A claim presented by a non-salaried [[nonsalaried]]justice of the peace in January for services performed for a county in the preceding September is properly payable out of the budget for the year in which the services were performed.
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May 29, 1952
Honorable James E. Duree Prosecuting Attorney Pacific County P.O. Box 552 Raymond, Washington Cite as: AGO 51-53 No. 317
Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 1, 1952, in which you request our opinion as to whether a non-salaried [[nonsalaried]]justice of the peace who submitted a claim on January 11, 1952, to the county commissioners for services performed in September 1951, may be paid from the 1952 budget or whether this claim must go over as unpaid claims until February of the next year.
It is our conclusion that this claim is governed by the county budget law and should have been paid from the 1951 budget.
The statutory provision relative to the lapse of county budgets will be found in RCW 36.40.200 (RRS § 3997-6). It reads:
"All appropriations shall lapse at the end of the fiscal year: Provided, That the appropriation accounts shall remain open for a period of thirty [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] days thereafter for the payment of claims incurred against such appropriations prior to the close of the fiscal year.
"After such period has expired all appropriations shall become null and void and any claim presented thereafter against any such appropriations shall be provided for in the next ensuing budget: Provided, That this shall not prevent payments upon uncompleted improvements in progress at the close of the fiscal year."
It will be noted that it is expressly provided that appropriations accounts shall remain open for a period of thirty days after the end of the fiscal year for the payment of claims incurred against such appropriation prior to the close of the fiscal year. In this case the claim was incurred in September when the services were performed and was filed within the thirty day grace period. In an opinion to the director of public health dated May 3, 1940, this office advised that a claim filed within the thirty day period for services performed during the preceding year was properly payable out of the preceding year's budget. We enclose a copy of that opinion for your information.
It is, therefore, our opinion that this claim should have been paid, since it was timely presented.