Reversed and remanded.
Mr. CHIEF JUSTICE DAVIS delivered the opinion of the court:
This is an appeal by the defendant, city of Springfield, referred to as the city, from a decree of the circuit court of Sangamon County in an accounting action brought by the plaintiffs, as members of the board of trustees of the police pension fund of that city. The decree ordered that the city account and pay over to the plaintiffs 10 per cent of all fines collected at the police station from persons charged with violating traffic ordinances, and paid by such persons to avoid prosecution, from March 1, 1946, to date. The plaintiffs filed a cross appeal from that part of the court's order which denied their right to an accounting of revenues collected by the city from licenses and permits, and for fines imposed upon members of the police department, during the period. The trial judge certified that the validity of a municipal ordinance was involved and that the public interest required a direct appeal to this court.
The amended complaint alleged, in substance, that section 1 of the Police Pension Fund Act, applicable to cities of not more than 200,000 inhabitants (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 24, par. 892,) required that the city treasurer shall
The evidence established that during the period in question, 10 per cent of all fines for the violation of city ordinances paid to and collected through a justice of the peace or police magistrate were paid into the police pension fund; that since 1943, sums paid and collected at the police station for traffic violations, such as overtime parking, have not been credited to the fund. The evidence further showed that 10 per cent of all monies received by the city for business or occupational licenses were paid to the credit of the pension fund, but that no remittance was made for monies received for various permits; that during the years specified in the complaint, no fines were imposed against a member of the police department in any disciplinary proceeding;
"An Act to provide for setting apart, formation and disbursement of a police pension fund in cities, villages and incorporated towns," having a population of not less than 5,000 and not more than 200,000 inhabitants was approved June 14, 1909. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 24, pars. 892-904g incl.) The legislature, from time to time, altered the provisions of the act and particularly section 1 thereof (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1955, chap. 24, par. 892,) relative to sources of revenue for the police pension fund. (Laws of 1911, pp. 163, 164; Laws of 1913, pp. 173, 174.) The amendatory act of 1917 first established the mandatory tax rate that a city must levy for the pension fund. Subsequent
The 1949 amendments enacted a new formula for the correlation of these sources of income. The amendments required that a reserve fund of not less than $1000 for each one thousand inhabitants of the city be established and maintained (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1949, chap. 24, par. 904d); that the pension fund trustees report the condition of the fund annually to the city council, which "Said report shall be made prior to the meeting * * * held for the purpose of levying of taxes for the year for which such report is made"; that the report of the trustees certify (1) the assets on hand, (2) estimated receipts, and (3) the estimated amount required to pay pensions and other obligations and to establish and maintain the reserve fund. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1949, chap. 24 (par. 904e.) These amendments further required the city council to levy a tax annually on all taxable property at a rate which would produce an amount which, when added to the receipts available from the specified percentage of fines, licenses and all other sources, would equal a sufficient sum to meet the annual requirements of the pension fund under the provisions of this act, and provided that "Such tax shall annually be not more than .05% of the full, fair cash value * * * of all taxable property of any city. * * * In the event that the pension fund in any year over and above the reserve fund is sufficient to meet all demands of those requiring payment therefrom in
The statutory scheme of the present act is clear and the relationship between taxes and other sources of income is precise. The legislature contemplated that the fund should contain a statutory reserve, plus sufficient sums to meet the estimated obligations for the ensuing year. Since the 1949 amendments, the fund income is to be obtained first from a set percentage of certain municipal licenses, fines and other receipts, and if required and to that extent, it is to be supplemented by the annual tax levy to yield the additional amount necessary to maintain the reserve and meet all annual requirements. Provided that the reserve fund is maintained, lower income from other sources would require higher taxes, and higher income from other sources would permit lower tax levies. The act does not contemplate the accumulation of an operating surplus, but only a specific statutory reserve fund plus sufficient receipts to meet current obligations. The amount of this supplemental levy is, of necessity, dependent upon the status of the reserve fund and the estimated requirements as set forth in the trustees' report.
Despite these requirements, the plaintiffs did not file such reports with the city council. However, since the 1949 amendments to the act, the city council has at all times levied the maximum tax of .05% for the purpose of raising a sufficient sum to meet the annual requirements of the fund.
As a result of this maximum levy from 1950 through 1956, the reserve fund in the amount of $119,646.12 has been maintained, as required by the act, and at no time has its integrity been impaired. It appears from the record that the first deficit in the operating fund occurred in 1955, when the amount paid in pensions increased substantially. The total assets in the fund varied from $116,433 in 1946 to $159,969 in 1956.
The maxim that "He who seeks equity must do equity" expresses the governing principle that every action of a court of equity, in determining rights and awarding remedies must be in accordance with conscience and good faith. In the broad sense it may be regarded as the foundation of all equity, but in the administration of justice, courts of equity refine its meaning. Yet where the equitable right of one party is correlated to the rights of the other party arising out of the same subject matter, the maxim applies. The principle is based upon the preservation of reciprocal equities,
Plaintiffs here claim inconsistent rights in the same subject matter and seek to avail themselves of the benefits of part of the act and defeat other of its correlated provisions. They obtained the maximum tax rate for the years in question through their failure to file the required statutory annual reports. During such years the tax levy should have been reduced by the annual estimated receipts from fines, licenses, and income from other sources. They acquiesced in the procedure followed by the city in levying the maximum tax rate for the years in question and for eight years neglected to assert their alleged claims. Now they seek the aid of a court of equity and pray an accounting of such receipts as they claim were wrongfully withheld by the city.
Since we have determined that the plaintiffs have no right to an accounting in this proceeding, we are not required to decide whether the receipts set forth in the complaint are "fines" or "licenses" within the meaning of the act.
For the reasons heretofore given the decree of the circuit court of Sangamon County is reversed and the cause is remanded with directions to dismiss the complaint.
Reversed and remanded, with directions.