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Opinion No. 5250

December 28, 1977


Expenditures of county revenue sharing funds to assist township libraries.


Expenditure of county revenue sharing funds to assist township libraries.


Expenditure of county revenue sharing funds to assist township libraries.

A county may expend a portion of its federal revenue sharing funds for township library services for county residents.

Honorable Hal Ziegler

State Senator

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

You have requested my opinion relative to the use of entitlement funds received by Hillsdale County under the State and Local Fiscal Assistance Act, 86 Stat 919; 31 USC 1221 et seq, commonly known as the federal revenue sharing act.

Hillsdale County does not maintain and operate a county library and, as a consequence, the County Board of Commissioners desires to expend a portion of the county's revenue sharing entitlement to assist the various township libraries situated within the county. You have therefore asked whether a county may spend a portion of its revenue sharing funds for the benefit of township libraries.

Neither the Act nor the regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Treasury prohibit a local governmental unit from transferring a portion of its entitlement funds to another unit. In fact, the Treasury Department's regulations contemplate that such transfers will occur and require that transferees use such funds in accordance with the same guidelines imposed on the primary recipients. 31 CFR, Sec. 51.5, p 178.

However, Sec. 1243(a)(4) provides that, upon receipt of the funds, expenditures shall be made in accordance with State laws and procedures. Thus, the answer to the question must also consider State laws dealing with the authority of counties.

Constitutional provisions applicable to the powers of counties and county boards of commissioners are contained in Const 1963, art 7, Secs. 1, 8 and 34. These sections provide:

'(1) Each organized county shall be a body corporate with powers and immunities provided by law.

'. . .

'(8) Boards of supervisors shall have legislative, administrative and such other powers and duties as provided by law.

'. . .

'(34) The provisions of this constitution and law concerning counties, townships, cities and villages shall be liberally construed in their favor. Powers granted to counties and townships by this constitution and by law shall include those fairly implied and not prohibited by this constitution.'

Hence, pursuant to the foregoing constitutional language, counties possess only those powers that have been conferred upon them by the constitution or the legislature. Alan v Wayne, 388 Mich 210; 200 NW2d 628 (1972), rehearing denied 388 Mich 626; 202 NW2d 277 (1972); Brownstone Township v Wayne County, 68 Mich App 244; 242 NW2d 538 (1976).

1917 PA 138, as amended; MCLA 397.301 et seq; MSA 15.1701 et seq; authorizes counties to enter into contractual relationships with townships whereby such counties are permitted to give financial assistance to township libraries in return for library services to be furnished county residents.

Therefore, a county may expend a portion of its federal revenue sharing fund for township library services for county residents.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General