King Conservation District is an independent public agency established in 1949 by the Washington Conservation Commission under chapter 89.08 RCW to assist landowners to protect and enhance natural resources. The District serves 35 jurisdictions (34 cities and King County). The incorporated cities of Enumclaw, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific, and Skykomish are not included in the District’s service area. Below is information about King Conservation District (KCD) rates and charges reflected in your King County property tax statement. If you have questions about your King County property taxes, please call the Property Tax Information Line: 206-296-0923.
For many years the King Conservation District was financed by a special assessment under 89.08.400 RCW based on a per parcel rate. In February, 2012 the Washington State Legislature passed HB-2567 to provide conservation districts with financing options of either per parcel assessments or a system of rates and charges.
On July 30, 2012 King Conservation District Board of Supervisors adopted a system of rates and charges on agricultural, residential, institutional/public, commercial, open space, and vacant/undeveloped parcels within the KCD’s service area. The rates and charges were allocated based on both the direct and indirect benefits of programs and services to landowners. Forest lands and federally-recognized tribal reservations within the District’s service area are the only properties exempt from rates and charges.
On November 13, 2012 the King County Council approved Ordinance 17474 authorizing an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) with King Conservation District to cooperate on efforts to assist landowners with improving water quality and conserving natural resources within King County. The ordinance included approval of KCD’s proposed system of rates and charges to finance its programs and services.
King Conservation District Board of Supervisors approved Resolution 12-007 establishing a process for landowner appeals of individual rates and charges. Property owners may appeal by applying in writing to:
King Conservation District
800 SW 39th St, Suite 150
Renton, WA 98057
The rate appealed must first be paid, and appeals must be filed by the landowner with KCD no later than twenty-one (21) days after the due date of the first payment of annual property taxes established by King County. Filing an appeal does not extend the period for payment of the rate. Appeals involving delinquent accounts will not be acted upon until paid in full.
The amount of the rate and charge not paid by the due dates shall constitute a lien against any property subject to the rate. A notice of lien shall be sent to each owner of the property.
An appeal and request for a bill adjustment may be based on one or more of the following:
- The property is not assigned the proper rate category;
- The parcel is wholly or partially outside the District boundaries; or
- The rate is otherwise erroneous in applying the terms adopted by King County.
Any appeal and application for adjustment may be made to KCD and shall be decided by KCD’s Board of Supervisors. The burden of proof shall be on the appellant to show that the rate adjustment sought should be granted. All decisions of the District regarding an appeal shall be final and conclusive.
An appeal shall include the following information: the King County property tax parcel identification number; the name of the owner of the property; a written statement of the basis for the appeal; the address of the owner if different from the address shown on the records of King County assessor; the appellant’s phone number(s) for communication with the appellant; and, the signature of the owner(s) of the property. An appellant is responsible for advising the District of any change in any mailing address or phone number. Failure to respond to District communications regarding an appeal shall be grounds for dismissal of the appeal.
Prehearing Conference. Once an appeal has been timely filed, the KCD’s Executive Director or designee shall schedule a Prehearing Conference with the appellant within fourteen (14) days. An appellant is required to participate in the Prehearing Conference to assist in expediting the appeal, setting a hearing date and identifying the potential for settlement. If the hearing date is not established at the Prehearing Conference, the District shall give separate written notice to appellant no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing.
Expert Witnesses. An appellant shall file in writing all direct expert testimony from appellant’s expert witnesses that appellants intends to rely upon, along with copies of any exhibits introduced through or relied upon by the expert witnesses. Filing of expert testimony shall occur no later than seven (7) days prior to the appeal hearing.
Appeal Hearing. The hearing shall consist of the following:
- Opening Statements.
- Appellant’s Case. An appellant’s case at the hearing shall be limited to the presentation of lay testimony, to cross-examination by District of any witness whose testimony has been offered by appellant, including expert witnesses whose testimony has been offered in writing pursuant to this rule, and to appellant’s redirect examination of any witness from whom cross-examination testimony is taken.
- District’s Case. The District’s case at the hearing shall be limited to the presentation of lay testimony, to cross-examination by appellant of any witness whose testimony has been offered by District, including expert witnesses whose testimony has been offered in writing, and to District’s redirect of any witness from which cross-examination testimony is taken.
- Closing Argument.
- Decision. The Board shall enter a written decision within fourteen (14) days after the close of the record of the appeal hearing.
If KCD grants an adjustment which reduces the rate for the current year, the applicant shall be refunded the amount overpaid. If KCD determines that an adjustment should be made which increases the rate due for the current year, the applicant shall receive a supplemental bill that will be due within forty-five (45) days of the date the supplemental bill is issued. An appellant seeking a rate adjustment shall be notified in writing of the District’s decision.
The final written decision of the Board of Supervisors may be appealed to the King County Superior Court no later than twenty-one (21) days of the date of the Board’s written decision. The party appealing to Superior Court shall bear the cost of production of the record of hearing before the Board for filing with the Court, such cost to be recoverable in the determination of the Superior Court that the party appealing to the Superior Court substantially prevailed in the appeal.
If you have questions about KCD rates and charges, or about the appeal process, call our comment line: 425-282-1902.
KCD Resolution 14-003 (PDF)
KCD Resolution 14-004 (PDF)
KCD Resolution 14-005 (PDF)