A-14655, JULY 20, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 60

A-14655: Jul 20, 1926

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IS IMPROVED DURING A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR BY THE EXPENDITURE OF AN AMOUNT WHICH ADDED TO THE ORIGINAL COST WOULD NOT TAKE IT OUT OF A CLASS IN WHICH ITS ORIGINAL COST HAD PLACED IT. SUCH BUILDING WILL NOT BE REGARDED AS ONE OF THE SIX BUILDINGS AUTHORIZED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE IMPROVEMENT WAS MADE. TWO QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN UPON WHICH IS SHOULD APPRECIATE YOUR DECISION: "SEC. 2. IS THE EXPRESS "WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM" TO BE INTERPRETED AS HAVING ITS ORDINARY MEANING. THAT IS. IT IS CLEAR IN THE CASE OF A CITY OR TOWN DWELLING THAT THE WORDS COULD MEAN ONLY THE SYSTEM THAT BEGINS WITH THE ATTACHMENT TO THE CITY WATER PIPE AND ENDS AT THE CONNECTION WITH THE CITY SEWER.

A-14655, JULY 20, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 60

FOREST SERVICE - PUBLIC BUILDING CONSTRUCTION - WATER SUPPLY THE TERM "WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM" AS USED IN SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1132, PROVIDING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION, IMPROVEMENT, OR PURCHASE OF BUILDINGS FOR THE FOREST SERVICE, INCLUDES ALL EXPENSES FOR PROVIDING THE MEANS BY WHICH THE BUILDINGS MAY BE FURNISHED WITH WATER AND BY WHICH REFUSE SUCH AS SEWAGE MAY BE DISPOSED OF. WHERE A BUILDING CONSTRUCTED OR PURCHASED BY THE FOREST SERVICE, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1132, DURING ONE FISCAL YEAR AT A COST IN EXCESS OF $1,500, BUT NOT IN EXCESS OF $2,000, EXCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, IS IMPROVED DURING A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR BY THE EXPENDITURE OF AN AMOUNT WHICH ADDED TO THE ORIGINAL COST WOULD NOT TAKE IT OUT OF A CLASS IN WHICH ITS ORIGINAL COST HAD PLACED IT, SUCH BUILDING WILL NOT BE REGARDED AS ONE OF THE SIX BUILDINGS AUTHORIZED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE IMPROVEMENT WAS MADE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JULY 20, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925 (PUBLIC NO. 575, 68TH CONGRESS) (43 STAT. 1132), QUOTED BELOW, TWO QUESTIONS HAVE ARISEN UPON WHICH IS SHOULD APPRECIATE YOUR DECISION:

"SEC. 2, THAT, IN ADDITION TO BUILDINGS COSTING NOT TO EXCEED $1,500 EACH, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, OUT OF ANY MONEYS APPROPRIATED FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OR PROTECTION OF THE NATIONAL FORESTS, MAY CONSTRUCT, IMPROVE, OR PURCHASE DURING EACH FISCAL YEAR THREE BUILDINGS FOR NATIONAL FOREST PURPOSES AT NOT TO EXCEED $2,500 EACH; AND THREE AT NOT TO EXCEED $2,000 EACH: PROVIDED, THAT THE COST OF A WATER SUPPLY OR SANITARY SYSTEM SHALL NOT BE CHARGED AS A PART OF THE COST OF ANY BUILDING EXCEPT THOSE COSTING IN EXCESS OF $2,000 EACH, AND NO SUCH WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM SHALL COST IN EXCESS OF $500.'

1. IS THE EXPRESS "WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM" TO BE INTERPRETED AS HAVING ITS ORDINARY MEANING, THAT IS, BEGINNING WITH THE ATTACHMENT TO A WATER SUPPLY BROUGHT WITHIN A REASONABLE DISTANCE OF THE BUILDING; OR DOES IT INCLUDE THE WATER DEVELOPMENT AS WELL? OF COURSE, IT IS CLEAR IN THE CASE OF A CITY OR TOWN DWELLING THAT THE WORDS COULD MEAN ONLY THE SYSTEM THAT BEGINS WITH THE ATTACHMENT TO THE CITY WATER PIPE AND ENDS AT THE CONNECTION WITH THE CITY SEWER, BUT IN SOME OF THE DRY WESTERN REGIONS IN ISOLATED PLACES SUCH AS A RANGER STATION THE DEVELOPMENT OF WATER IS NECESSARY BEFORE THERE CAN BE ANY WATER SYSTEM, AND AT TIMES THIS WATER DEVELOPMENT IS ITSELF SOMEWHAT EXPENSIVE. IT IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO SELECT A SUITABLE STATION SITE NEAR A NATURAL WATER SUPPLY. IT HAS SEEMED TO THE DEPARTMENT THAT THERE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ANY INTENTION OF LIMITING THIS DEVELOPMENT TO $500 AND THAT, CONSEQUENTLY, THE LIMITATION MUST HAVE BEEN INTENDED IN ITS ORDINARY SENSE. TO ILLUSTRATE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A NEARBY NATURAL WATER SUPPLY, SUCH AS A SPRING, IT IS NECESSARY EITHER TO PIPE FROM A DISTANT SPRING, IF ONE EXISTS, OR SINK A WELL, EITHER OF WHICH MAY COST IN EXCESS OF $500 WITHOUT INCLUDING ANYTHING FOR THE HOUSE SYSTEM ITSELF. IT CAN READILY BE SEEN THAT PIPING FOR A DISTANCE OF A MILE OR MORE WHERE THE LOW WINTER TEMPERATURES WOULD REQUIRE LAYING THE PIPE UNDER THE FROST LINE, WOULD BE EXPENSIVE. LIKEWISE, WHERE NECESSARY TO BORE A WELL THE DEPTH AT WHICH WATER WILL BE STRUCK CAN NOT BE FORESEEN, AND AFTER EXPENDING $500 THERE MAY BE NO WATER. IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT CONGRESS COULD HAVE HAD ANY INTENTION OF REQUIRING THAT THAT PROJECT BE ABANDONED BECAUSE IT HAD REACHED $500, OR THAT BECAUSE THE WELL OR OTHER DEVELOPMENT HAD COST $500 THE HOUSE WATER SYSTEM (PIPING, SINK, BATHTUB, ETC.) AND SEWAGE DISPOSAL, COULD NOT BE PROVIDED. HOWEVER, SINCE THERE HAS BEEN SOME DOUBT CONCERNING THE INTERPRETATION, I SHOULD BE GLAD TO HAVE YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE WATER DEVELOPMENT MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A PROJECT SEPARATE FROM THE WATER-SUPPLY SYSTEM THAT PASSES THROUGH THE BUILDING.

YOUR DECISION IS ALSO DESIRED AS TO WHETHER A CESSPOOL OR SEPTIC TANK TO PROVIDE FOR PROPER DISPOSAL OF THE SEWAGE, A PROVISION NECESSARY FOR REASONABLE SANITATION IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ESTABLISHED SEWERAGE SYSTEM, IS CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE $500 LIMITATION.

2. MUST A BUILDING THAT HAS BEEN CHARGED AGAINST THE $2,000 OR $2,500 AUTHORIZATION OF ONE YEAR BE AGAIN CHARGED AGAINST SUCH AUTHORIZATION OF A SUBSEQUENT YEAR IF FURTHER WORK IS TO BE DONE ON IT? FOR EXAMPLE, THREE BUILDINGS ARE AUTHORIZED AT A COST NOT EXCEEDING $2,000 AND THREE AT A COST NOT EXCEEDING $2,500 FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR, IN ADDITION TO THE GENERAL AUTHORIZATION FOR BUILDINGS UP TO $1,500. ASSUMING THAT DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 THERE IS EXPENDED ON THREE $1,750 EACH AND ON THREE $2,300 EACH, IF EXPENSE IS INCURRED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 (OR SOME SUBSEQUENT YEAR) IN THE ALTERATION, BETTERMENT OR COMPLETION OF THESE BUILDINGS, DOES THAT AGAIN EXHAUST THE NEW YEAR'S AUTHORIZATION OR MAY WE IN ADDITION CONSTRUCT DURING THAT YEAR THREE MORE IN THE $2,000 CLASS AND THREE IN THE $2,500 CLASS? IF ONE OF THE $1,750 BUILDINGS WERE IMPROVED TO THE EXTENT OF $400 IN A SUBSEQUENT YEAR, MAKING A TOTAL OF MORE THAN $2,000, THERE IS OF COURSE NO DOUBT THAT IT MUST BE LISTED AGAINST THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THREE $2,500 BUILDINGS FOR THAT YEAR. LIKEWISE IF A BUILDING COSTING NOT IN EXCESS OF $1,500 IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 IS FURTHER IMPROVED IN 1927, INCREASING THE COST TO MORE THAN $1,500 OR MORE THAN $2,000 IT MUST BE CHARGED AGAINST THE RESPECTIVE AUTHORIZATION FOR THAT YEAR. THE QUESTION ABOUT WHICH DOUBT EXISTS AND ON WHICH YOUR DECISION IS DESIRED IS, WHETHER, ONCE HAVING ENTERED THE $2,000 CLASS OR THE $2,500 CLASS, THEREBY HAVING UTILIZED ONE SUCH AUTHORIZATION, FURTHER EXPENDITURES MAY BE MADE WITHIN THE CLASS DURING A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR WITHOUT UTILIZING ANOTHER AUTHORIZATION.

YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE ORDER STATED.

1. THE TERM "WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM" AS USED IN THE STATUTE QUOTED MUST BE HELD TO INCLUDE ALL EXPENSES FOR PROVIDING THE MEANS BY WHICH THE BUILDINGS MAY BE FURNISHED WITH WATER AND BY WHICH REFUSE SUCH AS SEWAGE MAY BE DISPOSED OF, AND IS NOT LIMITED TO THE INSTALLATION OF PLUMBING IN A BUILDING. THEREFORE, THE ENTIRE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED IN FURNISHING A BUILDING WITH WATER AND FINALLY DISPOSING OF SEWAGE IS LIMITED TO $500. IT NECESSARILY FOLLOWS THAT THE COST OF A CESSPOOL OR SEPTIC TANK IF NECESSARY FOR THE PROPER DISPOSAL OF SEWAGE IS CHARGEABLE TO THE $500 ALLOWED FOR EACH BUILDING. IN OTHER WORDS, IF THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE EXPENDITURE FOR A WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM NECESSARY IN THE CONSTRUCTION AND USE OF A PROPOSED BUILDING WILL EXCEED $500, THE CONSTRUCTION OR PURCHASE OF THE BUILDING IS NOT AUTHORIZED. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

2. THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE LIMITATION AS TO THE COST OF BUILDINGS WOULD APPEAR TO BE THAT THERE SHALL BE NO BUILDING AT THESE FOREST RANGER STATIONS THE TOTAL COST OF WHICH, INCLUDING NECESSARY WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, SHALL EXCEED $2,500, AND THAT THE NUMBER OF SUCH BUILDINGS THE TOTAL COST OF WHICH EXCEED $1,500 EACH, EXCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, OR $2,000 EACH, INCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, SHALL NOT BE INCREASED BY MORE THAN SIX BUILDINGS EACH FISCAL YEAR. THEREFORE, IF A BUILDING CONSTRUCTED OR PURCHASED DURING ONE FISCAL YEAR AT A TOTAL COST, EXCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, OF NOT TO EXCEED $1,500, OR AT A TOTAL COST, INCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, OF NOT TO EXCEED $2,000, IS, DURING A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR, IMPROVED TO SUCH AN EXTENT AS TO BRING THE TOTAL COST OF THE BUILDING TO MORE THAN $1,500, EXCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, OR $2,000, INCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, NO MORE THAN FIVE ADDITIONAL BUILDINGS LEGALLY COULD BE CONSTRUCTED OR PURCHASED DURING SAID FISCAL YEAR AT A TOTAL COST IN EXCESS OF $1.500 EACH, EXCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM, OR $2,000 EACH, INCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM. HOWEVER, WHERE A BUILDING CONSTRUCTED OR PURCHASED DURING ONE FISCAL YEAR AT A COST IN EXCESS OF $1,500 BUT NOT IN EXCESS OF $2,000, EXCLUSIVE OF WATER SUPPLY AND SANITARY SYSTEM--- AND WHICH, THEREFORE, MUST BE REGARDED AS ONE OF THE SIX AUTHORIZED BUILDINGS FOR SAID FISCAL YEAR--- IS IMPROVED DURING A SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR BY THE EXPENDITURE OF AN AMOUNT WHICH, ADDED TO THE ORIGINAL COST, WILL NOT TAKE IT OUT OF THE CLASS IN WHICH ITS ORIGINAL COST PLACED IT, IT WOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS ONE OF THE SIX BUILDINGS AUTHORIZED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE IMPROVEMENT IS MADE. YOUR SECOND QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.