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AGO 1950 No. 405 - December 18, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

PAYMENT OF FIRE INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR COUNTY TB HOSPITAL OUT OF CURRENT EXPENSE FUND

Premiums for fire insurance on the county tuberculosis hospital may be paid out of county current expense fund.

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                                                               December 18, 1950

Honorable Hugh H. Evans
Prosecuting Attorney
Spokane County
Spokane, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 405

Attention:  !ttMr. Earl W. Foster
            Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            This is in answer to your letter of November 28, 1950, requesting the opinion of this office on the following question:

            "Can premiums for fire insurance on the county tuberculosis hospital be paid out of county general funds?"

            The conclusion reached may be summarized as follows:

            Premiums for fire insurance on the county tuberculosis hospital may be paid out of county general funds.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The power of the board of county commissioners to establish, provide and maintain county hospitals for the care and treatment of persons suffering from tuberculosis is created by virtue of section 1, chapter 172, Laws of 1913 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 6114), wherein the following provisions may be found:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "* * *

            "For these purposes, said board of county commissioners shall have the following powers:

            "* * *

            "To use county moneys, to levy taxes and to issue bonds as authorized by law to raise a sufficient amount of money to cover the cost of procuring a site, constructing and equipping hospitals and for the maintenance thereof, andall other necessary and proper expenses herein authorized, and create a fund to be known as the 'Tuberculosis Fund,' from which all expenses herein provided for shall be paid."  (Emphasis supplied)

            That it is within the discretion of the county commissioners to carry insurance on county property has been established.  Raynor v. King County, 2 Wn. (2d) 199, 97 P. (2d) 696.  Thus, when the board of county commissioners has determined that the county tuberculosis hospital should be insured against fire, the expense of the insurance would be a "necessary and proper expense" to be paid out of the Tuberculosis Fund as provided for in section 1, chapter 172, Laws of 1913 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 6114).

            The "Tuberculosis Fund" of the county may be available to cover the cost of fire insurance premiums.

            However, attention is called to the fact that there is no statutory prohibition preventing the payment of fire insurance premiums out of the current expense fund.  Therefore, it is the opinion of the office that the general fund (current expense fund) may be used to pay such fire insurance premiums on the county tuberculosis hospital.  The ultimate conclusion then is, that it is within the discretion of the board of county commissioners, having determined to insure the hospital, to provide for the payment of premiums either out of the Tuberculosis Fund as established in Rem. Rev. Stat. 6114 or out of the county general fund.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

BARBARA L. OHNICK
Assistant Attorney General

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