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AGO 1951 No. 014 - April 13, 1951
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

CIVIL DEFENSE ‑- CITIES AND COUNTIES ‑- APPROPRIATIONS ‑- DISBURSEMENT BY COMMITTEE.

The County Commissioners, City Commissioners, and council of the constituent counties, cities and towns of a joint local defense organization established pursuant to the Washington Civil Defense Act of 1951, may appropriate money for their respective shares of the cost of the civil defense activities of the local organization, and pay the same into a special pool fund to be administered, and expended on behalf of the local defense organization.

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                                                                   April 13, 1951

Honorable Philip D. Batson, Director
Office of Civil Defense
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 14

Dear Sir:

            By letter of April 9, 1951, you request our opinion on the following question:

            "Based on the new civil defense law, Chapter 178, Laws of 1951, may County Commissioners, City Commissioners, and councilmen of the various towns and counties of this state appropriate money, deliver the same to a committee, and authorize said committee to expend said money as it shall deem fit for the furtherance of civil defense on behalf of the counties, cities, and towns."

            Our conclusion is:

            The County Commissioners, City Commissioners, and council of the constituent counties, cities, and towns of a joint local defense organization established pursuant to the Washington Civil Defense Act of 1951, may appropriate money for their respective shares of the cost of the civil defense  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] activities of the local organization, and pay the same into a special pool fund to be administered, and expended on behalf of the local defense organization.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Subdivision (1) of section 8 of the recently enacted Washington Civil Defense Act of 1951, being chapter 178, Laws of 1951, provides in part that:

            "* * * The director of civil defense may authorize two or more political subdivisions to join in the establishment and operation of a local organization for civil defense as circumstances may warrant, in which case each political subdivision shall contribute to the cost of civil defense upon such fair and equitable basis as may be determined upon by the executive heads of the constituent subdivisions.  If in any case the executive heads cannot agree upon the proper division of cost the matter shall be referred to the council for arbitration and its decision shall be final.  When two or more political subdivisions join in the establishment and operation of a local organization for civil defense each shall pay its share of the cost into a special pooled fund to be administered by the treasurer of the most populous subdivision, which fund shall be known as the        civil defense fund.  * * *"

            A "political subdivision" is defined by subdivision (4) of section 3 of the Act as meaning "any county, city or town."

            We are of the opinion that under the above quoted portions of the new defense act, the County Commissioners, City Commissioners, and councilmen of counties, cities and towns which have joined in the formation of a local organization (or "committee" as referred to in your inquiry) authorized by the Director of Civil Defense pursuant to the provisions of the Act, may appropriate and contribute funds for the respective shares of such counties, cities and towns, of the cost of the activities of the local defense organization.  It will be noted that the Act expressly provides that each political subdivision of such a joint local defense organization shall pay its share of the cost into a "special pooled fund" which is to be administered by the "treasurer of the most populous subdivision."  This implies that direct control and supervision of the expenditure of the fund is under the local defense organization.   [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] Our opinion of April 3, 1951, to the Prosecuting Attorney of Snohomish County, to which you make reference, was in response to a request dated January 26, 1951, based on the prior acts relating to civil defense, and is superseded by our conclusions herein with respect to the recently enacted Washington Civil Defense Act of 1951.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

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