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December 10, 1971
Mr. Stanley E. Francis, Administrator
Interagency Committee for Outdoor
4800 Capitol Boulevard
Olympia, Washington 98504
Cite as: AGLO 1971 No. 133 (not official)
By letter previously acknowledged you requested an opinion of this office on several questions which we paraphrase as follows:
(1) Does the interagency committee for outdoor recreation, in allocating moneys from the outdoor recreation account to public bodies for the acquisition and development of outdoor recreation land under their respective jurisdictions, have the authority to include moneys to be used for payment of relocation expenses incurred by persons displaced by the land acquisitions thus being funded?
(2) Does the interagency committee have the authority to accept payments from the federal land and water conservation fund for disbursement for relocation payments?
(3) Does the interagency committee have the authority to require recipient public bodies to comply with the acquisition procedures of Public Law 91-646, 84 Stat. 1894 (1971)?
We answer each of your questions in the affirmative for the reasons set forth in the body of our opinion.
The outdoor recreation account of the state general fund was created by § 6, chapter 5, Laws of 1965 (Initiative No. 215), presently codified as RCW 43.99.060, to serve as a depository for all moneys received from the marine fuel tax refund account in accordance with the provisions of § 7 of that act (RCW 43.99.070). In addition, this account was to receive the proceeds of certain general obligation bonds issued pursuant to chapter 12, Laws of 1963, Ex. Sess. (Referendum Bill No. 11) and any moneys made available to the state of Washington by the federal government for outdoor recreation ". . . not specifically designated for another fund or agency."
Subsequently, by their approval of chapter 126, Laws of 1967, Ex. Sess. (Referendum Bill No. 18), now codified as chapter 43.99A RCW, the voters of this state authorized a further bond issue for outdoor recreational purposes ‑ with the proceeds thereof also to [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] be deposited in this same "outdoor recreation account of the general fund." RCW 43.99A.070, which governs the over-all utilization and disbursement of these bond proceeds reads as follows:
"The proceeds from the sale of bonds deposited in the outdoor recreation account of the general fund under the terms of RCW 43.99A.050 shall be administered by the interagency committee for outdoor recreation. All such proceeds shall be divided into two equal shares. One share shall be allocated for the acquisition and development of outdoor recreation areas and facilities on behalf of the state as the legislature may direct by appropriation. The other share shall be allocated to public bodies as defined in RCW 43.99.020 for the acquisition and development of outdoor recreational areas and facilities within the jurisdiction of such public bodies. The interagency committee for outdoor recreation is authorized to use or permit the use of any funds derived from the sale of bonds authorized under this chapter as matching funds in any case where federal or other funds are made available on a matching basis for projects within the purposes of this chapter.1/
The uses to be made of the moneys transferred to the outdoor recreation account from the marine fuel tax refund account under §§ 6 and 7 of chapter 5, Laws of 1965, supra, are set forth in RCW 43.99.080 as follows:
"Moneys transferred to the outdoor recreation account from the marine fuel tax refund account may be used when appropriated by the legislature, as well as any federal or other funds now or hereafter available, to pay the necessary administrative and coordinative costs of the interagency committee for outdoor recreation established by RCW 43.99.110. All moneys so transferred, except those appropriated as aforesaid, shall be divided into two equal shares and shall be used to benefit watercraft recreation in this state as follows: (1) One share by the state for (a) acquisition of title to, or any interests or rights in, marine recreation land, (b) capital improvement of marine recreation land, or (c) matching funds in any case where federal or other funds are made available on [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] matching basis for purposes described in (a) or (b); (2) One share as grants to public bodies to help finance (a) acquisition of title to, or any interests or rights in, marine recreation land, or (b) capital improvement of marine recreation land. A public body is authorized to use a grant, together with its own contribution, as matching funds in any case where federal or other funds are made available for purposes described in (a) or (b). The committee may prescribe further terms and conditions for the making of grants in order to carry out the purposes of this chapter."
As for the 1963, Referendum Bill No. 11, bond proceeds ‑ the uses to be made of these moneys need not be considered in this opinion, because all of these proceeds have already been expended and none remain, at the present time, in the outdoor recreation account.
As evidenced by the text of RCW 43.99A.070, supra, administration of the outdoor recreation account is vested in the interagency committee for outdoor recreation which was created by § 11 of Initiative No. 215 ‑ RCW 43.99.110. Your first question is whether this agency, in administering those moneys in the outdoor recreation account which are allocable to local public agencies for the acquisition of outdoor recreation land, may include in such allocations amounts sufficient to enable the recipient public bodies to make relocation payments to persons displaced by reason of the land acquisitions.
By its enactment of Public Law 99-646, the federal Congress established a policy of requiring financial assistance to persons displaced by reason of public land acquisitions ‑ either by the federal government itself or by state or local governmental agencies utilizing, to some extent, federal funds. In apparent response to this act, our own 1971 state legislature enacted chapter 240, Laws of 1971, 1st Ex. Sess., the declared purposes of which, as set forth in § 1, are as follows:
"The purposes of this act are: (1) To establish a uniform policy for the fair and equitable treatment of persons displaced as a result of public works programs of the state and local governments in order that such persons shall not suffer disproportionate injuries as a result of programs designed for the benefit of the public as a whole; and
[[Orig. Op. Page 4]]
(2) To encourage and expedite the acquisition of real property for public works programs by agreements with owners, to reduce litigation and relieve congestion in the courts, to assure consistent treatment for owners affected by state and local programs, and to promote public confidence in state and local acquisition practices."
The basic substantive requirement of chapter 240, supra, is contained in § 4 (1) as follows:
"(1) Whenever the acquisition of real property for a program or project undertaken by the state or a local public body will result in the displacement of any person on or after the effective date of this act, the acquiring agency shall make a payment to any displaced person, upon proper application as approved by the agency, for‑-
(a) actual, reasonable expenses in moving himself, his family, business, farm operation, or other personal property; (b) actual direct losses of tangible personal property as a result of moving or discontinuing a business or farm operation, but not to exceed an amount equal to the reasonable expenses that would have been required to relocate such property, as determined by the acquiring agency; and (c) actual reasonable expenses in searching for a replacement business or farm."
Also to be noted in § 15 which provides that:
"Funds appropriated or otherwise available to any state agency or local public body for the acquisition of real property or any interest therein for a particular program or project shall be available also for obligation and expenditure to carry out the provisions of this act as applied to that program or project." (Emphasis supplied.)
We are convinced that this section of the 1971 act, read together with the mandate of § 4, supra, has the effect of authorizing those moneys in the outdoor recreation account of the general fund which are allocable to local public bodies for land acquisition to be used for payment of relocation costs related to such land acquisitions. Simply stated, we read the provisions of chapter 240, Laws of 1971, 1st Ex. Sess., as making the payment of relocation costs, to the extent required thereby, a mandatory expense of acquisition.
[[Orig. Op. Page 5]]
We have seen that both the Referendum 18 bond proceeds and the Initiative 215 marine fuel tax refund account money may be used for the acquisition of outdoor recreation land. The objective of the people in approving these two measures was to aid public bodies in acquiring (and developing) more outdoor recreation land. See RCW 43.99.010 and RCW 43.99A.010. Referendum 18 bonds can be sold at any time2/ and the Initiative 215 money will continue to become available in future years until and unless new legislation is passed. Since these two laws were intended to provide continuing aid over an indefinite period, it is reasonable to conclude that they were intended by the people to authorize aid to public bodies for the cost of acquisition of outdoor recreation property, as that cost may be from time to time, rather than as it was in 1968 and 1964, when the measures were adopted.
We have already concluded that the 1971 legislature has changed the requirements for acquisition of land by public agencies so that they must now pay relocation expenses. Chapter 240, supra. We now conclude that the people in approving Initiative 215 and Referendum 18 intended to authorize monetary assistance for the actual expenses of acquisition of land by public agencies as required by law from time to time, and that relocation expense is an expense of acquisition of land, when it is required by law to be paid. Having so concluded, we need not discuss the legal principles which would govern if the payment of such costs were, instead, to be regarded as a change of object of these measures previously approved by the people.3/
From the foregoing, we answer your first question in the affirmative: Both Referendum 18 bond proceeds and Initiative 215 marine fuel tax refund account money may be used to aid public bodies in the payment of relocation expenses where the payment is required by law in order to acquire land.
The authority of the interagency committee for outdoor recreation [[Orig. Op. Page 6]] to accept the payments from the federal land and water conservation fund, as provided for under Public Law 88-578, 78 Stat. 897 (1965), to be disbursed from the outdoor recreation account for relocation payments, is clearly enunciated in RCW 43.99.124, as follows:
"The committee may apply to any appropriate agency or officer of the United States for participation in or the receipt of aid from any federal program respecting outdoor recreation not specifically designated for another fund or agency. . . ."
The interagency committee is also authorized to use funds derived from the sale of the general obligation bonds provided for in Referendum Bill No. 18, supra, as matching funds in any case where federal or other funds are made available on a matching basis for projects within the purposes of the referendum. See, RCW 43.99A.070.
Lastly you have asked whether the interagency committee for outdoor recreation has the authority to require recipient public bodies to comply with the acquisition procedures of Public Law 91-646, supra, where such compliance is required as a condition to receipt of federal matching funds.
Our affirmative answer to this question is based upon RCW 43.99.080, which provides that:
"The committee may prescribe further terms and conditions for the making of grants in order to carry out the purposes of this chapter."
In addition, under RCW 43.99.124,
"The committee may . . . furnish to appropriate officials and agencies of the United States such reports and information as may be reasonably necessary to enable such officials and agencies to perform their duties under such programs."
We trust that the foregoing answers to your three questions will be of assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Morton M. Tytler
Assistant Attorney General
*** FOOTNOTES ***
1/See, also, RCW 43.99A.050, codifying § 5 of Referendum Bill No. 18, and providing as follows: "The proceeds from the sale of bonds authorized by this chapter shall be deposited in the outdoor recreation account of the general fund and shall be used exclusively for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of the chapter and for payment of the expense incurred in the issuance and sale of the bonds."
2/An amendment to RCW 43.99A.020 removed a prior deadline of January 1, 1975 for the sale of the bonds. See section 1, Chapter 40, 1970 1st Ex. Sess., approved by the people at the 1970 general election.
3/Initiative 215 and Referendum 18 were both approved by the voters. Chapter 240, Laws of 1971, 1st Ex. Sess., requiring payment of relocation expenses and authorizing use of available funds for that purpose, was not submitted to the people, but is an act of the legislature. If the relocation expense bill were construed to be outside the scope of the earlier bills and an implied amendment of them, then the question would arise as to whether such an amendment would have to be submitted to the people to be constitutionally valid. See Washington Constitution Article II, § 1 (c) (Amendment 7) with respect to the initiative and Davis v. Seattle 50 Wn.2d 785, 335 P.2d 354 (1960) with regard to the bond referendum.