ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL NO. 1192
C 018 L 89
State of Washington 51st Legislature 1989 Regular Session
By House Committee on Local Government (originally sponsored by Representatives Haugen, Ferguson, Kremen, Winsley, Baugher, Fuhrman, Bristow, Rayburn, Nealey, Cooper, Smith, Raiter, Doty, H. Myers, Rasmussen and Miller)
Read first time 2/10/89.
AN ACT Relating to conservation districts; and adding new sections to chapter 89.08 RCW.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 89.08 RCW to read as follows:
(1) Special assessments are authorized to be imposed for conservation districts as provided in this section. Activities and programs to conserve natural resources, including soil and water, are declared to be of special benefit to lands and may be used as the basis upon which special assessments are imposed.
(2) Special assessments to finance the activities of a conservation district may be imposed by the county legislative authority of the county in which the conservation district is located. The supervisors of a conservation district shall hold a public hearing on a proposed system of assessments prior to the first day of August in the year prior to which it is proposed that special assessments be collected. At that public hearing, the supervisors shall gather information and shall alter the proposed system of assessments when appropriate.
On or before the first day of August, the supervisors of a conservation district who are proposing to have special assessments imposed for the district in the following year shall file the proposed system of assessments and a proposed budget for the succeeding year with the county legislative authority of the county within which the conservation district is located. The county legislative authority shall hold a public hearing on the proposed system of assessments. After the hearing, the county legislative authority may accept, or modify and accept, the proposed system of assessments, if it finds that both the public interest will be served by the imposition of the special assessments and that the special assessments to be imposed on any land will not exceed the special benefit that the land receives or will receive from the activities of the conservation district. The findings of the county legislative authority shall be final and conclusive.
Notice of the public hearings held by the supervisors and the county legislative authority shall be posted conspicuously in at least five places throughout the conservation district, and published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper in general circulation throughout the conservation district, with the date of the last publication at least five days prior to the public hearing.
(3) A system of assessments shall classify lands in the conservation district into suitable classifications according to benefits conferred or to be conferred by the activities of the conservation district, determine an annual per acre rate of assessment for each classification of land, and indicate the total amount of special assessments proposed to be obtained from each classification of lands. Lands deemed not to receive benefit from the activities of the conservation district shall be placed into a separate classification and shall not be subject to the special assessments. An annual assessment rate shall be stated as either uniform annual per acre amount, or an annual flat rate per parcel plus a uniform annual rate per acre amount, for each classification of land. The maximum annual per acre special assessment rate shall not exceed ten cents per acre. The maximum annual per parcel rate shall not exceed five dollars.
Public land, including lands owned or held by the state, shall be subject to special assessments to the same extent as privately owned lands. The procedures provided in chapter 79.44 RCW shall be followed if lands owned or held by the state are subject to the special assessments of a conservation district.
Forest lands used solely for the planting, growing, or harvesting of trees may be subject to special assessments if such lands benefit from the activities of the conservation district, but the per acre rate of special assessment on benefited forest lands shall not exceed one-tenth of the weighted average per acre assessment on all other lands within the conservation district that are subject to its special assessments. The calculation of the weighted average per acre special assessment shall be a ratio calculated as follows: (a) The numerator shall be the total amount of money estimated to be derived from the imposition of per acre special assessments on the nonforest lands in the conservation district; and (b) the denominator shall be the total number of nonforest land acres in the conservation district that receive benefit from the activities of the conservation district and which are subject to the special assessments of the conservation district. No more than ten thousand acres of such forest lands that is both owned by the same person or entity and is located in the same conservation district may be subject to the special assessments that are imposed for that conservation district in any year. Per parcel charges shall not be imposed on forest land parcels. However, in lieu of a per parcel charge, a charge of up to three dollars per forest landowner may be imposed on each owner of forest lands whose forest lands are subject to a per acre rate of assessment.
(4) A conservation district shall prepare an assessment roll that implements the system of assessments approved by the county legislative authority. The special assessments from the assessment roll shall be spread by the county assessor as a separate item on the tax rolls and shall be collected and accounted for with property taxes by the county treasurer. The amount of a special assessment shall constitute a lien against the land that shall be subject to the same conditions as a tax lien, collected by the treasurer in the same manner as delinquent real property taxes, and subject to the same interest rate and penalty as for delinquent property taxes. The county treasurer shall deduct an amount from the collected special assessments, as established by the county legislative authority, to cover the costs incurred by the county assessor and county treasurer in spreading and collecting the special assessments, but not to exceed the actual costs of such work.
(5) The special assessments for a conservation district shall not be spread on the tax rolls and shall not be collected with property tax collections in the following year if, after the system of assessments has been approved by the county legislative authority but prior to the fifteenth day of December in that year, a petition has been filed with the county legislative authority objecting to the imposition of such special assessments, which petition has been signed by at least twenty percent of the owners of land that would be subject to the special assessments to be imposed for a conservation district.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 89.08 RCW to read as follows:
The state conservation commission may authorize grants to conservation districts from moneys appropriated to the commission for such purposes as provided in this section. Such grants shall be made annually on or before the last day of June of each year and shall be made only to those conservation districts that apply for the grants. After all the grant requests have been submitted, the initial grants in any year shall be made so that a conservation district shall not receive a grant in excess of the lesser of: (1) an amount equal to the total moneys obtained by the conservation district from all other sources, other than any grants obtained from the state, during the preceding calendar year; or (2) twenty- two thousand five hundred dollars. If the appropriated moneys are insufficient to make the maximum level of the initial grants, each grant amount shall be reduced by an equal dollar amount until the total amount of the grants is equal to the amount of the appropriation.
However, further grants shall be made to those conservation districts that were limited to grants of twenty-two thousand five hundred dollars if the appropriated moneys are in excess of the amount of the initial distribution of grants, but the total of both grants to any conservation district in any year shall not exceed an amount equal to the total moneys obtained by that conservation district from all other sources, other than any grants obtained from the state, during the preceding calendar year. If the appropriated moneys are insufficient to make the second distribution of grants, each grant under the second distribution shall be reduced by an equal dollar amount until the total amount of all the grants is equal to the amount of the appropriation.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.