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AGO 1956 No. 273 - May 28, 1956
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTIES ‑- OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER ‑- PRINTING ‑- COUNTY PRINTING CONTRACT

The county commissioners of a county, under the provisions of chapter 36.72 RCW, may only award the official county newspaper printing contract to one newspaper publisher within the county.

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                                                                   May 28, 1956

Honorable Charles W. Cone
Prosecuting Attorney
Chelan County Courthouse
Wenatchee, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 273


Attention:  Mr. James C. Lynch, Deputy

Dear Sir:

            We are in receipt of your letter requesting an opinion from this office on the following question:

            Under the provisions of chapter 36.72 RCW, is it permissible for the county commissioners to split the bid of separate publishers of separate publications of newspapers within the county?

            We answer your question in the negative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            The pertinent statutes with regard to your inquiry are set forth as follows:

            RCW 36.72.010

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "In all counties where two or more weekly, semiweekly or daily newspapers are published, the board of county commissioners, at its April meeting each year, shall let the advertising and official publication of all notices to the publisher thereof who is the best and lowest responsible bidder.  The board of county commissioners shall consider the question of circulation in awarding the county printing contract, with a view to giving such printing the widest publicity; and no newspaper shall be eligible as a competitor nor shall a contract be let to any newspaper, unless it has been established, published, and circulated in the county for at least six months, and has a general and bona fide circulation throughout the county in which it is published."

            RCW 36.72.070

            "All county officers shall cause all legal notices and delinquent tax lists to be advertised in the official paper designated by the board of county commissioners."

            County commissioners have only such powers as are expressly granted to them or necessarily implied from those given.  State ex rel. Becker v. Wiley, 16 Wn. (2d) 340.  In our opinion the foregoing statutes are quite clear and unambiguous on the point of law you have raised by your question.  A reading of them will indicate that the county commissioners are empowered to award the county printing contract to only one newspaper.  All legal notices and delinquent tax lists must be advertised in the official paper.  We fail to see how the above statutes could be construed to authorize the designation of two newspapers as official county newspapers.

            We conclude that county commissioners of a county, under the provisions of chapter 36.72 RCW, may only award the official county newspaper printing contract to one newspaper publisher within the county.

            We trust that this opinion will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


DUANE S. RADLIFF
Assistant Attorney General

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