Conflict of interest prohibited. 88.20(1)(1)
No member of a drainage board shall be interested directly or indirectly:
In any contract with the drainage board; or
In any contract for work or materials in or for a drainage district; or
In any contract for the sale of machinery or materials for or to the drainage board; or
In the wages or supplies of persons employed on work in or for a drainage district.
No board member shall deal in securities of a drainage district.
General powers of the drainage board.
In addition to other powers expressly granted or necessarily implied, the drainage board may:
Adopt and use a corporate seal.
Sue and be sued and compromise suits and controversies.
Bring all necessary actions for the collection of moneys and forfeitures belonging to a district under its jurisdiction and for the protection and preservation of all works and property thereof.
Obtain injunctions to prevent unlawful interference with the performance of its duties or exercise of any of its powers.
Employ legal counsel, engineers and other assistants. Any engineer employed by the board shall be selected from a list of professional engineers approved by the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection. The department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection shall furnish each drainage board, upon request, a list of professional engineers whom it considers qualified by training and experience to give competent advice in drainage matters.
Purchase or condemn such lands, whether within or outside a district, as are necessary for the construction, cleaning out, repair and maintenance of the drainage system and its works. Condemnation shall be as provided by ch. 32
Level or permit the leveling of spoil banks and excavated materials to allow cultivation or use for roadway or other lawful purposes if such use will not interfere with the proper functioning of the drains.
Purchase or lease and maintain and operate the equipment and machinery necessary to construct, maintain or repair the drains within the districts under its jurisdiction, including the control of weeds or brush through use of herbicides.
Purchase, construct, maintain and operate all levees, bulkheads, reservoirs, silt basins, holding basins, floodways, floodgates and pumping machinery necessary to the successful drainage or protection of any district or of any considerable area thereof, whether located within or outside the district.
Call district meetings to report on the affairs of the district and to obtain the opinions and suggestions of landowners in the district with regard to the affairs of the district.
Adopt rules and issue orders, which shall be published as a class 1 notice under ch. 985
. In addition, any order that pertains to a specific named person or property shall be served on the person or owner of the property in the manner provided for service of a summons under s. 801.11
. The court has jurisdiction to enforce an order of the drainage board by injunctive or other appropriate relief.
Authorize legal counsel for the board to represent an individual owner of land with respect to any matter that arises under this chapter.
History: 1989 a. 31
; 1993 a. 456
A drainage board is subject to shoreland zoning ordinances, as is any other person. Although soil conservation districts and drainage districts are created for a different purpose, some activities of both accomplish similar ends; therefore, each district retains control over those activities that it undertakes for the purposes for which it was created. 63 Atty. Gen. 355.
Ch. 30 applies to navigable ditches that were originally navigable streams. If a navigable ditch was originally nonnavigable or had no previous stream history, the Department of Natural Resources' jurisdiction depends upon the facts of each situation. 63 Atty. Gen. 493.
Required actions for the drainage board.
In addition to other powers expressly granted or necessarily implied, the drainage board shall:
Beginning in 2009, and every 3 years thereafter, provide written notice to every person who owns land that is located within the drainage district that such land is in the district. The notice shall also include contact information for every member of the drainage board.
Annually, provide contact information for every member of the drainage board to the state drainage engineer and to the clerk of every city, village, town, and county in which the drainage district is located.
Not later than November 1 of each year, provide the clerk of each taxation district in which the drainage district is located a list of every assessment issued by the drainage board from November 1 of the previous year to October 31 of the current year. The information shall specify the assessment amount for every parcel in the district.
If any portion of a drainage district that is a subject matter of a drainage board meeting is located in a city, village, or town, notify the city, village, or town of the date, time, and subject matter of the meeting. A notification under this subsection may be in an electronic format.
History: 2007 a. 121
; 2017 a. 115
The owners of land in a district may petition the drainage board to hold a district meeting. The petition shall be signed by at least 10 percent of the owners of land within the district or by the owners of at least 10 percent of the lands within the district. The drainage board shall either schedule a district meeting to be held within 60 days after receiving the petition or deny the petition, by issuing a published order, within 60 days after receiving the petition. The drainage board may deny the petition only on the grounds that it is unreasonable.
History: 1993 a. 456
NOTE: 1993 Wis. Act 456
, which created this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Power of board to contract with the federal government and other agencies.
The drainage board may:
Enter into agreements with the U.S. government or an officer or agency thereof to permit the drainage of lands owned or occupied by such government or agency, through the use of the drains of which the board has charge. Such agreement may result in adding lands to the drainage district, may provide for apportionment of the assessments for costs of repairs, maintenance and administration with respect to the draining of such lands, and may authorize the U.S. government or its officer or agency to repair, maintain, deepen, widen and change drains located upon lands owned or occupied by such government or agency as long as such change does not impair the drainage rights of other owners through such lands. No such agreement shall permit the draining of raw sewerage in any such drains.
Negotiate and obtain a loan from the federal government or any officer or agency thereof, or from any other public or private loan agency, for the purpose of paying or redeeming outstanding bonds and other obligations of a district under its jurisdiction. Such loan may be negotiated upon such terms and conditions as the board deems to be in the best interest of the district, including without restriction by reason of enumeration provisions for:
Extending the time of payment of delinquent and unmatured installments of assessments for cost of construction, inclusive of interest accrued thereon, for a period of not to exceed 40 years.
Deferring payment of any portion of the principal of unpaid and unmatured assessments of cost of construction, inclusive of interest already accrued thereon, for a period of not to exceed 10 years and provide for the payment of such delinquent and unpaid assessments of cost of construction in equal annual installments over a period of years.
Arrange with the holders of bonds and notes and other creditors of the district for surrender of their claims against the district and for accepting money or bonds in payment thereof.
Enter into contracts with the U.S. government or an officer or agency thereof to accept the benefits of any federal law pertaining to flood prevention or the conservation, development, utilization and disposal of water. Without restriction by reason of enumeration, the contracts may provide that the district on whose behalf the contract is negotiated will:
Provide without cost to the United States all lands necessary for the construction of the project and for the subsequent maintenance and operation of the project.
Contribute such part of the first cost of construction of such project as is agreed upon with the United States, either in cash or in credits, for purchase of material or performance of work forming part of the project.
Hold and save the United States harmless from claims for damages to any property resulting from construction of the works of the project.
Maintain and operate all the works after completion of the project in accordance with regulations prescribed by the U.S. government or any officer or agency thereof.
Power of board to levy assessments for costs. 88.23(1)(1)
In addition to the assessments for cost of construction authorized by s. 88.35
, the board may issue orders to levy assessments for costs of maintenance and repair or for any other lawful expenditures of a drainage district. All of the assessments shall be apportioned on the confirmed benefits then in effect in the district assessed.
The board may authorize one or more owners of land in a drainage district to prepare a proposed assessment for cost of construction or maintenance and repair.
Assessments made under this section are subject to ss. 88.40
. In no case may the total assessments against any land exceed the benefits assessed against that land unless an interested person agrees to pay such excess and furnishes the drainage board with sufficient security for the excess benefits or unless the assessment is for the purpose of covering the cost of repair and maintenance as defined in s. 88.63
The board may borrow money and issue notes or bonds based upon any assessments levied under this section in the same manner as for original assessments.
History: 1971 c. 67
; 1993 a. 456
Board to file annual report.
On or before December 1 of each year the board shall file with the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection; the town board or town zoning committee; the city council, plan commission, or plan committee; and the county zoning administrator, in which district territory is located, a separate report, for the preceding fiscal year, on each drainage district under the board's jurisdiction. Unless the board selects a different fiscal year and notifies the department of the selection, the board's fiscal year begins on September 1 and ends on the following August 31. All local units of government that receive the report shall consider it before making any zoning or planning decisions that may affect a drainage district that is located within its boundaries. The reports shall constitute part of the records of the districts reported on, shall be verified by the oath of one or more of the board members, and shall contain:
A statement of all bonds paid or issued during the preceding year.
A statement of all work done during the preceding year, specifying where the same was done and the cost thereof.
A statement of the district's practices and policies.
ORGANIZATION OF DRAINAGE DISTRICTS
Who may petition for organization of a drainage district. 88.27(1)(1)
Except as provided in sub. (1m)
, any of the following may petition for the organization of a drainage district under this chapter:
The owners of more than one-half in area of the lands, excluding lands owned by this state, proposed to be included within the drainage district.
The majority of landowners within the proposed drainage district, owning at least one-third in area of the lands, excluding lands owned by this state, proposed to be included within such district.
A state agency, as defined in s. 16.61 (2) (d)
, may not petition for the organization of a drainage district.
No petition having as many signers as are required by this section shall be declared void, but the court may at any time permit the petition to be amended in form and substance to conform to the facts, if the facts justify the organization of a district. All petitions for the organization of the same or substantially the same district filed prior to the hearing under s. 88.34
shall be considered by the court as one petition, and all signatures to such petitions shall be counted in determining the jurisdiction of the court.
History: 1993 a. 456
Contents of petition. 88.28(1)(1)
A petition for organization of a drainage district shall be filed with the court and shall set forth:
A description of the lands proposed to be included in the district and that they will be improved by drainage.
That the public health or public welfare will be promoted by the drainage.
A map or sketch of the area sought to be drained, with the proposed drains shown thereon.
That the cost of construction will not exceed 75 percent of the appraised benefits arising from such drainage.
A proposed name or number for the district.
The names and addresses of the owners and mortgagees of all lands in the district, so far as known to the petitioners.
A request for the organization of the drainage district.
If the purpose of such petition is the enlargement, repair or maintenance of a drain, heretofore constructed under any law of this state, the petition shall give a general description of the drain with such particulars as the petitioners deem important.
The quality and character of soils and subsoils in the proposed district.
The present agricultural value of the lands.
The kind of crops which will be grown on the land after drainage.
In lieu of meeting with the requirements of sub. (1) (d)
, the petitioners may file with the petition a written agreement that they will pay such portion of the cost of construction as exceeds 75 percent of the appraised benefits to all lands resulting from the construction of the proposed drainage works.
The petition need not be verified.
Referral of petition to board; examination of lands; hearing by board. 88.29(1)(1)
Upon receipt of a petition for organization of a drainage district the court or judge by order shall refer the petition to the drainage board and order the board to report thereon.
When a petition has been so referred to the board, the board, with the aid of an engineer having the qualifications specified in s. 88.21 (5)
, shall examine the lands described in the petition and all other lands that the board believes will be benefited or damaged by the proposed work and shall consider whether the drains as proposed in the petition are satisfactory.
The board also shall hold a hearing on the petition to ascertain the sufficiency of the signers and to hear all interested persons who desire to be heard for or against the petition.
The board shall fix a time and place of the hearing on the petition, on or conveniently near the lands described in the petition, and shall give notice of the hearing as provided in s. 88.05 (2) (b)
to the persons specified in s. 88.05 (4) (c)
The notice shall describe the lands involved and may be in substantially the following form:
“Notice is hereby given that the drainage board of .... County will meet on the .... day of ...., .... (year), at .... o'clock, .... M. at the (here describe the place of meeting) to consider the petition filed in the circuit court of .... County to drain lands among which are the following: (here describe the lands described in the petition). All persons interested may appear and be heard on the petition.