CONSERVATION DISTRICTS - COUNTIES - BUDGET LAW
Extent of county’s authority to alter budget and plan of assessments submitted by conservation district 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).
ELECTIONS - CONSERVATION - CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
Effect of changing eligibility to vote in conservation district elections on when and how elections are conducted 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.
PUBLIC DISCLOSURE LAW - PUBLIC RECORDS - CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
Public disclosure status of farm plan prepared and held by state conservation district when similar record held by parallel federal agency is exempt from public disclosure 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.