Executive Order 586
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Under authority vested in me by law, it is ordered:
- The Canal Zone, Isthmus of Panama, shall be divided into four administrative districts, to be known as Ancon, Emperador, Gorgona, and Cristobal. The districts of Ancon and Emperador shall be coextensive with the present municipal districts of Ancon and Emperador. The district of Gorgona shall be composed of the present municipal district of Gorgona and that portion of the municipal district of Buenavista lying south and east of a straight line passing through the Center of the Panama Railroad Company's Bridge No. 38 over the Agujeta River and intersecting the boundaries of the Canal Zone with an inclination of 40 degrees east of the magnetic meridian. The district of Cristobal shall be composed of the present municipal district of Cristobal and that portion of the municipal district of Buenavista lying north and west of a straight line passing through the center of the Panama Railroad Company's Bridge No. 38 over the Agujeta River and intersecting the boundaries of the Canal Zone with an inclination of 40 degrees east of the magnetic meridian.
- In each district there shall be appointed a tax collector, who shall discharge the duties of the present municipal Treasurer and Board of Assessors. He shall be charged with the collection of license taxes, the assessment and collection of all ad valorem taxes, the preparation of head lists for work upon public improvements and the issuance of citations and collection of commutation taxes thereunder, the keeping of the civil register, the collection of rents from public and municipal property, the execution of leases thereof under direction of the Collector of Revenues, and in the proper case, with the approval of the Chief Executive of the Canal Zone, the execution of deeds therefor. He shall also represent the municipality in all necessary litigation affecting municipal property within his district, and shall from time to time discharge such other duties of a public nature as may be assigned to him by the duly authorized authorities of the Canal Zone. He shall keep books or rolls showing all assessments made, taxes and rents due, and collections made, and shall give such bond as may be required of him. He shall report to the Collector of Revenues and deposit all funds as he may be required with the Treasurer of the Canal Zone.
- The existing regulations concerning the assessment and collection of taxes and the enforcement of the tax liens shall be followed and applied by the tax collector as far as the same are not inconsistent with the terms of this order. Unpaid taxes of every character shall constitute a personal claim against the person against whom they are levied, and taxes upon real property shall, in addition, until paid constitute a lien upon the realty. With respect to ad valorem taxes or other taxes levied by assessment, an appeal shall be allowed to the Circuit Judge for the district following a procedure to be prescribed by the Circuit Judges by the owner or occupant in all cases where the assessment may be thought to be unduly high, and by the Collector of Revenues in all cases where it may be thought to be unduly low, when compared with assessments made upon similar property similarly situated elsewhere in the Zone. For the purpose of equalizing assessments in the several districts, the three Circuit Judges shall once a year sit as a Board of Equalization.
- There shall be appointed in each district a district judge, who shall exercise all the authority now exercised by the municipal judges and shall discharge such other duties as may from time to time be imposed upon him by law or Executive order. There shall also be appointed for the whole Zone a fifth district judge, to be known as the Senior District Judge, who shall sit wherever required of him, and who shall once a month preside at and keep minutes of a conference of all the district judges at which matters of common interest pertaining to their office shall be discussed. Any district judge may temporarily be assigned to sit in any other district. Fines and fees shall be accounted for to the Collector of Revenues and paid in to the Treasurer of the Canal Zone.
- Public works and improvements in the several districts shall be under the charge and direction of a Superintendent of Public Works, appointed for the whole Zone, who shall also have charge and direction of slaughterhouse and market inspectors, and shall discharge such other duties of a public character relative to the various districts as may be assigned to him.
- Accounts shall be kept by the Collector of Revenues with each district, and public improvements shall be distributed among the several districts, with due regard to the revenue derived from each district. Rents derived from municipal property shall in all cases be expended upon public improvements or schools within the district from which it is collected.
- Ordinances regulating police, sanitation, and taxation, and any other matters now regulated by ordinance may be enacted, and existing ordinances may be repealed by the Isthmian Canal Commission, with the approval of the Secretary of War. They may be made operative throughout the Zone, or confined to any particular district.
- The municipal councils and all other municipal offices now existing under the laws of the Canal Zone are abolished.
- The district officers herein provided for shall be appointed and their salaries fixed by the Chief Executive of the Canal Zone, subject to approval of the Commission.
- The rules and regulations of the Isthmian Canal Commission, compiled under the title of "Laws of the Canal Zone," in so far as they are inconsistent with this order, are modified and repealed.
Effective April 15, 1907.
The White House,
- March 13, 1907.