General Information about Drainage Districts
Under the Code Of Iowa, Chapter 468 the County Board Of Supervisors acts as Drainage District Trustees in all District matters. The land owners of a particular district may, if they wish, elect their own trustees and maintain the district themselves.
Requests for repairs should be directed to the drainage clerk in the Southeast Office in the rotunda of the courthouse. Complaints, problems, or questions can also be made to the Auditor’s Office on second floor.
The trustees are required by the Code Of Iowa to maintain all drainage districts at their original capacity. Notice of repairs is only required when the cost will exceed $50,000 or 75% of the original assessed value of the district counting subsequent improvements, whichever is greater.
Land owners in the district, not the County, own and pay for all maintenance and repairs to that district. An independent contractor hired by the trustees will do the work and bill the cost to the district.
Assessments are made as necessary to pay for engineering costs, improvements, and repairs within a given drainage district.
Assessments or classification of land in a drainage district is based on the benefit that land is seen to receive from being in the district.
- The original assessed value of any parcel of land within a district was set when that district was established and is the basis for all assessments unless the district is reclassified by the trustees.
- Assessments represent a percentage of the original assessment.
- Properties near the bottom of the district or adjacent to a district tile line will normally pay more than properties at the top of the district or that are not close to a district tile. District maps show where property is located within the district in relation to the district tiles. Tile maps are stored in the Drainage Office on the first floor and also in the Board of Supervisors' room next to the Auditor’s Office on the second floor of the courthouse. Copies can be made upon request.
Drainage districts are not levied on a regular basis. Drainage districts are levied when district funds drop to zero. When a district is levied the trustees set the percentage such that a surplus remains after all bills are paid. The district will not be levied again until its funds are depleted which depends on the amount of work required in the district. Some districts are levied in 2 years while some may go 50 years or more without a levy.
Delinquent drainage assessments become a lien on the property. The property can then be sold for back taxes/assessments just as it can be sold for non-payment of property taxes.