Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1970 NO. 3 > Jan 21 1970

Under the provisions of RCW 35.23.352, a city or town of the second, third or fourth class is required to call for bids in the manner prescribed therein where the city or town seeks (a) to award a contract for liability and casualty insurance coverage, the anticipated annual premiums for which will exceed $2,000, and (b) to award a contract for the codification of municipal ordinances, the anticipated cost of which will exceed $2,000.

AGO 1976 NO. 3 > Jan 21 1976

(1) Neither the state public disclosure law (chapter 42.17 RCW) nor any other statute prohibits or restricts a municipal corporation or political subdivision from employing a lobbyist to be registered as such in accordance with RCW 42.17.150; however, such a person may only be employed pursuant to specific legal authority to expend municipal funds for lobbying purposes ‑ either in the form of a state statute or, in the case of a first class or other charter city, code city or charter county, appropriate local legislation.  (2) Only a municipal corporation or political subdivision which is thus authorized to expend its funds for lobbying purposes may, in turn, authorize its officers or employees to appear and testify at municipal expense before a committee of the legislature in support of or opposition to proposed or pending legislation.  (3) Nothing in the state public disclosure law (chapter 42.17 RCW) purports to restrict the ability of any committee or member of the state legislature to seek information or opinions from officers or employees of a municipal corporation or political subdivision.

AGLO 1976 NO. 3 > Jan 7 1976

Impact upon residents of incorporated cities and towns, and upon the governing bodies thereof, of a decision by the county within which they are located to impose a local sales and use tax under RCW 82.14.030.

AGLO 1973 NO. 3 > Jan 5 1973

Consideration of the constitutionality of expending municipal funds for the acquisition and development of industrial sites to be leased to private industries.

AGO 1990 NO. 4 > May 24 1990

1.  The county sheriff's duty to enforce state law applies equally in incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county.  2.  If a city is unable to provide for adequate police protection, the county sheriff must take this factor into account in allocating the resources of the sheriff's office.  However, the statutes do not obligate the sheriff to provide a city with a specific number of police officers or a specific level of police services.  3.  If a city wants to obtain a specific number of county police officers or level of police services, the Interlocal Cooperation Act empowers the city to contract with the county to provide those services.

AGO 1993 NO. 4 > Mar 22 1993

RCW 41.16.020 creates a municipal firemen's pension board and provides that one member is the city comptroller or clerk.  If a charter city eliminates the position of comptroller and assigns those functions to a director of finance, the city can assign the director of finance to the pension board instead of the clerk.

AGO 2006 NO. 4 > Feb 2 2006

1.  A municipality lacks authority to allocate lodging tax revenue to operate a tourism-related facility in which the municipality has no ownership interest.  2.  A municipality may not spend lodging tax revenue on operating expenses of special events and festivals designed to attract tourists where such events and festivals are operated by non-governmental entities.  3.  A municipality may not provide advance payment to private organizations for tourism promotion; payment must occur after the services have been performed.

AGO 2005 NO. 4 > Apr 4 2005

1.  For purposes of RCW 42.17.130, which generally prohibits the use of public resources on election campaigns but contains an exception for certain acts of “elected legislative bodies,” the term is limited to bodies composed entirely of persons elected by the people to serve on that body, and it does not include “mixed” bodies of partly elected and partly appointed members or bodies composed of officers serving “ex officio” by virtue of their election to some other position.  2.  The term “legislative” for purposes of RCW 42.17.130 is restricted to governing bodies with the power to enact general laws within a defined geographic area, such as the legislative bodies of counties, cities, and towns, and it does not include the governing bodies of districts created for special purposes.

AGO 1998 NO. 4 > Mar 3 1998

The Growth Management Act does not obligate a county to require the replatting or resubdivision of lands in the county which are outside any urban growth area and which were platted before 1937, but allows local flexibility in applying GMA standards to such lands.

AGLO 1979 NO. 4 > Jan 17 1979

It would be a violation of Article VIII, § 7 of the state constitution for a municipal utility or public utility district to advance funds to its customers in order to enable them to purchase conservation materials notwithstanding a projected resulting benefit to utility customers, generally.