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AGO 1950 No. 329 - September 05, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

WEED DISTRICTS ‑- TIME OF ESTABLISHMENT OF BOUNDARIES AS TAXING DISTRICT

A weed district is a "taxing district," and as such its boundaries must have been established by March 1st of year in which the tax is levied.

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                                                               September 5, 1950

Honorable Ronald R. Hull
Prosecuting Attorney
Yakima County
Yakima, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 329

Attention:  !ttMr. Lon Boyle
            Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Sir:

            Your letter of August 16, 1950, states that the board of county commissioners of Yakima County entered its order under date of March 24, 1950, establishing weed district No. 1 under the provisions of chapter 125, Laws of 1929 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 2771, et seq.).  Reference is made to the conflict between the provisions of section 5, chapter 125, Laws of 1929 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 2774-2) and the provisions of chapter 65, Laws of 1949 (§ 11106-1 Rem. Supp. 1949) as such provisions relate to the power of the county commissioners to make a 1950 tax levy for the weed district.

            You request our opinion as to whether the general act of 1949 would control the special provision contained in section 5 of the 1929 act.

            Our conclusions may be summarized as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            1. A weed district established pursuant to the provisions of chapter 125, Laws of 1929 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 2771 et seq.) is a "taxing district" within the meaning of section 2, chapter 130, Laws of 1925, Ex. Sess. (Rem. Rev. Stat. 11106).

            2. Under the provisions of chapter 65, Laws of 1949 (§ 11106-1 Rem. Supp. 1949) the boundaries of a taxing district must have existed on the first day of March of the year in which a tax levy for such district is to be made, and to this extent chapter 65, Laws of 1949 (§ 11106-1 Rem. Supp. 1949) is amendatory of section 5, chapter 125, Laws of 1929 (Rem. Rev. Stat. 2774-2).

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            A "taxing district" is defined by section 11106 of Remington's Revised Statutes,supra, which reads as follows:

            "The term 'taxing district' as used in this act shall be held and construed to mean and include the state and any county, city, town, township, port district, school district, road district, metropolitan park district, water district, or other municipal corporation, now or hereafter existing, having the power or authorized by law to impose burdens upon property within the district in proportion to the value thereof, for the purpose of obtaining revenue for public purposes,as distinguished from municipal corporations authorized to impose burdens, or for which burdens may be imposed, for such purposes, upon property in proportion to the benefits accruing thereto."  (Emphasis supplied)

            Most of the governmental units and districts referred to in this section are either municipal corporations within the strict technical meaning of that term or are expressly designated as such by the provisions of the acts under which they are created.  However, at least one of the districts used in conjunction with the term "other municipal corporation," namely "road district," is neither a municipal corporation within the strict technical meaning of that  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] term, nor is it so designated by the earlier or present statutory provisions creating road districts.  It would appear that the legislature did not use the term "other municipal corporation" in its stricter sense, but used it as a much broader and general designation of governmental units or districts to which is attached the power to levy taxes or burdens upon property within such districts "in proportion to the value thereof", as distinguished from governmental units or districts authorized to levy taxes or impose burdens upon property "in proportion to the benefits accruing thereto."

            Weed districts are comparable in organization to road districts which the legislature has designated as a taxing district in conjunction with the term "other municipal corporation" as that term is used in section 11106 in its broader sense.  The provisions of Rem. Rev. Stat. 2774-2 and 2775 authorize the imposition and levy of taxes upon the property located in such districts in proportion to the value thereof as distinguished from the benefits accruing thereto, which section 11106 sets up as the basic distinction between taxing districts and non-taxing districts.  We are, therefore, of the opinion that a weed district is a taxing district within the intent of section 11106.

            Section 2774-2,supra, relating to weed districts provides that:

            "At the time of establishing such district, and annually thereafter, the county commissioners shall levy a tax upon all taxable property located in such district in such an amount as will produce sufficient revenue to operate such district.  * * *" (Emphasis supplied)

            Section 11106-1 Rem. Supp. 1949, supra, provides that:

            "For the purposes of property taxation and levy of property taxes theboundaries 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  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]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."  (Emphasis supplied)

            This section was originally enacted by section 1, chapter 136, Laws of 1939.  It was amended by chapter 182, Laws of 1943; chapter 65, Laws of 1949, supra, amended this section to its present form.

            In the enactment of section 11106 as amended it would seem clear that the legislature intended to fix a uniform date as of which the boundaries of all taxing districts shall be established, and from which can be determined the various purposes for which taxes are to be imposed within any particular year.  Uniformity in this respect was obviously the legislative objective.

            It is our opinion that it was intended to be operative generally as to the taxing power common to all taxing districts, including weed districts.

            You are therefore advised that the provisions of section 11106-1 Rem. Supp. 1949, are controlling and that the county commissioners do not have power to levy a tax in 1950 for the purposes of weed district No. 1 of Yakima County, the boundaries of which district were established subsequent to March 1, 1950.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

FRED L. HARLOCKER
Assistant Attorney General

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