B-127807, MAY 14, 1956

B-127807: May 14, 1956

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THE LETTER STATES THAT IS IT PLANNED TO CONSTRUCT A TEMPORARY TYPE STEEL BUILDING. THAT IT WILL BE DESIRABLE TO PROVIDE AN AMPLE SUPPLY OF WATER TO KEEP THE BUILDING FLOOR FREE OF DUST WHICH MIGHT BE SUCKED INTO THE AIR-COOLING SYSTEM OF A PORTION OF THE TRANSMITTER AND RESULT IN DAMAGE. BECAUSE THE PERSONNEL STATIONED AT THE SITE OCCASIONALLY WILL BE ENGAGED IN A 24-HOUR OPERATION IN ADDITION TO THEIR REGULAR PERIODS OF DUTY. THE LETTER STATES THAT THE WATER PUMP AND TANK WHICH ARE DESCRIBED AS REMOVABLE ITEMS WOULD REPRESENT ROUGHLY ONE-FOURTH OF THE ESTIMATED COST OF $1. IT IS STATED THAT SINCE UPON TERMINATION OF THE LEASE THE PUMP AND THE WATER TANK WOULD BE SUBJECT TO REMOVAL BY THE GOVERNMENT THERE IS REASON TO BELIEVE THE LESSOR WOULD PREFER RESTORATION OF THE LAND TO ITS ORIGINAL CONDITION IN LIEU OF BEING SUBJECTED TO THE EXPENSE OF REPLACING THE ONLY ITEMS SO REMOVED FOR USE WITH THE WELL ON THE UNIMPROVED LAND.

B-127807, MAY 14, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

LETTER DATED MAY 3, 1956, FROM YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STANDARDS MAY EXPEND APPROXIMATELY $1,200 FOR INSTALLING NORMAL WATER AND TOILET FACILITIES ON A ONE-HUNDRED- SIXTY ACRE TRACT OF LAND NEAR HAVANA, ILLINOIS, LEASED FOR A TERMINAL SITE FOR A RADIO PATH AT AN ANNUAL RENTAL OF $4,800.

THE LETTER STATES THAT IS IT PLANNED TO CONSTRUCT A TEMPORARY TYPE STEEL BUILDING; THAT AT LEAST ONE OF THE HIGH-POWERED TRANSMITTERS INTENDED FOR USE AT THE SITE REQUIRES A SOURCE OF WATER FOR COOLING PURPOSES; AND THAT IT WILL BE DESIRABLE TO PROVIDE AN AMPLE SUPPLY OF WATER TO KEEP THE BUILDING FLOOR FREE OF DUST WHICH MIGHT BE SUCKED INTO THE AIR-COOLING SYSTEM OF A PORTION OF THE TRANSMITTER AND RESULT IN DAMAGE. ALSO, BECAUSE THE PERSONNEL STATIONED AT THE SITE OCCASIONALLY WILL BE ENGAGED IN A 24-HOUR OPERATION IN ADDITION TO THEIR REGULAR PERIODS OF DUTY, THE DEPARTMENT DESIRES TO INSTALL NORMAL WATER AND TOILET FACILITIES, SUCH AS A SEPTIC TANK, IN THE MODEST OVERNIGHT LIVING AND COOKING FACILITIES. THE LETTER STATES THAT THE WATER PUMP AND TANK WHICH ARE DESCRIBED AS REMOVABLE ITEMS WOULD REPRESENT ROUGHLY ONE-FOURTH OF THE ESTIMATED COST OF $1,200 INSTALLING THE WATER AND TOILET FACILITIES.

THE DEPARTMENT RECOGNIZES THE WELL-ESTABLISHED GENERAL RULE PROHIBITING THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW, BUT URGES THAT ANY IMPROVEMENT THAT MIGHT RESULT TO THE LESSOR FROM THE DIGGING OF THE WELL AND THE INSTALLATION OF A PUMP AND SEPTIC TANK WOULD BE, FROM HIS STANDPOINT, INCIDENTAL SINCE THE INSTALLATIONS WOULD BE LOCATED ON THE UNIMPROVED AREA WITH A VIEW TO THE NEED AND THE CONVENIENCE OF THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE BUREAU'S FIELD PROJECTS. ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT SINCE UPON TERMINATION OF THE LEASE THE PUMP AND THE WATER TANK WOULD BE SUBJECT TO REMOVAL BY THE GOVERNMENT THERE IS REASON TO BELIEVE THE LESSOR WOULD PREFER RESTORATION OF THE LAND TO ITS ORIGINAL CONDITION IN LIEU OF BEING SUBJECTED TO THE EXPENSE OF REPLACING THE ONLY ITEMS SO REMOVED FOR USE WITH THE WELL ON THE UNIMPROVED LAND.

AS INDICATED IN THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE CONSIDERED IN OUR DECISION OF MARCH 12, 1956, B- 126950, TO YOU. IN THE CITED DECISION WE POINTED OUT THAT IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT UNDER THE GENERAL RULE OF APPROPRIATION CONSTRUCTION AN EXPRESS STATUTORY PROVISION IS NOT REQUIRED FOR EVERY ITEM OF EXPENDITURE, BUT AN APPROPRIATION IN GENERAL TERMS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE IS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURES NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THAT PURPOSE EXCEPT AS TO EXPENDITURES IN CONTRAVENTION OF SOME STATUTORY PROVISION OR FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS ARE SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE. IN VIEW OF THE LOCATION OF THE SITE AND THE EXPRESSED INTENTION OF REMOVING THE PUMP AND THE WATER TANK THUS, IN EFFECT, DESTROYING THE USEFULNESS OF THE WELL AND THE SEPTIC TANK THE INSTALLATIONS WILL NOT BE REGARDED AS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE RULE PROHIBITING PERMANENT IMPROVEMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY. 10 COMP. GEN. 140; AND DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1955, B-119846, TO YOU.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE THE SUBMISSION INDICATES THE PROPOSED INSTALLATIONS ARE NECESSARY FOR THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE PROJECT WE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PROPOSED EXPENDITURE.