OAG 93-4

January 27, 1993

Hon. Doris Barnett

County Judge/Executive

Magoffin County

P.O. Box 430

Salyersville, Kentucky 41465

Dear Judge Barnett:

By letter of January 6, 1993, you ask, in substance, (1) whether the county clerk must pay telephone bills of the clerk's office from the fees of that office, (2) if not, whether the fiscal court would have to approve payment by majority vote, and (3) whether the county judge/executive would have to present the bills to the fiscal court.

The general rule is that reasonable expenses of the county clerk's office (which would include bills for official telephone costs) are to be paid from the fees of the office. The fiscal court must approve (or disapprove) payment of claims against the county, which must be presented to the fiscal court by the county judge/executive. Discussion follows.

KRS 64.152 provides, in substance and in part, that the county clerk, in a county with a population of less than 75,000, shall provide to the fiscal court, by March 15 of each year, a complete statement of all funds received by his office, and of the "reasonable expenses." KRS 64.152 further provides, again in substance and in part, that at the time of such statement, the clerk shall pay to the fiscal court any income exceeding personnel compensation costs and "reasonable expenses." KRS 64.152 thus provides for payment of "reasonable expenses" of the county clerk's office from the fees of that office.

Necessary official telephone expenses would fall within the phrase "reasonable expenses" as used in KRS 64.152. See Opinion of The Attorney General (OAG) 82-402 (copy enclosed). The fiscal court should address amounts that may be expended by the county clerk for expenses of his office through its budget approval role pursuant to KRS 64.530(3).

It is not clear from your letter whether the Estill County Clerk's Office generates sufficient fees to pay, along with other necessary official expenses of the office, the necessary official telephone bills of the office. If the office does not generate sufficient fees to do so, the fiscal court could, and probably would have a duty to, pay such expenses of the county clerk's office from the county treasury. For reasoning see OAG 82-402.

Payment of specific bills requires proper documentation, and fiscal court approval, by resolution or order. KRS 67.076. See also: OAG 78-595 and OAG 78-467 (copies enclosed). This view is based upon KRS 67.080(1)(c), empowering the fiscal court to regulate and control the fiscal affairs of the county, KRS 67.080(1)(d), which provides, in part, for the fiscal court to cause correct accounts and records to be kept of all disbursements, and KRS 68.275(2), which provides, in part, that all claims against the county are subject to fiscal court review.

KRS 68.275(2) provides that the county judge/executive "shall present all claims to the fiscal court for review prior to payment," and further provides that the fiscal court, for good cause shown, may order that a claim not be paid.


Chris Gorman

Attorney General

Gerard R. Gerhard

Assistant Attorney General