Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1957 No. 89 -
Attorney General John J. O'Connell


The treasurer of a regional library is the sole custodian of the proceeds of the sale of bonds, which bonds were issued to raise money for the construction of a regional library building.

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                                                                   June 28, 1957

Honorable Charles W. Cone
Prosecuting Attorney of Chelan County
Chelan County Court House
Wenatchee, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 89

Dear Sir:

            By letter of June 24, 1957, you have requested the opinion of the attorney general on the following question:

            Must a city which is a party to an agreement creating a regional library transfer to the treasurer of the regional library the proceeds from the sale of general obligation bonds which were issued for the purpose of constructing a new regional library building?

            We answer your question in the affirmative.


            The controlling statute is RCW 27.12.080.  It provides as follows:

            "Two or more governmental units may join in establishing and maintaining a regional library through a joint written agreement of their legislative bodies.  The agreement must provide for the apportionment of the expenses, and thatthe treasurer of one of the participating units shall have custody  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] of the funds of the library.  The treasurers of the other participating governmental units shall transfer to the one who has been selected as treasurer for the library, all moneys collected for public library purposes in their governmental units.  If the legislative body of any one of the participating governmental units decides to withdraw from a regional library contract, the withdrawing governmental unit shall be entitled to a division of the property on the basis of its contributions."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            You advise that Chelan county and the city of Wenatchee several years ago entered into an agreement establishing the North Central Regional Library in conformity with this section, and that the Chelan county treasurer was designated in the agreement as treasurer for the library.  We understand that both the Chelan County Rural Library District and the city of Wenatchee have issued general obligation bonds to provide funds for the construction of a new regional library building.  The question has arisen whether the city of Wenatchee can properly retain the proceeds from the sale of the bonds, turning money over to the regional library board for construction of the new library building only as needed in the construction.

            We believe that RCW 27.12.080 is clear and unambiguous.  It requires "all moneys collected for public library purposes" to be transferred to the treasurer for the regional library.  There is apparently no question but that the bonds were sold to provide funds for the library.  Furthermore, in accordance with the statute, the agreement entered into between the parties and creating the North Central Regional Library provided that "All funds of the Regional Library shall be in the custody of the treasurer of Chelan County who is hereby designated as the treasurer of the Regional Library."

            We therefore conclude that by statute, and as a matter of contract, the proceeds of both the rural library district bonds and the city of Wenatchee bonds must be deposited in a common construction fund to be administered by the Chelan county treasurer in his capacity as treasurer of the regional library.

            We hope that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General