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Baro v. Murphy

OPINION FILED MARCH 18, 1965.

PATRICIA ANN BARO, APPELLANT,

v.

JOSEPH D. MURPHY ET AL., APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WALKER BUTLER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SOLFISBURG DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: Patricia Ann Baro and others brought a suit for declaratory judgment to test the validity of the State Parks Revenue Bond Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, par. 490.01 et seq.) and an ordinance adopted pursuant thereto by the State Parks Revenue Bond Commission which authorizes construction of a motel and camp sites in the State parks system and provides for financing thereof by the issuance of revenue bonds. The circuit court of Cook County denied plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment whereupon plaintiffs elected to stand on their motion. In denying this motion the trial court found the State Parks Revenue Bond Act to be constitutional. Plaintiff Baro alone appeals and since a constitutional question is involved the appeal comes directly to this court.

Appellant contends the State Parks Revenue Bond Act, hereinafter called the Bond Act, is invalid and unconstitutional because it conflicts with and duplicates the Illinois Building Authority Act, and other valid statutes, and it purports to authorize the State to incur debts secured by a pledge of general revenues, contrary to section 18 of article IV of the constitution of Illinois. Appellant also insists that, even if the act is valid, the ordinance adopted thereunder by the State Parks Revenue Bond Commission is invalid because the statute does not authorize the Commission to construct facilities, but only to finance them and in any event there is no statutory authority for the construction of a motel.

Prior to 1961 the State Parks System had funds available from the operation of restaurants, inns, refreshment stands and other facilities in the State parks and from the biennial appropriations out of general revenues. This was done in such a manner that the entire State Parks Fund could be reserved for capital improvements. The funds received from concessionaires were put in the State Parks Fund and those funds were used to construct capital improvements in the parks system.

In 1961 the legislature passed the Illinois Building Authority Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1961, chap. 127, par. 213.1 et seq.) and authorized the Building Authority to construct, among other things, such recreational facilities as the legislature should declare to be in the public interest. In 1963, the legislature enacted a statute declaring it to be in the public interest for the Building Authority to construct, among other things, sewage disposal systems at several State parks and appropriated to the Department of Conservation funds to pay rentals to the Building Authority for those facilities and sites furnished to the Department. Also, in 1963, the legislature created the State Parks Revenue Bond Commission, hereinafter called the Commission, by the enactment of the State Parks Revenue Bond Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, par. 490.01 et seq.) Under this act, the Commission is authorized to sell bonds and to pay for the acquisition and construction of recreational facilities in any of the State parks. This act has provisions that pledge as security for such bonds the revenues from all parks in the system, including revenues from existing facilities, together with revenues from the facilities to be constructed by the Commission. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, pars. 490.05 and 490.07.) The act further provides that all revenues derived from the operation of State parks are to be placed in a trust fund called "The State Parks Revenue Bond Fund." That fund is to be used only for making payments on the bonds and the maintenance and operation costs of projects built by the Commission in such priority as the Commission provides. Revenues not needed for these purposes are used for rehabilitation and expansion of facilities or the construction of new facilities. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, par. 490.07.) The act further authorizes the Department of Conservation to transfer jurisdiction of any property in the parks system to the Commission which may accept such transfer and is compelled to retransfer jurisdiction to the Department when the bonds are retired. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, par. 490.08.

The legislative purpose in the foregoing statutory scheme is clearly indicated by a recent report that Illinois ranks 46th of the 50 States in recreational acreage per thousand population. While the number of campers in Illinois State parks has increased 56% from 1960 to 1963, Illinois is without a modern family camp or camping service buildings. Former methods of financing recreational improvements through the State Parks Fund have proved to be insufficient. Similar problems have recently induced Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and New Jersey to adopt some form of park recreational bonding legislation. To meet the growing need for improved methods of financing recreational facilities, the present act was passed.

Plaintiff, however, claims that the legislature's attempt to solve this problem resulted in an unconstitutionally vague statute which is in conflict with other valid legislation, and with other legislatively created agencies. Plaintiff argues that the present Bond Act creates confusion in the management, financing, jurisdiction and construction in the State parks system, between the Authority created by the Bond Act and the State Boating Act Fund, the Game and Fish Fund, the State Parks Fund, the Illinois Public Building Authority, and the Department of Conservation.

With this we do not agree. The three funds mentioned are established by the State Finance Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 127, par. 141.) As to the Boating Fund and the Game and Fish Fund, the Boat Registration and Safety Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 95 1/2, par. 311-1 et seq.) and the Game Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 61, par. 135 et seq.) provide for payment into the Boating Fund and the Game and Fish Fund, respectively, of moneys collected pursuant to said acts, which are registration, licensing and regulation enforcing statutes. It is clear that the present Bond Act includes only fees, charges and rentals received for use of facilities of the park and not license fees for boating and fishing. The licensing revenue payable to the Boating Fund and the Game and Fish Fund is in no way affected by the Bond Act. The monies channeled directly into the State Parks Revenue Bond Fund (which exclude the Boating Fund and the Game and Fish Fund) are not general revenue. These specific monies are deposited with the State Treasurer as treasurer for the Commission rather than as custodian of the general revenue of the State.

In regard to the State Parks Fund, section 4(c) of the State Parks Act, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1953, chap. 105, par. 468.3), provided for "all income" realized from the operation of State parks to be paid into the State Parks Fund. However, in order to avoid a conflict with the present Bond Act, the legislature in 1963 amended section 4(c) to provide that all income realized from the operation of State parks shall be paid into the State Parks Fund, except for income derived from the operation of State parks which is required to be deposited in the State Parks Revenue Bond Fund pursuant to the State Parks Revenue Bond Act. This amendment clearly resolves any conflict between the State Parks Act and the present Bond Act.

We also see no fatal conflict between this Bond Act and the Illinois Building Authority Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 127, par. 213.1 et seq.) The expressed purpose of the Building Authority Act is to study the need for, recommend and build various facilities for State use, including, inter alia, recreational facilities. However, the Building Authority has no power to construct a facility until the General Assembly, by law, declares such facility to be in the public interest. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 127, par. 213.5.

The scope of purpose of the present Bond Act deals only with recreational facilities, but in that special area, the State Parks Commission is not limited to constructing projects specifically declared to be in the public interest by the legislature. If a facility is constructed by the Building Authority, it must be leased to the State or a State agency, while a facility constructed by the State Parks Commission is retained by it, and income is derived from facility use by the public.

While both the Building Authority and the Commission have powers in the area of recreational facilities, this is not offensive to our constitution. There are many situations in which it is reasonable for the legislature to exercise similar powers within the same area. People ex rel. Coutrakon v. Lohr, 9 Ill.2d 539, 544; Maulding v. Skillet Fork River Outlet Union Drainage Dist. 313 Ill. 216, 223.

We see in the two statutes before us no present conflict, nor any real potential for future conflict, since the legislature need not permit the Building Authority to construct recreational facilities. Indeed, plaintiff's argument in this regard was fully disposed of in People ex rel. Touhy v. City of Chicago, 399 Ill. 551, 557, where the court stated:

"The next contention of appellant is that the Blighted Areas Act is void because it attempts to vest in Land Clearance Commissions powers coextensive with those already held by the city of Chicago for the same purpose, (i.e., slum clearance,) and extending over the same district. As pointed out in People ex rel. Greening v. Bartholf, 388 Ill. 445, the application of this principle has usually been made in cases involving the validity of tax levies and cases involving the jurisdiction of separate corporate bodies. Since the Land Clearance Commissioners have no power to levy taxes, we are not concerned with that issue here. As to jurisdiction, this court has recognized that, in our complex system of government, different public authorities exercise within parts of the same territory practically similar powers. (People v. Bartholf, 388 Ill. 445; People ex rel. Darnell v. Woodward, 285 Ill. 165; Wilson v. Board of Trustees of Sanitary Dist., 133 Ill. 443.) It was said in the Bartholf case, on page 466, that: `This power and authority must be exercised in a particular way by these different public authorities so as not to bring different municipalities into conflict in doing the same identical work for the same sections.' It is true that the Land Clearance Commission is given powers to promote slum clearance by the Blighted Areas Act, which are similar to the powers given to the city of Chicago by the Revised Cities and Villages Act, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1947, chap. 24, pars. 23-1 et seq.), and the areas of their jurisdiction are coterminus, however, the sites in which the Land Clearance Commissioners are to operate must be approved by the city council of Chicago and by the State Housing Board. It is inconceivable that both corporations would enter into a program of slum clearance by which one would be duplicating the work of the other. There is no duplication of taxes in the area, and a reasonable application of both acts will eliminate duplication of effort by the two municipalities. We are of the opinion that the Blighted Areas Act is not subject to this objection of appellant."

Nor is there any conflict created between the Commission and the Department of Conservation. While the Department is given, in the first instance, "care, control, supervision and management of all State parks," (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, par. 465), it is also authorized with approval of the Governor to transfer its jurisdiction of any property to either the Building Authority, (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 127, par. 213.4), or to the Commission. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, chap. 105, par. 490.08.) It is well settled that the jurisdiction of an agency may be ...


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