Question Submitted By Perryman, 090618 OKAG, 2018 OK AG 7

Docket Nº:2018 OK AG 7
Party Name:Question Submitted by: The Honorable David Perryman, State Representative, District 56
Attorney:MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA JONATHAN SHIRLEY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Case Date:September 06, 2018
Court:Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions
 
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2018 OK AG 7

Question Submitted by: The Honorable David Perryman, State Representative, District 56

No. 2018 OK AG 7

Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions

September 6, 2018

MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA

JONATHAN SHIRLEY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL

¶0 This office has received your request for an official Attorney General Opinion in which you ask, in effect, the following question:

May a municipality use municipal resources to improve or maintain the grounds of, maintain records for, or collect and remit payments for plots in a privately-owned cemetery that is open to the public?

I.

BACKGROUND

¶1 In your request, you refer to Attorney General Opinion 1980-44, which concluded that the Oklahoma Constitution prohibits the use of municipal resources to improve property owned by a church, nonprofit corporation, or other private entity where such improvements are solely for the benefit of that entity. A.G. Opin. 1980-44 at 76. Moreover, the opinion concluded that even if the municipality were reimbursed for its expenses in making such improvements, it would not be statutorily authorized to take such action. Id. at 76-77. Finally, as you also note in your request, the conclusions reached in that opinion were premised on the understanding that the improvements in question would not inure to the benefit of the public. See id. at 76. Here, you ask a slightly different question: whether municipal resources may be used to provide services to a privately-owned cemetery that is open to the public, when the use of said resources may inure to the benefit of the public.

II.

DISCUSSION

¶2 Our understanding is that your request is in regard to a statutory (or non-charter) municipality. It is well settled that such municipalities in Oklahoma may exercise only those powers that "are expressly granted or necessarily implied from a statute." Morehead v. Dyer, 1973 OK 121, ¶ 8, 518 P.2d 1105, 1108; see also City of Hartshorne v. Marathon Oil Co., 1979 OK 48, ¶ 6, 593 P.2d 97, 99 ("A city has no inherent power to act; it possesses and can exercise only those powers expressly granted, or incidental to power expressly granted, by the state."). 1

¶3 The subject of cemeteries is addressed to some degree in the Oklahoma Municipal Code, which provides that "[a] municipal governing body shall...

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