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Office of the New York State Comptroller

Legal Opinions, 1998 - 1997

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 The opinions may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinions.

Opinion 98-24
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Appropriations and Expenditures (for Volunteer Firefighters' Benefit Law coverage for a firefighter of a bordering fire company providing on-going services)
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Disability Benefits (liability for when fire district accepts on-going services of firefighters of a bordering fire company)

Opinion 98-23
LOCAL LAWS -- Pre-emption (establishment of maximum speed limits in villages)
VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS -- Villages (designation of twenty-five m.p.h. zones)

Opinion 98-22
LOCAL LAWS -- Procedural Requirements (amendment of only by another local law) -- Publicity Fund (establishment of in village); (providing for, increasing or eliminating cap on in village)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Publicity Funds (procedure to establish in village); (providing for, increasing or eliminating cap on in village)
VILLAGES -- Powers and Duties (establishment of, increase or elimination of cap for publicity fund)

Opinion 98-21
AMBULANCE SERVICE -- Contracts (by fire district for emergency ambulance service) -- Fire Districts (contracts for emergency ambulance service)
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Ambulance Service (circumstances in which district may contract for provision of) -- Powers and Duties (authority to contract for emergency ambulance service)
MUNICIPAL COOPERATION -- Ambulance Service (joint contract by town and fire district)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (authority to contract for emergency ambulance service)

Opinion 98-20
FIRE COMPANY -- Fire Police Squads (qualification for appointment to)
FIRE COMMISSIONERS -- Powers and Duties (establishment of minimum service requirement for appointment to fire police squad)

Opinion 98-19
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Apparatus and Equipment (referendum requirement for installment purchase contract)
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Installment Purchase Contracts (referendum requirement for in fire district)
REFERENDUM -- Mandatory (need for in fire district for installment purchase contract)

Opinion 98-18
AMBULANCE SERVICE -- Fees (imposition of fees for services of an emergency rescue and first aid squad)
FEES -- Imposition of (for services of an emergency rescue and first aid squad)
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Ambulance Service (imposition of fees for services of an emergency rescue and first aid squad) -- Powers and Duties (imposition of fees for services of an emergency rescue and first aid squad)

Opinion 98-17
PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES -- Officers and Employees (defense and indemnification by municipality)
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Legal Expenses (defense and indemnification by municipality of employees of a public housing authority)

Opinion 98-16
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Certiorari Proceedings (timing for return to general fund of excess moneys in school district reserve fund for tax certiorari claims)
SCHOOL DISTRICTS -- Reserve Fund (timing for return to general fund of excess moneys in fund established to pay tax certiorari claims)

Opinion 98-15
HISTORIC PRESERVATION -- Town Building (need for referendum when selling)
REAL PROPERTY -- Sale (by town of historic building)
REFERENDUM -- Permissive (need for in town when selling historic building)

Opinion 98-14
LOCAL LAWS -- Municipal Funds (authority to supersede town budget procedures) -- Pre-emption (town highway budget estimates)
SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGHWAYS -- Powers and Duties (submission of budget estimates)
TOWNS -- Budget (submission of budget estimates by the highway superintendent)

Opinion 98-13
HISTORIC PRESERVATION -- Town Building (use of to display historical material) -- Public Museum (establishment of by town) -- Contracts (with museum registered by regents)
LOCAL LAWS -- Fees (imposition of for visiting town building containing historical material)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (establishment of public museum); (use of town building to display historical material); (contract with museum registered by regents)

Opinion 98-12
CITIES -- Powers and Duties (commingling of city and dependent school district moneys); (use of city and dependent school district moneys to temporarily finance operations of the other)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Accounting (commingling of city and dependent school district moneys) -- Inter-fund Advance (use of city and dependent school district moneys to temporarily finance operations of the other)
SCHOOL DISTRICTS -- Finances (commingling of city and dependent school district moneys); (use of city and dependent school district moneys to temporarily finance operations of the other)

Opinion 98-11
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Interest and Penalties (where last day of interest-free period falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday)

Opinion 98-10
LOCAL LAWS -- Pre-emption (funding town highway functions) -- Streets and Highways (funding town highway functions)
MUNICIPAL COOPERATION -- Streets and Highways (town repair and maintenance of village streets); (source of revenues to fund town services on village streets)
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Highway Department (town repair and maintenance of village streets) -- Repairs (by town of village streets) -- Snow Removal (by town on village streets)

Opinion 98-9
AMBULANCE DISTRICTS -- Contracts (imposition of charge per call by entity providing service) -- Fees (imposition of charge per call by entity providing service)
AMBULANCE SERVICE -- Contracts (imposition of charge per call by entity providing service) -- Fees (imposition of charge per call by entity providing service)
FEES -- Imposition of (by entity providing ambulance service pursuant to contract)

Opinion 98-8
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Preferred Source (requirement to obtain services from) -- Contracts Not Requiring Bidding (preferred source requirements)

Opinion 98-7
BOND AND NOTES -- Periods of Probable Usefulness (replacement of fire chiefs' cars); (acquisition of traffic signal control system)
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Apparatus and Equipment (capital reserve fund to replace chiefs' cars) -- Appropriations and Expenditures (replacement of chiefs' cars and acquisition of traffic signal control system) -- Powers and Duties (acquisition of chiefs' cars and traffic signal control system)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Capital Reserve Fund (creation of by fire district to replace chiefs' cars); (creation of by fire district to acquire traffic signal control system); (acquisition of indefinite number of items of equipment)
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Traffic Signals (acquisition of traffic signal control system by a fire district)

Opinion 98-6
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Exceptions (contracts entered into prior to election to office); (consideration of $750 or less) -- Family Relationships (spouse of county board member as sole proprietor)

Opinion 98-5
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Interest in Contract (county coroner paid by county for burial of public assistance recipients)
COUNTY CORONER -- Conflicts of Interest (payment by county for burial of public assistance recipients)

Opinion 98-4
COUNTIES -- Powers and Duties (delegation of duties in connection with correction of errors)
COUNTY AUDITOR -- Powers and Duties (delegation to of duties in connection with correction of errors)
COUNTY COMPTROLLER -- Powers and Duties (delegation to of duties in connection with correction of errors)
COUNTY TREASURER -- Powers and Duties (delegation to of duties in connection with correction of errors)
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Correction of Errors (delegation of duties in connection with)

Opinion 98-3
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Appointment to Office (of town supervisor's business partner) -- Contracts (appointment to office)

Opinion 98-2
FIRE CHIEFS -- Powers and Duties (control of use of personal equipment at fire)
FIRE COMMISSIONERS -- Reimbursement for Expenses (dinners after board meeting)
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Apparatus and Equipment (control of use of personal equipment at fire) -- Appropriations and Expenditures (dinners for fire commissioners)

Opinion 98-1
COUNTIES -- Powers and Duties (contract with public authority for transportation services for Medicaid clients)
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Contracts Not Requiring Bidding (contract with a public authority for transportation of Medicaid clients)

Opinion 97-26
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Apparatus and Equipment (authority to allocate cost of equipment between zone of assessment and remainder of district); (authority to use equipment purchased for use within a zone of assessment in other areas of fire district); (disposition of upon dissolution of zone assessment) -- Dissolution (disposition of property upon dissolution of zone of assessment) -- Taxes (authority to allocate cost of equipment between zone of assessment and remainder of district)

Opinion 97-25
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Codes of Ethics (requirement that architectural review board members represent that they will not perform compensated services for applicants to the board until after the board approves the applications)
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Ethics (performance of services by board member for applicant to the board)

Opinion 97-24
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Auxiliary (participation in service award program)
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Service Award Program (participation by members of the "auxiliary" of an incorporated fire company located within a fire district)

Opinion 97-23
AMBULANCE SERVICE -- Ambulance Corps (simultaneous membership in fire company)
FIRE COMPANY -- Membership (simultaneous membership in ambulance corps)
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Eligibility (simultaneous membership in fire company and ambulance corps)
VOLUNTEERS -- Ambulance Workers (simultaneous membership in ambulance corps and fire company)

Opinion 97-22
BONDS AND NOTES -- Permissible Uses (financing by county of construction of community college dormitory)
COMMUNITY COLLEGES -- Powers and Duties (financing dormitory construction)
COUNTIES -- Powers and Duties (financing the cost of community college dormitory)

Opinion 97-21
LIBRARIES -- Finances (filing of annual financial reports)
STATE COMPTROLLER-- Powers and Duties (receipt of annual financial reports from public libraries)

Opinion 97-20
FOREIGN FIRE INSURANCE TAXES -- Particular Uses (remodeling and purchasing appliances for firehouse kitchen)

Opinion 97-19
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Insurance Transactions (fire district treasurer as officer and stockholder of insurance agency)

Opinion 97-18
COUNTIES -- Improvement Districts (sale of real property of a county sewer district) -- Real Property (sale of real property of county sewer district)
IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS -- Real Property (sale of real property of a county sewer district) -- Referendum - (on sale of real property of a county sewer district)
SEWER DISTRICTS -- Referendum (on sale of real property of a county sewer district)

Opinion 97-17
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Financial Disclosure (applicability of county financial disclosure requirements to city and county public library)
COUNTIES -- Powers and Duties (authority to establish financial disclosure requirements for city and county public library)
LIBRARIES -- Public Library (authority to establish financial disclosure requirements)
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS -- Powers and Duties (authority to establish financial disclosure requirements for city and county public library)

Opinion 97-16
COUNTIES -- Assigned counsel (determination of amount of compensation) -- Powers and Duties (audit of claim for compensation submitted by assigned counsel)
CLAIMS -- Audit (by county of claim for compensation by assigned counsel in amount fixed by court) -- Payment (without audit of claim for compensation fixed by court)

Opinion 97-15
COUNTIES -- Improvement Districts (no authority to establish lighting district)
IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS -- Lighting Districts (no authority to establish in county)
LOCAL LAWS -- Pre-emption (formation of county lighting district)

Opinion 97-14
FOREIGN FIRE INSURANCE TAXES -- Particular Uses (furniture and trophy case)

Opinion 97-13
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Service Award Programs (service credit for training taken during a period of suspension); (service credit for training taken without approval)

Opinion 97-12
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Employment Contracts (planning board secretary as employee of engineer who appears before the board) -- Engineering Services (planning board secretary as employee of engineer who appears before the board)

Opinion 97-11
CITIES -- Powers and Duties (authority to establish financial disclosure requirements for housing authorities)
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Financial Disclosure (applicability to housing authorities) -- Public Housing Authorities (applicability of city financial disclosure requirements)
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS -- Powers and Duties (authority to establish financial disclosure requirements for housing authorities)
PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES -- Officers and Employees (applicability of municipal financial disclosure requirements)

Opinion 97-10
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Installment Purchase Contracts (authority to use for construction of firehouse)

Opinion 97-9
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST-- Disclosure of Interest (negative impact of zoning change on board member's business) -- Zoning Changes (disclosure and recusal where negative impact on board member's business)
ZONING AND PLANNING -- Zoning Changes (effect of negative impact on board member's business)

Opinion 97-8
CITIES -- Powers and Duties (requirement that claims be certified)
CLAIMS -- Certification of (necessity for in city)
LOCAL LAWS -- Claims (certification requirement)

Opinion 97-7
ABANDONED AND LOST PROPERTY -- Money (court and trust funds)
COUNTY TREASURER -- Powers and Duties (unclaimed court and trust moneys)
STATE COMPTROLLER -- Powers and Duties (receipt of unclaimed court and trust moneys)

Opinion 97-6
COUNTIES -- Emergency (911) Telephone System (use of surcharge revenues to construct housing for enhanced emergency telephone system) -- Powers and Duties (expenditure of revenues derived from surcharge imposed to establish and maintain E911 system)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Appropriations and Expenditures (expenditure by county of revenues derived from surcharge imposed to establish and maintain E911 system)
WORDS AND PHRASES -- "Maintaining" (as including construction of appropriate housing for E911 system) -- "Operations and maintenance costs" (as distinguished from construction or acquisition) -- "System Costs" (as including construction and incidental costs for purposes of County Law, article 6)

Opinion 97-5
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Assessments (imposition of assessment for construction of private road)
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Private Roads (construction of by village)
VILLAGES -- Powers and Duties (construction of and assessment for private road)

Opinion 97-4
FOREIGN FIRE INSURANCE TAXES -- Exempt Volunteer Firemen's Benevolent Association (use of moneys to pay death benefit upon death of firefighter's spouse)

Opinion 97-3
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Interest and Penalties (authority to waive)

Opinion 97-2
INSURANCE -- Health Insurance (authority to cover former school board members); (municipal cooperative health benefit plans) -- Self-Insurance (municipal cooperative health benefit plans)
MUNICIPAL COOPERATION -- Insurance (municipal cooperative health benefit plans)
SCHOOL DISTRICTS -- Powers and Duties (authority to provide health insurance coverage for former school board members)

Opinion 97-1
PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES -- Powers and Duties (participation in county workers' compensation self-insurance plan)
WORKERS' COMPENSATION -- County Self-Insurance Plan (participation in by village housing authority)

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