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AGO 1955 No. 53 - April 06, 1955
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

LIQUOR REVOLVING FUND ‑- FORMULA FOR DETERMINING OFFICIAL POPULATION OF UNINCORPORATED AREA OF COUNTY SUBSEQUENT TO ANNEXATION OF AREA TO A CITY ‑- EXECUTION OF CERTIFICATE

The formula for ascertaining the population of the unincorporated area of a county subsequent to annexation of a portion of such area to a city is specifically set out by statute.

The chairman of the board of county commissioners need not join with the mayor in the execution of a certificate as to the population involved in an annexation proceeding.

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                                                                    April 6, 1955

Honorable Charles O. Carroll
Prosecuting Attorney
King County
County-City Building
Seattle, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 53


Attention  !ttMr. K. G. Smiles

            Chief Civil Deputy

Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion on the formula to be used in determining the population of unincorporated areas of a county for the purpose of distribution of liquor profits of the county pursuant to RCW 43.66.100.  You have also submitted a form of certificate which is to be filed with the secretary of state.  You advise that the chairman of the board of county commissioners is reluctant to sign the certificate in its present form.  You ask whether we believe he should sign this certificate.

            It is our opinion that the formula to be employed is specifically set out by statute, as developed in the analysis, and that the chairman of the board of county commissioners need not sign the certificate.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            RCW 43.66.100 provides in part that the share of the liquor profits

            "* * * coming to each eligible county shall be determined by a division among the eligible counties according to the relation which the population of the unincorporated area of such eligible county, as shown by the last federal census, bears to the population of the total combined unincorporated areas of all eligible counties, as shown by such census:  * * *"  (Emphasis supplied)

            This section was amended by section 3, chapter 109, Laws of 1955, but we do not believe the amendment had any effect on the formula.

            Since the original enactment of the above section the legislature established the state census board which has the function of determining the population of all cities and towns of the state.  This chapter (chapter 43.62 RCW) does not apply to counties.

            RCW 35.13.260 provides in part as follows:

            "Whenever any territory is annexed to the city the population of the annexed territory shall be determined by a count, made by or under direction of the mayor of the annexing city and chairman of the board of county commissioners of the county in which the property is located, of the number of dwelling units existing in the annexed territory at the time of annexation, multiplied by a factor of 2.95 and the population so determined shall be added to the official population of the annexing city and subtracted from the official population of the unincorporated area of the county in which the annexed territory is located; and when certified as hereinafter provided shall become the official population of the unincorporated  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] area of the county and city, respectively, until another population figure is determined therefor under law.  The count of the number of dwelling units as herein provided shall be made and a certificate filed with the secretary of state within thirty days following the annexation showing the boundaries of the annexed territory and the population of the city including that added by the annexation and the population of the unincorporated area of the county with the subtraction of the population of the annexed territory as herein provided, and, such population shall thereafter be used for allocating all state funds and for all other purposes until a new population is fixed for the county and city in accordance with law."

            Thus it can be seen that the legislature has provided a method of ascertaining the population of cities and towns at more frequent intervals than of counties.  For the purpose of participating in the liquor revolving fund proceeds, the counties must rely on the Federal census enumeration as diminished by the number of its inhabitants who reside in newly annexed and newly incorporated areas.  The only exception appears to be in case a county authorizes a census for the purpose of determining whether or not it is entitled to advance its classification pursuant to chapter 36.13 RCW.

            We believe this count of the population in the county, provided it is segregated as between incorporated and unincorporated areas, would constitute an "official population" statistic within the meaning of RCW 35.13.260.  The last cited law requires the mayor of a city or town which annexes a new area to join with the chairman of the board of county commissioners in having a count made of the number of dwelling units in the newly annexed area.  It also requires a certificate to be filed with the secretary of state within thirty days after annexation.  This certificate must show the increase in population credited the city as a result of the annexation.  The requirement that the count be under the direction of the chairman of the board, as well as the mayor of the city, is for the protection of the county, since the advantage accruing to the city in additional liquor profits is to the financial disadvantage of the county.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            The statute is silent on the subject of execution of the certificate.  We can see no necessity in requiring the chairman of the board of county commissioners to sign it.  As long as it can be shown that he joined with the mayor in directing the count to be made, and in the absence of a showing that the count was in error, a certificate by the mayor should constitute sufficient compliance with the statute.

            We hope the foregoing comments will prove helpful.

Very truly yours,

DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General


ANDY ENGEBRETSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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