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AGO 1990 No. 15 - November 02, 1990
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Ken Eikenberry | 1981-1992 | Attorney General of Washington

CITIES AND TOWNS ‑- ORDINANCES ‑- REQUIREMENTS TRIGGERED BY PASSAGE OR ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE BY INTERIM COUNCIL OF SOON TO BE INCORPORATED CITY OR TOWN

Certain statutes set forth requirements that are triggered by the adoption or passage of an ordinance.  Unless otherwise provided, these requirements apply to the passage or adoption of an ordinance by an interim council created by RCW 35.02.130, even though such an ordinance will not go into effect until the date of incorporation.

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                                                                November 2, 1990

Mary Margaret Haugen, Chairperson
Municipal Research Council
10517 N.E. 38th Place
Kirkland, WA 98033-7926

                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 1990 No. 15

Dear Ms. Haugen:

            By letter previously acknowledged you requested an opinion on the following paraphrased question:

            Do publication periods, referendum filing periods, and other periods that begin to run upon the passage of an ordinance by a fully incorporated city, likewise begin to run upon the passage of an ordinance by the interim council of a city to be incorporated, even though the ordinance in the latter case will not become effective until the date of the city's incorporation?

            We answer your question in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            When the voters of an unincorporated area approve an election measure for incorporation, RCW 35.02.130 provides in part:

            The city or town officially shall become incorporated at a date from one hundred eighty days to three hundred sixty days after the date of the election on the question of incorporation.  An interim period shall exist between the time the newly elected officials have  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] been elected and qualified and this official date of incorporation.  During this interim period, the newly elected officials are authorized to adopt ordinances and resolutions which shall become effective on or after the official date of incorporation. . . .

(Emphasis added).  Nothing in RCW 35.02.130 differentiates ordinances adopted by interim councils from ordinances adopted by fully incorporated cities, except that the effective date of the former ordinances are delayed until the date of the municipality's incorporation.  RCW 35.02.130 does not mandate that ordinances of interim councils be adopted subject to requirements different from, or additional to, those applicable to ordinances of fully incorporated cities.

            With this in mind, we note that certain statutes set forth requirements that are triggered by the adoption or passage of an ordinance.  Two such examples are RCW 35A.12.160 and RCW 82.14.036.  The former statute requires cities to publish either the text or a summary of each ordinance enacted, "promptly after adoption" of the ordinance.1/

            The latter statute provides that if a city ordinance imposing certain sales or use taxes is to be challenged by referendum, the referendum petition must be filed "within seven days of passage of the ordinance."

            Your question is whether the above statutes, or statutes of similar type, apply to ordinances adopted by interim councils in the same way in which they apply to ordinances adopted by fully incorporated cities.  Your question suggests that the publication or referendum filing periods noted above, while clearly triggered by the "passage"2/ of an ordinance by a fully incorporated city, might not be triggered until the effective date of an ordinance adopted by an interim council created by RCW 35.02.130.  We can discern no statutory basis for such a result.  Statutes are to be given their plain and ordinary meaning, and it is not proper to read language into a statute that the Legislature has  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] left out.  Hewson Const. Inc. v. Reintree Corp., 101 Wn.2d 819, 826, 685 P.2d 1062 (1984);Vannoy v. Pacific Power & Light Co., 59 Wn.2d 623, 629, 369 P.2d 848 (1962).  Here, the plain and ordinary language of the statutes in question makes no distinction between ordinances adopted by interim councils and those adopted by fully incorporated cities.  Accordingly, we conclude that statutory requirements triggered by the passage of an ordinance apply equally to both types of ordinances.3/

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

Very truly yours,

KENNETH O. EIKENBERRY
Attorney General

GREGORY J. TRAUTMAN
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/RCW 35A.12.160 applies to code cities.  Identical statutory language applicable to other cities and towns appears in RCW 35.22.288; 35.23.310; 35.24.220; and 35.27.300.

2/We note that RCW 35A.12.160 requires action following the "adoption" of an ordinance, whereas RCW 82.14.036 speaks of action following the "passage" of an ordinance.  This difference in language is immaterial, however, as the two terms are synonymous.  5 E. McQuillin,Municipal Corporations § 15.39, at 157 (3d ed. 1989).

3/Note, however, that statutes pertaining to the effective dates of ordinances must be read in conjunction with RCW 35.02.130.  See State v. Bell, 59 Wn.2d 338, 356, 368 P.2d 177 (1962) (statutes pertaining to same subject matter must be interpreted so as to give effect to each statute, if possible).  RCW 35A.13.190, for example, provides that "[no] ordinance shall take effect until five days after the date of its publication," except for emergency ordinances or as otherwise provided by statute or charter.  An ordinance of an interim council, however, cannot become effective until the city's official date of incorporation‑-even if the five‑day publication period of RCW 35A.13.190 has elapsed‑-because of the additional waiting period prescribed in RCW 35.02.130.

 

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