| The major responsibilities of the county treasurer can be summarized in the following
The receipt of funds
The collection of taxes
The disbursement of funds
The investment of funds
Receipt of Funds
As the depository for all funds, fees collected by other county offices
as well as those collected by the various districts, are forwarded to the treasurer
for custody. State and federal monies allocated to local governments
are transmitted to the treasurer and are deposited to the proper funds in accordance
with current statutes. Monthly reports are prepared to show the accounting
transactions by fund for each unit of government.
Property taxes are a major source of revenue to local governments. Billed
by the county treasurer, these taxes are distributed upon collection to the various
state, school, county, city and district funds as levied.
The county treasurer also bills and collects special assessments authorized by
the voters to fund improvements or to provide a specific service to property
owners within a localized district.
In addition, the county treasurer acts as agent for the Washington State Department
of Revenue to administer and collect the real estate excise tax on the conveyance
of real property. These taxes, which help fund the state public school
system and local government capital improvements, are paid by the seller as a
percentage of the sale price.
Collection of Taxes
Upon receipt of the tax rolls from the county assessor, the treasurer
forwards to all property owners statements of real and personal property taxes
due. These taxes are payable on or after February 15 of each year with
the full tax due by April 30. If the amount payable is over $50.00, one-half
may be paid on or before April 30, with the second half due on or before October
Washington State law requires interest to be charged on delinquent taxes at the
rate of 12% per annum, plus penalties of up to 11%. Tough collection provisions
in the law direct the treasurer to seize and sell personal property when those
taxes become delinquent. The statutes governing real property require the
treasurer to commence foreclosure action when those taxes are delinquent for
three years. To process this foreclosure action the treasurer prepares
the necessary legal documents, publishes a legal notice and notifies the property
owner of the pending foreclosure. If the taxes remain unpaid, a public
auction is conducted and the property is sold to satisfy the outstanding tax
Disbursement of Funds
The treasurer redeems all school, county and district warrants from
monies available in the fund upon which they were drawn. If a fund has
insufficient monies, each warrant is registered and interest charges begin to
accrue. Then as monies become available, those warrants are called for
redemption in the order of their issuance.
Investment of Funds
Units of local government and fund managers provide written authorization
for the county treasurer to invest funds not required for immediate expenditure. The
treasurer then places funds in legally authorized investments (such as U.S. government
securities, certificates of deposit, and bankers acceptances) for the benefit
of the specific fund. In addition, short-term and/or overnight investments
such as repurchase agreements or deposits in the Local Government Investment
Pool (operated by the State Treasurer) are entered into as provided by statute. These
investments are authorized by the county finance committee which consists of
the county treasurer, the county auditor and the chair of the county legislative
Bond sales authorized by the county and school or other local districts
are conducted by the treasurer. A detailed record is kept of every bond
and an entry on the bond register shows each bond and coupon payment.
The treasurer also conducts the sale of surplus items such as sheriff's cars
and county road equipment, at public auction.
The duties of the county treasurer are many and varied, each requiring the efficient
and reliable handling of public funds. With responsibilities extending
beyond the scope of county operations, the county treasurer plays a key fiduciary
role in the operation of local government.