Special assessments, appropriations for noxious weed control — Assessment rates.
(1) The activated county noxious weed control board of each county shall annually submit a budget to the county legislative authority for the operating cost of the county's weed program for the ensuing fiscal year: PROVIDED, That if the board finds the budget approved by the legislative authority is insufficient for an effective county noxious weed control program it shall petition the county legislative authority to hold a hearing as provided in RCW 17.10.890. Control of weeds is a benefit to the lands within any such section. Funding for the budget is derived from any or all of the following:
(a) The county legislative authority may, in lieu of a tax, levy an assessment against the land for this purpose. Prior to the levying of an assessment the county noxious weed control board shall hold a public hearing at which it will gather information to serve as a basis for classification and then classify the lands into suitable classifications, including but not limited to dry lands, range lands, irrigated lands, nonuse lands, forest lands, or federal lands. The board shall develop and forward to the county legislative authority, as a proposed level of assessment for each class, an amount as seems just. The assessment rate shall be either uniform per acre in its respective class or a flat rate per parcel rate plus a uniform rate per acre: PROVIDED, That if no benefits are found to accrue to a class of land, a zero assessment may be levied. The county legislative authority, upon receipt of the proposed levels of assessment from the board, after a hearing, shall accept or modify by resolution, or refer back to the board for its reconsideration all or any portion of the proposed levels of assessment. The amount of the assessment constitutes a lien against the property. The county legislative authority may by resolution or ordinance require that notice of the lien be sent to each owner of property for which the assessment has not been paid by the date it was due and that each lien created be collected by the treasurer in the same manner as delinquent real property tax, if within thirty days from the date the owner is sent notice of the lien, including the amount thereof, the lien remains unpaid and an appeal has not been made pursuant to RCW 17.10.180. Liens treated as delinquent taxes bear interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum and the interest accrues as of the date notice of the lien is sent to the owner: PROVIDED FURTHER, That any collections for the lien shall not be considered as tax; or
(b) The county legislative authority may appropriate money from the county general fund necessary for the administration of the county noxious weed control program. In addition the county legislative authority may make emergency appropriations as it deems necessary for the implementation of this chapter.
(2) Forest lands used solely for the planting, growing, or harvesting of trees and which are typified, except during a single period of five years following clear-cut logging, by canopies so dense as to prohibit growth of an understory may be subject to an annual noxious weed assessment levied by a county legislative authority that does not exceed one-tenth of the weighted average per acre noxious weed assessment levied on all other lands in unincorporated areas within the county that are subject to the weed assessment. This assessment shall be computed in accordance with the formula in subsection (3) of this section.
(3) The calculation of the "weighted average per acre noxious weed assessment" is a ratio expressed as follows:
(a) The numerator is the total amount of funds estimated to be collected from the per acre assessment on all lands except (i) forest lands as identified in subsection (2) of this section, (ii) lands exempt from the noxious weed assessment, and (iii) lands located in an incorporated area.
(b) The denominator is the total acreage from which funds in (a) of this subsection are collected. For lands of less than one acre in size, the denominator calculation may be based on the following assumptions: (i) Unimproved lands are calculated as being one-half acre in size on the average, and (ii) improved lands are calculated as being one-third acre in size on the average. The county legislative authority may choose to calculate the denominator for lands of less than one acre in size using other assumptions about average parcel size based on local information.
(4) For those counties that levy a per parcel assessment to help fund noxious weed control programs, the per parcel assessment on forest lands as defined in subsection (2) of this section shall not exceed one-tenth of the per parcel assessment on nonforest lands.
[1997 c 353 § 27; 1995 c 374 § 77; 1987 c 438 § 31; 1975 1st ex.s. c 13 § 10; 1969 ex.s. c 113 § 24.]
| Effective date -- 1995 c 374 §§ 69, 70, and 72-79: See note following RCW 16.24.130.|