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AGO 1952 No. 405 - September 17, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTIES ‑- CIVIL DEFENSE ‑- AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE SPECIAL LEVY IN EXCESS OF FORTY MILL LIMITATION

County may impose special levy of one‑half mill for civil defense purposes when such levy is submitted to and approved by the county electors in the manner prescribed by constitutional and statutory provisions.

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                                                              September 17, 1952

Honorable Phillip Sheridan
Snohomish County
Central Building
Everett, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 405

Dear Sir:

            By letter of September 10, 1952, you stated as follows:

            "The Board of County Commissioners have requested us to ask for an opinion from your office relative to the validity of a half-mill levy for Civil Defense, the same being in excess of the 40 mill levy.

            "They anticipate placing this measure in the November 4th Ballot, and will appreciate a reply prior to September 20th, 1952."

            It is our conclusion that a county may levy a tax of one‑half mill in excess of the constitutional forty mill limitation for civil defense purposes when such special levy is duly submitted to, and approved by, the electors of the county.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Section 12 (1) of the Washington Civil Defense Act of 1951 provides that:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "(1) Each political subdivision shall have the power to make appropriations in the manner provided by law for making appropriations for the ordinary expenses of such political subdivision for the payment of expenses of its local organization for civil defense.  * * *"

            The legislature has thus established expenditures for civil defense purposes as a proper county expenditure.

            Counties are empowered to impose a special levy for county purposes in excess of the forty mill limitation, when such levy is approved by three‑fifths of the electors as provided by Article VII, § 2 (a) (Seventeenth Amendment) of the Washington Constitution, as implemented by RCW 84.52.052.

            We are therefore of the opinion that the special levy of one‑half mill for Civil Defense purposes which the Board of County Commissioners of Snohomish County proposes to make will be valid when duly submitted to and approved by the electors of the county pursuant to the constitutional and statutory provisions above referred to prescribing the method of approving special levies.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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