Hon. John C. Price
Fleming County Attorney
Fleming County Courthouse
Flemingsburg, Kentucky 41041
RE: Whether County May Maintain Roads that Are "County Roads"
But Are Not Shown on County Road Aid Map (County Road
Series Map). AGO Corr. No. 93-(O)-238.
Dear Mr. Price:
By letter of February 12, 1993, you ask, in substance, whether roads that are county roads,
but are not shown on the county road aid map, may be maintained with county general fund or
Although a county may, subject to proper budgetary allocation, expend county general
fund or other unrestricted county funds on road maintenance, in our view, a county cannot
maintain a road not shown on a county road aid map (County Road Series Map) adopted by the
fiscal court, unless such road was entitled to acceptance as a part of the county road system, and
has been so accepted by the fiscal court. Discussion follows.
You explain that the Commonwealth, through its employees, is in the process of updating
county road aid fund system maps designating county roads which county road aid funds may be
used to maintain. You indicate that there appear to be certain other roads which are county roads,
but which are not included in the county road aid map. The fiscal court wants to know if county
general fund or other monies (other than county road aid monies) can be used to maintain such
First, we will provide some background about what are sometimes called "county road
aid maps," which are known officially as "County Road Series Maps."
Pursuant to KRS 177.320(2) and (3), certain funds, known commonly as "county road aid
funds," are "allocated" to the counties for " . . . construction, reconstruction, and maintenance of
county roads and bridges . . . ." "County roads and bridges," as used in KRS 177.320, are those
as defined in KRS 178.010(1)(b), pursuant to KRS 179.410 and 179.010(1).
In order to facilitate monitoring of the application of these funds, and in connection with
its responsibilities concerning state maintained secondary and rural roads within the counties
(e.g., KRS 177.320, 177.330, 177.350), the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Department of
Rural and Municipal Aid is developing maps known as County Road Series Maps. The maps are
presented to the fiscal court of a county for adoption, together with a proposed resolution
typically indicating that the map reflects those roads within a county which have been accepted
by the fiscal court as county roads.
Presumably a fiscal court would want such map to show every lawfully accepted county
road within the county, in order to provide documentation that a given road is eligible for
expenditure of state funds made available pursuant to KRS 177.320. We believe this
circumstance gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that a road not shown on a County Road
Series Map that has been formally adopted for a county, is not a "county road" within the
meaning of KRS 178.010(1)(b). Such a presumption may be rebutted by various circumstances.
For example, a road that is not shown on such map, but which has in fact been accepted by the
fiscal court as a county road, may not have been included on the map through inadvertence, or
because it was accepted after the map was prepared. It might be noted as well, that the fact that a
road appears on such map is not absolutely conclusive regarding whether or not a given road is a
"county road," as a road may have been depicted through error, or may have been discontinued
through formal action of the fiscal court, but the map has not bee updated to reflect such
As indicated in previous opinions of this office, unless a road has been validly and
formally accepted as a county road by the fiscal court (KRS 178.010(1)(b)0, public monies (e.g.,
county general fund or other monies) cannot be spent to maintain it. See Opinion of the Attorney
General (OAG) 82-136, and OAG 88-59, copies enclosed. We note in this connection that not
just any road can be accepted as a county road by a fiscal court. In addition to any other
requirements, a road, in order to be accepted by a fiscal court as a "county road," must serve a
bona fide public purpose. See § 171 of the constitution of Kentucky; Sarver v. County of Allen,
Ky., 582 S.W.2d 40 (1979); and OAG 92-74, and OAG 93-10 (copies enclosed).
For the reasons indicated, county funds may only be expended on a road that, irrespective
of whether it is shown on the County Road Series Map or not, has been properly accepted as a
county road in keeping with KRS 178.010(1)(b), and § 171 of the constitution of Kentucky.
Additionally, of course, a given expenditure must be in keeping with the county budget. KRS
68.260, KRS 68.300.
Gerard R. Gerhard
Assistant Attorney General