A-23190, JUNE 6, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 776

A-23190: Jun 6, 1928

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THERE WAS AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS IN THE ACT. SO FORTH: THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO ACQUIRE A NEW SITE AND CONSTRUCT A NEW BUILDING UNDER AN ESTIMATED TOTAL COST OF $775. IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO OCCUPY THE PRESENT POST OFFICE UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE NEW FEDERAL BUILDING. SUCH OTHER COSTS AS IS USUAL TO THE MAINTENANCE OF SUCH BUILDINGS.'. IT IS INTENDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHALL GIVE THE CITY OF ROANOKEA DEED FOR THE PRESENT SITE. IN WHICH PROVISION WILL BE MADE FOR THE CONTINUED CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE POST-OFFICE BUILDING UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE NEW FEDERAL BUILDING. IS SUCH A PUBLIC BUILDING WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AS TO PERMIT THE TREASURY TO EXPEND THE NECESSARY MONIES THEREON FROM THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDING FOR THE REPAIRS.

A-23190, JUNE 6, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 776

PUBLIC BUILDINGS - EXCHANGE OF SITES - CUSTODY AND CONTROL WHERE, PURSUANT TO STATUTORY AUTHORITY, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT EXCHANGES THE PRESENT SITE OF THE POST OFFICE IN THE CITY OF ROANOKE, VA., FOR ANOTHER SITE OF EQUAL VALUE OWNED BY THE CITY, AND, IN THE DEED, RESERVES TO THE UNITED STATES THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE POST OFFICE BUILDING ON THE PRESENT SITE UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF THE NEW BUILDING, THE BUILDING SO RETAINED AND OCCUPIED MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A PUBLIC BUILDING UNDER THE CONTROL AND CUSTODY OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE RESPECTIVE APPROPRIATIONS FOR REPAIRS, EQUIPMENT, AND GENERAL EXPENSES OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 6, 1928:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER (SA-L) OF MAY 25, 1928, AS FOLLOWS:

IN FURTHERANCE OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ACT APPROVED MAY 25, 1926, THERE WAS AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS IN THE ACT, DATED MARCH 5, 1928, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE POST OFFICE AND TREASURY DEPARTMENTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1929, THE FOLLOWING ITEM:

"ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, POST OFFICE, COURTHOUSE, AND SO FORTH: THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO ACQUIRE A NEW SITE AND CONSTRUCT A NEW BUILDING UNDER AN ESTIMATED TOTAL COST OF $775,000, OR AT HIS DISCRETION AND ON SUCH TERMS AS HE SHALL DEEM PROPER, TO EXCHANGE THE PRESENT SITE AND BUILDING FOR A NEW SITE AND CONSTRUCT THEREON A NEW BUILDING AT AN ESTIMATED TOTAL COST OF $525,000, $350,000.'

BY RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ROANOKE, VIRGINIA, ON MAY 4, 1928, THE CITY PROPOSES TO EXCHANGE A PIECE OF GROUND OF EQUAL VALUE FOR THE PRESENT POST-OFFICE SITE. SHOULD THE EXCHANGE BE EFFECTED WITH THE DELIVERY OF DEEDS BY EACH PARTY TO THE OTHER, IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO OCCUPY THE PRESENT POST OFFICE UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE NEW FEDERAL BUILDING, AND THE CITY OF ROANOKE HAS PLACED IN ITS RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING THE EXCHANGE ON BEHALF OF THE CITY, THE FOLLOWING PROVISO:

"THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO PAY ALL COSTS OF MAINTENANCE OF SAID BUILDING (PRESENT POST-OFFICE BUILDING) DURING ITS OCCUPANCY, INCLUDING JANITOR SERVICE, HEAT, LIGHT, WATER, AND SUCH OTHER COSTS AS IS USUAL TO THE MAINTENANCE OF SUCH BUILDINGS.'

IT IS INTENDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHALL GIVE THE CITY OF ROANOKEA DEED FOR THE PRESENT SITE, IN WHICH PROVISION WILL BE MADE FOR THE CONTINUED CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE POST-OFFICE BUILDING UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE NEW FEDERAL BUILDING.

THE QUESTION NOW ARISES AS TO WHETHER THE PRESENT POST-OFFICE BUILDING, REMAINING IN THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE NEW BUILDING, IS SUCH A PUBLIC BUILDING WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW AS TO PERMIT THE TREASURY TO EXPEND THE NECESSARY MONIES THEREON FROM THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDING FOR THE REPAIRS, EQUIPMENT, AND GENERAL EXPENSES OF COMPLETED AND OCCUPIED PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

IN 30 STATUTES, 597, 614, SPECIAL PROVISION IS MADE FOR PLACING THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTINUED JURISDICTION OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AND IN ACCORDANCE THEREWITH THE SEVERAL REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE APPROPRIATIONS ARE MADE IN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR USE IN "PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.' IN 38 STATUTES, PAGE 22, IT IS PROVIDED---

"THAT HEREAFTER, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED BY LAW, WHENEVER THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO SECURE TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR THE USE OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS PENDING THE ALTERATION, IMPROVEMENT, OR REPAIRS TO, OR THE REMODELING, RECONSTRUCTION, OR ENLARGEMENT OF, ANY PUBLIC BUILDING UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT NOT HEREINBEFORE EXCLUDED, APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FOREGOING PURPOSES SHALL BE AVAILABLE, IF NECESSARY, IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PORTIONS OF THE PREMISES AS MAY BE RENTED FOR OR OCCUPIED BY SUCH OFFICIALS IN THE SAME MANNER, FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, AND TO THE SAME EXTENT AS IF THE TITLE TO SUCH PREMISES WERE VESTED IN THE UNITED STATES.'

THE QUESTION APPEARS TO FALL WITHIN THE SPIRIT IF NOT THE LETTER OF THE LAW. THE GOVERNMENT WILL HAVE CONTINUED CONTROL AND CUSTODY OF THE BUILDING UNTIL THE NEW FEDERAL BUILDING IS READY FOR OCCUPANCY, EVEN THOUGH THE TITLE TO THE SITE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE CITY OF ROANOKE, THE DEED PROVIDING FOR THIS CONTINGENCY. WHILE THE OLD BUILDING WILL NOT BE OCCUPIED INCIDENT TO THE ALTERATION, IMPROVEMENT, REPAIR, REMODELING, RECONSTRUCTION, OR ENLARGEMENT OF A PUBLIC BUILDING, IT WILL BE OCCUPIED INCIDENT TO THE ERECTION OF A NEW BUILDING.

YOUR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER, IN VIEW OF A PROVISION IN THE DEED TO THE CITY OF ROANOKE FOR THE CONTINUED CONTROL AND CUSTODY OF THE OLD POST-OFFICE BUILDING PENDING ERECTION OF A NEW FEDERAL BUILDING, THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE REPAIR, EQUIPMENT, AND GENERAL EXPENSES OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT MAY BE UTILIZED FOR THE NECESSARY JANITOR SERVICE, HEAT, LIGHT, WATER, AND OTHER NECESSARY COSTS USUAL TO THE MAINTENANCE OF A PUBLIC BUILDING, EVEN THOUGH THE GOVERNMENT IS DIVESTED OF TITLE INCIDENT TO THE EXCHANGE OF SITES.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR REPAIRS, EQUIPMENT, AND GENERAL EXPENSES OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS DO NOT LIMIT THEIR APPLICATION TO BUILDINGS OWNED BY THE UNITED STATES BUT TO BUILDINGS UNDER "CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.' IF, THEREFORE, IN THE DEED TRANSFERRING TITLE TO THE CITY OF ROANOKE THERE IS A SPECIFIC RESERVATION TO THE UNITED STATES OF THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE BUILDING SITUATED THEREON UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE NEWPOST OFFICE BUILDING IS COMPLETED, THE BUILDING SO RETAINED AND OCCUPIED MAY BE CONSIDERED AS CONTINUING, UNTIL COMPLETION OF THE NEW BUILDING, ITS CHARACTER AS A PUBLIC BUILDING UNDER THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR REPAIRS, EQUIPMENT AND GENERAL EXPENSES OF ALL COMPLETED AND OCCUPIED PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.