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YAZOO AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROAD COMPANY v. CITY VICKSBURG

April 6, 1908

THE YAZOO AND MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROAD COMPANY
v.
CITY OF VICKSBURG



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI

Fuller, Harlan, Brewer, White, Peckham, McKenna, Holmes, Day, Moody

Author: Day

[ 209 U.S. Page 360]

 MR. JUSTICE DAY delivered the opinion of the court.

The case originated in a bill in equity filed by the Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad Company against the Mayor and Aldermen of the city of Vicksburg, to enjoin the collection of certain municipal taxes on the property of the railroad company assessed for the year 1901.

The bill was demurred to; the court below sustained the demurrer and rendered a final decree dismissing the bill. The case involving constitutional questions, was appealed directly to this court.

The allegations of the bill show that on February 22, 1884, the legislature of Mississippi passed an act authorizing the city of Vicksburg to enter into a contract with the Memphis and Vicksburg Railway Company, of which the following is the pertinent section:

"That the city of Vicksburg, through its Board of Mayor and Aldermen, and the Memphis and Vicksburg Railroad Company, or such other railroad as said Memphis and Vicksburg

[ 209 U.S. Page 361]

     Railroad Company may hereafter become merged into, or a part of, by consolidation or otherwise, be and are hereby respectively authorized and empowered to enter into such contract or contracts with each other relative to the location and maintaining at such city of the machine shops of said railroad company, as they may mutually agree upon, together with such limitation, conditions, privileges, immunities, exemptions from city taxation, settlement of all claims . . . and such other things as may be decided and mutually agreed on between said city of Vicksburg and said railroad company," etc.

Under this authority, on August 11, 1885, a contract was made with the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway Company, one of whose constituent companies was the Memphis and Vicksburg Railroad Company, named in the act above set forth. The pertinent parts of that contract are as follows:

"Second. Said city agrees to and does hereby exempt from all municipal taxation for a period of ninety-nine years all of the property used or which shall or may be used for tracks, switches, depots, machine shops, rolling stock, and any and all other railway purposes (except only buildings for residences or stores) of the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway Company or of its successors, or of any company into which it may from time to time be merged by consolidation or otherwise, or of any company which, upon foreclosure or reorganization, may become the owners of its line of railroad within said city.

"Sixth. The general or main building, repairing and machine shops of the Louisville, New Orleans and Texas Railway Company, or its successors, [shall be] located and shall be permanently kept and maintained within the present limits of the city of Vicksburg, north of Fairground street, and any failure so to do shall forfeit to the city all lands granted to said railway company by ...


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