Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts
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AWPHD Legal Guide

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RCW 70.44.185 governs a special case where the boundary line of contiguous public hospital districts bisects a farm unit.

It is possible that the boundary line between contiguous public hospital districts bisect an irrigation block unit of a farm, placing part of the unit in one hospital district and the balance of the unit in another hospital district. If this is the case, the owner of the farm is entitled to request that the entire farm be placed in one district or the other. The land owner is to make this request to the county auditor, whereupon the county auditor is obligated to hold a public hearing of any interested persons.

After the auditor has held a public meeting, the auditor must either approve or disapprove the request made by the farm owner. RCW 70.44.185 does not specify the standards a county auditor is to use in approving or disapproving the request. Presumably, the auditor's determination cannot be made in an arbitrary or capricious manner. This, at least, is the standard by which any court of law in the state of Washington would use in reviewing the decision-making action by a county auditor.

If the county auditor approves of the request, the auditor is empowered by RCW 70.44.185 to change the boundary lines of a public hospital district so that the entire farm unit is wholly in one of the hospital districts. The county auditor must then give notice of this boundary change to the hospital district (i.e., the district board of commissioners) and county officials in a manner that the auditor deems appropriate.