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«Parks and Recreation Statutory Authority See generally, Statute of Local Governments, § 10(3); Municipal Home Rule Law, § 10(1)(ii)(a)(14) ...»

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Comptroller Opinion 2003-7. Moneys, in lieu of land for park, playground and other recreational purposes, may be expended to pay reasonable and necessary preliminary costs, such as engineering and legal expenses, directly related to, and necessary to proceed with, an improvement to parkland. Such moneys may also be expended to undertake a study of the feasibility of particular capital improvements to park land.

Comptroller Opinion 2002-3, Town Law §198(10); Municipal Home Rule Law § 10(1)(i), (ii)(d)(3). A town board may not expand the activities of a public dock district to include maintenance and operation of recreational facilities such as a playground and swimming pool.

Comptroller Opinion 2000-2, General Municipal Law, §§ 95, 95-a, 99-i, 240 et seq.; Municipal Home Rule Law, §10(l)(i). A village, by resolution, may provide for bands, movies and similar events as part of its recreation, senior citizens and youth programs. It also may enter into agreements with not-for-profit agencies accepting federal funds pursuant to the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 to provide funds, services and facilities to promote progress and scholarship in the humanities and the arts within the village. In addition, it may, by local law, further provide for the promotion of literary, graphic, dramatic and performing arts by way of demonstrations, performances and exhibits of art and art forms.

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Attorney General Opinion 2000-16, Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Law Art. 21, 25, §§ 25.05, 25.09, 27.17(1); Vehicle & Traffic Law Art. 47 § 2226; 9 N.Y.C.R.R. Parts 453-460. A county may not implement a snowmobile permit system which involves charging fees for the use of snowmobiles on public highways and lands.

Attorney General Opinion 97-10. Land acquired for park purposes and improved and utilized for park purposes, is impressed with a public trust and may not be used for other than park purposes without the express approval of the State Legislature.

Attorney General Opinion 97-29, NY Const., Art. IX, § 2(b)(10); Municipal Home Rule Law, § 10(1)(ii)(d)(3); Navigation Law, §§ 46, 46-a; Town Law, § 130; L 1938 Ch. 309; L 1935 Ch. 346. The town may not enact a local law superseding Town Law § 130(17)(1)(a) to regulate the size and horsepower of motor boats permitted upon Chenango Lake. It may regulate the speed of vessels and regulate and restrict the operation of vessels upon any waters within or bounding the town.

Comptroller Opinion 96-21, Town Law §§198(10-a), 202-b(2). A town board, pursuant to Town Law §202a, may authorize the replenishment of sand and the installation of a sand-filled geotube at a town-owned beach in a town beach erosion control district which was damaged by coastal storms.

Comptroller Opinion 93-24, Town Law, §176(14). A fire district may not improve vacant land owned by the district with permanent outdoor competitive sports facilities such as softball fields and tennis courts.

Comptroller Opinion 92-49, Town Law, §§ 881, 220. A proposed lease of real property for use as a town recreational trail is subject to permissive referendum, or the town board, upon its own motion, may submit a proposition therefore to referendum at a special or biennial town election, if the lease payments are to be paid from moneys appropriated from taxes levied for the current fiscal year.

Comptroller Opinion 91-10, Laws of 1924, Chapter 574 (McKinney’s Unconsolidated Laws, §§ 1471-1493).

A park district established pursuant to the provisions of chapter 574 of the Laws of 1924 is an administrative unit of the town rather than an independent corporate entity. The board of park commissioners of such a district may hold real property in its own name. The board, however, is not subject to the provisions of Article 13 of the Town Law. Judgments against the board of commissioners would be properly assessed and levied on the properties within the district. Properties within the district are assessed on an ad valorem basis.

Comptroller Opinion 91-36, General Municipal Law, §§ 119-o, 244-b; Town Law, §277(1); Village Law, §7-730(1). A newly incorporated village which has no parks of its own may enter into a cooperation agreement with the town in which it is located, whereby the village would use park trust fund moneys to pay for additional recreational facilities in an existing town park located in the neighborhood of or readily accessible to the subdivisions from which the park land fees were received. The agreement must include safeguards to protect the village's investment for the useful life of the improvements, and to ensure compliance with Village Law, §7-730(1). Prior opinions, including Opn Nos. 81-275, 79-240 and 76-345, are superseded to the extent they are inconsistent therewith.

Comptroller Opinion 90-64, Town Law, §202-b; Local Finance Law, §35.00. The determination to increase or improve facilities of a town park district is not subject to referendum. A bond resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds to finance an improvement to a town park district is not subject to referendum.

Legislative Commission on State-Local Relations 6 Last Modified 04/2010 Attorney General Opinion 84-15. Land dedicated for park or recreational purposes may not be sold or diverted to other uses without authorization by the State Legislature. Use of land as a golf course constitutes a recreational use. The acts of a village in purchasing land for park purposes and expending village funds for the improvement of such land utilized as a public golf course, together with continued public use of such land as a golf course for a lengthy period, is sufficient to constitute the dedication of such land as a park or recreational use.





Comptroller Opinion 88-25,Town Law, §198(4); State Constitution, Art. I, §11. Subject to equal protection guarantees, a town board may exclude nonresidents of a park district from the facilities of the district.

However, the town board may also permit nonresidents to use park district facilities, with or without a fee. If the town board permits use of park district facilities by nonresidents, it may impose reasonable regulations on that use, subject to constitutional equal protection guarantees.

Comptroller Opinion 88-40, General Municipal Law §119-o(2)(a), (c),(h). Delegation of immediate control and supervision of joint youth program. (1) The respective governing boards of municipalities engaged in a joint service need not be directly responsible for the immediate control and supervision of a joint service, but rather, the municipal cooperation agreement may provide for delegation of that responsibility to other officers. (2) If a municipal cooperation agreement provides that moneys available for a joint service are held in the custody of the fiscal officer of one of the participants, the agreement may also provide that claims for the expenses of a joint service will be audited by the auditing body of the municipal corporation whose fiscal officer is to have custody of the moneys of the joint service. (3) A municipal cooperation agreement may provide how to allocate moneys remaining at the conclusion of each year which are to be returned to each municipality.

Attorney General Opinion 84-51, Town Law, § 81. A town board has discretion to submit a proposition to purchase land for public parks or playgrounds to the electors at either a special or biennial town election.

Attorney General Opinion 84-53, Navigation Law, §§ 15-0503, 30, 45-b; L. 1983, Chapter 442, § 1. There is no authority for village regulation of the construction of piers and docks in navigable waters bounding the village.

Attorney General Opinion 83-56, Environmental Conservation Law, Article 11; Municipal Home Rule Law, § 10(1)(ii)(a)(12); Navigation Law, §§ 1, 2(4), 30, 45-b, 46-a; Town Law, §§ 130(17) and (18); Village Law, § 4-412(8); L. 1972, Chapter 888. A village may regulate swimming and, where not inconsistent with applicable Federal or State law, the operation, anchoring and mooring of vessels in navigable waters bounding the village to a distance of fifteen hundred feet from the shore. There is no authority for village regulation of fishing, shellfishing or the construction of piers and docks in such area.

Comptroller Opinion 83-207, General Municipal Law, § 244-b. Where a town and village agree to operate and maintain a playground or recreation center, it is not necessary that the property involved be jointly owned by both municipalities, and the municipalities are not required to share the costs of operating, equipping and maintaining the facilities equally.

Comptroller Opinion 81-279, General Municipal Law, §§ 119-o, 244-b, c, d. Where a village has entered into an agreement with a town to operate a recreation program with facilities located in the portion of the town outside the village, the village may, as part of such agreement, expend funds for the maintenance and operation of those facilities.

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1979 Atty Gen [Inf Ops] 184. The State retains complete authority over the city as to the alienation of park lands. Park land held by a city is impressed with a public trust and may not be sold without authorization by the State Legislature.

1978 Ops Atty Gen 302. (1) The Town of Stony Point may properly spend general revenues for the construction of a baseball field; (2) use of a baseball field in a town park may not be restricted exclusively to a privately run Little League; (3) the town may permit a Little League to operate a concession stand on town property; and (4) it would be improper for the town to lease land in a town park to a privately run Little League and allow it to operate independently thereon.

Comptroller Opinion 77-429, General Municipal Law §§ 244-b, 119-o, 92-a; Executive Law § 422(5). The parties to a joint recreation agreement may purchase liability insurance to cover their potential liability arising from such joint program. Where a village is a party to such agreement, the cost of such insurance should be shared proportionately by the village and the other participating municipalities and a single policy may be purchased as part of the joint program. However, the village may not purchase medical insurance to cover participants in the recreation program.

23 Op St Comp at 381 (1967). The functions and powers to maintain parks and park facilities, and to establish, maintain and operate recreational facilities and projects can be consolidated or merged in one separate municipal body or commission.

19 Op St Comp at 377 (1963). Donations to a village recreation commission are to be considered as village revenue and should be paid out for recreation purposes in the same manner as other village expenditures.

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