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AGO 1960 No. 132 - July 29, 1960
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

DISTRICTS - MOSQUITO CONTROL - LEVY OF ADDITIONAL TAXES.

Neither RCW 84.08.160 nor RCW 17.28.253 applies to the levying of assessments pursuant to RCW 17.28.255.  RCW 17.28.253 is controlling where the residents of a mosquito control district vote for the levy of additional taxes pursuant to RCW 17.28.100, 17.28.252 or 17.28.260.

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                                                                    July 29, 1960

Honorable Herbert H. Davis
Prosecuting Attorney of Benton County
Fisk Building
Prosser, Washington                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 59-60 No. 132

Dear Sir:

            Your recent letter, previously acknowledged, requests an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Does RCW 84.08.160 or RCW 17.28.253 govern the time within which an assessment may be made by the board of trustees of a mosquito control district organized pursuant to Chapter 17.28 RCW?

            Neither RCW 84.08.160 nor RCW 17.28.253 applies to the levying of assessments pursuant to RCW 17.28.255.  RCW 17.28.253 is controlling where the residents of a mosquito control district vote for the levy of additional taxes pursuant to RCW 17.28.100, 17.28.252 or 17.28.260.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 17.28 RCW provides several methods whereby a mosquito control district may obtain the necessary monies for the operation of the district and for capital purposes.

            RCW 17.28.100 provides for the levy of a general tax of one mill upon all taxable property of the district by an affirmative vote of three fifths of the persons voting on the proposition at the time of the formation of the district.  This special levy is likewise subject to the requirement that the number of persons voting on the proposition constitute not less than forty per cent of the total number of votes cast in the area of the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] district at the last preceding county or state general election.  See Opinions addressed to Honorable Roger L. Olson, Prosecuting Attorney for Franklin County, and Honorable Arthur L. Hawman, Prosecuting Attorney for Walla Walla County, AGO 57-58, No. 87 [[on June 24, 1957]]and AGO 57-58 No. 185 [[on April 29, 1958]], copies of which are enclosed herewith for your information and perusal.

            After formation of the district, by an appropriate vote of the people meeting the requirements of RCW 17.28.260, a district may issue general obligation bonds, the principal and interest to be paid by equal annual tax levies in excess of the forty mill limitation.  The proceeds of the sale of these bonds may only be used for capital expenditures. (See Opinion to Honorable Roger L. Olson, Prosecuting Attorney for Franklin County, AGO 57-58, No. 87 [[on June 24, 1957]].)

            A district thus formed may also raise monies for capital purposes (or for any other authorized purpose of the district) by voting for the levy of additional taxes in excess of the forty mill limitation pursuant to the provisions of RCW 17.28.252.

            Since the enactment of Chapter 64, Laws of 1959, it appears that the operations of the district are to be financed by annual assessments on the property within the district.  RCW 17.28.255 reads as follows:

            "The board of trustees shall annually determine the amount of money necessary to carry on the operations of the district and shall classify the property therein in proportion to the benefits to be derived from the operations of the district and in accordance with such classification shall apportion and assess the several lots, blocks, tracts, and parcels of land or other property within the district, which assessment shall be collected with the general taxes of the county or counties."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            We would conclude from the language of the foregoing statute that there is imposed a mandatory duty on the trustees of a mosquito control district to (1) annually determine the amount of money necessary to operate the district, and (2) classify property within the district and assess the same in order to raise the necessary operating revenue.

            We are further of the opinion that the provisions of RCW 84.08.160 or RCW 17.28.253 have no application to the levying of assessments pursuant to RCW 17.28.255 as these two statutes are specifically  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] concerned only with property taxation and the levying of property taxes.

            In the event the residents of a mosquito control district vote for the levy of additional taxes in accordance with the provisions of RCW 17.28.100, 17.28.252 or 17.28.260, it is our opinion that RCW 17.28.253 requiring the district's boundaries to be established by September first of the year in which the levy is to be made would control.  Although RCW 84.08.160 fixes an earlier date by which a taxing district's boundaries must be established, RCW 17.28.260 is a later legislative enactment concerned with a particular named district and thus falls within the oft quoted rule that a special act enacted subsequent to a general law will govern those matters contemplated by it to the exclusion of the general law.  1 Sutherland, Statutory Construction (3d ed.) 488, § 2022 See City of Airway Heights v. Schroeder, 53 Wn. (2d) 625, 335 P. (2d) 578 (1959), State v. Benson, 111 Wash. 124, 189 Pac. 1000 (1920).

            We trust that the foregoing satisfactorily answers your inquiry regarding the proper procedures to be followed in order to finance the operations of mosquito control districts.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

OLIVER J. NEIBEL, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

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