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Legal Opinions, 2002 - 2001

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 The opinions may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinions.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 2002-17
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Award (of prime contract to construction manager) -- Coordination of Work (by construction manager who is also a prime contractor) -- Separate Specification Requirement (award of prime contract to construction manager)

Opinion 2002-16
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -- Gifts and Loans (payments to not-for-profit corporation to publicize resources available in downtown area)
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS -- Powers and Duties (publicizing resources available in downtown area)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Appropriations and Expenditures (expenditures to publicize resources available in downtown area); Publicity Funds (expenditures to publicize resources available in downtown area)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (expenditures to publicize resources available in downtown area)
VILLAGES -- Powers and Duties (expenditures to publicize resources available in downtown area)

Opinion 2002-15
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Town Charges (street lighting and maintenance of town hall as townwide charges)
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Lighting (as townwide charge in towns)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (maintenance of town hall as townwide charge); (street lighting as townwide charge)

Opinion 2002-14
CLAIMS -- Compromise and Settlement (incurrence of reasonable expenses to evaluate appropriateness of settlement)
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -- Gifts and Loans (work performed on private property in connection with evaluating appropriateness of settlement)

Opinion 2002-13
FOREIGN FIRE INSURANCE TAXES -- Particular Uses (funding fire department sports or recreational teams); (paying expenses of fire departments' annual fund-raising drive)

Opinion 2002-12
MUNICIPAL COOPERATION -- Sewers (combining two village sewer departments) -- Streets and Highways (combining two village street departments) -- Water (combining two village water departments)
SEWERS AND SEWER SYSTEMS -- Contracts (cooperation agreement to combine two village sewer departments)
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Highway Department (cooperation agreement to combine two village street departments)
VILLAGES -- Powers and Duties (municipal cooperation agreement to combine sewer, water and street departments of the two villages)
WATER SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION -- Contracts (cooperation agreement to combine two village water departments)

Opinion 2002-11
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Service Award Programs (point accumulation for responding to both fire and ambulance calls)

Opinion 2002-10
CEMETERIES -- Privately-owned cemetery (authority of town to acquire by gift as historic property)
HISTORIC PRESERVATION -- Privately-owned cemetery (authority of town to acquire by gift as historic property)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (acceptance of gift of privately-owned cemetery deemed historical property)

Opinion 2002-9
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -- Gifts and Loans (contract for provision of services by private organization); (contribution to private organizations)
PUBLIC CONTRACTS -- Contracts Not Requiring Competitive Bidding (contract for services pursuant to General Municipal Law §120-w below the competitive bidding monetary threshold)
REFUSE AND GARBAGE -- Solid Waste Facility (contract for services of individuals to coordinate volunteer workers)
VOLUNTEERS -- Use of (to assist at recycling center)

Opinion 2002-8
WATER DISTRICTS -- Dissolution (when no improvement constructed and no debt outstanding)

Opinion 2002-7
LIBRARIES -- Appropriations and Expenditures (necessity for referendum when expending reserve fund moneys) -- Finances (establishment of and expenditure from reserve funds) -- Reserve Fund (authority to establish); (necessity for referendum)
REFERENDUM -- Public Libraries (not required to expend monies from reserve fund)

Opinion 2002-6
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Improvements (whether required at request of adjacent property owners based solely on highway failing to meet qualifications for designation as seasonal limited use highway) -- Seasonal Limited Use Highway (effect of existing residences occupied for part of the year on)

Opinion 2002-5
BONDS AND NOTES -- Permissible Uses (financing acquisition of development rights for open space preservation) -- Referendum Requirements (financing acquisition of development rights for open space preservation)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS-- Capital Reserve Fund (authority to establish for acquisition of development rights for open space preservation); (referendum requirements in connection with establishment for acquisition of development rights for open space preservation); (investment of monies held in) -- Deposits and Investments (of monies in capital reserve fund)
REAL PROPERTY -- Purchases (of development rights for open space preservation)

Opinion 2002-4
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -- Gifts and Loans (authority to use town monies to dredge a privately-owned channel); (authority to utilize the services of the town highway department to dredge a privately-owned channel)
MUNICIPAL FUNDS -- Appropriations and Expenditures (appropriation of current funds to pay for dredging privately-owned channel) -- Highway Funds (dredging services performed by highway department charged to general fund)
REFERENDUM -- Mandatory (need for to expend current funds for dredging)
SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGHWAYS -- Powers and Duties (assignment of additional duties - dredging)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (authority to expend current funds for dredging a privately-owned channel)

Opinion 2002-3
IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS -- Dock Districts (expansion of activities to include maintenance and operation of recreational facilities)
LOCAL LAWS -- Pre-emption (special district matters)

Opinion 2002-2
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS - Service Award Programs (service credit after entitlement age); (voluntary waiver of right to begin receiving award at entitlement age)

Opinion 2002-1
REFERENDUM -- Mandatory (content of proposition to establish a service award program for volunteer firefighters); (need for when amending a service award program for volunteer firefighters)
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Service Award Programs (content of proposition to establish);
(procedure to amend)

Opinion 2001-15
IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS -- Dissolution (authority to dissolve a lighting district); (authority of corporation to sign petition to dissolve district); (authority to dissolve district when there are no "resident owners" within the district); (authority to dissolve district when assets are sold to town) -- Property (meaning of for purpose of Town Law §198[12])
PERSONAL PROPERTY -- Disposition of (a service contract of a lighting district)
WORDS AND PHRASES -- "Corporation" (meaning of for purpose of Town Law §198[12]) -- "Property" (meaning of for purpose of Town Law §§191, 202-c) -- "Resident Owner" (meaning of for purpose of Town Law §198[12])

Opinion 2001-14
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Contracts (intermunicipal agreement does not constitute "contract" within the meaning of General Municipal Law, article 18) -- Interest in Contract (municipal officer or employee not deemed to have interest in intermunicipal agreement)
MUNICIPAL COOPERATION -- Conflicts of Interest (intermunicipal agreement does not constitute "contract" within the meaning of General Municipal Law, article 18)

Opinion 2001-13
FEES -- Imposition of (authority of a town to install a tollbooth and charge a fee to certain users of town highways)
LOCAL LAWS -- Pre-emption (fees for use of town highways)
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS -- Powers and Duties (authority to install a tollbooth and charge a fee to certain users of public highways)
STREETS AND HIGHWAYS -- Improvements (authority of a town to charge a fee to certain users of town highway to be used to replace highway) -- Use of (authority of a town to charge a fee to certain users of town highways)
TOWNS -- Powers and Duties (authority of a town to install a tollbooth and charge a fee to certain users of town highways)
VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC REGULATIONS -- Toll Collection Provisions (authority of town to install tollbooth and charge a fee to certain users of town highway)

Opinion 2001-12
LIBRARIES -- Library Trustees (authority to provide for defense and indemnification of library employees) -- Public Library (authority of library board and governing board of sponsor to provide for defense and indemnification of library employees)
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Legal Expenses (defense and indemnification of public library employees)

Opinion 2001-11
CONFLICT OF INTEREST -- Powers and Duties (of individual on behalf of private corporation doing business with fire district not relevant for purposes of section 801 of the General Municipal Law) -- Purchases and Sales (assistant fire chief as stockholder of corporation doing business with fire district)

Opinion 2001-10
CLAIMS -- Audit (necessity of vendor certification)
TOWN BOARD -- Powers and Duties (authority to require certification or verification of claims)

Opinion 2001-9
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST -- Codes of Ethics (prohibition against county officials serving as officers of not-for-profit corporations) -- Exceptions (contracts with not-for-profit corporations)

Opinion 2001-8
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Establishment (within area of former fire protection district) -- Taxes (setting of lower rate for owners of multiple parcels)
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS -- Dissolution (simultaneous establishment of fire district within area of dissolved fire protection district)

Opinion 2001-7
IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS -- Expenses (authority to charge "entry fee" to properties within an extension to a public parking district) -- Extensions (authority to charge "entry fee" to properties within an extension to a public parking district) -- Public Parking Districts (authority to charge "entry fee" to properties within extension)
LOCAL LAWS -- Fees (authority to charge "entry fee" to properties within an extension to a public parking district) -- Improvement Districts (authority to charge "entry fee" to properties within an extension to a public parking district)
PARKING FACILITIES -- Public Parking Districts (authority to charge "entry fee" to properties within extension)

Opinion 2001-6
FOREIGN FIRE INSURANCE TAXES -- Particular Uses (purchase of personal computer, facsimile machine and refrigerator for fire department use)

Opinion 2001-5
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Appropriations and Expenditures (authority to offer rewards) -- Powers and Duties (authority to offer rewards)

Opinion 2001-4
TOWN ASSESSOR -- Compensation (fixed amount for specified services plus hourly rate for revaluation work to be performed by appointive assessor); (salary increase for appointive assessor)
LOCAL LAWS -- Compensation (fixed amount plus hourly rate for appointive town assessor)
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Compensation (fixed amount plus hourly rate for appointive town assessor); (salary increase for appointive town assessor)

Opinion 2001-3
SEWER RENTS -- Imposition of (at amount that would generate excess revenues for general municipal purposes) -- Rates (fixing of at amount that would generate excess revenues for general municipal purposes)

Opinion 2001-2
FIRE DISTRICTS -- Powers and Duties (discretion in crediting points under a service award program)
VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS -- Service Award Programs (point accumulation required in order to be credited with one year of firefighting service); (participation in department responses required in order to be credited with twenty-five points); (granting of points for one activity conditioned upon accumulation of points in another category)

Opinion 2001-1
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW -- Gifts and Loans (authority to pay overtime compensation in excess of Fair Labor Standards Act minimum requirements)
PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES -- Compensation (overtime pay in excess of Fair Labor Standards Act minimum requirements) -- Overtime (pay in excess of Fair Labor Standards Act minimum requirements)

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