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AGO 1950 No. 259 - April 19, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTY PARKS ‑- TAXING OF LEASED LANDS

1. The county may establish a park and use their funds for the maintenance thereof.

2. County funds may be spent for the development of a park on lands leased from private parties for that purpose.

3. Lands leased by a county from private parties for park purposes are not exempt from taxation.

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                                                                   April 19, 1950

Honorable Thurman E. Ward
Prosecuting Attorney
Klickitat County Court House
Goldendale, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 259

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of March 30, 1950, in which you ask the following questions:

            1. May a county establish a park and use county funds for its maintenance?

            2. May county funds be used for the improvement on leased lands?

            3. Are lands leased from a private party and devoted to park purposes exempt from taxation?

            You are advised:

            1. The county may establish a park and use their funds for the maintenance thereof.

            2. County funds may be spent for the development of a park on lands leased from private parties for that purpose.

            3. Lands leased by a county from private parties for park purposes are not exempt from taxation.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            1. Chapter 94, Laws of 1949 (3991-14 to 3991-22 incl. Rem. Supp. 1949) authorizes counties to establish parks and should be followed.

            2. Section 1, chapter 94, Laws of 1949 (3991-14 Rem. Supp. 1949) expressly authorizes the acquiring of lands by lease.

            3. Exemption from taxation depends upon exclusive ownership (Rem. Rev. Stat. Supp. 11111).

            Since the county would not be the exclusive owner of lands held by it under lease, a specific exemption such as that contained in section 4588 Rem. Rev. Stat., relating to lands leased by Washington State College, would be required before the lands could be eliminated from the tax rolls. County v. Bell, 45 Minn. 344, 45 N.W. 783, 51 Am.Jur., Taxation § 557, p. 551.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

E. P. DONNELLY
Assistant Attorney General

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