Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2000 NO. 3 >

1.  A farm plan prepared wholly or in part by the staff of a conservation district, and held in the district offices as a document relating to district business, is a “public record” for purposes of the Public Disclosure Law.  2.  Farm plans held by conservation districts are not generally subject to any exemption from public disclosure, although individual information within a document might be exempt in some cases.  3.  The disclosability of farm plans held by conservation districts is entirely a matter of state law; federal law governing similar documents held by federal agencies does not cover conservation districts, nor does it preempt the state's Public Disclosure Act as to records held by state or local agencies.

AGO 2001 NO. 4 >

1.  By removing property qualification as a condition to voting in conservation elections, in Laws of 1999, ch. 305, the Legislature automatically made conservation districts subject to the general election laws codified in RCW Title 29.  2.  One effect of Laws of 1999, ch. 305, was to transfer responsibility for conducting conservation district supervisor elections from the districts themselves to the county auditors; this change does not constitute a “new program” or “increased level” of service entitling either the district or the county under RCW 43.135.060 to reimbursement from the state for the expenses of conducting such elections.

AGO 2006 NO. 8 >

1.  A county has the authority to modify a conservation district’s proposed system of assessments but lacks the authority to modify the proposed budget or plan of expenditure.  2.  If a county modifies the conservation district’s proposed system of assessments, the district is bound to follow the system as modified by the county but may propose a different system the following year.  3.  A conservation district may withdraw or modify its proposed budget and system of assessments after they have been submitted to the county, but any re-submittal must occur within the time deadlines and statutory requirements that are applicable.  4.  Conservation district special assessments are statutorily earmarked for use by the district and are not available for use by the county for other purposes (RCW 89.08.400).