Making Drainage Improvements
How do I as a landowner, begin the process to make drainage improvements on my land involving an open ditch or large tile outlet? We hear this question many times in our office. Conservation Works of Improvement, commonly known as Senate Bill #160, assists landowners with making improvements for group projects like open ditch reconstruction, installation of new outlet tile, reshaping or building of grass waterways and other drainage improvement practices.
Landowners often repair group tiles, waterways and open ditches on their own land until the repair work becomes too burdensome. Many times landowners find resistance from neighbors when it comes time to replace the aging drainage system.
Procedure to begin an improvment project:
For more information, feel free to contact the office staff. We look forward to assisting with any drainage improvements.
Four methods to make improvements:
The Commissioners then make the decision to either accept or reject the project. If accepted, all landowners are notified of the estimated assessment and given a chance to correspond with the Commissioners. After holding a hearing with those who object, if the Commissioners feel the assessment schedule is accurate, they vote to proceed.
Any owner who is still not satisfied can appeal the Commissioners decision to the Court of Common pleas. If no appeals are filed with the Court, the project is advertised for bids and construction can begin. The Soil and Water District staff will oversee the construction and layout of the project.
Once the project is completed to the specifications and requirements established in the contract, the final bills are calculated and assessment notices are mailed to all landowners. The notice gives each landowner a choice to pay the bill within 30 days or they can choose to let it be spread out over a period of years and paid with their semi-annual real estate taxes.
The Commissioners do charge the group a technical assistance fee ONLY if the project is approved. The current fee schedule is based on the final construction costs. The fee is 20% for underground tile systems and 30% for open drainage systems like grass waterways or open ditch reconstruction.