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Office of the New York State Comptroller

Legal Opinions

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 The opinions may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinions.

Recent Opinions

Opinion 2012-1
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Purchases and Sales (purchases of highway related products from company owned by a member of a town board of assessment review)
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Board of Assessment Review (purchases of highway related products from company owned by a member of a town board of assessment review)

Opinion 2011-1
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES -- Officers and Employees (serving as staff of not-for-profit corporations) -- Powers and Duties (hiring employees to serve as staff of not-for-profit corporations)

Opinion 2010-4
AMBULANCE SERVICE - - Contracts (by fire district for “back up” services with private ambulance company) -- Fees (imposition of by fire districts for “back up” services provided under contract with private ambulance company) -- Fire Districts (contracts for “back up” services with private ambulance company)
FEES -- Imposition of (by fire districts for “back up” services provided under contract with private ambulance company)
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Ambulance Service (“back up” services provided under contract with private ambulance company); (imposition of fees for “back up” services provided under contract with private ambulance company) – Powers and Duties (contract for “back up” services provided by private ambulance company); (imposition of fees for “back up” services provided under contract with private ambulance company); (by fire districts for “back up” services provided under contract with private ambulance company)

Opinion 2010-3
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS – Fire Protection Contracts (cost of debt service of fire company as part of “definite sum”); (not subject to referendum requirements)

Opinion 2010-2
PERSONAL PROPERTY – Disposition of (procedures for selling unneeded vehicles by town water district)
WATER DISTRICTS -- Property (sale of unneeded vehicles)

Opinion 2010-1
PARKS AND RECREATION -- Moneys in Lieu of Park Land (use of to fund the purchase of a portion of a parcel to be dedicated for park or recreation use)
ZONING AND PLANNING -- Park Lands (use of park trust moneys to fund the purchase of a portion of a parcel to be dedicated for park or recreation use)

Opinion 2009-2
STATE COMPTROLLER -- Approval by (of town water improvement)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (State Comptroller's permission for water improvement)
WATER IMPROVEMENTS -- State Comptroller's Permission (when required)
WATER SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION -- Town Improvements (need for State Comptroller's permission)

Opinion 2009-1
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Codes of Ethics (requiring disclosure and recusal by fire district commissioner whose spouse is to be appointed treasurer) -- Family Relationships (spouse of fire district commissioner as appointed treasurer)
FIRE DISTRICTS --Treasurer (spouse of fire district commissioner as appointed treasurer)

Opinion 2008-6
POLICE AND POLICE PROTECTION -- Police Chief (calculation of the cash value of accumulated, unused vacation leave payable upon retirement)

Opinion 2008-5
FIRE COMPANY -- Powers and Duties (amount payable to volunteer fire company under fire protection contract); (restrictions on use of money payable under fire protection contract); (submission of budget to village and town under fire protection contract)
FIRE PROTECTION AND PREVENTION -- Contracts (amounts payable to volunteer fire company); (restrictions on use of money by volunteer fire company); (submission of budget by volunteer fire company)
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS -- Contracts (payment of amount directly to volunteer fire company); (restrictions on use of money by volunteer fire company); (submission of budget by volunteer fire company); (with village)
VILLAGES -- Fire Department and Fire Protection (terms and conditions of fire protection contracts)

Opinion 2008-4
LOCAL LAWS -- Pre-emption (special district matters)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Town Charges (costs for park district improvements not payable from general fund)
PARK DISTRICTS -- Increase and Improvement of Facilities (costs not payable from town general fund); (raising amounts for)

Opinion 2008-3
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Appropriations and Expenditures (authority to make cash refunds of unexpended monies in a capital reserve fund) -- Powers and Duties (authority to make cash refunds of unexpended monies in a capital reserve fund)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Capital Reserve Fund (authority of a fire district to make cash refunds of unexpended monies in a capital reserve fund)

Opinion 2008-2
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Exceptions (contracts entered into prior to municipal service) -- Interests in Contract (town board member providing hauling services as sole proprietor)

Opinion 2008-1
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST-- Contracts (gifts to school district) -- Exceptions (contracts with not-for-profit-corporations)

Opinion 2007-8
FIRE COMPANY -- Powers and Duties (obtaining an annual audit)
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS -- Contracts (requirement for audit of fire company)
TOWN BOARD - Powers and Duties (audit of fire company)

Opinion 2007-7
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Retirement Benefits (reporting “days worked” for elected officials)
STATE COMPTROLLER -- Reporting to (by employers for “days worked” by elected officials)
WORDS AND PHRASES -- "Days Worked" (meaning of for purposes of 2 NYCRR 315)

Opinion 2007-6
POLICE AND POLICE PROTECTION -- Police Chief (entitlement to one-time payment made to next ranking subordinate officer)

Opinion 2007-5
COUNTIES -- Fund Transfers (referendum requirements for transfer from capital reserve fund)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Capital Reserve Fund (referendum requirements for transfer in counties)
REFERENDUM -- Permissive (need for transfer of monies from capital reserve fund in county)

Opinion 2007-4
LOCAL LAWS -- Municipal Funds (authority to supersede village budget procedures)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Budget Procedures (authority to supersede in village); (authority to establish fund for annual payments under ambulance services agreement)
REAL PROPERTY -- Sale (use of proceeds to establish fund for annual payments under ambulance services agreement)

Opinion 2007-3
POLICE AND POLICE PROTECTION -- Police Chief (entitlement to “other compensation” when no increase on or after August 2, 1999)
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Compensation (entitlement of police chief to “other compensation” when no increase on or after August 2, 1999)

Opinion 2007-2
ELECTIONS -- Board of Elections (liability for expenses of); (authority to charge back expenses of); (method of charging back expenses of); (custody of voting machines)

Opinion 2007-1
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Contracts Not Requiring Bidding (paratransit services) -- Policies and Procedures (request for proposals process for paratransit services) -- Professional Services (paratransit services)

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