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June 16, 1972
Honorable Joseph Panattoni
P.O. Box 577
Ellensburg, Washington 98926 Cite as: AGLO 1972 No. 46 (not official)
This is written in response to your letter dated June 6, 1972, requesting a formal opinion of this office with regard to a matter which was previously treated in a letter written to you by Assistant Attorney General Rodney Carrier on May 10, 1972.
As we understand it, the question which you posed verbally to Mr. Carrier pertained to the disposition of certain funds held by the Port of Kittitas ‑ in connection with a planned dissolution of this port district. Your question specifically was whether such funds could be transferred lawfully to the county or another governmental agency other than a school district, under the provisions of RCW 39.33.010, relating to intergovernmental disposition of surplus property.
That statute as amended by chapter 95, Laws of 1972, Ex. Sess., provides in pertinent part as follows:
"The state or any municipality or any political subdivision thereof, may sell, transfer, exchange, lease or otherwise dispose of any property, real or personal, or property rights, including but not limited to the title to real property, to the state or any municipality or any political subdivision thereof on such terms and conditions as may be mutually agreed upon by the proper authorities of the state and/or the subdivisions concerned: PROVIDED, That such property is determined by decree of the superior court in the county where such property is located, after publication of notice of hearing is given as fixed and directed by such court, to be either necessary, or surplus or excess to the future foreseeable needs of the state or of such municipality or any political subdivision thereof concerned, which requests authority to transfer such property."
[[Orig. Op. Page 2]]
Conceivably that broadly worded statute would apply to surplus money, in an appropriate circumstance, although the matter is not entirely free from doubt. Nevertheless, it is our opinion that this statute is not authority for the proposed transfer under the facts as we understand them to be. The statute contemplates an ordinary situation in which property is "surplus" to the needs of an existing entity which contemplates a continuing existence. Special provisions are usually made for the distribution of property of municipal corporations when they dissolve. In connection with the dissolution of a port district, RCW 53.48.040 provides as follows:
"After said hearing the court shall enter its order dissolving or refusing to dissolve said district. A finding that the best interests of all persons concerned will be served by the proposed dissolution shall be essential to an order of dissolution. If the court find that such district is solvent, the court shall order the sale of such assets, other than cash, by the sheriff of the county in which the board is situated, in the manner provided by law for the sale of property on execution."
RCW 53.48.050 then provides as follows:
"The proceeds of the sale, together with moneys on hand in the treasury of the district, shall after payment of all costs and expenses, be paid to the treasurer of the same county and placed to the credit of the school district, or districts, in which such district is situated."
Inasmuch as the proposed transfer is being made in connection with a port district dissolution, it is our opinion that these statutes govern exclusively.
We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Robert F. Hauth
Assistant Attorney General