B-60611, DECEMBER 9, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 397

B-60611: Dec 9, 1946

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1946: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 28. - $20 THE PERTINENT FACTS ARE SET OUT AS FOLLOWS IN THIRD INDORSEMENT OF JULY 19. IT IS CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO PROVIDE FIVE PARKING SPACES IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE BUILDING TO ACCOMMODATE GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLES. 3. HIGH STREET IS THE MAIN NORTH-SOUTH THOROUGHFARE IN THE CITY OF COLUMBUS AND NO AUTOMOBILE PARKING IS PERMITTED THEREON DURING BUSINESS HOURS. IS REGULATED BY MEANS OF PARKING METERS WHICH REQUIRE A ?05 DEPOSIT FOR EACH HOUR OF PARKING. 4. THE CURB STONE WAS ALSO PAINTED ORANGE TO DENOTE A "NO PARKING AREA" FOR THE PUBLIC. 7. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT THE TERM "LOADING AND UNLOADING ZONE" EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY IN ITS BILLING AND AS CONTINUED BY THIS OFFICE IN PURCHASE ORDER NO. 16127 IS NOT STRICTLY CORRECT BUT WOULD BE MORE PROPERLY DESIGNATED AS A "RESERVED PARKING SPACE.' 8.

B-60611, DECEMBER 9, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 397

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - MUNICIPAL PARKING METER FEES INASMUCH AS THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PARKING METER FEES IMPOSED BY MUNICIPALITIES HAS NOT BEEN JUDICIALLY DETERMINED, APPROPRIATED FUNDS MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT TO A MUNICIPALITY OF RENTAL OR THE COST OF PROVIDING PARKING SPACE ON THE STREET FOR GOVERNMENT VEHICLES IN LIEU OF PARKING METER FEES, IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR. 18 COMP. GEN. 151, AMPLIFIED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO LT. COL. D. M. FORNEY, U.S. ARMY, DECEMBER 9, 1946:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 28, 1946, FOEG. 1016, FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, REQUESTING ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PAYMENT PROPOSED ON A VOUCHER, ENCLOSED THEREWITH, STATED IN FAVOR OF THE CITY OF COLUMBUS, OHIO, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, IN THE AMOUNT OF $20, COVERING THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

INSTALLATION OF LOADING AND UNLOADING ZONE, CHESTNUT AND HIGH

STREETS ----------------------------------------------------- $15

RENTAL ON SAID ZONE, NOVEMBER 10, 1945 THROUGH DECEMBER 30, 1945 5

TOTAL ------------------------------------------- $20

THE PERTINENT FACTS ARE SET OUT AS FOLLOWS IN THIRD INDORSEMENT OF JULY 19, 1946, FROM THE OFFICE OF THE DIVISION ENGINEER, OHIO RIVER DIVISION:

1. THE OFFICE OF THE DIVISION ENGINEER, OHIO RIVER DIVISION, OCCUPIES ALL FLOORS OF THE SIX-STORY JOYCE BUILDING LOCATED ON THE SOUTHWEST CORNER OF THE INTERSECTION OF HIGH AND CHESTNUT STREETS, COLUMBUS, OHIO.

2. IN ORDER TO EFFICIENTLY CONDUCT THE BUSINESS OF THAT OFFICE, IT IS CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO PROVIDE FIVE PARKING SPACES IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE BUILDING TO ACCOMMODATE GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLES.

3. HIGH STREET IS THE MAIN NORTH-SOUTH THOROUGHFARE IN THE CITY OF COLUMBUS AND NO AUTOMOBILE PARKING IS PERMITTED THEREON DURING BUSINESS HOURS. PARKING SPACE ON ALL INTERSECTING STREETS IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA, INCLUDING CHESTNUT STREET, IS REGULATED BY MEANS OF PARKING METERS WHICH REQUIRE A ?05 DEPOSIT FOR EACH HOUR OF PARKING.

4. THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY OF THE CITY OF COLUMBUS, UPON INFORMAL REQUEST FROM THIS OFFICE, REMOVED FIVE PARKING METERS AND ERECTED SIGNS READING " NO PARKING--- LOADING ZONE.' THE CURB STONE WAS ALSO PAINTED ORANGE TO DENOTE A "NO PARKING AREA" FOR THE PUBLIC.

7. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT THE TERM "LOADING AND UNLOADING ZONE" EMPLOYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY IN ITS BILLING AND AS CONTINUED BY THIS OFFICE IN PURCHASE ORDER NO. 16127 IS NOT STRICTLY CORRECT BUT WOULD BE MORE PROPERLY DESIGNATED AS A "RESERVED PARKING SPACE.'

8. THE COMPARATIVE COST OF PROVIDING PARKING SPACE IN PUBLIC PARKING LOTS WITHIN A ONE BLOCK RADIUS OF THIS OFFICE IS IN NO CASE LESS THAN?15 PER DAY PER VEHICLE. IT IS ALSO QUESTIONABLE WHETHER "OUT AND IN" PRIVILEGES WOULD BE GRANTED BY THE PARKING LOT OPERATORS AT THE ?15 PER DAY RATE. THE PROCUREMENT OF THE REQUIRED PARKING SPACE FROM THE CITY IS THEREFORE LESS EXPENSIVE AND IS MORE CONVENIENT THAN SPACE AVAILABLE ELSEWHERE.

9. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE EXPENDITURE BE ALLOWED.

IN DECISION OF AUGUST 11, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 151, IT WAS HELD (QUOTING SYLLABUS):

IN VIEW OF THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION OF FEDERAL-STATE AUTHORITY INVOLVED; THE JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS WITH REGARD TO THE TAXING AND POLICE POWERS OF A STATE IN ITS RELATION TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THOSE ENGAGED IN ITS LAWFUL AND PROPER FUNCTIONS WITHIN A STATE; AND THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINATION BY PROPER JUDICIAL AUTHORITY OF THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PARKING METER FEES IMPOSED BY MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE OR STATE LAW, APPROPRIATED MONEYS MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF "SERVICE CARDS" FOR THE PARKING OF GOVERNMENT VEHICLES IN A METERED ZONE IN LIEU OF PAYMENT OF THE PARKING FEES RATES, NOTWITHSTANDING THE CHARGE FOR SUCH CARDS IS NOMINAL AND THE FEE IS TO COVER THE COST OF INSPECTION, INSTALLATION, OPERATION, CONTROL, ETC., OF THE PARKING AREA AND METERS.

THERE NOT HAVING BEEN FOUND ANY SUBSEQUENT COURT DECISIONS DETERMINING THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PARKING METER FEES, THE SAID OFFICE DECISION OF AUGUST 11, 1938, IS APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT MATTER. IF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR PAYMENT OF PARKING METER FEES, NO EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS IS AUTHORIZED FOR PAYMENT TO THE CITY OF RENTAL OR THE COST OF PROVIDING PARKING SPACE ON THE STREET IN LIEU OF PAYING PARKING METER FEES, IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY AUTHORIZING SUCH PAYMENT. IN SPECIFIC ANSWER TO THE QUESTION SUBMITTED, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH WILL BE RETAINED IN THIS OFFICE, IS NOT AUTHORIZED.