Opinion 90-17


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.


FIRE DISTRICTS -- Dissolution (disposition of surplus moneys)

TOWN LAW, §185(1): Absent a provision to the contrary in a special act of the state legislature, any moneys remaining after all the bonded and other indebtedness of a dissolved fire district has been paid must be credited to the taxable real property located in such district in the next succeeding assessment of town taxes.

This is in reply to your inquiry relating to the use of surplus moneys of a fire district after the dissolution of the district pursuant to section 185 of the Town Law. You indicate that a special act of the State Legislature (L 1989, c 534) provides that, upon dissolution of the fire district pursuant to section 185, the fire apparatus and equipment of the district shall be transferred, without consideration, to the town in which the district is located. You ask whether surplus moneys of the fire district may be used to repair and replace the apparatus and equipment transferred to the town.

Section 185 of the Town Law requires that, upon the dissolution of a fire district, all property of such district be sold a public sale and that the proceeds of the sale be paid to the supervisor of the town. Any moneys remaining after all the bonded and other indebtedness of the district has been paid are credited to the taxable real property located in such district in the next succeeding assessment of town taxes (Town Law, §185[1]; see also 31 Opns St Comp, 1975, p 103; 23 Opns St Comp, 1967, p 487; 12 Opns St Comp, 1956, p 214).

Although the special act cited above provides an exception to the provisions of section 185 with regard to the disposition of the fire apparatus and equipment of the fire district, it makes no provision for the surplus moneys of the district. Consequently, it is our opinion that those moneys must be distributed as provided in section 185.

June 4, 1990
Daniel Lincoln Miller, Esq., Town Attorney
Town of Chili