The Tacoma News Tribune reported this week that the City of Lakewood and the Nisqually Tribe have entered into a fee for service agreement related to the Tribe’s new convenience store. The Tribe will reportedly pay $19,000/year for services. The article notes, “Without the agreement, the tribe wasn’t required to pay taxes, but the city also wasn’t on the hook to provide public services.” This may be half true. Once in trust, the tribe wouldn’t be liable for certain taxes. But do cities withhold services from non-Tribal entities who do not pay taxes or refuse to enter into fee-for-service agreements? Especially when such entities are exempt as a matter of federal law? Probably not.
Moreover, withholding services based on citizenship of an owner seems problematic. Regardless, these potential problems illustrate the wisdom of such agreements . Like good fences, good interlocal agreements make for much better neighbors.
Anthony Broadman is a partner at Galanda Broadman PLLC. He can be reached at 206.321.2672, email@example.com, or via www.galandabroadman.com.