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AGO 1951 No. 152 - October 17, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTIES ‑- AIRPORTS ‑- DISPOSITION OF REMAINING FUNDS DERIVED FROM OPERATION OF AIRPORT UPON TRANSFER OF PHYSICAL ASSETS

Upon the transfer of the physical assets of the Clallam County Airport to the Clallam County Port District the funds remaining in the county airport fund and which were derived from revenues from the operation of the airport should also be transferred to the port district.

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                                                                October 17, 1951

Honorable Cliff Yelle
State Auditor
Division of Municipal Corporations
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 152

Attention:  A. E. Hankins, Chief Examiner

Dear Sir:

            In your letter of September 4, 1951, you state that:

            "The physical assets of the Clallam County Airport have been transferred to the Clallam County Port District.  There remains in the Clallam County Airport Fund a certain amount of cash balance which was derived through the operation of the airport."

            You ask our opinion as to whether or not this cash residue "should remain with Clallam County or be transferred to the Port District with the physical assets of the airport.

            Our conclusion is that:

            Upon the transfer of the physical assets of the Clallam County Airport to the Clallam County Port District the funds remaining in the county airport fund and which were derived from revenues from the operation of the airport should also be transferred to the port district.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The provisions of chapter 21, Laws of 1941 (§§ 2722-8 to 2722-12 Rem. Supp. 1941), relating to airports and airport sites, and the provisions of the Revised Airports Act, being chapter 182, Laws of 1945 (§§ 2722-30 to 2722-48 Rem. Supp. 1945), give broad powers to the municipalities therein referred to (including counties and port districts), with respect to the transfer and acquisition of property and funds used and to be used in the development, maintenance and operation of airport facilities.  Such powers were discussed generally in our opinion of April 20, 1951, to the Prosecuting Attorney of Clallam County [[Opinion No. 51-53-20]], a copy of which is enclosed herewith.

            With respect to revenues from operation, subdivision 2 of section 7 of the Revised Airports Act (§ 2722-36 Rem. Supp. 1945), provides that such revenues "shall be used," first, to finance maintenance and operating expenses, second, to make payments of interest and current principal on indebtedness, and that the excess of such revenues may be applied to finance the extension or improvement of the airport facilities.  Subdivision 4 of section 8 of the act (§ 2722-37 Rem. Supp. 1945), provides that the municipality may create a special airport fund in which all receipts from the operation of the airport are to be deposited, and that such fund "shall remain intact from year to year and may be pledged to the payment of aviation bonds,or kept for future maintenance, constructionor operation of airports or airport facilities."

            These provisions indicate a legislative intent that revenues from operation should be used only in connection with the maintenance, operation and improvement and extension of the physical facilities of the airport from the operation of which such revenues are derived.  It is our opinion that the balance of any such revenues should follow the physical facilities upon a transfer of the latter.  You are, therefore, advised that the balance of the Clallam County Airport Fund which is made up of revenues derived from the operation of the airport should be transferred to the Clallam County Port District, to which district the physical airport facilities have been transferred.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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