Q Does a county have the authority and discretion to cover the cost of an inspection of a private dam which serves private property but lies underneath a public county road?

A No, the county is not authorized under Section 19-5-92.1 to pay the costs of a inspection of a private dam. Section 19-5-92.1 allows counties to perform work on bridges, drainage ditches, and dams, but for work to be performed on private property, the board of supervisors must find that such work is necessary in order to promote the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the county. The work must not be performed solely to benefit private property owners, but where the work is necessary for the public welfare, incidental benefits to a landowner will not render the improvements unlawful. A routine inspection is not necessary to promote the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the county. (Attorney General’s Opinion to O’Donnell, April 1, 2016)