Update (Correction) on New Laws that Affect City/Town Annexations
June 26, 2014
I spoke yesterday (6/25) with a specialist at the Department of Revenue (DOR), who stated that county assessors will nevertheless need to value publicly owned property for purposes of petition method annexations under RCW 35.13.130 and 35A.14.120. So, it is DOR’s position that when a proposed annexation includes government-owned property, the city or town (or perhaps the annexation initiators) needs to ask the county assessor to value the publicly owned property, which would count toward the 100 percent assessed value of the area proposed for annexation. The fact that publicly owned property is not annually valued anymore does not mean that it may not be valued; when necessary (such as in the annexation context), it should be valued. And all county assessors should do so upon request in the context of a proposed annexation. Although that duty is not stated in state law, it appears reasonable to conclude that duty is necessarily implied in state law.
Consequently, there should be an extra step at the beginning of the process when a petition method annexation involves publicly owned property, and that step would be for the county assessor to value that property – unless, that is, the publicly owned property is the only property proposed for annexation.
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