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Code of Virginia
Title 21. Drainage, Soil Conservation, Sanitation and Public Facilities Districts
Subtitle .
Chapter 6. Drainage Projects
4/18/2024

Chapter 6. Drainage Projects.

§ 21-292. Jurisdiction of circuit courts to establish projects.

The circuit courts of the several counties and cities of this Commonwealth shall have jurisdiction, power and authority to establish a levee, or drainage project or projects, in their several counties and cities and in projects as hereinafter set out, and to locate and establish levees, drains or canals and cause to be constructed, straightened, widened or deepened any land drainage, ditch, drain or watercourse, and to build levees or embankments and erect tide gates and pumping plants for the purpose of draining and reclaiming wet, swamp or overflowed lands.

Code 1919, § 1737; 1926, p. 604; 1954, c. 642; 1966, c. 203.

§ 21-292.1. "District" means "project.".

Whenever the word district or districts hereinafter appears in this chapter, it shall be construed to mean project or projects.

1954, c. 642.

§ 21-293. Drainage considered essential.

It is hereby declared that the drainage of the surface water from wet agricultural lands is essential for the successful cultivation of such lands and the prosperity of the community, and the reclamation of overflowed swamps and tidal marshes shall be considered a public benefit and conducive to the public health, convenience, utility and welfare.

Code 1919, § 1737; 1926, p. 604.

§ 21-294. Establishment considered public improvement.

It is declared that the preliminary work, establishment and completion of a drainage district shall be classified as a public improvement of an integral part of the county in which such district or part thereof be located, and it shall be the duty of the governing body of each county to cooperate in the promotion of the development of each of such parts of their county, including the construction of public roads, public bridges and the drainage canals of preliminary or finally established drainage districts, and the indirect benefits received by the development of each of the parts of a county are indeed substantial benefits received also by the county, and the value of the indirect benefits received by the county is full compensation for the performance of the duty assigned to the governing body of any county by this chapter, and that the preliminary payment of costs and expenses of surveys of drainage districts, and the assumption or responsibility for necessary bond issues required for established drainage districts, public bridges and public roads shall be construed as revenue producing investments for the county, from which increased revenues will be derived from increased assessments by reason of the improvements and the preliminary payment of the costs and expenses and the assumption of the responsibility by the governing body of a county, shall be considered the performance of a duty towards the several integral parts of their county, for which the county receives full potential value.

Code 1919, § 1737; 1926, p. 605.

§ 21-295. Form of petition; bond; summons of landowners not on petition.

Whenever a petition, signed by fifty-one percent or more of the owners of land who own fifty-one percent or more of the land, within a proposed drainage project, according to the county-land book or books or to the latest assessment lists of the county or counties in which such project is located, or by the heirs, guardians, conservators or executors of estates or by those having color of title, or by those in adverse possession, or by the officers of corporations, whose lands will be affected by or assessed for the expense of the proposed improvements, shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of any county in which a part of the lands are located, setting forth that any specific body or district of land in the county or adjoining counties, described in such a way as to convey an intelligent idea as to the location of such land, is subject to overflow, or too wet for cultivation, or in need of drainage, and the public benefit or utility or the public health, convenience or welfare, will be promoted by draining, ditching or leveeing the same, or by changing or improving the natural watercourse or courses; and setting forth therein, as far as practicable, the starting point, route and terminus and lateral tile or open branches, of the proposed improvement, and there is filed therewith a bond for the amount or product of ten dollars multiplied by the square root of the estimated number of acres within the bounds of the proposed project, signed by two or more sureties or by some lawful and authorized surety company, to be approved by the clerk, and conditioned for the payment of all costs and expenses incurred in the proceedings in case the court does not grant the prayer of the petition, the clerk shall issue a summons, to be served on all the defendant landowners, including any railway company, who have not joined in the petition and whose lands are affected or included in the proposed drainage district, to show cause, if any there be, why the lands in the proposed drainage project should not be drained or leveed.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1920, p. 608; 1924, p. 707; 1926, p. 605; 1954, c. 642; 1997, c. 801.

§ 21-296. Circulation of duplicate originals of petition.

For the convenience of the petitioners, duplicate originals of the same petition may be circulated and separately signed by the several petitioners without the others being present, which the court shall treat in all respects as if the signatures had been placed upon the same copy at the same time.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1924, p. 708; 1926, p. 606.

§ 21-297. Service and return of summons; appointment of board of viewers.

The summons may be served by publication as to any defendants who cannot be personally served, as provided by law. Such summons shall be returnable to the first day of any regular term of the circuit court of the county, during which term, or some succeeding term, the court, after determining the sufficiency of the petition, shall immediately enter of record three interested resident freeholders of the proposed project in which the lands are located who have been elected by a majority of the petitioners. Such persons appointed shall constitute a board of viewers who shall select and designate an engineer, or other person experienced with drainage, deemed qualified by the board of viewers to make a preliminary survey and report thereon. After the appointment of the board the question of the sufficiency of the petition may not be again raised, unless the boundary of the district be subsequently changed by the court.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1920, p. 608; 1924, p. 708; 1926, p. 606; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-298. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-299. Notice to viewers of appointment.

The clerk of the court thereupon shall mail a written notice to each member of the board of viewers so appointed, notifying him of his appointment, and requesting that the board proceed without delay to discharge its duties as such according to law.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1924, p. 708; 1926, p. 606.

§ 21-300. Filling vacancies on board.

If a vacancy occurs on the board of viewers for any reason a successor shall be chosen in accordance with the provisions of § 21-297.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1920, p. 608; 1924, p. 708; 1926, p. 606; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-301. Compensation of viewers.

The compensation for the services of the board of viewers, together with their incidental expenses to be fixed as herein provided, shall be paid preliminarily by the county treasurer upon the certificate of the circuit judge; the sum so paid shall be refunded, with interest at the rate of six per centum per annum when the drainage fund is subsequently provided for by the sale of bonds, or otherwise, or out of the bond given by the petitioners in case the district is not subsequently established.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1920, p. 608; 1924, p. 708; 1926, p. 606.

§ 21-302. Petition based on widening, deepening, etc., of natural streams.

If the majority of the landowners in any wet, swamp or overflowed lands petition the court for a drainage district based on the widening, deepening, cleaning or straightening of such natural streams only as the United States government or the state drainage authorities pronounce as essential for the drainage of such lands, and agree in the petition to a tax levy for such draining, spread equally over each acre, then the court shall entertain such petition and all proceedings shall be in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, except that the viewers shall not classify the lands as to the benefit derived. Furthermore, in any case where it is made to appear, after the natural stream has been widened, reopened, cleaned out or straightened, that the majority of the landowners of any district, formed under the provisions of this section, desire that such district be divided into subdistricts, the court may, in its discretion so order.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1920, p. 608; 1924, p. 708; 1926, p. 607.

§ 21-303. Withdrawal of persons signing petition.

If during the proceedings, before or after the filing of the petition, any of the petitioners withdraw from the petition so as to render the number of petitioners whose signatures remain upon the petition insufficient according to § 21-295, and sufficient additional signatures to the petition of the same or other landowners, whose lands will be affected, are not obtained before the next succeeding term, the court shall dismiss the petition at the cost and expense of those who withdraw from the petition, including an engineer's and an attorney's fee for counseling the petitioners, and shall apportion all of the costs and expenses theretofore accrued among those who withdrew at a flat rate per acre, according to the acreage owned by each within the bounds of the proposed drainage district, as indicated in the petition, or otherwise, and judgment shall be entered against those who withdrew and shall be docketed in the judgment docket of the court of the county in which the petition was filed by the clerk thereof if not paid within thirty days from the entry of the order. Ten days' notice, however, shall be given by the clerk to each person affected thereby, of such order of the court.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1926, p. 607.

§ 21-304. All landowners need not be listed in petition; amendments.

To render the practical application of this chapter possible in all drainage cases, it shall be sufficient for the petitioners to exercise due diligence to ascertain the names of all the landowners and those having title to land in the proposed district, and it shall not be necessary for the petitioners to list and include with the petition, filed with the clerk, the names of all the landowners in the proposed district; but after the filing thereof with the clerk, as the proceeding progresses, the petition may be amended as often as may be necessary to include the names of additional landowners when, and if others are subsequently ascertained, so that the petition may finally show the names of all the landowners it is possible to ascertain in the proposed district. The names of landowners, if any, in the proposed district, which it was impossible to ascertain after the exercise of due diligence, as aforesaid, shall be classified as unknown owners, who may, at any time, become parties to the proceeding as provided for in § 21-309.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1926, p. 607.

§ 21-305. Tile system of drainage.

Whenever a supplementary petition signed by the owner or owners of any tract of land in the proposed district, be subsequently filed with the clerk of the court, requesting that tile be used to drain the tract, the clerk shall immediately notify the engineer of the district of such petition. The engineer shall thereupon design and lay out a system of tile drainage upon the tract, and the board of viewers appointed to classify the lands in the district, as hereinafter provided for, shall, in the schedule of classification, place a special assessment upon the tract and also classify the tract in a class which will result in the total assessment being equal to the cost of the tile drainage of the tract, in addition to the proportional part of the liability for other benefits derived from the drainage canals of the district.

The tile drainage system shall become part of the proposed drainage district, and shall be governed by all the provisions of this chapter, insofar as the same may be applicable.

Code 1919, § 1738; 1926, p. 608.

§ 21-306. Compensation of engineer, assistants and viewers.

The board of viewers of the project involved shall at the first meeting after the selection of a drainage engineer make provision for the compensation to be paid him, if any, and his necessary assistants and the members of the board of viewers together with their incidental expenses. The rate of pay to each member of the board of viewers shall not exceed five dollars per day.

When the lands proposed to be drained and created into a drainage district are located in two or more counties, the clerk of the circuit court of either county shall have and exercise the jurisdiction herein conferred, and the venue shall be in that county in which the petition is first filed.

Code 1919, § 1739; 1924, p. 707; 1926, p. 608; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-307. Publication against unknown owners.

If, at the time of the filing of the petition, or at any time subsequent thereto, it shall be made to appear to the court, or the judge thereof in vacation, by affidavit or otherwise, that the owner or owners of the whole or any share of any tract or tracts of land affected or within the bounds of the proposed drainage district, whose names are unknown, and cannot, after due diligence, be ascertained by the petitioners, the court or the judge thereof, shall order a notice in the nature of a summons to be given to all such persons by publication of the petition, or of the substance thereof, and describing generally the tract or tracts of land as to which the owner or owners are unknown, with the order of the court or the judge thereof thereon, in some newspaper published in the county wherein the land is located or in any city within the geographical limits of the county. If no newspaper shall be published in the county or city, then in some newspaper designated in the order of the court or the judge thereof, and a copy of such publication shall also be posted in at least three conspicuous places within the boundaries of the proposed district, and at the courthouse door of the county. Such publication in a newspaper shall be made once a week for four successive weeks.

Code 1919, § 1740; 1926, p. 608.

§ 21-308. Appointment of representative of unknown owner.

After the time of publication shall have expired, if no person claiming and asserting title to the tract or tracts of land and entitled to notice shall appear, the court or the judge thereof, in its or his discretion, may appoint some disinterested person to represent the unknown owner or owners of the lands, and thereupon the court shall assume jurisdiction of the tract or tracts of land, and shall adjudicate as to the lands to the same extent as if the owners were present and represented, and shall proceed against the land itself.

Code 1919, § 1740; 1926, p. 609.

§ 21-309. Subsequent appearance of unknown owners.

If at any time during the pendency of the drainage proceeding the owner or owners of the lands shall appear in person, they may be made parties defendant of their own motion and without the necessity of personal service, and shall thereafter be considered as parties to the proceeding, but they shall have no right to except to or appeal from any order or judgment theretofore rendered as to which the time for filing exceptions or notice shall have expired.

Code 1919, § 1740; 1926, p. 609.

§ 21-310. Guardian ad litem for infants and incapacitated adults.

These proceedings shall not be stayed because of infancy or incapacity; but the court in which the petition was filed shall appoint some discreet and competent attorney at law as guardian ad litem to any infant or incapacitated person who may own or be interested in any of the land affected by these proceedings, whether such persons have been served with process or not. If no such attorney is found willing to act, the court shall appoint some other discreet and proper person as guardian ad litem, but the person so appointed shall not be liable to costs. Every guardian ad litem shall faithfully represent the interest or estate of the infant or incapacitated person for whom he is appointed, and it shall be the duty of the court to see that the estate of such defendant is so represented and protected. Wherever the court is of opinion that the interests of any infant or incapacitated person require, it shall remove any guardian ad litem and appoint another in his stead.

Code 1919, § 1741; 1997, c. 801.

§ 21-311. Recordation of petition and orders.

A copy of the petition, duly certified by the clerk of the court in which the same was originally filed, shall be recorded in the deed book in the clerk's office, of each county in which any of the lands affected thereby are located and duly indexed in the names of all the parties, the costs of such recordation to be taxed as a part of the costs of the proceedings. Any orders in the proceedings whereby other persons are made parties, shall be recorded and indexed in like manner.

Code 1919, § 1742.

§ 21-312. Examination; preliminary report.

The board of viewers shall proceed, as soon as practicable, to examine the land described in the petition and other land if necessary, to locate properly such improvement or improvements as are petitioned for, along the route described in the petition, or any route answering the same purpose, if found more practicable or feasible, unless previously surveyed by United States or other engineer and may run levels such as may be necessary to determine the elevation of the several parts of the district, and shall make and return to the clerk of the court of the county, within sixty days, unless, either before or after the expiration of the period, the time shall be, for good cause shown, extended by the court, or the judge thereof in vacation, a written report, signed by the members of the board or by the majority, thereof, which shall in the case of drainage, set forth:

(a) Whether the proposed drainage is practicable or not;

(b) Whether it will benefit the public health or any public highway or be conducive to the general welfare of the community;

(c) Whether the improvement proposed will benefit the lands sought to be benefited;

(d) The character of the lands and their probable value after the proposed drainage has been completed;

(e) Whether or not all the lands that are benefited are included in the proposed drainage district; and naming the owners thereof and the approximate acreage of each which they estimate will be affected. They shall also file with this report a map of the proposed drainage district, showing the location of the ditch or ditches or other improvements to be constructed and the lands that will be affected thereby, and such other information as they may have collected that will tend to show the correctness of their findings.

Code 1919, § 1743; 1920, p. 607; 1926, p. 609.

§ 21-313. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-314. Notice of consideration of preliminary report.

After the petition is entertained by the court, notice shall be given to all interested landowners or their representatives in writing mailed to their last known address and by publication in two consecutive issues of any daily or weekly newspaper published in any city, town or village situated within the original geographical bounds of the county or counties in which the proposed district is located, if such there be, otherwise in any daily or weekly newspaper designated by the court or the judge thereof, and also by posting a written or printed notice at the door of the courthouse, that on the date set, naming the day, the court will consider and pass upon the preliminary report of the board of viewers. At least five days shall intervene between the date of the second publication and the posting of the notices and the date set for the hearing.

Code 1919, § 1745; 1926, p. 610; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-315. Hearing objections to preliminary report.

At the date appointed for the hearing, or upon any date to which the same may be continued, in its discretion, the court shall hear and determine any objection that may be offered to the report of the board of viewers.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-316. Exclusion of land not affected by drainage.

If it appears that there is any land within the proposed levee or drainage district that will not be affected by the leveeing or drainage thereof, such lands shall be excluded and the names of the owners withdrawn from such proceeding.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-317. Changing boundaries to include land affected.

If it shall be shown that there is any land not within the proposed district that will be affected by the construction of the proposed levee or drain, the boundary of the district shall be so changed as to include such land, and such additional landowners shall be made parties plaintiff or defendant, respectively, and summons shall be issued accordingly, as hereinbefore provided. And, upon petition of any party so summoned, filed within ten days after such summons has been served upon him, the court shall hear and decide any objection made by the petitioner as to the establishment of the district or the inclusion of the petitioner's land in the same. After such changes in the boundary are made, the sufficiency of the petition shall be verified to determine whether or not it conforms to the requirements of § 21-295. Any person, whose lands are affected, may, at this stage of the proceedings, sign the petition so as to render same sufficient.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-318. Determining efficiency of drainage; changes.

The efficiency of the drainage or levee shall also be determined, and if it appears that the location of any levee or drain can be changed so as to make it more effective, or that other branches or spurs should be constructed, or that any branch or spur projected may be eliminated, or other changes made that will tend to increase the benefits of the proposed work, such modification and changes shall be made by the court.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-319. Board of viewers to attend hearing.

The board of viewers shall attend such hearing, and give any information or evidence that may be sought to verify and substantiate their report.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-320. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-321. Preliminary establishment of district.

The above facts having been determined to the satisfaction of the court, and the approximate boundaries of the proposed district determined, it shall declare the preliminary establishment of the drainage or levee district, which shall be designated by name or number, for the object and purpose as herein set forth.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-322. Land excluded from district but located within boundaries.

If any lands shall be excluded from the district because of the court having found that such lands will not be affected or benefited, and the names of the owners of such lands have been withdrawn from such proceedings, but such lands are so situated as necessarily to be located within the outer boundaries of the district, such fact shall not prevent the establishment of the district, and the lands shall not be assessed for any drainage tax, but this shall not prevent the district from acquiring a right-of-way across such lands for constructing a canal or ditch or for any other necessary purpose authorized by law.

Code 1919, § 1746.

§ 21-323. Condemnation of land.

If it shall be necessary to acquire a right-of-way and outlet over and through any lands or to remove any dam or other obstacle, whether the same is or is not operated under a decree of court, and the same cannot be acquired by purchase at a price deemed reasonable by the court upon report to the court by the board of viewers thereupon, then in such event the power of eminent domain is conferred, and the same may be condemned. Such owner of the land, dam, or other obstacles proposed to be condemned, may all be made parties defendant in one condemnation suit or proceeding, whether such owner or owners are all interested in one tract or parcel of land, dam or other obstacle, or different owners are interested in different tracts or parcels of land or different dams or other obstacles, and the procedure in such condemnation suit or proceeding shall be under the restrictions provided by the general statutes of this Commonwealth relative to the condemnation of land so far as the same may be applicable and are not in conflict with the provisions of this chapter.

Code 1919, § 1747; 1928, p. 604.

§ 21-324. Right of appeal.

Any person or corporation owning lands within the drainage or levee district, which he or it thinks will not be benefited by the improvement, and should not be included within the district, shall have a right to appeal as provided by Chapter 26 (§ 8.01-669 et seq.) of Title 8.01; but such appeal shall be perfected within sixty days from the date of the order finally establishing the drainage district, after which time, no appeal shall be allowed.

Code 1919, § 1748; 1926, p. 610.

§ 21-325. Complete survey.

After the district is preliminarily established the court shall refer the report of the board of viewers back to them, and unless United States or state engineers have already surveyed the district or the major portion thereof, may make a complete survey, plans and specifications for the drainage or levees, and fix a time when the board of viewers shall complete and file their report, not exceeding six months; but such time may be extended by the court for good cause shown, either before or after the expiration of the time.

Code 1919, § 1749; 1920, p. 607.

§ 21-326. Assistance in making survey.

The board of viewers shall have power to employ such assistants as may be necessary to make a complete survey of the drainage district, and unless already completely surveyed and chartered, by United States or state engineers, shall enter upon the ground and make a survey of the main drain, or drains, and all its laterals, as approved by the court at the preliminary hearing, or any other drainways, answering the same purpose, if found more feasible or economical.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 609; 1926, p. 610.

§ 21-327. Courses, distances and levels.

The line of each ditch, drain or levee shall be plainly and substantially marked upon the ground, by the cutting or marking of necessary trees, staking or otherwise. The course and distance of each ditch shall be carefully noted and sufficient notes made so that it may be accurately platted on the plan of the drainage district. A line of levels shall be run for the entire work, and sufficient data secured from which accurate profiles and plans shall be made.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 609; 1926, p. 611.

§ 21-328. Bench marks.

Frequent bench marks shall be established along the line, on permanent objects, and their elevation recorded in the field books.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 610; 1926, p. 611.

§ 21-329. Other levels.

If it is deemed expedient by the board of viewers, other levels may be run to determine the fall from one part of the district to another. If an old watercourse, land drainage, ditch or channel is to be widened, deepened, or straightened, it shall be accurately cross-sectioned so as to compute the number of cubic yards saved by the use of such old channel.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 610; 1926, p. 611.

§ 21-330. Drainage map.

A drainage map of the district shall then be completed, showing the location of the ditch or ditches, and other improvements, and the acreage as closely as may be determined by the records, or if necessary, from the notes of the survey, by the drainage engineer, of the lands, designating each tract by a number, owned by each individual landowner or corporation within the district. The location of any railroads or public highways and the boundary of any incorporated town or village within the district shall be shown on the map.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 610; 1926, p. 611.

§ 21-331. Profile of each levee, etc.; estimate of costs; rights-of-way.

There shall also be prepared to accompany this map a profile of each levee, drain, or watercourse, showing the surface of the ground, the bottom of the grade of the proposed improvement and the number of cubic yards of excavation or fill in each mile or fraction thereof, and the total number of cubic yards in the proposed improvement and the estimated cost thereof, the cost of any other work required to be done including the cost of the rights-of-way for the levees, drains and ditches of the district, and the report shall state an estimate of the cost thereof and what rights-of-way are required to be purchased or condemned, and the board of viewers is directed to obtain the consent in writing of such landowners as will permit the levees, ditches and drains to be constructed through their lands without charge on their part for the land so to be taken and occupied, and before the county board of drainage commissioners hereinafter mentioned shall advertise for bids under the provisions of this chapter, they shall proceed to condemn such lands as shall have been reported by the board of viewers and approved by the court as necessary to be condemned; such condemnation proceedings to be in accordance with § 21-323.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 610; 1926, p. 611.

§ 21-332. Adoption of surveys already made.

In any case where surveys have been made by or under the direction of any engineer, surveyor, corporation, town, city, county, state or of the United States government, of lands, in any part or parcel of land included within any proposed drainage district, authority is given to the court in which the proceedings involving such land are condemned to adopt such survey or surveys and such information concerning the same as can be obtained from the engineer, surveyor, corporation, town, city, county, state or United States government, and to dispense with any other survey work which in its judgment can be omitted without prejudice to the right of any party whose lands are affected.

Code 1919, § 1750; 1920, p. 610; 1926, p. 611.

§ 21-333. Assessment of damages.

It shall be the further duty of the board of viewers to assess the damages claimed by anyone that are justly right and due him for land taken or for inconvenience imposed because of the construction of the improvement or for any other legal damages sustained. Such damage shall be considered separate and apart from any benefit the land would receive because of the proposed work.

Code 1919, § 1751.

§ 21-334. Classification of land; benefits; assessments.

It shall be the further duty of the board of viewers personally to examine the land in the district and classify it with reference to the benefit it will receive from the construction of the levee, ditch, drain, or watercourse or other improvement and to determine rates of assessment in direct proportion to the benefits received on an acreage basis subject to the approval of a majority of the petitioners who own a majority of the land.

Code 1919, § 1752; 1924, p. 707; 1926, p. 612; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-335. Cost of survey.

The board of viewers or the drainage engineer shall keep an accurate account and report to the court or the judge thereof in vacation the name and number of days each person was employed on the survey, the kind of work he was doing and the rate of pay of each, and all other incidental expenses whatsoever, supported by vouchers, that have been incurred in the execution of the survey, including cost of maintenance, transportation, supplies and materials, which when paid by one of the members of the board shall be allowed by the court or the judge thereof and for which he shall be reimbursed in addition to his compensation.

When a separate account of a member of the board of viewers, approved by the engineer, if other than his own, has been rendered for his personal services performed under decree of the circuit court and incidental expenses in connection with the survey, the court or the judge thereof in vacation, shall examine the same and when found correct, in proper form and according to law, the judge shall thereupon, without further delay, approve and certify to the account, and shall enter an order that the same shall be paid, as provided for in § 21-306.

Code 1919, § 1753; 1924, p. 707; 1926, p. 612.

§ 21-336. Delay; extension of time.

In case the work is delayed by high water, sickness or any other good cause, and the final report is not completed at the time fixed by the court, the engineer on the board of viewers shall communicate with the court or the judge thereof in vacation, either before or after the expiration of the time, and state in writing the cause of such failure and ask for sufficient time in which to complete the work and the court or the judge thereof shall set another date by which the report shall be completed and filed; the action of the court or judge in such a case to be conclusive evidence as to the sufficiency of the grounds for such postponement or extension.

Code 1919, § 1754; 1926, p. 613.

§ 21-337. Final report; notice of hearing.

When the final report is completed and filed a date shall be fixed for the final hearing upon the report, and notice thereof shall be given in accordance with § 21-314.

Code 1919, § 1755; 1926, p. 613; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-338. Duty of viewers to review report and make changes.

At the date set for the hearing any landowner may appear in person or by counsel and file his objection in writing to the final report of the board of viewers, and it shall be the duty of said board of viewers to carefully review the objections filed thereto and to make such changes as it deems necessary to render substantial and equal justice to all the landowners in the district. If there be no objections made, or if any objections made are satisfactorily adjusted, the board of viewers shall certify such fact to the court.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 613; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-339. Approval by court.

If, in the opinion of the court, the cost of construction, together with the amount of damage assessed is not greater than the increased value of the lands affected and of the benefits that will accrue to the lands, the court shall confirm the final report of the board of viewers, and shall declare the drainage district to be finally established, and shall approve the survey and plans therefor.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 614.

§ 21-340. Power of court to reopen after approval.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as depriving the court of the power of reopening the proceedings in any case after the approval of the final report and before the letting of the contract in accordance with § 21-349, in order to make such changes in the plans as may be necessary to an economical or cheaper completion of the work, provided, such reopening is upon ten days' notice to all parties.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 614.

§ 21-341. Dismissal of proceedings when cost exceeds benefit.

If the court finds that the cost of construction, together with the damages assessed is greater than the value of the resulting benefit that will accrue to the lands affected, or greater than the potential value of the lands after the completion of the proposed drainage, the court shall dismiss the proceedings at the cost of the petitioners, and apportion the cost among them, each according to acreage in the proposed district, including the expenses incurred by reason of the filing of the petition including the compensation paid to the engineer, his assistants, and the other members of the board of viewers.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 614.

§ 21-342. Appeal.

Either party shall have a right to appeal from the judgment of the court as provided by Chapter 26 (§ 8.01-669 et seq.) of Title 8.01. Such appeal shall be perfected within sixty days from the entry of the order confirming the final report of the board of viewers.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 614.

§ 21-343. Payments into court.

The court may, from time to time, order the petitioners to pay into court, or as the court may direct, such amounts at a flat rate per acre according to the area owned by each within the bounds of the district as may be necessary to pay costs and expenses theretofore accrued, such amount to be repaid from the drainage fund to the petitioners in equal sums as were received together with interest thereon at the rate of six per centum per annum by order of the court when, and if the bonds of the district are sold, or the drainage fund otherwise provided and such order to pay into court when entered, shall have the force and effect of a judgment, and it shall be docketed in the judgment docket of the court of the county in which the petition was filed by the clerk thereof, if not paid within thirty days from the entry of the order. Ten days' notice, however, shall be given by the clerk to each person affected thereby, of such order of the court.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 614.

§ 21-344. Payment of total costs and expenses.

The total amount of the costs and expenses, or any part thereof may be paid by any person in lieu of assessments against his land with the consent of the board of viewers. If all landowners elect to pay their total assessed costs, upon the request of the board of viewers, the sale of bonds shall not be made.

Code 1919, § 1756; 1926, p. 614; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-345. Assessment of lands benefited not theretofore included.

If, at any time after the final confirmation of the final report of the board of viewers, and final establishment of the district, the county board of drainage commissioners hereinafter mentioned having jurisdiction over the drainage district, are advised that the lands of any person are benefited by the drainage, such lands not having been included in the district or assessed theretofore on account of the drainage, the board, after giving not less than ten days' legal notice to such person, shall hear and determine whether any, and if any, what monetary benefit has been received by such person or persons by reason of the drainage, and the amount so ascertained by the county board of drainage commissioners, if any, shall be assessed against the lands of such person, in like manner and collected in the same way as if the lands had been classified, listed and assessed in the original assessment of the lands in the drainage district. Such person shall have the right of appeal, from the findings of the board to the circuit court of the county in which the petition was filed. Such appeal shall be perfected within ten days from the date of the findings of said board, after which time no appeal shall be allowed.

Code 1919, § 1757; 1926, p. 614.

§ 21-346. Drainage record.

The clerk of the circuit court in which the petition is filed shall provide a suitable book to be known as the drainage record, in which he shall record every petition, motion, order, report, judgment or finding of the court in every drainage transaction that may come before it in such manner as to make a complete and continuous record of the case. Copies of all maps, profiles, minutes of meeting, receipts and other pertinent information are to be furnished by the board of viewers to the clerk of the circuit court and marked by the clerk "official copies," which shall be kept on file by him in his office, and one other copy shall be pasted or otherwise attached to his record book.

Code 1919, § 1758; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-347. Board of viewers to operate, manage and administer project.

After the drainage project shall have been declared finally established and the survey and plans therefor approved, the board of viewers for such drainage project shall have full authority to operate, manage and administer the affairs of such drainage project as is provided in this chapter.

Code 1919, § 1759; 1926, p. 615; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-348. Superintendent of construction.

The board of viewers of each drainage project may, if necessary, appoint a competent person as superintendent of construction and shall retain the services of the engineer of the drainage district, or his duly appointed successor in the case of such change having been made, to see that the work be performed according to the plans and specifications. Such engineer and superintendent shall each furnish a bond the cost of which shall be paid by the project and to be approved by and payable to the board of viewers in the penal sum of $10,000 each, conditioned upon the honest and faithful performance of their respective duties.

Code 1919, § 1760; 1926, p. 616; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-349. Notice of time and place of letting contract; bids.

The board of viewers of each drainage project shall cause notice to be given daily for two consecutive weeks in some newspaper published in the county wherein such improvement or a part thereof is located if such there be, or in any newspaper within the geographical bounds of the county and in such additional publications elsewhere as they may deem expedient, of the time and place of letting the work of construction of the improvement, and in such notice they shall specify the security to accompany each bid, the approximate amount of work to be performed and the time fixed for the completion thereof; and, on the date appointed for the letting they, together with the superintendent of construction, or the engineer, shall convene and let to the lowest responsible bidder, either as a whole or in sections, as they may deem the most advantageous for the district, the proposed work.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 616; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-350. Bond to accompany bid.

No bid shall be entertained that is not accompanied by a bond with sureties in an amount equal to five per centum of the bid or that exceeds the estimated cost of the work to be awarded to a contractor.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 616.

§ 21-351. Rejection of bid.

The board shall have the right to reject all bids once and advertise again the work, if, in their judgment, the interests of the project will be subserved by so doing, but if, upon the second bidding, all the bids exceed the estimated cost of the work, the bids shall be reported to the court by the board of viewers of each drainage project and the court thereupon, after giving notice to all parties affected in a manner similar to that required before the hearing of the final report, as set out in § 21-337, shall hear and decide anew the question of finally establishing the district, taking as the basis of cost the lowest responsible bid as reported to it by the board of viewers, and the proceeding thereupon shall be as set forth in §§ 21-338 to 21-344, and if the court anew decides that the value of the benefits of the increased value of the lands will exceed the costs it shall direct the board of viewers to accept the lowest responsible bid, otherwise the petition shall be dismissed at the cost of the petitioners. Cost shall be apportioned among them each according to acreage.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 616; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-352. Contract and bond of successful bidder.

A successful bidder shall be required to enter into a contract with the board of viewers of each drainage project and to execute a bond for the faithful performance of such contract, with sufficient sureties in favor of the board of viewers for the use and benefit of the levees, or drainage project in an amount equal to twenty-five per centum of the amount of the contract price of the work awarded to him.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 616; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-353. Superintendent and engineer to act as advisors.

In canvassing bids and letting the contract, the superintendent of construction or the engineer shall act only in an advisory capacity to the board of viewers.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 617; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-354. Basis of contract; inspection.

The contract shall be based on the plans and specifications submitted by the board of viewers in their final report as confirmed by the court, the original of which shall remain on file in the office of the clerk of the county in which the petition for the district was filed and shall be open to the inspection of all prospective bidders.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 617.

§ 21-355. Opening bids.

All bids shall be sealed and shall not be opened except under the authority of the board of viewers and on the day theretofore appointed for opening the bids.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 617; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-356. Correction of report.

The board of viewers of each drainage project shall have power to correct errors and modify the details of the final report, if in their judgment they can increase the efficiency of the drainage plan and afford better drainage to the lands in the district without increasing the estimated cost.

Code 1919, § 1761; 1926, p. 617; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-357. Monthly estimates.

The superintendent in charge of construction or the engineer shall make monthly estimates of the amount of work done, and shall furnish one copy to the contractor and file the other with the board of viewers and the board shall, within five days after the filing of such estimate, meet and direct the secretary to draw a warrant in favor of such contractor for ninety per centum of the work done, according to the specifications and contract; and upon presentation of such warrant, properly signed by the chairman and secretary, to the treasurer, of the drainage fund he shall pay the amount due thereon. When the work is fully completed and accepted by the superintendent or the engineer, the engineer shall make an estimate for the whole amount due, including amounts withheld on the previous monthly estimates, which shall be paid from the drainage fund, as before provided.

Code 1919, § 1762; 1926, p. 617; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-358. Failure of contractor.

If any contractor to whom the work or a portion of the work shall have been let shall fail to perform the same according to the terms specified in his contract, action may be had in behalf of the board of viewers against such contractor on his bond in the circuit court for damage sustained by the levee or drainage project and recovery made against such contractor and his sureties. In such an event the work shall be advertised and relet in the same manner as the original letting.

Code 1919, § 1763; 1926, p. 617; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-359. Highway affected.

Where any public ditch, drain or watercourse established under the provisions of this chapter crosses a public highway, the Department of Transportation shall provide bridges or culverts of adequate capacity to permit the free flow of water. The landowners in the drainage project shall bear the excavation cost for such structures.

Any government installation whether federal, state, county, city or town with runoff or acres draining into such a watershed area will be considered a landowner and shall be assessed on an acreage basis for drainage at the same rate as any other landowner.

Code 1919, § 1764; 1924, p. 107; 1926, p. 617; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-360. Railroad; damage.

Whenever the board of viewers shall make a survey for the purpose of locating a public levee or drainage project or changing a natural watercourse, and the same would cross the right-of-way of a railroad company it shall be the duty of the board of viewers promptly to notify the railroad company by serving written notice, accompanied by plans and profiles, upon the agent of such company or its lessee or receiver, that they will meet the company's representative at the place where the proposed ditch, drain, or watercourse crosses the right-of-way of such company, or at such other place as may be agreed upon by the respective parties. The meeting shall not be less than ten days after the service of notice fixing the time of the same, for the purpose of conferring with the railroad company with relation to the place where and the manner in which such improvements shall cross such right-of-way. When the time fixed for such conference shall arrive, unless for good cause more time is agreed upon, it shall be the duty of the board of viewers and the railroad company to agree, if possible, upon the place where and the manner and method in which such improvement shall cross such right-of-way. If, however, the board of viewers and the railroad company cannot agree, the whole matter shall be reported to the court by the board of viewers, and by the court referred to the State Corporation Commission as arbiters. The fact that the railroad company is required by the construction of the improvement to build a new bridge or culvert or to enlarge or strengthen an old one, shall be considered as damages to the railroad company to the extent of the actual cost thereof, as provided in § 21-359.

Code 1919, § 1765; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-361. Assessment of benefits to railroads.

The board of viewers shall also assess the benefits that will accrue to the right-of-way of the company by affording better drainage or a better outlet for drainage, as provided in § 21-359, in the case of highways; but no benefits shall be assessed because of the increase of business that may come to the road because of the construction of the improvement. The benefits shall be assessed as provided in § 21-334, and it shall be reported by the board of viewers as an assessment, due from the railroad company; and unless the same is paid when due by the company as an assessment, it may be collected in the manner of an ordinary debt in any court having jurisdiction; but the board of viewers of each drainage project shall have the right to enter into contracts with any such railroad company looking to a further assessment by virtue of the benefits received under this chapter.

Code 1919, § 1766; 1926, p. 618; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-362. Notice to railroad.

The clerk of the circuit court shall have notice served upon the railroad company of the time and place of hearing of the final report of viewers under § 21-361, and the railroad company shall have the right to file objections to the report, and to appeal from the findings of the court in the same manner as any landowner, as provided in §§ 21-292 through 21-361.

Code 1919, § 1767.

§ 21-363. Manner of crossing right-of-way; cost.

After the contract is let and the actual construction is commenced, the superintendent in charge of construction shall notify the railroad company of the probable time at which the contractor will be ready to enter upon the right-of-way of the road and construct the work thereon. It shall be the duty of the railroad to send a representative to view the ground with the superintendent of construction, and arrange the exact time at which such work can be most conveniently done. The work shall be so planned and conducted as to interfere in the least possible manner with the business of the railroad; and shall be conducted under the supervision and direction of the representative of the railroad company. However, all work necessary in the roadbed of the railroad company, including all temporary and permanent work, shall be promptly done by the railroad company and paid for from the fund of the drainage project in the same manner as provided in § 21-359, covering public highways.

Code 1919, § 1768; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-364. Control and repairs; penalty for injury to construction.

Whenever any improvement constructed under this chapter is completed, it shall be under the control and supervision of the board of viewers of the project in the county in which the petition was filed. It shall be the duty of the board to keep the levee, ditch or watercourse in good repair, and for this purpose they may levy an assessment on the lands benefited by the construction of such improvements in the same manner and in the same proportions as the original assessments were made, and the fund that is collected shall be used for repairing and maintaining the ditch, drain or watercourse in perfect order; but if any repairs are made necessary by the act or negligence of the owner of any land through which such improvement is constructed, or by the act or negligence of his tenants, agents or employees or the same is caused by cattle, hogs, or other stock of the owner, employee, or agent, then the cost thereof shall be assessed and levied against the lands of the owner alone, to be collected by proper suit instituted by the board of viewers.

It shall be unlawful for any person to injure or damage or obstruct or build any bridge, roadway, fence or flood gate in such a way as to injure or damage any levee, ditch, drain, or watercourse constructed or improved under the provisions of this chapter, and any person causing such injury shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof may be fined any sum not exceeding twice the damage for injury done or caused.

Code 1919, § 1769; 1926, p. 618; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-365. Outlet for lateral drains.

The owner of any land that has been assessed for the construction of any ditch, drain or watercourse as herein provided, shall have the right to use the ditch, drain or watercourse as herein let for lateral drains from the land; and if the land is separated from the ditch, drain or watercourse by the land of another or others, and the owner thereof shall be unable to agree with the other or others as to the terms and conditions on which he may enter their lands and construct the drain or ditch, he may file his ancillary petition to the court in such pending proceeding, and the procedure shall be as now provided by law. When the ditch is constructed it shall become a part of the drainage system, and shall be under the control of the board of viewers and kept in repair by them, as provided in this chapter.

Code 1919, § 1770; 1926, p. 619; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-366. Certification and record of total cost.

After the contract for the work of construction of the improvement has been let, the board of viewers shall ascertain the total cost of the improvement, including damages awarded to be paid to owners of land, all costs of incidental expenses, and including a reasonable attorney's fee to counsel for petitions for conducting the proceedings on behalf of the petitioners, the amount of such fee to be fixed by the board of viewers and also including an amount sufficient to pay the necessary expenses of maintaining the improvement for a period of three years after the completion of the work of construction, after deducting therefrom any special assessments made against any railroad or highway. Thereupon the board of viewers under the hand of the chairman and secretary of the board, shall certify to the clerk of the circuit court the total cost, ascertained as aforesaid; and the certificate shall forthwith be recorded in the drainage record and open to inspection of any landowner in the district.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 610; 1924, p. 710; 1926, p. 619; 1936, p. 1034; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-367. Preparation and contents of drainage tax lists.

The board of viewers, with the assistance of the engineer, shall immediately prepare, in duplicate, the assessment rolls, or drainage tax lists, giving thereon the name of the owners of land in the district, so far as can be ascertained from the public records, or, if necessary, from the survey made by the drainage engineer a brief description of the several tracts of land assessed, and the amount of the assessment against each tract of land.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 619; 1936, p. 1034; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-368. Assessment rolls to provide for bond interest payments.

The first of these assessment rolls shall provide assessments sufficient for the payment of interest on the bond issue to accrue the third year after their issue, and the instalment of principal to fall due at the expiration of the third year after the date of issue, together with such amounts as shall have to be paid for collecting and handling of the same. The second assessment roll shall make like provision for the fourth year; the third for the fifth year; and in like manner for each succeeding year.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 619; 1936, p. 1034.

§ 21-369. Amount of tax levied.

In each year commencing with the maturity of the bonds, the tax levied shall be 110 per centum of the maturing principal and interest on the bonds, in this manner providing for the payment of maturing principal and interest on the bonds one year in advance.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1034.

§ 21-370. Application of surplus to reduce assessment for following year.

When the sum actually collected on any such assessment shall be more than sufficient to pay the principal and interest for the next succeeding year, a proper allowance for such surplus shall be made in the following assessment, and the percentage may be reduced accordingly.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1034.

§ 21-371. Assessment rolls to show time collectible; amount of assessment to depend on benefits.

Each of such assessment rolls shall specify the times when collectible, and be numbered in their order, and the amount assessed against the several tracts of land shall be in accordance with the benefits received, as shown by the classification of ratio of assessments made by the board of reviewers.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-372. Signing rolls.

These assessment rolls shall be signed by the chairman of the board of viewers and by the secretary of the board.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-373. Disposition of rolls.

One copy of each of the assessment rolls shall be filed with the drainage record and one copy shall be delivered to the county treasurer, or treasurers of the county or counties in which the lands are located, after the clerk of the circuit court in which the petition was filed has appended thereto an order directing the collection of the assessments, and the clerk is authorized and directed to make and append such order.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-374. Assessment shall have effect of judgment and constitute lien.

The assessments shall thereupon have the force and effect of a judgment as in the case of state and county taxes. These assessments shall constitute a lien upon the lands assessed with the payment thereof, second only to state, county and district taxes and levies and shall be collected in the same manner by the same officers as the state and county taxes are collected.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 711; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-375. When assessment due and payable; when delinquent.

The assessments shall be due and payable on the first Monday in September in each year, and if the same shall not be paid in full by the thirty-first day of December following, they shall be delinquent and shall be entered as such by the treasurer of the county in which the lands whereon the assessments are delinquent are located, on his copy of the assessment rolls, which entry shall be notice of the lien of any such delinquent assessment to the same extent as the entry of lands in the delinquent tax books is notice of the lien thereon.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 611; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-376. Interest from delinquency; penalty.

From the date of delinquency of any assessment it shall bear interest at the legal rate, and a penalty of five per centum of the assessment shall be added thereto.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-377. Notice of sale of delinquent land.

If any assessment is delinquent for more than a year, the treasurer of the county within which the land assessed lies shall, after the expiration of such year, proceed to sell the land by having notice of such intended sale served on the record owner of the land, if he is a resident of this Commonwealth and his whereabouts herein is known, as process is served in actions at law, by publishing the notice of such sale in a newspaper published or having general circulation in his county, and by posting the notice at the courthouse door; such service, publication and posting shall be not less than seven days in advance of the date set for the sale. Such publication and posting shall be sufficient notice of the sale to all parties in interest except the owner resident in this Commonwealth. Such notice with the return thereon, if it is served, and the certificate of the treasurer setting forth the date and medium of publication shall be filed by the treasurer in his office.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 620; 1936, p. 1035; 2023, cc. 506, 507.

§ 21-378. Place of sale when land lies in more than one county.

If the land upon which assessments are delinquent lies in more than one county, the treasurer of each county shall sell the portion lying therein.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-379. Time of sale of delinquent lands.

The sale of the lands for failure to pay such assessments shall be made at the courthouse door of the county in which the lands are situated, between the hours of 10:00 in the forenoon and 4:00 in the afternoon of the first Monday in February of each year. If for any necessary cause the sale cannot be made on that date, the sale may be continued from day to day for not exceeding four days, or the lands may be readvertised and sold on the first Monday in March succeeding during the same hours without any order therefor. If the county treasurer for any reason fail to make sale of any lands on the first Monday in February or March in any year, he may sell the same upon the first Monday of any subsequent month in the same year or any succeeding year after giving notice as required by law.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 612; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1035.

§ 21-380. Redemption of delinquent lands sold.

The existing general tax law in force when sales are made for delinquent assessments shall have application in redeeming lands so sold.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1036.

§ 21-381. Sufficiency of bids at delinquent sales.

No bid at any sale shall be received unless sufficient in amount to discharge all the drainage assessments and other charges due by the delinquent lands or owner thereof, together with all costs and expenses of sale. If no sufficient bid be received, the board of viewers shall be deemed the purchaser at a sum sufficient to pay all assessments which are due, and costs, as above stated, and shall be entitled to receive a certificate of purchase and deed in the manner provided by law for purchases at tax sales. The board of viewers shall only be required to pay the costs and expenses of sale before receiving a certificate of purchase, and no lands shall be subsequently sold for drainage assessments while the board of viewers holds a certificate of purchase or deed therefor.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1036; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-382. Rights of board of viewers at sale.

The board of viewers shall be in like position and have the same rights and be subject to the same duties as the purchaser of lands at any tax sale under the general law.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1036; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-383. Who may redeem.

The owner of the lands so sold or any person having an estate therein or having a lien thereon may redeem the same in the manner provided by law; and if the board of viewers shall have been the purchaser of the lands, the amount paid in redemption shall include the sum bid therefor plus the penalty.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1036; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-384. Board of viewers to pay treasurer.

When the period of redemption has expired the board of viewers shall pay to the treasurer or treasurers of the county or counties in which the lands lie the balance of the amount representing its bid at the sale of the lands and any accumulated assessments on the lands, before it or its assigns shall be entitled to a deed therefor.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1936, p. 1036; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-385. Effect when board of viewers acquires land at sale.

The board of viewers, after acquiring a deed for such lands, may hold the same as an asset of the project of which the lands are a part, and shall be liable for the payment of all drainage assessments and state and county taxes accruing after the sale at which the district was a bidder, and in all respects be deemed the owner of the lands and subject to the same privileges and liabilities as any other landowner, including the right to convey the lands for a consideration and pay the proceeds of the sale to the county treasurer for the credit of the district, of which such lands are a part, which may be distributed by the board of viewers for the benefit of the district in the same manner as other district funds.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1926, p. 621; 1936, p. 1036; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-386. Sale and collection according to general law.

The sale of lands for failure to pay such assessments, and the collection of such assessments, except as herein provided, shall be in accordance with general law as to the collection of state and county taxes.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 622; 1936, p. 1037.

§ 21-387. Deed to purchaser.

If no objection is made in any sale of land within thirty days after the date of sale, and the purchase price has been paid, the clerk of the circuit court of the county wherein the land lies shall convey to the purchaser the land sold by special warranty deed receiving therefor the fee provided by law for the conveyance of land sold for delinquent taxes.

Such conveyances shall be indefeasible to the same extent as a conveyance by a special commissioner acting under court appointment, and all persons having actual or constructive notice of the sale shall be precluded by such conveyance from thereafter objecting to the sale.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 622; 1936, p. 1037.

§ 21-388. Duty of treasurer to make payments of interest and principal of bonds.

It shall be the duty of the treasurer of the county in which the land is located and without any previous order from the board of viewers, out of the amount received by him as aforesaid, to provide and pay the installment of interest at the time and place as evidenced by the coupons attached to the bonds, and also to pay the annual installments of the principal due on the bonds at the time and place as evidenced by the bonds; namely, so far as they affect and are liens by virtue of this chapter, upon the lands in his county, and any county treasurer shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, if he shall willfully fail to make prompt payments of the interest and principal upon such bonds, and shall likewise be liable in a civil action for all damages which may accrue either to the board of viewers or the holder of the bonds, to either or both of which a right of action is hereby given.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1920, p. 612; 1924, p. 712; 1926, p. 622; 1936, p. 1037; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-389. Change of assessment rolls on change of ownership of lands.

If at any time before or after the preparation of the assessment rolls or drainage tax lists the owners of any lands within the boundary of the drainage project, which are liable for assessments or are assessed, should sell the whole or part of the lands, the board of viewers together with the assistance of the drainage engineer of the project, or any other competent drainage engineer, shall so prepare or change the assessment rolls to provide for the change in liability due to the change of ownership of the lands or part thereof. The new owner's name shall be added to the assessment roll and shall thereafter be liable for the drainage assessment upon that portion of the land purchased.

Code 1919, § 1771; 1924, p. 713; 1926, p. 622; 1936, p. 1037; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-390. Law governing sales.

Sales of lands for delinquent assessments may be made either under the law which was in force at the time of the creation of the drainage district, or under that in force at the time of sale, as may be deemed by the county treasurer more effectual for the enforcement of the assessments and the protection of the interest of the holders of bonds predicated thereon. Any sales of lands heretofore made under either of such laws are declared valid and effectual.

1927, p. 16; Michie Code 1942, § 1771a.

§ 21-391. Notice of redemption.

In any case where such sales have heretofore been made, or shall hereafter be made, and the purchaser of such lands desires a deed therefor, the treasurer shall give notice to all persons, who immediately prior to the sale were record owners of the lands, by publication once a week, for four successive weeks, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the lands are situated, in which publication the record owners shall be named, informing the owners that they may, within four months after the first publication of the notice, redeem the lands by paying the full amount of all assessments due for the year or years for which the lands were delinquent at the time of sale, together with the full amount of any assessments which may have become due upon the lands before their redemption hereunder, and together with all interest and penalties due upon the several amounts of such assessments.

1927, p. 16; Michie Code 1942, § 1771a.

§ 21-392. Repayment to purchasers on redemption; deed on failure to redeem.

If any record owner shall redeem the lands, as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the treasurer to repay to the purchaser at the sale, from the amount so paid in redemption, the amount paid by him for the lands so redeemed, with interest thereon; and thereafter the former owner so redeeming the same shall hold the same discharged from the lien of the assessments so paid by him, but subject to all assessments which may thereafter become due or be made upon the lands; but if the lands be not redeemed within the period, it shall then be the duty of the treasurer to execute and deliver to the purchaser of the lands a good and sufficient deed therefor, with special warranty, in which deed the clerk of the circuit court of the county shall join, and the purchaser shall thereafter hold the lands in fee simple, subject only to assessments thereafter becoming due thereon.

1927, p. 17; Michie Code 1942, § 1771a.

§ 21-393. Notice of issuance of bonds.

The board of viewers of the county in which the petition was filed shall give notice by publication once a week for three successive weeks in some newspaper published in the county in which the project, or some part thereof, is situated, if there be any such newspaper, with the first publication appearing no more than 21 days before the hearing, and also by posting a written or printed notice at the door of the courthouse and at five conspicuous places in the project, reciting that they propose to issue drainage bonds for the total cost of the improvement, giving the amount of the bonds to be issued, the rate of interest that they are to bear, and the time when payable.

Code 1919, § 1772; 1926, p. 623; 1954, c. 642; 2023, cc. 506, 507.

§ 21-394. Payment of full amount by landowner.

Any landowner in the project not wanting to pay interest on the bonds may, within fifteen days after the last publication of the notice, pay to the treasurer of the county in which his land is located the full amount for which his land is liable, to be ascertained from the assessment list, and the certificate of the board of viewers showing the total cost of the improvements, and have his lands released from liability to be assessed for the improvement; but such land shall continue liable for any future assessment for maintenance or for any increased assessment authorized under this chapter.

Code 1919, § 1772; 1926, p. 623; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-395. Defense; waiver.

Every person owning land in the district who shall neglect or fail to pay to the treasurer of the county in which his land is located the full amount for which his land is liable, within the time above specified, shall be deemed as consenting to the issuance of the drainage bonds, and in consideration of the right to pay his proportion in installments he thereby waives his right of defense to the payment of any assessments which may be levied for the payment of the bonds, because of any irregularity, illegality, or defect in the proceedings prior to such time, except in case of an appeal, as hereinbefore provided, which is not affected by this waiver.

Code 1919, § 1773.

§ 21-396. Issuing bonds; amount.

At the expiration of fifteen days after publication of notice of bond issue, the board of viewers of the county in which the petition was filed may issue bonds of the drainage project for an amount equal to the total cost of the improvement, including all costs as allowed under the terms of this chapter, less such amounts as shall have been paid in cash to the county treasurer, or treasurers, plus an amount sufficient to pay interest on the bond issue for the three years next following the date of issue.

Code 1919, § 1774; 1920, p. 612; 1926, p. 623; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-397. Interest and maturity of bonds.

The bonds shall bear not more than six per centum interest per annum payable semiannually, and shall be paid within thirty years, the first installment of principal shall mature at the expiration of three years from the date of issue.

Code 1919, § 1774; 1920, p. 612; 1926, p. 623.

§ 21-398. Sale of bonds and disposition of proceeds.

The board of viewers, after widely advertising the sale of the bonds in such publications as they deem necessary, may sell the bonds upon the approval of the court or the judge thereof, to the highest bidder, or bidders, and devote the proceeds to the payment for the work as it progresses, and to the payment of the interest on the bonds for the three years next following the date of issue, and to the payment of outstanding indebtedness and the other expenses of the project provided for in this chapter, including a reasonable attorney's fee to counsel for conducting the proceedings, the amount of such fee to be fixed by the court.

Code 1919, § 1774; 1920, p. 612; 1926, p. 623; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-399. Same; records.

The proceeds derived from the sale of such bonds shall be for the exclusive use of the levee or drainage project specified on their face, and the bonds shall be numbered by the board of viewers and recorded in the drainage record, which record shall set out specifically the lands embraced in the project on which the tax has not been paid in full, which land is to be assessed as hereinafter provided.

Code 1919, § 1774; 1920, p. 612; 1926, p. 623; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-400. Right of holders on default.

If any installment of principal or interest represented by the bonds shall not be paid at the time and in the manner when the same shall become due and payable, and such default shall continue for a period of six months, the holder or holders of such bond or bonds upon which default has been made shall have a right of action against the board of viewers wherein the circuit court may issue a writ of mandamus against the drainage project, its officers, including the county treasurer, or treasurers, directing the levying of a tax or special assessment as herein provided, and the collection of the same, in such sum as may be necessary to meet any unpaid installment of principal and interest and costs of action, and such other remedies are hereby vested in the holder or holders of such bond or bonds in default as may be authorized by law. The right of action is vested in the holder or holders of such bond or bonds upon which default has been made, authorizing them to institute suit against any officer on his official bond for failure to perform any duty imposed by the provisions of this chapter. The official bond of any county treasurer shall be liable for the faithful performance of the duties herein assigned him. Such official bonds may be increased by the governing body of any county or the board or party having such authority.

Code 1919, § 1774; 1920, p. 613; 1926, p. 624; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-400.1. Bonds mutilated, lost or destroyed.

Should any bond issued under this chapter become mutilated or be lost or destroyed, the board of viewers may cause a new bond of like date, number and tenor to be executed and delivered in exchange and substitution for and upon cancellation of such mutilated bond and its interest coupons or in lieu of and in substitution for such lost or destroyed bond and its unmatured interest coupons. Such new bond shall not be executed or delivered until the holder of the mutilated, lost or destroyed bond (1) has paid the reasonable expense and charges in connection therewith and (2) in the case of a lost or destroyed bond, has filed with the board of viewers and the county treasurer satisfactory evidence that such bond was lost or destroyed and that the holder was the owner thereof and (3) has furnished indemnity satisfactory to the county treasurer.

1962, c. 202.

§ 21-401. Exemption of bonds from taxation.

The bonds and coupons issued under and by authority of this and other sections of this chapter shall be exempt from all county or municipal taxation or assessment, direct or indirect, general or special, whether imposed for purposes of general revenue or otherwise, and the interest thereon shall not be subject to taxation as for income, nor shall such bonds and coupons be subject for taxation when constituting a part of the surplus of any bank, trust company, or other corporation, but when constituting a part of such surplus shall be deducted from the total assets in order to ascertain the taxable value of such shares.

Code 1919, § 1774; 1920, p. 613; 1926, p. 624.

§ 21-402. Changing assessments to conform to judgment.

Where the board of viewers has confirmed an assessment for the construction of any public levee, ditch, or drain, and such assessment has been modified by the court to which an appeal has been taken, but for some unforeseen cause it cannot be collected, the board of viewers shall have the power to change or modify the assessments as originally confirmed to conform to the judgment of the higher court, and to cover any deficit that may have been caused by the order of the court or unforeseen occurrence.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 624; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-403. Ratio of relevy.

The relevy shall be made for the additional sum required in the same ratio on the lands benefited as the original assessment was made.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 624.

§ 21-404. Payment of assessments from proceeds of sale of land.

If any person, or any number of persons, claiming to have a title to any tract or tracts of land subject to assessment or drainage tax, shall fail to pay an annual assessment levied against such lands, and a county treasurer shall be compelled to sell such lands under the law for the purpose of making such collection, the net proceeds of such sale shall be held by him and disbursed for the purpose of paying the current assessment and future annual assessments so far as the proceeds may be sufficient.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 624.

§ 21-405. Procedure when value of land not equal to future assessments.

When the fund in the custody of any county treasurer shall be exhausted in the payment of annual assessments against such lands, or there shall not be a sufficient sum to pay the next annual assessment, such treasurer shall immediately give written notice to that effect to the chairman of the board of viewers of the county in which the petition was filed, and to the clerk of the board, and also to the clerk of the circuit court of the county for which he is treasurer, whereupon the board of viewers for the county in which the petition was filed shall institute an investigation of the tract or tracts of land to determine the market value thereof, and if they shall find the market value of the tract or tracts is not equal to all the future annual assessments to cover its share of installments of principal and interest on the outstanding bonds, they shall proceed to make new assessment rolls on all the remaining lands in the project and increase the sum in sufficient sums to equal the deficit thereby created, and such new assessment rolls shall constitute the future assessment rolls until changed, according to law, and shall be certified to the proper county treasurer or treasurers as herein provided in lieu of the former assessment rolls.

However, the tract or tracts of land which have been so sold by any county treasurer shall continue on the assessment rolls in the name of the new owner, but reassessed upon the new basis, and the drainage tax collected at the same time and in the same manner as other lands, so long as the lands may have sufficient market value out of which to collect the annual drainage tax, and when such lands shall fail to have such value, or shall be abandoned by the person claiming title thereto, the board of viewers may omit the same from the assessment roll; but the lands may in the same manner at any time in the future be restored to the assessment rolls.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 624; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-406. Surplus in hands of treasurer.

If the funds in the hands of any county treasurer at any time arising under §§ 21-403, 21-404, 21-405, 21-408 or 21-409, or in any other manner, shall be greater than is necessary to pay the annual installments of principal and interest, or the annual cost of maintenance of the drainage works, or both, such surplus shall be held by the county treasurer for future disbursements for other purposes as herein provided or subject to the order of the county board of drainage commissioners of the county in which the petition was filed.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 625.

§ 21-407. Impairment or destruction of work during construction.

If there shall be any impairment or destruction of the drainage work by any unforeseen cause or occurrence not anticipated during the period of construction by the contractor, the contractor shall nevertheless repair and complete the works according to the contract and specifications, and shall be liable therefor and also his sureties on his bond.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 625.

§ 21-408. Default by contractor.

If the contractor shall make default and if there shall be a failure to collect all the damages from such contractor and the sureties upon his bond, and it shall thereby be necessary to raise a greater sum of money to complete the drainage works in accordance with the plans, or for any other unavoidable cause it shall be necessary to raise a greater sum to complete such drainage work, the board of viewers of the county in which the petition was filed shall prepare new assessment rolls upon all the lands in the project upon the original basis of classification of benefits, and increase the same in sufficient sums to equal the deficit thereby created, and the same shall constitute the new assessment rolls until changed according to law, and shall be certified to the county treasurer or treasurers as herein provided.

Code 1919, § 1776; 1926, p. 625; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-409. When additional bonds may be issued.

If for any of the causes hereinbefore recited, or for any other cause, a sum of money greater than the proceeds of sale of the drainage bonds shall become necessary to complete the drainage system, and the board of viewers shall determine that the amount to be raised is greater than can be realized from the collection of one annual assessment upon the lands in the drainage project without imposing an undue burden upon the lands, or if it is advisable or necessary to raise the money more expeditiously, then and under such conditions additional bonds may be issued in such aggregate sum as may be necessary.

Code 1919, § 1777; 1926, p. 626; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-410. Procedure for issuance of additional bonds.

The proceedings for the issue of such additional bonds shall be substantially as follows: The board of viewers of each drainage project in the county in which the petition was originally filed shall issue a notice to all the owners of land within the drainage project, setting forth all the facts which require the expenditure of more money and the issue of additional bonds to complete the drainage system, which shall be accompanied by the recommendation of the drainage engineer, selected by the board of viewers directing each to appear before them on a certain day, mentioning the day, at least ten days' notice being given, and show cause, if any they have, why the additional bonds should not be authorized and issued, which notice shall be served personally on each such landowner by leaving a copy at their residence or place of business, and, if the same cannot be personally served, then it shall be served by publication as hereinbefore stated, or in the manner authorized by law. Any landowner may file an answer denying any material allegation in the notice or setting forth any valid objection to the same before the return day thereof. Upon the day when the notice is returnable, or on such day, as to which the same may have been continued, the board of viewers shall proceed to hear the answers. If they find that the answers are not material, and that the issue of additional bonds is advisable or necessary, it shall make an appropriate order authorizing and directing the issue of such additional bonds, fixing the amount of the issue, the date of the same, the time when the interest and principal shall be payable, and all other matters necessary and appropriate in the premises. Any landowner may appeal from the order of the board of viewers, as provided by Chapter 26 (§ 8.01-669 et seq.) of Title 8.01, and on such appeal only the issue raised in the answer shall be considered. After the board of viewers shall have ordered the additional issue of bonds the further procedure as to the assessment rolls, the levy and collecting of drainage taxes, the disbursement of the revenue therefrom for the payment the bonds and interest thereon, and all future procedure shall be the same as required by the preceding sections of this chapter, and amendments thereto, for the establishment of drainage projects.

Code 1919, § 1777; 1926, p. 626; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-411. Amount, interest and maturity of additional bonds.

The additional bonds issued shall not exceed twenty-five per centum of the total amount originally issued, and shall bear not more than six per centum interest per annum, and may be made payable in ten annual installments, or lesser number of annual installments as nearly equal as may be, as recommended by the board of viewers having jurisdiction over the same.

Code 1919, § 1777; 1926, p. 627; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-412. When refunding bonds may be issued.

When any drainage project operating under the provisions of this chapter shall have bonds outstanding, either due or to become due, and when it shall seem to the board of viewers having jurisdiction over such drainage project that it is to the best interest of such drainage project to refund such outstanding bonds in whole or in part, such board of viewers is hereby authorized to refund all or part of such outstanding bonds by the issuance of the negotiable refunding bonds of such project.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-413. Maturity, interest and registration of refunding bonds.

The refunding bonds so authorized shall mature at one time or in installments, not more than forty years from their date, shall bear interest at not to exceed six percent per annum, may be made callable on any interest payment date and may be made registerable as to principal, all as provided in the resolution of the board of viewers authorizing the issuance thereof.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-414. Sale or exchange of refunding bonds.

The board of viewers may provide for the exchange of the refunding bonds for a like or greater par amount of the bonds to be refunded, or may provide for the sale of such refunding bonds and the application of the proceeds of the sale thereof to the retirement of the bonds to be refunded.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-415. How refunding bonds sold.

If to be sold, such refunding bonds may be sold at public or private sale, as in the judgment of the board of viewers may seem best, provided that such refunding bonds may be sold below par only if a like par amount of the bonds to be refunded may be retired at a price correspondingly below par, it being the intent hereof that in no event shall there be issued an amount of refunding bonds larger than the par amount of bonds refunded thereby.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-416. Collection of assessments on retired bonds.

All uncollected assessments levied for payment of principal of and interest on bonds of such project refunded and retired by the issuance of refunding bonds hereunder may be continued in force, and the proceeds of the collection thereof pledged and applied to the payment of principal of and interest on the refunding bonds issued in lieu of such original bonds, and if the outstanding bonds are retired at less than their par value in such manner as to reduce the bonded indebtedness of the project the assessments theretofore levied for the payment of such indebtedness may in the discretion of the board of viewers be proportionately reduced.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-417. Additional assessments to pay principal and interest on refunding bonds.

If the proceeds of the assessments levied for the payment of the original bonds shall at any time prove insufficient to pay principal of and interest on such refunding bonds, or if it shall at any time appear to the board of viewers that there is likelihood of the insufficiency of such assessments, the board shall provide for the levy and collection of additional assessments sufficient for such purpose and the holder or holders of refunding bonds issued hereunder shall have a right of action to compel such levy in the manner provided in this chapter.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-418. Cancellation of assessments for retired bonds.

If the board of viewers deems it advisable it may, prior to the issuance of refunding bonds, order the cancellation of the assessments levied for the payment of the bonds refunded, except in so far as such assessments were levied for the payment of bonds not actually retired by the issuance of refunding bonds, and may direct the preparation of new assessment rolls and the levy and collection of new assessments sufficient for the payment of principal of and interest on such refunding bonds.

1934, p. 4; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-419. Preparation of assessment rolls when additional assessments made.

In the event new or additional assessments are levied pursuant to the provisions of the two preceding sections, such rolls shall be prepared and such assessments shall be levied in all respects as provided by the provisions of this chapter for the preparation of the original rolls and levy of the original assessments.

1934, p. 5; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a.

§ 21-420. How additional assessments made.

If additional or new assessments are so levied, such assessments shall be made on the same basis as the original assessments, and shall be levied only after all persons interested shall have been given full hearing by the board of viewers on the question of benefits and any other question on which they shall desire to be heard. Notice of such hearing shall be given by publication once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation published in a county in which such project is located in whole or in part, with the first publication appearing no more than 14 days before the hearing. The determination of the board of viewers shall be final.

1934, p. 5; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642; 2023, cc. 506, 507.

§ 21-421. Law applicable to original bonds applies to refunding bonds.

Except as herein otherwise provided, refunding bonds issued hereunder shall be authorized and issued in the manner provided in this chapter for the authorization and issuance of other bonds of such drainage project, and except as above provided no notice or hearing of any kind shall be necessary to the authorization, sale or issuance of such refunding bonds or to the readjustment of assessments or levy additional or new assessments as herein provided, and it shall not be necessary that any orders or resolutions of the board of viewers incident thereto have court approval.

1934, p. 5; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-422. Contracts with United States as to refunding.

Any drainage project desiring to refund all or part of its outstanding bonds pursuant to the provisions of this section is authorized to enter into contracts and agreements with the United States government or with any subdivision or agency thereof for the purpose of securing the aid of the United States or such subdivision or agency of the United States, and to do all things and make all agreements reasonably required by the United States or by such subdivision or agency of the United States in order to accomplish such refunding.

1934, p. 5; Michie Code 1942, § 1777a; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-423. Compensation and expenses.

Any engineer employed under the provisions of this chapter shall receive such compensation as is commensurate with the relative area and importance of the proposed project. The amount when decided upon by the judge of the court, after conferring with the engineer, shall be entered as an order of record in the drainage record. The viewers, other than the engineer, shall receive five dollars per day each. The transitmen, rodmen, chainmen, axemen, and other laborers shall receive wages not to exceed the wages current at the time in the locality for such services. The members of the board of viewers shall receive, from time to time, out of the respective drainage project funds, such compensation as the court shall determine to be reasonable for the time expended and services performed by them on each project. All other fees and costs incurred under the provisions of this chapter shall be the same, as provided by law for like services in other cases, or as fixed by the court if not provided by law. The costs and expenses shall be paid by order of the court out of the proper project drainage fund provided for that purpose, and the board of viewers shall issue warrants therefor when funds of a drainage project, for which service shall have been rendered, shall be in the hands of the treasurer or treasurers.

Code 1919, § 1778; 1924, p. 707; 1926, p. 627; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-424. Defects in the proceedings; construction of chapter.

The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to promote the leveeing, ditching, draining, and reclamation of wet and overflowed lands. The collection of the assessment shall not be defeated where the proper notices have been given by reason of any defect in the proceedings occurring prior to the order of the court confirming the final report of the board of viewers; but such order or orders shall be conclusive and final that all prior proceedings were regular and according to law, unless they were appealed from. If, on appeal, the court shall deem it just and proper to release any person or to modify his assessment or liability, it shall in no manner affect the rights and liabilities of any person other than the appellant, and the failure to perfect an appeal within sixty days from the order of the court finally establishing the project shall be a waiver of any illegality in the proceedings, and the remedies provided for in this chapter shall exclude all other remedies.

Proceedings under this chapter shall have precedence over all others excepting writs of habeas corpus, prohibition, and mandamus and shall be heard at the time set for a hearing by the court or the judge thereof in vacation with the least possible delay. The widest latitude shall be allowed by the court to hasten urgent cases, where evidence is available to prove the serious consequences resulting from the flooding of the cultivated lands for which relief is asked.

Code 1919, § 1779; 1926, p. 627; 1954, c. 642.

§ 21-425. Removal of engineers, viewers, etc.

Any engineer, viewer, superintendent of construction or other person appointed under this chapter may be removed by the court upon petition, for corruption, neglect of duties or other good and satisfactory cause shown, but not until such person or persons are heard in their own defense by the court.

Code 1919, § 1780; 1926, p. 628.

§ 21-426. Appropriation of county funds.

The governing body of any county in which is located in whole or in part any legally established drainage project may, in its discretion, appropriate and pay out of the funds of such county accruing from the general county levy, to such drainage project, such sum of money as it may deem proper, for application on the bonded or other indebtedness or for any other legitimate purpose of such drainage project. The board of viewers of any such drainage project in such county may accept and receive any and all moneys so appropriated and use the same, in their discretion, for any of the purposes hereinabove mentioned.

In lieu of such appropriation, the governing body of any such county may appropriate and pay out of the funds of such county accruing from the general county levy to the holders of any bonds, notes or other obligations of any legally established drainage project located in whole or in part in such county, such sum of money as the governing body may deem proper for the acquisition and purchase for and on behalf of the county, of all or any of such bonds, notes and other obligations; and the governing body of any such county may also invest moneys, or any part thereof, credited to any sinking fund of the county or of any project thereof, in, and with such moneys to purchase for any such sinking fund, bonds, notes and other obligations of any such legally established drainage project located in whole or in part in such county, provided no such moneys shall be invested in any such bonds, notes or other obligations issued prior to January 1, 1928. The governing body of any such county may, in consideration of additional levies or assessments heretofore or hereafter made against the real estate located in such drainage project, release any or all of such real estate from the lien or liens of any or all drainage taxes heretofore or hereafter assessed against such real estate, provided that the drainage bonds of such project or projects are owned and held solely by any such county.

1938, p. 795; 1940, p. 625; 1942, p. 697; Michie Code 1942, § 2734b; 1954, c. 642.