AGO 99-L-083.

Case Date:September 13, 1999
Court:North Dakota
 
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North Dakota Attorney General Opinions 1999. AGO 99-L-083. LETTER OPINION 99-L-83September 13, 1999Honorable Elwood Thorpe State Representative 600 22nd Avenue NW Minot, ND 58703-0986 Dear Representative Thorpe: Thank you for your letter asking whether the Minot City Park District may enter into a multiple year lease arrangement with the Minot Family YMCA under which the Minot Park District would lease the YMCA's swimming pool and, in turn, hire the YMCA as manager of the leased pool. The arrangement in question appears to constitute two agreements, one providing for the rental by the park district of the YMCA's swimming pool and, contained as a part thereof, a management agreement whereby the park district hires the YMCA to be assigned sole management responsibility of the leased premises. The question relating to such an agreement is whether a current municipal board, in this case the board of the park district, may enter into a contract which extends beyond the term of any of its members and thereby infringes on the governmental powers and discretion of future boards. N.D.C.C. ch. 40-49 provides for municipal park districts and the duties and responsibilities of such districts. N.D.C.C. § 40-49-04(2) allows park districts to enter contracts. The concluding paragraph of N.D.C.C. § 40-49-04 defines the term "park" as including "public grounds used or acquired for use as airfields, parade grounds, public recreation areas, playgrounds and athletic fields, memorial or cemetery grounds, and sites or areas devoted to use and accommodation of the public as distinguished from use for purposes of municipal administration." A lengthy list of powers of the board of park commissioners is provided in N.D.C.C. § 40-49-12. Subsections 1 and 2 of N.D.C.C. § 40-49-12 deal with the acquisition of property and sites and the sole and exclusive authority of the board to maintain, govern, and improve land, to provide structures thereon and construct, maintain, manage, and govern buildings, pavilions, play and pleasure grounds or fields and such other improvements as it deems necessary. In those jurisdictions that have considered the binding effect of contracts entered into by public entities which extend beyond the terms of the officers then acting for the entity, the distinction made in court opinions has been between the contracting authority of...

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