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October 14, 1970
Honorable Warren W. Russell
San Juan County
Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
Cite as: AGLO 1970 No. 133
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated October 8, 1970, regarding the funding of a pest control district organized under the provisions of chapter 152, Laws of 1919 (chapter 17.12 RCW).
You have correctly pointed out in your letter that such a district does not constitute a separate taxing district ‑ but, instead, would simply be an adjunct of county operations, to be financed in accordance with the county budget. Accord, opinion dated August 22, 1923, to the prosecuting attorney of Stevens county [[1923-24 OAG 103]], copy enclosed. Accordingly, to the extent that the operations of such a district are to be funded by general taxation under the first paragraph of RCW 17.12.070 (maximum five mill levy), it follows that such millage will be available to the district only to the extent that it is made available within the county budget. In view of the establishment of the constitutional forty mill limit on ad valorem property taxation (adopted in 1944), together with implementing statutes contained in chapter 84.52 RCW, this tax millage would have to come from either one of two sources: (1) A portion of the regular property tax revenues of the county, within the maximum rate allotted to counties under RCW 84.52.050; or (2) by means of annual excess levies authorized by the voters of the county under the provisions of Article VII, § 2 (Amendment 17) to the Washington Constitution and RCW 84.52.052.
However, you should also note that RCW 17.12.070 provides an alternative method of funding the operation of a pest control district; namely, by means of special assessments against the property specially benefited by the operations of the district. See, in this regard, State ex [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] rel. Stanger v. Bartlett, 112 Wash. 299, 192 Pac. 945 (1920).
We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.
Very truly yours,
FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Philip H. Austin
Assistant Attorney General