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BROWNING V. HOOPER, 269 U. S. 396 (1926)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Browning v. Hooper, 269 U.S. 396 (1926)

Browning v. Hooper

No. 256

Argued November 17, 1925

Decided January 4, 1926

269 U.S. 396


1. A Texas statute authorizes fifty property taxpaying voters, by petition to the commissioners' court of a county, to designate territory of which they are residents within the county as a road district and the amount of bonds to be issued for road improvements within the district, not to exceed one-fourth of the assessed value of real property therein, whereupon it becomes the duty of the commissioners' court to order an election in the district, as so described, for the purpose of determining whether the bonds in the amount named in the petition shall be issued and whether a tax shall be levied upon the property of the district for their payment, and if two-thirds of the votes at such election favor the proposition, the commissioners' court is required to issue and sell the bonds and levy a tax sufficient to pay them as they mature, by assessments on the same valuation, and which become liens and may be enforced in the same manner, as state and county taxes. Held, (a) that assessments so authorized and levied were special assessments for local improvements, not general taxes; (b) that a district so created could not be regarded as one created by the legislature, even though coincident in boundaries with two adjacent "commissioners' precincts;" (c) that the assessments were not legislative assessments. P. 269 U. S. 403.

2. Where a special improvement district is not created by the legislature or a municipality to which the state has granted full legislative powers over the subject, and where there has been no legislative determination that the property to be assessed for the improvement will be benefited thereby, it is essential to due process of law that the property owner be given notice and an opportunity to be heard on the question of benefits. P. 269 U. S. 405.

3 F.2d 160 reversed. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 269 U. S. 397

Appeal from a decree of the district court which dismissed the bill in a suit to restrain the issuance or sale of bonds of a road district. chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Page 269 U. S. 400

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