Coordinate district activities with the department of natural resources.
Provide guidelines for compliance with federal and state agricultural and conservation programs.
Establish, by rule, procedures for assessments and reassessments.
Establish, by rule, performance standards for drainage district structures, ditches, maintenance and operations, in order to minimize adverse effects on water quality. The performance standards shall be consistent with any requirements imposed by the department of natural resources under s. 88.31
Establish, by rule, a procedure for an investigation of whether a drainage district complies with this section and any requirements imposed by the department under this section.
In cooperation with the state drainage engineer, produce an educational pamphlet in 2009, and every 3 years thereafter, that describes the function of drainage districts, costs that may be assessed to persons whose property is located in a drainage district, and contact information for the state drainage engineer. The pamphlet shall be distributed, upon request, to drainage boards and to any person who requests the pamphlet.
The department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection may perform any functions related to drainage districts that the department considers appropriate.
The state drainage engineer shall provide technical assistance to improve district operations on the request of the department of natural resources, drainage board, landowners in the district or the judge.
If the area proposed for drainage exceeds 200 acres in a single project, the board or the petitioners, before the hearing on the report under s. 88.34
, shall procure a report of the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection on all of the following:
The location, design, feasibility and cost of the proposed outlet drains.
A general description of the additional drainage necessary to reclaim the land fully for general agricultural purposes, and its probable cost.
A general comparison of the benefits in the different parts of the district on the basis of the location and design of the proposed drains.
The physical features of the land to be drained.
The board or the petitioners, with the aid of an engineer having the qualifications specified in s. 88.21 (5)
, shall make the necessary survey and evaluation as directed by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection for its report.
A drainage district shall comply with the rules promulgated under this section and any requirements imposed by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection under this section.
The department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection may issue a special order directing the immediate cessation of work regulated under this section until the necessary plan approval is obtained or until the project complies with this section.
Any person who violates this section may be required to forfeit not less than $25 nor more than $500 for each violation. Each day of continued violation constitutes a separate offense.
See also ch. ATCP 48
, Wis. adm. code.
Proceedings when drainage area is in more than one county. 88.12(1)(1)
If a proposed drainage district lies in more than one county, the petition for organization of the district shall be filed in the court of the county containing the largest acreage proposed for drainage by the petition, and the court of that county has jurisdiction of the organization of the drainage district.
In cases affecting a multicounty drainage district, copies of all court orders and judgments shall be filed in the court of each of the other counties in which the drainage district is located.
If a drainage district lies in more than one county, the drainage board of the county containing the largest acreage that is drained or proposed for drainage has jurisdiction of the operation of the drainage district. The drainage board that initially has jurisdiction of the operation of a drainage district retains that jurisdiction even if the drained acreage is subsequently changed, unless the drainage board that initially has jurisdiction agrees with the drainage board of any other county containing land of the drainage district to transfer jurisdiction.
All moneys collected on behalf of the drainage district in the other counties shall be transmitted to the treasurer of the county in which the drainage board has jurisdiction.
History: 1977 c. 449
; 1993 a. 456
Right to enter lands of drainage district.
Whenever necessary for any purpose connected with the organization of a district or the construction, maintenance or repair of drains and other works, members of the board, representatives of the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection, and persons intending to bid on or to whom contracts have been let for the construction of the works within a district and their respective agents and employees may go upon any lands proposed for inclusion or included within a district or on adjoining lands, and are not guilty of trespass therefor but are liable for unnecessary damage caused to crops or structures.
History: 1989 a. 31
Controversies between districts. 88.14(1)
If a controversy arises out of the relationship of 2 or more drainage districts that are subject to the jurisdiction of a single drainage board, the board may hold hearings and take whatever other action it considers necessary toward settling the controversy, including the issuance of orders.
If a controversy arises out of the relationship of 2 or more drainage districts that are subject to the jurisdiction of 2 or more drainage boards, the boards shall attempt to settle the controversy and may hold hearings and take whatever other action they consider necessary to accomplish that objective. If the drainage boards are unable to settle the controversy, the matter shall be submitted to arbitration under ch. 788
History: 1977 c. 449
; 1993 a. 456
Limitation of damages and suits.
In any action against a drainage district, drainage board, drainage board member, drainage board employee or an owner of land within the district who undertakes work approved by the drainage board, s. 893.80
is applicable and the limit on the amount recoverable by any person under s. 893.80 (3)
applies to the drainage board, the members and employees of the drainage board, the drainage district and any owner of land within the district who undertakes work approved by the drainage board. This section does not apply to actions commenced under s. 19.37
NOTE: 1993 Wis. Act 456
, which created this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Notification requirements, engineering study. 88.16(1)(1)
If a board takes any action which results in the hiring of an engineer to conduct a study that is related to the operation of a drain, or the district, the board shall send, as soon as possible, written notice of the action to all of the following:
The governing body of the city, village, or town that has jurisdiction over the area which is subject to the engineering study.
The governing body of the county that has jurisdiction over the area which is subject to the engineering study.
The governing body of any city or village that has extraterritorial jurisdiction over the area which is subject to the engineering study.
As soon as possible after the engineering study is completed, the board shall send written notice to the governing bodies which received notice under sub. (1)
informing them of the study's completion and providing them information as to where the study may be reviewed.
A board's failure to notify under sub. (1)
does not invalidate any decision made or action taken by the board.
History: 2007 a. 121
Transition for certain drainage districts.
A drainage district operating under s. 88.16
, 1989 stats., becomes a drainage district under this chapter as a matter of law on June 1, 1993. The records, assessments, funds and indebtedness of such a drainage district become the records, assessments, funds and indebtedness of the drainage district that takes its place. Before June 1, 1993, the circuit court of each county having a drainage district that has elected to operate under s. 88.16
, 1989 stats., shall appoint a county drainage board under s. 88.17
, if none exists, to take the place of the board of drainage commissioners of a district that elected to operate under s. 88.16
, 1989 stats. The terms of office of the members of the new board commence on June 1, 1993.
History: 1991 a. 309
APPOINTMENT, POWERS AND DUTIES
OF DRAINAGE BOARD
Appointment and organization of drainage board. 88.17(1)(1)
The court shall appoint a drainage board either upon the filing of a petition for organization of a drainage district under this chapter in a county that does not already have a drainage board or upon the filing of a petition by a landowner in a drainage district or the state drainage engineer for appointment of a drainage board in a county that already has a drainage district. The board shall consist of 3 persons. One member of the original board shall be appointed for a term of one year, one for 2 years and one for 3 years. Upon the expiration of the term of office of a board member, the court shall appoint a successor for a 3-year term in the same manner as the original appointment was made.
A drainage board may by rule, after the original board is appointed, increase the number of members to 5. In the rule increasing the number of members, the board shall provide for staggered terms, with all members serving terms of 5 years. After increasing the number of board members, the board may, by rule, reduce the number of members to 3, but only if the size of the board is reduced as vacancies occur on the board.
The board shall notify the court if any position on the board becomes vacant and the court shall appoint a successor. The board shall notify the court if the size of the board is increased under sub. (2)
and the court shall appoint the additional board members. If a position on the board remains vacant for more than 6 months, either the state drainage engineer or any landowner in a drainage district subject to the jurisdiction of the board may petition the court to appoint a successor.
The court shall appoint drainage board members from among persons recommended by any of the following:
The committee on agriculture and extension education created under s. 59.56 (3) (b)
, which shall recommend at least 3 persons for each position to be filled.
At least 3 landowners owning property in a drainage district that is subject to the jurisdiction of the drainage board.
In appointing members, the court shall attempt to assure that at least one of the members serving on the drainage board at any time is an experienced farmer who is familiar with drainage and that another of the members is familiar to some extent with drainage engineering.
A drainage board member shall serve until a successor is appointed and qualified.
Each member of the board shall take and file the official oath.
Ownership of or interest in lands sought to be drained does not disqualify a person from acting as a member of the drainage board, but any board member may request the court to, and the court may in its discretion, appoint a suitable person to act in a member's place when the board is considering matters pertaining to the particular drainage district in which the member is interested.
When all its members have been duly sworn and qualified, the drainage board is a permanent body corporate and is subject to all rules of law applicable to public corporations.
The board shall organize by election one of its members president and another of its members secretary. A majority of the board constitutes a quorum to do business. In the absence of a quorum, any member present may adjourn any meeting and make announcement thereof.
Each board member shall be reimbursed for actual and reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of the member's duties and, in addition, shall receive as compensation for actual and necessary services a per diem in an amount determined by the drainage board, not to exceed $40. In addition, the county board may reimburse drainage board members for actual and reasonable expenses incurred in performance of duties on behalf of the county.
Each board member shall keep an accurate record of services rendered and expenses incurred by the member, together with the date thereof and the district for which services were rendered or in connection with which expenses were incurred. Board members shall file their bills for compensation and expenses with the county treasurer. Each bill shall indicate the district to which specific items are to be charged or the proportion of the bill to be paid by specified districts. The county treasurer, as treasurer of drainage districts, shall pay the bill if funds are available for that purpose and shall charge the accounts of the respective drainage districts liable for the bill in accordance with the order allowing the bill.
The court may by order abolish the drainage board if there no longer are any drainage districts in the county.
NOTE: 1993 Wis. Act 456
, which substantially affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Limited liability of drainage board members. 88.172(1)(1)
Except as provided in subs. (2)
, a drainage board member is not liable to any other person for damages, settlements, fees, fines, penalties or other monetary liabilities arising from a breach of, or failure to perform, any duty resulting solely from his or her status as a drainage board member, unless the person asserting liability proves that the breach or failure to perform constitutes any of the following:
A willful failure to deal fairly with any person in connection with a matter in which the drainage board member has a material conflict of interest.
A violation of criminal law, unless the drainage board member had reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was lawful or no reasonable cause to believe that his or her conduct was unlawful.
A transaction from which the drainage board member derived an improper personal profit.
Except as provided in sub. (3)
, this section does not apply to any of the following:
A civil or criminal proceeding brought by or on behalf of any governmental unit, authority or agency.
A proceeding brought by any person for a violation of state or federal law if the proceeding is brought under an express private right of action created by state or federal statute.
(3) Subsection (2)
does not apply to a proceeding brought by a governmental unit, authority or agency in its capacity as a private party or contractor.
History: 1993 a. 456
NOTE: 1993 Wis. Act 456
, which created this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
County treasurer to serve as treasurer of drainage districts. 88.18(1)(1)
The county treasurer shall serve as treasurer of all drainage districts under the jurisdiction of the drainage board. All moneys collected for or payable to any such drainage district shall be turned over to or paid to the county treasurer and shall be paid out by the treasurer only upon proper warrants of the drainage board. The county treasurer may retain for the benefit of the county a portion of the interest received on drainage district funds held by the county treasurer, not to exceed the cost to the county treasurer of providing services to the drainage board under this chapter, the cost to the zoning administrator of maintaining drainage board records under s. 88.19
and the cost to the zoning administrator of providing copies of drainage board records to the drainage board.
The county treasurer shall keep a separate account for each drainage district in which the treasurer shall charge such district with all amounts paid out on its behalf pursuant to sub. (1)
and shall credit the district with:
All sums received in payment of drainage assessments of that district, including penalties and interest on the sums.
All other sums received on account of the drainage district other than interest received on drainage district funds held by the county treasurer.
The drainage board may appoint a treasurer who shall act as the deputy of the county treasurer. The drainage board may assign any part or all of the county treasurer's duties under this chapter to the drainage board treasurer. The drainage board treasurer shall be reimbursed for actual and reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of the treasurer's duties in the same manner as provided for drainage board member expenses under s. 88.17 (8)
. The drainage board shall require a bond from the drainage board treasurer in an amount, set by the board, that is sufficient to exceed the greatest amount of funds expected to be held in his or her custody, and with the sureties that the drainage board requires. The bond shall be conditioned in substantially the same form as the ordinary bond required from the county treasurer, with the necessary changes.
Board to keep records. 88.19(1)
It is the duty of the secretary of the board to keep records of all drainage proceedings. The secretary shall also maintain a minute book in which the secretary shall enter the minutes of the board meetings. The secretary shall be compensated for such services under s. 88.17 (7)
The secretary of the board shall keep a complete record of the assessed lands in each district under the board's jurisdiction. Such records shall be so arranged that they will readily show, for each parcel of land assessed, the latest confirmed assessment of benefits and the total assessments for costs which have been made against such lands, with adequate space provided for noting all payments of assessments for costs or installments thereof. The secretary of the board shall periodically check with the county treasurer to determine what drainage assessments or installments thereof have been paid and shall note such payments in the records required to be kept pursuant to this subsection.
The secretary of the board is legal custodian of all drainage records and the secretary shall comply with subch. II of ch. 19
. Upon request for any of the drainage records by the county treasurer, the secretary of the board shall furnish the county treasurer with a copy of the records specified in sub. (2)