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RCW 36.32.270 allows counties to waive competitive bidding requirements pursuant to RCW 39.04.280 in the event of emergencies. Is there a similar one for cities?
Reviewed: 08/18

RCW 39.04.280 applies to “municipalities,” which includes cities and towns. That provision exempts competitive bidding when there are:

unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the municipality that either: (a) Present a real, immediate threat to the proper performance of essential functions; or (b) will likely result in material loss or damage to property, bodily injury, or loss of life if immediate action is not taken.

RCW 35.33.081 applies to towns and authorizes emergency expenditures from a budgetary standpoint.

Both these provisions may be cited if there is an emergency that meets the criteria set forth in the statutes.

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What cities have implemented a neighborhood parking ordinance?
Reviewed: 08/18

A custom code search or “residential parking permits” turns up many more examples.

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We are in the process of doing a cost study regarding charging for records. Are we able to charge for the amount of time it takes us to do redactions?
Reviewed: 07/18

An agency cannot charge for the time it takes to redact a public record. As stated in the Attorney General Model Rules (WAC 44-14-07001):

An agency cannot charge a "redaction fee" for the staff time necessary to prepare the records for inspection, for the copying required to redact records before they are inspected, or an archive fee for getting the records from off-site. Op. Att'y Gen. 6 (1991). These are the costs of making the records available for inspection or copying and cannot be charged to the requestor.

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What are the procedures for closing out a public works project with retainage, retainage bond, and notices of completion when the contractor has warranty work to complete and the engineer asks the city to release final payment citing RCW 60.28.011?
Reviewed: 07/18

RCW 60.28.011(b) provides:

Sixty days after completion of all contract work the public body must release and pay in full the amounts retained during the performance of the contract subject to the provisions of chapter 39.12 RCW and this chapter.

The contract for the work may define “completion of all contract work” for purposes of this statute. It may be “final acceptance” or another measure of completion. If there are no claims or liens, then the agency must release the money within 60 days of the request. You will also want to clarify how and when the warranty work will be completed.

See MRSC’s text coverPublic Works Project Closeout page. The stages for completing a public works project are detailed and include final acceptance, sending notices of completion, and retainage release. Many examples of closeout documents are also provided.

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May a city impose business license requirements on businesses that don't have a physical location within the city but that do business within the city?
Reviewed: 07/18

Yes. Many Washington cities have passed ordinances requiring out-of-city businesses “engaging in business” within the city to obtain a city business license and/or to pay the city B&O tax. Some cities have created separate “in-city” and “out-of-city” licensing requirements and application forms.

However, in an attempt to provide some statewide standardization for businesses, note that chapter 35.90 RCW (adopted in 2017) requires all cities and towns with general business licensing requirements to adopt two “model ordinance” provisions impacting licensing for out-of-town businesses:

(1) Cities and towns must adopt a uniform definition of “engaging in business” as established by the model ordinance. This definition mirrors the definition of “engaging in business” for business and occupation (B&O) taxes.

(2) For businesses that engage in business within the city but are not physically located within the city, the ordinance establishes a minimum dollar threshold below which the businesses are partially or fully exempted from licensing requirements. The minimum threshold of business activity in the ordinance is $2,000. Cities may adopt a higher threshold if desired, but not a lower threshold.

Below the minimum threshold, cities must either:

  • Exempt these businesses from the licensing requirements entirely, or
  • Require licensing, but at no cost to the businesses.

Cities and towns must update their business licensing requirements to include these model provisions no later than October 17, 2018 (for current BLS partner cities) and January 1, 2019 for all other cities and towns. Any city or town that does not adopt the model ordinance by the deadline is prohibited from enforcing its general business licensing requirements until it adopts the model ordinance provisions.

For the exact language that must be used, see the complete model ordinance text. For further details, see our City Business Licensing and Fees topic page.

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Does a city manager have authority to adopt procurement policies and procedures without council action?
Reviewed: 07/18

RCW 35A.13.080 establishes the powers and duties of the city manager in a council-manager form of government including “general supervision over the administrative affairs of the code city”  and “to recommend for adoption by the council such measures as he or she may deem necessary or expedient.” By statute, the council has contract authority for the city. RCW 35A.11.010.

The council may delegate its authority to adopt procurement policies and procedures to the city manager. Typically, in approving a contract, the council will authorize and direct the city manager to sign the contract on behalf of the city. It’s common for a city council to delegate via city policy a portion of its contract authority to the city manager (e.g., for contracts of a certain type and/or contracts up to a certain dollar amount).

If your city council has delegated authority to the city manager to adopt such policies, then yes, a city manager may do so. Council action may still be needed or recommended, depending on your local ordinances and resolutions. Here is a link to MRSC’s page Procurement Policy Guidelines

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Must an entity be a non-profit or public agency in order to receive lodging tax funding? Can the City award funds to anyone?
Reviewed: 07/18

Lodging tax funds may be distributed to any organization or entity that intends to use the award as allowed by statute (RCW 67.28.1816).

The issue is not whether the organization is non-profit vs. profit or public vs. private but how the lodging tax funds are allowed to be used.

Lodging tax funds may be provided to fund tourism promotion by entities that are either nonprofit (like most chambers of commerce) or for-profit companies. The key factor is that the funds must be used to encourage tourism and overnight stays in your community.

Lodging tax funds may be distributed to those organizations (convention and visitors bureau or destination marketing organizations) that can meet the criteria as outlined in RCW 67.28.1816 (1) which states that lodging tax funds can be used for:

  • Tourism marketing;
  • Marketing and operations of special events and festivals designed to attract tourists;
  • Operations and capital expenditures of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by a municipality or a public facilities district; or
  • Operations of tourism-related facilities owned or operated by nonprofit organizations. (RCW 67.22.1816)

Additionally, all applicants should be aware of the reporting requirements outlined in RCW 67.28.1816 (2) which in part states that:

(2)(a) Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, applicants applying for use of revenues in this chapter must provide the municipality to which they are applying estimates of how any moneys received will result in increases in the number of people traveling for business or pleasure on a trip:

(i) Away from their place of residence or business and staying overnight in paid accommodations;

(ii) To a place fifty miles or more one way from their place of residence or business for the day or staying overnight; or

(iii) From another country or state outside of their place of residence or their business.

Our office can only express an opinion about the procedures for distribution of lodging tax and the allowed uses of lodging tax funds that are recommended for distribution. The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) is the final authority for interpretation regarding the use of restricted resources by local government. Lodging tax is one those restricted revenues. You may submit your question to the SAO helpdesk if you would like their response to provide supporting documentation for your future audit.

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What are the legal requirements for council work sessions with respect to notice, taking minutes, whether the clerk needs to be present, and public participation?
Reviewed: 06/18

Under RCW 35A.12.120, the city council may establish rules for the conduct of council meetings. A council study/work session where a quorum is present is a form of council meeting under the Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) Chapter 42.30 RCW. The meetings are required to be open to the public. RCW 42.30.030. Your council may establish procedures for work sessions including rules to follow for public participation in the sessions.

Special meetings are governed by RCW 42.30.080 and require at least 24 hour notice specifying the time and place and the business to be transacted.

RCW 42.32.035 requires that minutes be kept of all regular and special meetings except executive sessions. This would include council work sessions. There is not a state law requirement that the clerk be present so look to local ordinance or rules about the clerk’s attendance at council work sessions. If the clerk is not required to attend then another person needs to take minutes.

For more general information, here are links to MRSC’s topic pages “Open Public Meetings Act”, “Council Committees” and “Communication and Citizen Participation”.

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Is a public hearing required prior to council adopting its CIP and TIP?
Reviewed: 06/18

Yes, a public hearing is required for the adoption of both the CIP and TIP.

RCW 35A.63.073 requires comprehensive plan amendments (and the CIP is part of that) to be processed the same way as adoption of the plan. RCW 35A.63.070 requires the "planning agency" to hold a public hearing (at least one) and RCW 35A.63.071 requires the planning agency to forward its recommendations on the plan or amendment to the city council.

RCW 35.77.010, relating to the transportation improvement plan (TIP) states in part:

(1) The legislative body of each city and town, pursuant to one or more public hearings thereon, shall prepare and adopt a comprehensive transportation program for the ensuing six calendar years. If the city or town has adopted a comprehensive plan pursuant to chapter 35.63 or 35A.63 RCW, the inherent authority of a first-class city derived from its charter, or chapter 36.70A RCW, the program shall be consistent with this comprehensive plan. The program shall include any new or enhanced bicycle or pedestrian facilities identified pursuant to RCW 36.70A.070(6) or other applicable changes that promote nonmotorized transit.

The program shall be filed with the secretary of transportation not more than thirty days after its adoption. Annually thereafter the legislative body of each city and town shall review the work accomplished under the program and determine current city transportation needs. Based on these findings each such legislative body shall prepare and after public hearings thereon adopt a revised and extended comprehensive transportation program before July 1st of each year, and each one-year extension and revision shall be filed with the secretary of transportation not more than thirty days after its adoption. The purpose of this section is to assure that each city and town shall perpetually have available advanced plans looking to the future for not less than six years as a guide in carrying out a coordinated transportation program. The program may at any time be revised by a majority of the legislative body of a city or town, but only after a public hearing. (Our emphasis)

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We have an employee resigning who has accumulated some compensatory time and won't be using it before his last day. Does the city pay him for the unused comp time on his final paycheck?
Reviewed: 06/18

Yes. Comp time allows an employee to take paid time off work instead of being paid overtime pay. Comp time accumulates in the same fashion as overtime pay; that is, for every hour worked over 40 hours during the workweek, the employee, if he or she chooses to do so and the use of comp time has been agreed to, accumulates comp time at the rate of an hour and one-half for each overtime hour.

When an employee separates from employment with the city, all accumulated compensatory time must be paid to the employee as these are earnings that he should have been paid for at the time of earning but chose to use for leave time as a benefit provided by the city. MRSC has a web page on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which discusses the topic of Compensatory time.

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Can we pay mileage to a Planning Commissioner to attend a training event?
Reviewed: 05/18

Yes, the town can reimburse the planning commission member for the travel costs if the town feels that the training would be beneficial, and if the travel is consistent with any policies adopted by the town regarding covering travel costs of town employees or other officers. RCW 35.63.030 provides that planning commission members “shall serve without compensation” – but reimbursement of expenses is not considered to be compensation. The amounts reimbursed for business-related travel are not taxable income.

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Request for background information about the business license service provided by the Washington State Department of Revenue, including when and why it started, and the benefits.
Reviewed: 05/18

The State's Business Licensing Service (BLS) system is a division of the Department of Revenue (DOR) and was established to streamline the business licensing process for vendors who need to register in multiple locations. The BLS site provides users the ability to access licensing information and applications for all cities currently registered.

The State legislature asked for a simplification of the business licensing requirements to be addressed by a task force and reported back to the legislature with HB 2959. The report was released 12/31/2016 "Local Tax & Licensing Simplification Task Force .” This report provides an excellent review of the DOR/BLS program as well as the optional business license service called “FileLocal” that was created via an interlocal agreement with the cities of Bellevue, Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma.

As a result of the legislation (HB 2959) and the task force results, the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) was charged with working with cities to develop a “model business license ordinance” that will be required to be adopted by all cities that currently have or will be adopting business licensing requirements. For more information, see AWC’s web page on “Task force on local business tax & licensing simplification.”

The current task force consists of several cities throughout the State and the current timeline has the work group reviewing draft model licensing language in February, release to all cities in March, review of feedback from cities in April, finalizing the model in May and presenting to the cities at the AWC Conference in June with finalization of the model ordinance in July and out-reach to cities throughout the remainder of the year to assure smooth implementation on January 1, 2019.

All cities currently with business license ordinances currently in place will have to modify and implement the new requirements starting in January 2019.

At this time, the primary source of information on the draft model business license ordinance and business licensing services options is AWC. You can contact Victoria Lincoln @ 360-753-4137 or email: victorial@awcnet.org.

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Do you have any information on how other cities are dealing with vacant and foreclosed homes?
Reviewed: 05/18

Please see the following:

  • Ch. 6.10, Bremerton Municipal Code, “Abandoned Property Registration and Maintenance (see also “Abandoned Property Registration”)
  • Ch. 16.16, Everett Municipal Code, “Maintenance of Vacant Commercial Space in the Central Business District”
  • Ch. 15.20, Auburn Municipal Code, “Property Maintenance Code” (see Sec. 15.20.080, Vacant property registration)

You may also be interested in reviewing the following related resources:

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Our municipal code states that utility bills are the responsibility of the "property owner".
If ownership of a property changes, can we pass along unpaid bills to the new property owner,
and withhold services until the old owner's account is current?

Reviewed: 05/18

RCW 60.80 governs the status of unpaid utility bills in the context of property transfer. We have a topic page on Utility Charges and Property Transfers that lays out how this works, as well as this Property Transfers Worksheet. Whether you can withhold services will depend on if the proper steps were followed in the statute. For example, if the city received a request for final billing pursuant to the statute, but fails to respond, it loses its unrecorded lien and may not recover the charges from the buyer. If, on the other hand, no request for final billing is submitted related to the sale, the property remains subject to the unrecorded lien (the buyer is responsible for the unpaid charges).

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Is wholesaling taxable with regards to the City B&O tax?
Reviewed: 04/18

Yes. Here is a link to the Local B&O tax rate table for 2018. You will note that with the exception of Granite Falls and the City of Lacey, all of the remaining B&O tax cities (including Bainbridge Island) have adopted a B&O tax on “wholesale” operations.

The State of Washington uses a different matrix for imposing B&O taxes on operations within the state, however they do impose a tax on wholesalers. Here are the Department of Revenue’s Business and Occupation (B&O) taxc classification definitions, with link to the associated WAC’s and RCW’s.

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How much is a county required to contribute toward the salary of the elected county prosecutor?
Reviewed: 04/18

RCW 36.17.020(11) addresses the salary of the elected prosecuting attorney:

The state of Washington shall contribute an amount equal to one-half the salary of a superior court judge towards the salary of the elected prosecuting attorney. Upon receipt of the state contribution, a county shall continue to contribute towards the salary of the elected prosecuting attorney in an amount that equals or exceeds that contributed by the county in 2008.

So the minimum contribution from the county is what it contributed in 2008. However, this is a minimum requirement and counties have discretion to contribute more than that. Also, under the Washington Constitution (Article XI, Section 9), the salary of a county elected official may not be reduced during his or her term of office.

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How does the council fill a vacancy in a council position if there is a tie vote?
Reviewed: 04/18

While the statutes are not 100 percent clear, MRSC’s legal consultants have taken the position that the mayor can vote to break a tie vote of the council to fill a vacant council position.

RCW 42.12.070 provides that it is the governing body that makes the appointment, not the mayor. RCW 42.12.070(1) states that:

Where one position is vacant, the remaining members of the governing body shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacant position.

We think that under RCW 42.12.070 (see above) the mayor may not vote initially on filling the vacancy since such votes are limited to members of the city council itself. However, if there is a tie in the votes of the councilmembers, the mayor may exercise their tie-breaking authority and break the tie vote.

The mayor’s authority to break a tie vote is set forth in RCW 35A.12.100, which provides in part:

The mayor shall preside over all meetings of the city council, when present, but shall have a vote only in the case of a tie in the votes of the councilmembers with respect to matters other than the passage of any ordinance, grant, or revocation of franchise or license, or any resolution for the payment of money. . . . The mayor shall have the power to veto ordinances passed by the council and submitted to him or her as provided in RCW 35A.12.130 but such veto may be overridden by the vote of a majority of all councilmembers plus one more vote.

Filling a vacancy is a “matter other than the passage of any ordinance, grant, or revocation of a franchise, or any resolution for the payment of money. . . .” So, we think that the mayor could break a tie vote to fill a vacant position on council.

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Does a board of county commissioners have authority to eliminate positions under another elected official in the county?
Reviewed: 04/18

A board of county commissioners (BOCC) has the authority to establish positions (RCW 36.16.070) and, as such, also has the authority to abolish positions. In Smith v. Board of Walla Walla County Comm’rs, 48 Wn. App. 303, 307 (1987), the court, in relevant part, held:

It is undisputed that the Board of County Commissioners have the authority to eliminate and establish employee positions in a county department, to reduce department budgets, and to create new departments. See RCW 36.32.120(6); RCW 36.16.070; see also Miller v. Pacific Cy., 9 Wn. App. 177, 179, 509 P.2d 377 (1973). There is also no dispute the County was facing a serious budget shortfall. The Board’s acts in balancing the budget were clearly discretionary. Therefore, mandamus would be appropriate only if the Board’s actions were properly found to be arbitrary and capricious.

In general, it is within the discretion of a BOCC to allocate, as it sees fit, the financial resources of the county as provided in the budget it approves. This principle is well-illustrated in State ex rel. Farmer v. Austin, 186 Wash. 577, 588 (1936):

In the light of the known financial difficulty of the counties and considering the circumstances of the times, the court cannot say that an order reducing the force of deputies in the sheriff’s office from six to four was so capricious and arbitrary as to be void. It may be that the action of the majority of the board of county commissioners was improvident and ill-considered, but, if so, the remedy lies with the electors rather than in the courts. If it be assumed that the business of the sheriff’s office will be hampered by the reduction in force, the harm will not be nearly as great as would be the consequences of the interference by the courts with the executive duties of the board of county commissioners, in whom is reposed the financial management of the county’s affairs.

As such, the courts will interfere with this exercise of discretion only upon the theory that the action is so capricious and arbitrary as to evidence a total failure to exercise discretion and is, therefore, not a valid act. Arbitrary and capricious action has been defined by the courts as “willful and unreasoning action, without consideration and in disregard of facts or circumstances.” See, e.g., Schrempp v. Munro, 116 Wn.2d 929, 938 (1991). See also, Miller v. Pacific County, 9 Wn. App. 177, review denied, 82 Wn.2d 1012 (1973) (“When the [board of county] commissioners, by resolution, show a clear purpose to effect a reduction of a department’s budget, they act within the ambit of the discretionary power granted to them.”)

Of course, the other elected county officials have statutory responsibilities they must carry out, and they need staff and facilities to carry them out, but there will most always be disagreement as to how much money they actually need in their budgets to do so. The statutes vest the BOCC with the authority to make that determination in the county budget. And, absent arbitrary and capricious action by the board in setting the budget, its budgetary decision-making will be upheld by the courts.

Note, however, that once a position has been funded, the authority to hire (or terminate) a particular individual rests with the elected official (not the BOCC). See Osborn v. Grant County, 130 Wn. 2d 615, 621 (1996), quoting Thomas v. Whatcom County, 82 Wash. 113 (1914). Thomas held that, once the board has authorized the hiring of deputies in a county office, "the officer in whose office the deputies are to serve, being responsible on his bond for their conduct, has the absolute right to determine the personnel of such deputies . . . ."

Of particular interest to you may be a recent Attorney General’s Opinion that analyzes the BOCC’s authority relative to the Sheriff’s Office under RCW 36.16.070 and chapter 41.14 RCW. See AGO 2017 No. 3. The opinion addresses several questions, but upholds the principle that the County Commissioners have the authority to ultimately create positions authorized by chapter 41.14 RCW.

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Who has the final say on what goes on the council agenda: the council or the mayor? Can the mayor take off the agenda what a councilmember has the city clerk put on?
Reviewed: 04/18

The city council has the authority to establish the agenda. For a mayor-council code city, the authority stems from RCW 35A.12.120, which provides in part: "The council shall determine its own rules and order of business, and may establish rules for the conduct of council meetings and the maintenance of order."

Often, preparation of the agenda is delegated to the mayor or clerk. Typically, the city’s rules of procedure will address who can add items to the agenda –check your city’s rules to see if it’s addressed there. Our Council Meeting Agenda web page has some good information on council agendas.

In the absence of a specific rule, the city council (and not an individual councilmember) would have final say over what appears on the agenda.

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If a code city council wanted to re-open their city budget to consider some changes/amendments after the budget is passed for 2018, would that take a majority vote (4) or a super majority (5) to make that happen? Is it governed by Roberts Rules of Order if we don't have a specific ordinance/budget policy to guide this?
Reviewed: 03/18

Chapter 35A.33 RCW is the guiding chapter for budgeting in code cities. RCW 35A.33.120 speaks to amendments to the final budget that would be adopted by the council and reads in part:

The city council, upon a finding that it is to the best interests of the code city to decrease, revoke or recall all or any portion of the total appropriations provided for any one fund, may, by ordinance, approved by the vote of one more than the majority of all members thereof, stating the facts and findings for doing so, decrease, revoke or recall all or any portion of an unexpended fund balance, and by said ordinance, or a subsequent ordinance adopted by a like majority, the moneys thus released may be reappropriated for another purpose or purposes, without limitation to department, division or fund, unless the use of such moneys is otherwise restricted by law, charter, or ordinance.

This statutory reference provides the council with the ability to decrease, revoke or recall all or any portion of the budget for any one fund by ordinance. The statute requires a super majority vote which means that it must be approved by 1 more than a majority of all members of the council. Your city has a 7 member council and therefore would need a vote of 5 members.

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What cities offer citizen civics academies to encourage citizen participation?
Reviewed: 03/18

Several cities offer citizen academies that focus on a variety of general government-related topics. Here are some examples:

In addition, here are some additional resources relating to citizen participation and civics academies:

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Who has the final say on what goes on the council agenda: the council or the mayor? Can the mayor take off the agenda what a councilmember has the city clerk put on?
Reviewed: 03/18

The city council has the authority to establish the agenda. For a mayor-council code city, the authority stems from RCW 35A.12.120, which provides in part: "The council shall determine its own rules and order of business, and may establish rules for the conduct of council meetings and the maintenance of order."

Often, preparation of the agenda is delegated to the mayor or clerk. Typically, the city's rules of procedures will address who can add items to the agenda-check your city's rules to see if it's addressed there. Our Council Meeting Agenda page has some good information on council agendas.

In the absence of a specific rule, the city council (and not an individual councilmember) would have final say over what appears on the agenda.

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Is a meal provided for in the price of a conference/meeting registration paid for by the County considered a taxable fringe benefit to the employee attending?
Reviewed: 03/18

If the cost of the meal is included within the conference/meeting registration then the charge associated with the meal is not considered a taxable fringe benefit. Here is a link to the IRS - Fringe Benefit Guide and more specifically the topic of meal expenses associated with Trade or Professional Association Meetings can be found on page 47 and 48. Here is an excerpt from the publication:

Reimbursements for meal expenses directly related to and necessary for attending business meetings or conventions of certain exempt organizations are excludable from wages if the expenses of your attendance are related to your trade or business. These organizations include chambers of commerce, business leagues and trade or professional associations. Reg. §1.274-2(d)(3)

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Is it legal for a jurisdiction to charge a utility tax on its own public utility (e.g., stormwater)? Is it legal and/or appropriate to charge the public utility for the cost of administering the utility in addition to charging a utility tax?
Reviewed: 02/18

We cover this issue on our Utility Tax webpage and in our Revenue Guide on pages 24-25.

Yes, it is legal for a jurisdiction to charge a utility tax on its own public utility. As stated in our Revenue Guide:

Utility taxes may be levied on the gross operating revenues earned by private utilities from operations within the boundaries of a city and by a city’s own municipal utilities. Utilities on which taxes may be levied include electric, water, sewer, stormwater, gas, telephone, cable TV, and steam.

Yes, it is legal to charge the utility the cost of administering the utility in addition to the utility tax. We cover this on our Overhead Cost Allocation webpage.

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Must a public agency respond to an oral request for public records?
Reviewed: 02/18

We believe that a public agency must honor an oral request for a record. The agency could certainly ask that the request be made in writing on an agency-approved form. But, it is our opinion that a public agency cannot require a person to do so.

In the case O'Neill v. City of Shoreline, 145 Wn. App. 913 (2008), the court analyzed several requests for records, including two that were oral requests, and did not make a distinction as to the validity of the oral requests. For example, the court did not indicate that the requestor had to reduce the oral requests to writing to be valid. The court instead looked to whether the city responded in a timely manner to the oral (and the other written) requests.

We recommend that verbal requests be processed in the same manner as any other type of request for public records. The PRA Model Rules state that an agency “should have a public records request form,” and provide several reasons why such requests should be memorialized in writing to protect both the agency and the requestor. See, e.g., WAC 44-14-03006 regarding form of requests. Although the PRA Model Rules are not binding, some courts look to them for guidance. As a practical matter, we think it’s a good idea for an agency to adopt a general policy that PRA requests be made on a standard agency form, and that the agency’s form could briefly explain the advantages to the requestor for having such a policy. However, requiring a requestor, without exception, to complete an agency form for all PRA requests would likely be subject to challenge for the above stated reasons and because the agency is “to provide the fullest assistance to inquirers” under RCW 42.56.100.

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