Drain Petition Process
Any person may request a petition. The petition is prepared by the Drain Commissioner’s Office and is written to include activities such as cleaning out, relocating, widening, deepening, straightening, tiling, extending, or relocating along a highway; and the petition must be notarized after the circulation is completed. The petition must contain a minimum of five signatures within the drainage district. Signature requirements accompany the petition. Municipalities can also petition for work.
Appointment of Board of Determination
The Board of Determination is appointed by the County Drain Commissioner after a petition has been circulated, notarized, and confirmed to be valid; which includes checking property tax records to assure signers have paid taxes to date within the preceding three years. The board appointees are disinterested persons, county residents, and cannot currently be a member of the Lenawee County Board of Commissioners.
The Lenawee County Drain Commissioner’s Office will mail notices to all property owners in the district and publish a legal notice in the local newspaper at least ten days prior to the hearing. Notices will also be mailed to all municipalities in the district, County Clerk, and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
Function of the Board of Determination
The board’s decision is based on the public health, convenience, or welfare. The board does not determine cost efficiency, define or delineate the scope of a project or what portions of a petition are necessary. Once it has made that determination, the Commissioner has the responsibility of finding the best alternative. The board’s decision is made by majority vote of the board members and not by a vote of the attendees. The Drain Commissioner does not vote.
(see Role of Board of Determination and Role of Drain Commissioner)
Board of Determination Public Hearing
A three member board is convened to hear testimony for and against the petition and determines if the petition is or is not necessary and conducive to the public health, convenience, or welfare. Public testimony and board deliberations will be made in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. The board will take two votes—necessity of the drain petition, and if it is necessary, whether all, part, or none of the construction for protection of public health in one or more cities, villages, or townships, specifying which municipality. The board may also reconvene hearing to add lands to the drainage district based on additional survey and information.
(see Agenda of Board of Determination)
Right of Appeal
If any person feels aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Determination that the petition is or is not necessary, that person may file an appeal of that decision to Lenawee County Circuit Court within ten days after the determination of the board. Municipalities may appeal the decision within twenty days after the determination.
Design & Engineering, Contract Bid Opening and Review of Apportionments
After the appeal process has expired, the Lenawee County Drain Commissioner hires a competent engineer to inspect and design a viable and cost effective solution to the petition request. After design and contract bid opening, a computation of all costs—including engineering, administration, construction, and contingencies. A review of apportionments will be held for one day at the Drain Commissioner’s Office.
What if I cannot attend the Day of Review, or I disagree with the proposed assessment for my property?
If you are unable to attend the Day of Review and have questions regarding your assessment or the assessment process, please call the Lenawee County Drain Commissioner’s Office. It is possible to make an appointment at times other than the Day of Review, although the appeal period begins after the date of the Day of Review. An appeal of the Drain Special Assessments may be made to the Lenawee County Probate Court within ten days after the Day of Review.