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The Board shall use the method of assessment deemed most practical and equitable under the conditions prevailing.
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In 1951, the State legislature established the RID method of improving Public Works and streets. It used as a model the LID law, which has been used by the cities for street, water and sewer improvement for years. It has had many changes since 1951, and is now Chapter 36.88 of the Revised Code of Washington. Briefly, the RID statutes provide for the payment of an improvement by assessing the lots, tracts, or parcels specially benefited.
RIDs can be used by any county for the improvement of a county road, bridge, street lighting, or road drainage facility.
An RID may be initiated by Grant County in a Resolution of The Board of County Commissioners or by petition of the property owners of the area specially benefited by the public work proposed for improvement. In order for the petition to be considered, the total property represented by owner’s signatures on the petition must have both a majority of the acreage within the proposed RID boundaries and a majority of the front footage measured along both sides of all the Public Works proposed for improvement.
The Board of County Commissioners upon receiving a petition with sufficient owner signatures must hold a preliminary hearing. Notice of which must be published at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation and notice of which must be mailed to each property owner at least 15 days prior to the hearing. Signatures may be added to or withdrawn from the petition by contacting the County Public Works Department prior to 5 pm of the last working day before the hearing. After the hearing, the Board of County Commissioners may proceed to create the RID and order the improvement.
Each RID shall include as nearly as possible all the property specially benefited by the proposed improvement. This includes ownership served by easements from the improved Public Works unless the ownerships have demonstrated use of another easement as principal access. However, ownerships abutting the improved Public Works will be considered as specially benefited even if served by another easement.
The construction cost estimate is prepared by the Engineering Division after a field review. The design and/or scope of the project may not be changed such that the cost is increased more that 10% over that stated in the notice for the original formation hearing held before the Board of County Commissioners. The only exception to allowing a greater than 10% change is to have a second formation notice and hearing.
If road right-of-way (public road property or easement) is needed, the cost to buy or otherwise acquire this property will also be included in the total estimated cost. After the formation of the RID, the County will request donation of any required road right-of-way. If right-of-way is donated the final cost of the assessments will be reduced by the amount saved. If 100% of the required right-of-way has not been donated by a set deadline, all deeds will be returned and the County will negotiate settlements for all required right-of-way.
If it is not possible to reach an agreement with a particular owner and it is necessary to acquire the right-of-way to proceed with the improvement the County may institute condemnation proceedings against the owner. The condemnation costs are also borne by the district.
This question is not easily answered as the Board sets the method of assessment and the Engineering Division recommends that lot method in cases where the majority of ownerships are of equal, or approximately equal size. The acreage or zone and termini methods are recommended when the ownership are all of variable sizes.
The Engineering Division has the policy of making the preliminary cost estimates along with a proposed cost distribution method early, so they can be circulated with the petition.
The Board also determines the number of years permitted for payment of the assessment. The assessment may be paid in full within 30 days without penalty or it may be repaid over the determined period at an interest rate set by the Board.
The assessment is in a second lien position after property taxes and is not an increase in the property taxes themselves. The improvement may cause sales in the area to be higher than before the improvement, but it is difficult to ascertain what fraction of this increase is attributable directly to the improved road. Of course, as assessed valuations are based on representative sales, property taxes could eventually increase.
After the district has been created and all necessary road right-of-way has been obtained, the County may proceed with the improvement. If considerable design work is necessary, construction may be delayed for a season to allow time for the surveys and engineering. Only after all the project costs are in can the final assessment be determined. A second hearing, with notification similar to the preliminary hearing, at which the Board will sit as a Board of Equalization will determine the final assessment and certify these to the Treasurer for collection.
Before you make any payment, you should wait until after the second hearing and until you receive a notice from the Treasurer of the actual amount of your assessment.
Under the provisions of the Revised Code of Washington 36.88, all costs may be assessed to the property owners within the RID boundaries. However, the County may participate, if the RID is to improve an existing public county road, not private.
Private public works may be improved under the RID statutes provided that it is done for the sole purpose of incorporating the road in the County road system.
It is possible that someone in the County may tell you he/she is for or against a particular RID. This should be taken as a personal opinion and not as County policy, for the County must be careful to maintain a neutral position on all RIDs until they are formed. This means that the County cannot properly solicit RIDs, nor can they inhibit their formation.
It is important to understand that the County can be of assistance in circulating the petition, but the mailings and “leg work” involved in formation must be largely done by the petitioners.
The Public Works Department handles RID processing as well as design and administration of most of the improvement. This is done at the direction of the Board of County Commissioners, which has the ultimate authority.
The County Engineer will assist you in the preparation of the petition and the necessary maps and exhibits for the formation of the district and will relay information to and from various departments related to the RID. If you have any additional questions, please contact Public Works.