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AGO 1961 No. 16 - February 27, 1961
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington

COUNTIES ‑- ROADS ‑- ANNEXATION TO CITY, DISPOSITION OF ROAD DISTRICT TAXES LEVIED.

Where territory which is part of a county road district is annexed to a city, the annexing city is entitled upon collection to receive from the county treasurer such road district taxes as have been levied but not collected on property within the annexed territory prior to the time of annexation for application to city street fund purposes.

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                                                                February 27, 1961

Honorable John Panesko
Prosecuting Attorney
Lewis County
Chehalis, Washington

                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 16

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Where territory which is a part of a county road district is annexed to a city, is the annexing city entitled, upon collection, to receive from the county treasurer such road district taxes as have been levied but not collected on property within the annexed territory prior to the time of annexation?

            We answer your question in the affirmative, for the reasons set forth in our analysis.

 

                                                                    ANALYSIS,

            In an opinion to the Honorable Boone Hardin, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney (AGO 49-51 No. 150), dated November 1, 1949, a copy of which is herein enclosed, this office considered the question of whether taxes levied on certain property during 1949 for collection in 1950 might, upon annexation of the territory in question to a city prior to collection, be apportioned so that the city would receive a share of the moneys collected.  We answered this question in the negative, based upon so much of RCW 84.08.160 (cf. § 1, chapter 136, Laws of 1939, as amended) as provides:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "For the purposes of property taxation and the levy of property taxes the boundaries of counties, cities and all other taxing districts shall be the established official boundaries of such districts existing on the first day of March of the year in which the levy is made, and no such levy shall be made for any taxing district whose boundaries were not duly established on the first day of March of such year. . . ."

            Our conclusion was stated as follows:

            "In view of the express provisions of the above statute, it appears clear that a taxing district may levy its taxes upon taxable property in the area included within its boundaries as of the first day of March in the year in which the levy is made regardless of subsequent alterations.  Therefore, the township levy on the property in the annexed area must be collectedand applied by the county treasurer to the benefit of the township.,"  (Emphasis supplied.)

            In other words, we reasoned that because, by virtue of the quoted statute (RCW 84.08.160,supra,), taxes are to be levied, on the basis of the boundaries of the taxing district as of the first day of March of the year in which the levy is made, therefore the taxes when collected must beapplied, for the benefit of the taxing district notwithstanding subsequent alterations (prior to collection) of the boundaries of the district.

            However, the legislature, in 1951, appears to have made it quite clear that such was not to be the case insofar as road district taxes are concerned.  We refer to § 5, chapter 248, Laws of 1951, as amended by § 15, chapter 175, Laws of 1957 (cf. RCW 35.13.270) which provides as follows:

            "Whenever any territory is annexed to a city which is part of a road district of the county and road district taxes have been levied but not collected on any property within the annexed territory, the same shall when collected by the county treasurer be paid to the city and by the city placed in the city street fund."

            Pursuant to this legislative enactment, we are of the opinion that, though road district taxes like all property taxes are to be levied, on the basis of the boundaries of the district as of the first of March of the year in which the levy is made, if a portion of a road district is subsequently annexed by a city the road district taxes  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] when collected on the annexed territory are to be paid over to the annexing city by the county treasurer for application to city street fund purposes.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Assistant Attorney General

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