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Bob Ferguson

AGO 1956 No. 237 - Apr 3 1956
Attorney General Don Eastvold


 In the absence of statutory authority, county treasurers may not add their costs of collection or a service charge to the assessment rolls.

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                                                                    April 3, 1956

 Honorable Charles O. Carroll
Prosecuting Attorney of King County
County-City Building
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 55-57 No. 237

 Attention:  V. D. Bradeson, Deputy

 Dear Sir:

             In your letter of March 21, 1956, previously acknowledged, you requested our opinion on the following question:

             Can the county treasurer make any charge for services rendered in the collection and distribution of special assessments?

            Our answer is in the negative.


             RCW 36.29.120 makes the county treasurer the ex officio tax collector of all taxes for cities and towns of other than the first class.

             RCW 36.29.130 provides:

             "The county treasurer, upon receipt of the tax roll, shall proceed to collect and receipt for the municipal taxes extended thereon at the same time and in the  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] same manner as he proceeds in the collection of other taxes on such roll."

             RCW 36.29.150 provides:

             "Each city of the first class shall pay to the county one thousand dollars per annum for clerk hire."

             It is axiomatic in the law that municipal corporations and their officers can exercise only the powers given them by statute or those necessarily implied.  Carpenter v. Okanogan County, 163 Wash. 18.  The statutes governing the county treasurer do not give him specifically the power to charge the cities and towns for the services he renders in the handling of their tax collections.

             RCW 36.29.150 does provide for the payment by cities of the first class of $1,000 per year to the county treasurer for clerk hire.  It is evident that the legislature was aware of the fact that these matters could not be handled without expense.  It is reasonable to suppose it considered the advisability of contribution by other classes of cities and towns.  Its silence with regard to other cities and towns, under these circumstances, was evidence of its intention to relieve them from such charges.

             It is interesting to note that the L.I.D. statutes, more particularly RCW 35.44.020, specifically set forth the cost items which may be assessed against the district to pay for the improvement.  The costs of the cities and towns in handling are covered by subsection (5) as follows:

             "(5) The estimated cost and expense of accounting, clerical labor, and of books and blanks extended or used on the part of the city or town clerk and city or town treasurer in connection with the improvement."

             No charge to compensate the county treasurer for his costs is included.  It again appears that the legislature, by exclusion, has evidenced its intention that in this type of assessment, the county treasurer shall not collect his costs.

              [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            Since there is no statutory authority for collection of costs and since "the expression of one thing in a statute excludes others not expressed" (State v. Thompson, 38 Wn. (2d) 774, headnote 3), it is our opinion that county treasurers cannot charge either the property or the cities and towns for services rendered in the collection of special assessments.

 Very truly yours,
Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General