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AGO Opinions with Topic: CITIES
AGO 2006 No. 2 >  January 27, 2006
SHORELINE MANAGEMENT ACT - GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT - COUNTIES - CITIES
Extent to which shorelines should be designated as critical areas for purposes of the Growth Management Act 1.  When a local jurisdiction designates critical areas under the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A), it is not obligated to include, as designated critical areas, shorelines of statewide significance or other shorelines within the jurisdiction; however, the jurisdiction should designate those shorelines within the area, or portions of them, and meet the statutory criteria for designation (RCW 36.70A.030(5)).  2.     If a local jurisdiction determines that some of the shorelines within its area should be designated as critical areas under the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A), that determination is subject to administrative and judicial review as provided in statute.
AGO 1983 No. 2 >  March 14, 1983
CITIES - COUNTIES - PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES
APPLICABILITY OF STATE PREVAILING WAGE LAW The construction, alteration, repair or improvement (other than ordinary maintenance) of low income housing facilities by a public housing authority established pursuant to chapter 35.82 RCW constitutes a public work which is subject to the provisions of the state prevailing wage law (chapter 39.12 RCW) where it is paid for with state or municipal funds or where, in any event, it gives rise to a lien or charge, on the part of the contractor or others involved, against the property of the housing authority.
AGO 1963 No. 2 >  January 9, 1963
CITIES - THIRD CLASS - PENSION PROGRAM - PURCHASE FROM PRIVATE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY
CITIES ‑- THIRD CLASS ‑- PENSION PROGRAM ‑- PURCHASE FROM PRIVATE LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY A city of the third class does not have the statutory authority to purchase a pension program for its employees from a private life insurance company.
AGO 1963 No. 9 >  January 31, 1963
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - CITIES - THIRD CLASS - CLERK AND ATTORNEY - INCREASE OR DECREASE IN COMPENSATION WHEN OFFICES ARE MADE APPOINTIVE
OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- CITIES ‑- THIRD CLASS ‑- CLERK AND ATTORNEY ‑- INCREASE OR DECREASE IN COMPENSATION WHEN OFFICES ARE MADE APPOINTIVE Where the offices of the city clerk and city attorney in a third class city have been made appointive by the city council, under the authority of RCW 35.24.020, the salary of the office holder may be increased or decreased after appointment.
AGO 1984 No. 11 >  March 27, 1984
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - STATE - CORRECTIONS STANDARDS BOARD - JAILS - COUNTIES - CITIES
APPLICABILITY OF MINORITY AND WOMEN'S BUSINESS ENTERPRISES ACT (1) The State Corrections Standards Board is not required by chapter 120, Laws of 1983, the Minority and Women's Business Enterprises Act, to fix goals which would, in turn, necessitate that specified portions of the funds which are awarded by it to local governments be set aside for minority or women-owned businesses.(2) Chapter 120, Laws of 1983, the Minority and Women's Business Enterprises Act, applies only to public works projects undertaken by the State (or an agency thereof) itself and, therefore, does not impose any additional duties or responsibilities on local jurisdictions with respect to jail construction and renovation funded through the State Corrections Standards Board.
AGO 2002 No. 2 >  April 10, 2002
COUNTIES - CITIES - PORT DISTRICTS - STATE AGENCIES - PUBLIC DISCLOSURE ACT - PUBLIC RECORDS
Applicability of public records sections of RCW 42.17 to associations comprised of counties, county officials, cities, and port districts While associations comprised of counties or local public officers are not “agencies” as defined in RCW 42.17.020, they could in certain circumstances be found to be “functional equivalents” of agencies for purposes of applying particular portions of the Public Disclosure Act; this would be greatly dependent on the facts of a particular case.
AGO 1994 No. 12 >  September 2, 1994
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS - CITIES - FIREFIGHTERS - PENSION LIABILITIES - MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - ANNEXATION - PUBLIC FUNDS
Transfer of assets and liabilities of pension system upon annexation of a portion of one municipality's territory by another municipality 1.  If, through annexation or incorporation, a city acquires more than 60 percent, but less than 100 percent, of the assessed valuation of the real property of a fire protection district, all of the district's assets and a proportionate share of the district's liabilities, pension fund assets and liabilities excepted, are transferred to the city.  2.  If, through annexation or incorporation, a city acquires more than 60 percent, but less than 100 percent, of the assessed valuation of the real property of a fire protection district which has existing liabilities for pension obligations established pursuant to chapter 41.16 or 41.18 RCW, and has funds dedicated for the payment of such obligations, both the liabilities and the assets are retained by the fire protection district.
AGO 1994 No. 20 >  November 17, 1994
COUNTIES - CITIES - CITY - COUNTY CHARTERS - FREEHOLDERS - INCORPORATION - ANNEXATION
Options available to freeholders elected to present city-county charters 1.  A board of freeholders elected pursuant to article 11, section 16 of the Washington Constitution to draft and present a proposed city-county charter may not instead draft a charter relating to the county only.  2.  The state constitution requires that a city-county charter specifically provide for the legal status of cities within the new government's territory, and grants broad discretion to the voters in defining which, if any, of the powers and duties of existing cities would continue or change after adoption of a city-county charter.  3.  Cities remaining in existence in a city-county operating under a city-county charter retain authority to annex territory, only if and only to the extent that the charter grants such authority.  4.  All of the voters of a county may vote on the adoption of a proposed city-county charter, including those residing within any incorporated cities in the county.  5.  A board of freeholders lacks authority to use public funds or property to advocate or promote adoption of a city-county charter after it has been drafted and submitted pursuant to the constitution; however, the acts of soliciting and recording public opinion, drafting, debating, deliberating, selecting options, and submitting a charter to the county are all specifically implied by the freeholders' constitutional role and do not constitute an unlawful use of public property.
AGO 1988 No. 26 >  November 1, 1988
TREASURER - COUNTIES - CITIES - PUBLIC FUNDS - DELEGATION OF POWERS - INVESTMENTS - LETTER OF CREDIT
DEBT LIMITATIONS 1.When RCW 39.59.020(4) authorizes municipal treasurers to invest in " . . . any investments authorized by law for the treasurer of the state of Washington ..." and the state treasurer is authorized by law to invest in commercial paper by RCW 43.84.080(7) but only to the extent consistent with the policy of the State Investment Board, the legal limitations on the state and on municipal treasurers are confined to formally adopted policies of the State Investment Board, and neither the state nor municipal treasurers are bound by State Investment Board policies which are informal or unwritten.2.A municipal treasurer may not lawfully delegate authority to redeem warrants to a banking institution or other party outside the treasurer's office.3.A municipal treasurer may lawfully secure a line of credit for warrant redemption with a bank, to the extent permitted by RCW 39.58.170.4.A municipal treasurer may in certain circumstances secure a letter of credit from a bank for warrant redemption purposes, but only to guarantee payment of warrants the treasurer is statutorily authorized to pay.5.A letter or line of credit is a contingent liability and does not constitute a borrowing by a municipal corporation for purposes of applying constitutional or statutory debt or borrowing limitations; the borrowing occurs if the letter of line of credit is actually drawn down.
AGO 1995 No. 4 >  March 31, 1995
MUNICIPAL JUDGES - CITIES - ELECTIONS - OFFICES AND OFFICERS - STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - EFFECTIVE DATE OF AMENDMENT MAKING CERTAIN MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGESHIPS ELECTIVE
MUNICIPAL JUDGES - CITIES - ELECTIONS - OFFICES AND OFFICERS - STATUTORY INTERPRETATION - EFFECTIVE DATE OF AMENDMENT MAKING CERTAIN MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGESHIPS ELECTIVE 1.  RCW 3.50.055, enacted in 1993 but effective January 1, 1995, requires certain municipal court judgeships to be filled by election as vacancies occur after January 1, 1995:  that is, any new positions created or vacancies occurring in existing positions (if they are covered by RCW 3.50.055) must be filled by election for the remainder of the current term, while duly appointed judges serving terms scheduled to end on January 1, 1998 may complete their current terms, but their successors will be chosen by election.  2.  RCW 3.50.055 was not intended to change the term for which municipal court judges serve; pursuant to RCW 3.50.040 and 3.50.050, all municipal court judges serve four-year terms beginning on January 1, 1986, and every four years thereafter.
AGO 1995 No. 9 >  June 30, 1995
MUNICIPAL JUDGES - MUNICIPAL COURTS - MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENTS - CITIES - COUNTIES - ELECTIONS - FILLING VACANT MUNICIPAL COURT OR MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT POSITIONS
MUNICIPAL JUDGES - MUNICIPAL COURTS - MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENTS - CITIES -COUNTIES - ELECTIONS - FILLING VACANT MUNICIPAL COURT OR MUNICIPAL DEPARTMENT POSITIONS 1.  If a vacancy occurs in a municipal court position established under Chapter 35.20 RCW (cities of over four hundred thousand population), or Chapter 3.50 RCW (all other cities), the vacancy will be filled by appointment for the remainder of the term, with no midterm special election.  2.  If a vacancy occurs in a municipal department of a district court operating pursuant to Chapter 3.46 RCW, the vacancy in the district court position will be filled by appointment by the county legislative authority with subsequent special election for the remainder of the term served (but any such election must occur only in an even-numbered year); the city will subsequently decide which judges on the district court will be designated as municipal department judges.  3.  If a city creates a new municipal court position or a new municipal department position, to take effect during the term prescribed by statute for such positions, the new position will be filled in the same manner as if a vacancy had occurred in an existing position in the same court.  4.  If a city creates a new municipal court position pursuant to Chapter 3.50 of Chapter 35.20 RCW, effective as of the beginning of the next statutory term for such a judgeship, the initial judge will be chosen by election if it is a full-time position or a part-time position covered by RCW 3.50.055; otherwise, the city may elect to make the position elective or appointive.  5.  If a city creates a new municipal department position within a district court pursuant to Chapter 3.46 RCW, and the judge is to serve the municipal department full-time, and the position will take effect with the beginning of the next term for district court judges, the initial judge will be nominated and elected in the manner for district court judges but with only electors of the city voting for the position.  6. If a city creates a new municipal department position within a district court pursuant to Chapter 3.46 RCW, to take effect with the beginning of the next term for district court judges, and the judge is to serve the municipal department part-time, the city may either designate an existing district judge to serve the municipal department, or provide that a new district judge nominated and elected by the judicial district will serve in the new municipal department position.
AGO 1989 No. 20 >  October 27, 1989
CITIES - CIVIL SERVICE - POLICE - FIREFIGHTERS
CITIES ‑- FIREFIGHTERS ‑- POLICE ‑- CIVIL SERVICE Because of RCW 41.08.040 and RCW 41.12.040, the secretary/chief examiner of a civil service commission created under chapter 41.08 or chapter 41.12 RCW must be either an existing employee of the city or a city resident; these provisions were left undisturbed when the current versions of RCW 41.08.075 and 41.12.075 were enacted.
AGO 1996 No. 19 >  December 11, 1996
WATER - DEPARTMENT OF ECOLOGY - DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - CITIES - COUNTIES - DISTRICTS
Interpretation of legislation recognizing interties between public water supply systems 1.  The procedure established in RCW 90.03.383(3) for modifying a water right permit based on an intertie between public water supply systems applies only to interties existing and in use on January 1, 1991. 2.  Under RCW 90.03.383(3), when the Department of Ecology processes a change in place of use occasioned by an intertie between public water supply systems, the resulting permit(s) should show the quantity of water delivered through the intertie as well as the change in place of use. 3.  Under RCW 90.03.383(4), the Department of Ecology's scope of inquiry is whether each system's use is within the annual and instantaneous withdrawal rate specified in its water right authorization and whether the exchange or delivery through the intertie adversely affects existing water rights.  
AGO 1997 No. 3 >  May 20, 1997
ELECTIONS - CITIES
ELECTIONS - CITIES RCW 35A.12.030 establishes the qualifications for city council member as (1) being a registered voter of the city at the time of filing a declaration for candidacy and (2) being a resident of the city for at least one year before the election; a person who meets these qualifications need not have been a city resident for one year before filing (interpreting RCW 29.15.025 in light of RCW 35A.12.030).
AGO 1998 No. 10 >  August 11, 1998
CITIES - OPTIONAL MUNICIPAL CODE - ELECTIONS
“Waiting period” between elections on change in form of city government When a code city has conducted an election on the question of abandonment of plan of government pursuant to chapter 35A.06 RCW, and the result of the election was to retain the city's current plan of government, there is no statutory “waiting period” before another election on the same question may be conducted.
AGO 1958 No. 159 >  February 18, 1958
CITIES - COUNTIES - PUBLIC RESTROOM FACILITIES - JOINT COUNTY-CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS
CITIES ‑- COUNTIES ‑- PUBLIC RESTROOM FACILITIES ‑- JOINT COUNTY-CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS A city may legally appropriate funds for the acquisition, operation, and maintenance of public restroom facilities, and may maintain such facilities on premises leased by the city for that purpose.  A city and county may not maintain such facilities in the city as a joint county-city function separate and apart from other joint operations expressly authorized by statute.
AGO 1957 No. 140 >  December 10, 1957
MUNICIPALITIES - CITIES - TOWNS - STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLANNING COMMISSION - GRANTS - COOPERATION WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO OBTAIN FOR MUNICIPAL, METROPOLITAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING
MUNICIPALITIES ‑- CITIES ‑- TOWNS ‑- STATE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLANNING COMMISSION ‑- GRANTS ‑- COOPERATION WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO OBTAIN FOR MUNICIPAL, METROPOLITAN The department of commerce and economic development has the authority to administer grants under chapter 157, Laws of 1957, and chapter 215, Laws of 1957, and it is authorized to perform planning work in all municipalities, cities, towns, metropolitan and regional areas.
AGO 1956 No. 304 >  July 26, 1956
CITIES - PARKING REGULATIONS - USE OF FINO-METERS
CITIES ‑- PARKING REGULATIONS ‑- USE OF FINO-METERS A City of the first class has the power to install fino-meters.
AGO 1956 No. 303 >  July 24, 1956
CITIES - COMPREHENSIVE ZONING
CITIES ‑- COMPREHENSIVE ZONING A city may change its comprehensive plan of zoning if the change promotes health, safety and public welfare.
AGO 1955 No. 70 >  May 9, 1955
CITIES - FIRST CLASS - POLICE PENSION
Rate of payment for policeman seeking credit for time spend in armed services to cover pension requirements. Policemen seeking credit for time spent in service toward retirement must pay at the rate set forth and effective as of date of payment.
AGO 1954 No. 211 >  February 18, 1954
CITIES - CHARTER PROVISIONS - INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC LANGUAGE - OFFICE OF MAYOR "AS FULL TIME POSITION"
CITIES ‑- CHARTER PROVISIONS ‑- INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC LANGUAGE ‑- OFFICE OF MAYOR 'AS FULL TIME POSITION' Section 33A, proposed amendment to the charter of the city of Bellingham, if adopted, would require the mayor to keep his office open and to apply his personal time and attention to the duties of that office during the hours fixed by the charter, or by ordinance, or if not so fixed, during recognized office hours. It would not prohibit personal financial interests in other enterprises, nor the application of his time thereto during other than regular office hours.
AGO 1954 No. 212 >  February 23, 1954
CITIES - CHARTER AMENDMENTS - PUBLICATION - CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT
CITIES ‑- CHARTER AMENDMENTS ‑- PUBLICATION ‑- CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENT Proposed amendment, Sec. 33-A, to the Bellingham charter could not be validly passed at the general city election to be held March 9, 1954.  Consequently, it should not be placed upon the ballot.  The petition, because of its language, could not be held in abeyance and submitted to the voters at a later election, although this would ordinarily be permissible.
AGO 1953 No. 170 >  November 17, 1953
CITIES - BUDGETS
AMEND OR MODIFICATION OF BUDGET ORDINANCE AFTER FINAL PASSAGE The Bellingham budget ordinance for 1954 was duly enacted at the end of the budget hearing notwithstanding the fact that the ordinance was passed at the same meeting at which it was first introduced and the city council has no authority to recall the budget to amend or modify it, except in some special manner provided by law.
AGO 1953 No. 99 >  July 24, 1953
CITIES - COUNTIES - DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH - JAILS - JUVENILE DETENTION HOMES - MEDICAL CARE
CITIES ‑- COUNTIES ‑- DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ‑- JAILS ‑- JUVENILE DETENTION HOMES ‑- MEDICAL CARE 1. When an inmate of a city or county jail becomes ill or is injured and requires medical attention, being unable to pay for the services and not a recipient of public assistance, the city or county, i.e., the confining authority, is responsible for furnishing the medical services required. 2. When a ward in a juvenile detention homes becomes ill or is injured and the juvenile's parents are not financially able to provide the medical care and the juvenile is not a recipient of public assistance, the juvenile detention home shall provide the necessary medical services. 3. In the absence of a city ordinance or county resolution requiring the city or county to do so, cities or counties are not bound to arrange emergency medical care for those without funds, but not recipients of public assistance, but may very properly do so, and if either does so the cost is to be borne by either the city or county actually arranging or contracting the emergency medical service.
AGO 1953 No. 493 >  March 11, 1953
CITIES - VOLUNTEER FIREMEN - COMPENSATION - DISTRIBUTION OF UNEXPENDED SUM ON BASIS OF POINT SYSTEM
CITIES ‑- VOLUNTEER FIREMEN ‑- COMPENSATION ‑- DISTRIBUTION OF UNEXPENDED SUM ON BASIS OF POINT SYSTEM A plan whereby a city of the third class compensates its volunteer firemen at the end of the budget period by dividing the unexpended surplus remaining in the fire department fund among the firemen on the basis of a point system is valid.
AGO 1952 No. 339 >  July 2, 1952
CITIES - INTERPRETATION OF CUMULATIVE RESERVE FUND ACT (CHAPTER 60, LAWS OF 1941) RCW 35.21.070 AND RCW 35.21.080
CITIES ‑- INTERPRETATION OF CUMULATIVE RESERVE FUND ACT (CHAPTER 60, LAWS OF 1941) RCW 35.21.070 AND RCW 35.21.080 Cities and towns are authorized by chapter 60, Laws of 1941, RCW 35.21.070 and RCW 35.21.080 to establish one cumulative reserve fund for one specified municipality, but no limitation is imposed on the number of funds which may be established.
AGO 1952 No. 261 >  March 17, 1952
CITIES - FRANCHISE - WATER COMPANIES - RIGHTS ON TERMINATION
CITIES ‑- FRANCHISE ‑- WATER COMPANIES ‑- RIGHTS ON TERMINATION Upon expiration of a franchise to operate a water company, a city may compel the company to remove its properties from the city streets.
AGO 1951 No. 146 >  October 2, 1951
CITIES - FIREMEN'S PENSION FUND - "ADDITIONAL" ONE MILL LEVY - EXCEEDING CITY FIFTEEN MILL LEVY LIMIT
CITIES ‑- FIREMEN'S PENSION FUND ‑- 'ADDITIONAL' ONE MILL LEVY ‑- EXCEEDING CITY FIFTEEN MILL LEVY LIMIT When the amount of the mandatory one mill levy prescribed by chapter 72, Laws of 1951 (RCW 41.16.060), together with the other estimated income, is insufficient to meet the estimated requirements of a city's firemen's pension fund, the city is authorized to levy an additional tax not to exceed one mill, to meet such estimated requirements.  Such additional one mill may exceed the city fifteen mill levy limit, thereby making a total maximum city levy of sixteen mills for all purposes.
AGO 1951 No. 469 >  March 12, 1951
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - CITIES - TAXATION - PAYROLL TAX
MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS ‑- CITIES ‑- TAXATION ‑- PAYROLL TAX
A city may impose a tax for general revenue purposes upon employers based on payrolls for persons employed within the city.
AGO 1950 No. 380 >  November 13, 1950
CITIES - SALARIES - RAISE DURING TERM OF OFFICE
CITIES ‑- SALARIES ‑- RAISE DURING TERM OF OFFICE A proposed raise in salary to be effective before a successor to the office has been elected and qualified would be invalid.
AGO 1953 No. 2 >  April 7, 1953
CITIES - BUSINESS TAX - MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - LIQUOR - TAVERNS AND "H" LICENSED PREMISES - POWER TO TAX - PREEMPTION BY STATE
POWER TO IMPOSE UPON TAVERNS AND 'H' LICENSED PREMISES. Municipal corporations do not have the power to impose a business tax upon taverns and "H" licensed premises.
AGLO 1976 No. 50 >  August 6, 1976
CITIES - TOWNS - ANNEXATION
APPLICABILITY OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ACT Applicability of state environmental policy act to annexation by cities, towns and special districts.
AGLO 1975 No. 10 >  February 3, 1975
COURTS - JUSTICE - COUNTIES - CITIES - LEAVE OF ABSENCE - SICK LEAVE
PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION Although a city which has established a department of a district justice court under chapter 3.46 RCW is required by RCW 3.46.090 to pay all or a portion of the district judge's salary, such city is not required to pay any portion of the county's terminal leave benefits to the judge upon his retirement.
AGLO 1975 No. 60 >  July 9, 1975
COURTS - JUSTICE - CITIES - COUNTIES
PROBATION OF CITY OFFENDERS IN DISTRICT COURTS (1) A district justice court has the authority to place a defendant convicted of a violation of a city ordinance on probation under the supervision of a county probation officer serving in a county department organized pursuant to RCW 9.95.210 even without an interlocal cooperation agreement. (2) A district court does not have authority to direct a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor to pay a probation service fee to the county probation department as revenue to assist in the administration of the department.
AGLO 1974 No. 96 >  November 19, 1974
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - STATE - WASHINGTON STATE PATROL - COUNTIES - SHERIFFS - CITIES
POLICE Jurisdiction of Washington State Patrol, county sheriffs and city police with respect to state, county and city traffic law violations.
AGO 2011 No. 2 >  September 7, 2011
COUNTIES - CITIES - DISTRICTS - INTERLOCAL COOPERATION ACT - BIDS
Requirement That Local Agencies Comply With Procurement Procedures For Architectural And Engineering Services

Cities, counties, and special districts cannot contract directly with another agency for architectural and engineering services without first complying with the procurement procedures set forth in RCW 39.80, except where the legislature has granted specific statutory authority to do so.

AGO 2012 No. 1 >  February 9, 2012
CITIES - LAW AGAINST DISCRIMINATION - PREEMPTION
Whether State Law Requiring Food Establishments To Accommodate Trained Guide Dogs And Miniature Horses Preempts An Ordinance Of A First Class City Requiring Accommodation Of A Broader Class Of Animals

An ordinance of a first class city that prohibits food establishments from treating people differently based upon the use of additional types of service animals is not preempted by a state law prohibiting different treatment based only on the use of trained guide dogs and miniature horses.

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