A-92258, FEBRUARY 5, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 631

A-92258: Feb 5, 1938

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

IF CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WERE AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE PERIOD FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS AVAILABLE FOR OBLIGATION. AS IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO ACQUIRE THESE LOTS AT A SATISFACTORY FIGURE. CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS (DISTRICT CAUSE NO. 2463) WERE FILED FOR THE CONDEMNATION OF THIS PROPERTY. THESE PROCEEDINGS WERE FINALLY RATIFIED AND CONFIRMED DECEMBER 3. FROM WHICH AN APPEAL WAS NOTED TO THE U.S. IT IS APPARENT. PAYMENT MADE THEREFOR UNLESS THE APPROPRIATION IS ESTABLISHED WITHOUT FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION. " AND "PAY OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS.' * * * OR UNLESS IT IS MADE IN TERMS EXPRESSLY PROVIDING THAT IT SHALL CONTINUE AVAILABLE BEYOND THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION ACT IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED MAKES PROVISION.

A-92258, FEBRUARY 5, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 631

APPROPRIATIONS - "PURCHASE OF LAND" - FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION APPLICABILITY, AND OBLIGATION THROUGH AUTHORIZATION FOR CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAND, MADE BY AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT, NOT WITHIN THE ,CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS" CLASS REFERRED TO IN SECTION 682, TITLE 31, U.S. CODE, OR THE CLASSES EXCEPTED FROM THE FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 7, ACT, AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, AS AMENDED, AND NOT "MADE IN TERMS EXPRESSLY PROVIDING THAT IT SHALL CONTINUE AVAILABLE BEYOND THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION ACT * * * MAKES PROVISION," AS PROVIDED BY SAID ACT, MAY NOT BE SET UP WITHOUT FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION, BUT IF CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS WERE AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE PERIOD FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS AVAILABLE FOR OBLIGATION, THE APPROPRIATION WOULD THEREBY BECOME OBLIGATED AND THUS BECOME AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF THE CONDEMNATION AWARD.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, FEBRUARY 5, 1938:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 14, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

THE 1937 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED JUNE 23, 1936, PROVIDES:

"FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAND, BEING LOTS NOS. 31 AND 32, IN SQUARE 175, ADJACENT TO THE D.C. REPAIR SHOP, TO AFFORD ADDITIONAL SHOP FACILITIES, HOUSING FOR AUTOMOBILE TRUCKS AND STORAGE FOR TOOLS AND BUILDING MATERIALS FOR THE D.C. REPAIR SHOP, $15,000.'

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION WARRANT NO. 1, DATED JULY 1, 1936, COUNTERSIGNED BY YOU JULY 7, 1936, DIGESTS THIS APPROPRIATION "DC 7072 LAND FOR REPAIR SHOP, MUNICIPAL ARCHITECT'S OFFICE, D.C., 1937, $15,000.' THE COMMISSIONS BELIEVE THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912 (47 STAT. 487), WHICH AUTHORIZES THE SETTING UP OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR ,BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS" WITHOUT FISCAL YEAR LIMITATIONS, AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR SUCH ACTION IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 14, 1936 (A-79983), TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, ELIMINATING THE FISCAL YEAR REQUIREMENT SET UP UNDER THE PROPRIATION,"BUILDINGS, PETWORTH BRANCH LIBRARY, D.C., " AND YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 3, 1937, ELIMINATING THE FISCAL YEAR REFERENCE TO THE APPROPRIATION,"BUILDINGS, POLICE COURT, D.C.'

AS IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO ACQUIRE THESE LOTS AT A SATISFACTORY FIGURE, CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS (DISTRICT CAUSE NO. 2463) WERE FILED FOR THE CONDEMNATION OF THIS PROPERTY. THESE PROCEEDINGS WERE FINALLY RATIFIED AND CONFIRMED DECEMBER 3, 1937, FROM WHICH AN APPEAL WAS NOTED TO THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON THE SAME DATE AND THE NECESSARY APPEAL BOND FILED.

IT IS APPARENT, THEREFORE, THAT SETTLEMENT CANNOT BE MADE, NOT ONLY FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE VERDICT, BUT FOR CERTIFICATES OF TITLE ORDERED UNDER THESE PROCEEDINGS, AND PAYMENT MADE THEREFOR UNLESS THE APPROPRIATION IS ESTABLISHED WITHOUT FISCAL YEAR LIMITATION.

PLEASE ADVISE THE COMMISSIONERS OF YOUR EARLY ACTION IN THIS MANNER.

SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1919, 40 STAT. 1309, PROVIDES:

NO SPECIFIC OR INDEFINITE APPROPRIATION MADE HEREAFTER IN ANY REGULAR ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO BE PERMANENT OR AVAILABLE CONTINUOUSLY WITHOUT REFERENCE TO A FISCAL YEAR UNLESS IT BELONGS TO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING FOUR CLASSES,"RIVERS AND HARBORS," "LIGHTHOUSES," ,PUBLIC BUILDINGS," AND "PAY OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS.' * * * OR UNLESS IT IS MADE IN TERMS EXPRESSLY PROVIDING THAT IT SHALL CONTINUE AVAILABLE BEYOND THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION ACT IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED MAKES PROVISION.

SECTION 682, TITLE 31, OF THE U.S.C. READS, AS FOLLOWS:

ALL MONEYS APPROPRIATED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS SHALL REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL THE COMPLETION OF THE WORK FOR WHICH THEY ARE, OR MAY BE, APPROPRIATED; AND UPON THE FINAL COMPLETION OF EACH OR ANY OF SAID BUILDINGS, AND THE PAYMENT OF ALL OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES THEREFOR, THE BALANCE OR BALANCES REMAINING SHALL BE IMMEDIATELY COVERED INTO THE TREASURY.

THE APPROPRIATION NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION WAS MADE IN AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT, AND IT IS NOT "MADE IN TERMS EXPRESSLY PROVIDING THAT IT SHALL CONTINUE AVAILABLE BEYOND THE FISCAL YEAR FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION ACT IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED MAKES PROVISION"--- THE LANGUAGE OF THE 1912 ACT, AS AMENDED. SUCH BEING THE CASE THERE IS THUS FOR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION APPLIES TO ANY OF THE FOUR CLASSES OF APPROPRIATIONS SPECIFICALLY NAMED IN THE 1912 ACT, AS AMENDED, OR WHETHER THE MATTER COMES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 31 U.S.C. 682, SUPRA.

OBVIOUSLY, THE APPROPRIATION DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE FIRST, SECOND, OR FOURTH CLASS MENTIONED, I.E., "RIVERS AND HARBORS," "LIGHTHOUSES" OR "PAY OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS.' THE PROVISION OF THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION IS "FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAND," AND IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT SUCH PROVISION DOES NOT COME WITHIN THE THIRD CLASS OF THE 1912 ACT, AS AMENDED, VIZ.'PUBLIC ILDINGS," OR WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WORDS,"THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS" AS USED IN 31 U.S.C. 682. CF. 1 COMP. GEN. 435; ID. 532; 2 ID. 820; 7 ID. 619. YOUR LETTER STATES THAT THE 1912 ACT AUTHORIZES THE SETTING UP OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR "BUILDINGS AND GROUNDS" WITHOUT FISCAL YEAR LIMITATIONS, BUT UPON EXAMINATION OF THE CITED STATUTE I FIND THAT IT MAKES NO REFERENCE TO ,GROUNDS" AS APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ASSUMED BY YOU.

THE CASES TO WHICH YOU REFER WHEREIN THIS OFFICE HAS AUTHORIZED THE ELIMINATION OF FISCAL-YEAR LIMITATIONS FROM APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS RELATE TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS AS DISTINGUISHED FROM APPROPRIATIONS "FOR THE PURCHASE OF LAND," SUCH AS THE ONE HERE INVOLVED. HENCE, THE CITED CASES HAVE NO APPLICATION HERE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR SETTING UP THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION IN AN ACCOUNT WITHOUT FISCAL- YEAR LIMITATION.

WITH REGARD TO THE ARGUMENT ADVANCED IN THE PENULTIMATE PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IT MAY BE STATED THAT IF CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS IN RESPECT OF THE LAND IN QUESTION WERE AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE PERIOD FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS AVAILABLE FOR OBLIGATION, THE APPROPRIATION WOULD THEREBY BECOME OBLIGATED AND THUS BECOME AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF THE CONDEMNATION AWARD. SEE 4 COMP. GEN. 206; 17 ID. 111.