such tax list a warrant directed to the collector of the district, for the collection of the sums in such list mentioned, with five cents on each dollar thereof for his fees."
2. TAX LIST WHEN TO BE MADE OUT.
By $ 82, (No. 120.) “Every district tax shall be assessed, and the tax list thereof be made out by the trustees, within one month after the district meeting in which the tax shall have been voted.”
The reason of this provision is obvious. The inhabitants and property of school districts are constantly changing ; and where a tax is voted for a specific purpose, it should be assessed only upon those for whose benefit it was voted. While the statute should therefore be strictly complied with, whenever it can be, yet if a literal compliance is prevented by accident or unavoidable circumstances, the list may be made out after the expiration of the month or thirty days; as the statute is supposed to be directory, and similar to that in the case of the People vs. Allen, 6 Wendell, 436. The regulations of the Superintendent, on appeals, have allowed thirty days within which any person aggrieved, in consequence of the proceedings of any district meeting, may appeal: and, as will hereafter be seen, twenty days' notice is required to be given by the trustees, in case a reduction is claimed, or an original assessment becomes necessary. In the first case, if a copy of the appeal be served prior to the expiration of the month, and before the
trustees have made their assessment, the time, during which such appeal is pending, is not to be computed as part of the month within which the tax list is to be made out, as the service operates as a stay of all proceedings in any way relating to or consequent u.pon the act complained of. Still the assessment when made out, must have reference to the property of the district, as it existed at the expiration of the month. In the second case, the trustees must make out their tax list within the month, although they may not be able finally to complete it. They should however, within the first ten days after the meeting at which the tax is voted, make out their assessment; so that if a reduction is claimed, or an original valuation is found to be necessary, they can give the twenty days' notice required by law, and complete their list by the expiration of the month.
Errors in tax lists and rate-bills have often been discovered after they were made out. If discovered within a month from the time the tax was voted, and nothing has been collected, the trustees may recall them, correct the error, and redeliver them to the collector. But after the expiration of the month, and after any tax had been, in whole or in part collected, they did not, previously to the act of 1839, (modified by the act of 1843,) possess the power of correction. In consequence they were exposed to prosecutions for slight and accidental errors which might have been easily corrected by parties who did not choose to take the more convenient and summary
mode of appealing to the Superintendent. This is now effectually remedied by 13 of the act referred to, (No. 134,) by which trustees may, of their own authority, correct and amend errors in making out any tax list or rate-bill which may be discovered prior to the expenditure of the amount therein directed to be raised, and may refund to any person any sum improperly collected in consequence of such error." By availing themselves of this provision, trustees may now protect themselves from vexatious suits. They need not wait for an appeal by any party aggrieved, but as soon as they become aware of the existence of any error, they should proceed at once to correct it, and to refund any amount improperly collected in consequence of such error.
3. HOW, AND UPON WHOM TO BE ASSESSED, AND FOR WHAT PRO
Trustees are required by $ 19 of the act of May 26, 1841, (No. 107,) to apportion taxes, on all taxable inha. bitants of the district, or corporations holding property therein.” This provision includes, of course, all actual residents of the district; and is extended by 977 (No. 116,) to "every person owning or holding any real property within any school district, who shall improve and
occupy the same by his agent or servant, whether he resides in the district or not.” They are also to apportion taxes
upon all real estate lying within the boundaries of such district, the owners of which shall be non-residents, and which shall be liable to taxation for town or county purposes, and shall be situated within ree miles of the site of the school-house in such district." This includes uncultivated and unimproved lands owned by non-residents, and situated in the district ; and is an extension of the power given by $ 88 [78 of the old act,] which limited the lands of non-residents, subject to taxation, to those which were actually cleared and cultivated. The trustees may, in their discretion, omit to assess any tract or parcel of unoccupied non-resident land in their district, where the proportion of the tax payable therefor, would not amount to fifty cents. This provision is inserted to save the trouble of the subsequent proceedings rendered necessary in such cases, where so small a sum only can be finally rollected.
The apportionment is also to be made according to the valuations of the taxable property which shall be owned or possessed by them, [the inhabitants of the district, &c. as aforesaid,) at the time of making out such list; within such district, or partly within such district and partly in an adjoining district.
Taking these provisions together, the following general principles may be deduced ;
1. All the actual inhabitants of a district are to be taxed for the whole property, real and personal, owned or held by them within the district. Executors and administra. tors having in their possession or under their control the property of their testator or intestate, within the district