Chapter 1515: SOIL AND WATER CONSERVATION COMMISSION

1515.01 Soil and water conservation commission definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A) "Soil and water conservation district" means a district organized in accordance with this chapter.

(B) "Supervisor" means one of the members of the governing body of a district.

(C) "Landowner," "owner," or "owner of land" means an owner of record as shown by the records in the office of the county recorder. With respect to an improvement or a proposed improvement, "landowner," "owner," or "owner of land" also includes any public corporation and the director of any department, office, or institution of the state that is affected by the improvement or that would be affected by the proposed improvement, but that does not own any right, title, estate, or interest in or to any real property.

(D) "Land occupier" or "occupier of land" means any person, firm, or corporation that controls the use of land whether as landowner, lessee, renter, or tenant.

(E) "Due notice" means notice published at least twice, stating time and place, with an interval of at least thirteen days between the two publication dates, in a newspaper of general circulation within a soil and water conservation district.

(F) "Agricultural pollution" means failure to use management or conservation practices in farming or silvicultural operations to abate wind or water erosion of the soil or to abate the degradation of the waters of the state by residual farm products, manure, or soil sediment, including substances attached thereto.

(G) "Urban sediment pollution" means failure to use management or conservation practices to abate wind or water erosion of the soil or to abate the degradation of the waters of the state by soil sediment in conjunction with land grading, excavating, filling, or other soil disturbing activities on land used or being developed for nonfarm commercial, industrial, residential, or other nonfarm purposes, except lands being used in a strip mine operation as defined in section 1513.01 of the Revised Code and except lands being used in a surface mining operation as defined in section 1514.01 of the Revised Code.

(H) "Uniform assessment" means an assessment that is both of the following:

(1) Based upon a complete appraisal of each parcel of land, together with all improvements thereon, within a project area and of the benefits or damages brought about as a result of the project that is determined by criteria applied equally to all parcels within the project area;

(2) Levied upon the parcels at a uniform rate on the basis of the appraisal.

(I) "Varied assessment" means any assessment that does not meet the criteria established in division (H) of this section.

(J) "Project area" means an area determined and certified by the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district under section 1515.19 of the Revised Code.

(K) "Benefit" or "benefits" means advantages to land and owners, to public corporations, and to the state resulting from drainage, conservation, control, and management of water and from environmental, wildlife, and recreational improvements. "Benefit" or "benefits" includes, but is not limited to, any of the following factors:

(1) Elimination or reduction of damage from flooding;

(2) Removal of water conditions that jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare;

(3) Increased value of land resulting from an improvement;

(4) Use of water for irrigation, storage, regulation of stream flow, soil conservation, water supply, or any other incidental purpose;

(5) Providing an outlet for the accelerated runoff from artificial drainage if a stream, watercourse, channel, or ditch that is under improvement is called upon to discharge functions for which it was not designed. Uplands that have been removed from their natural state by deforestation, cultivation, artificial drainage, urban development, or other human methods shall be considered to be benefited by an improvement that is required to dispose of the accelerated flow of water from the uplands.

(L) "Improvement" or "conservation works of improvement" means an improvement that is made under the authority established in division (C) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code.

(M) "Land" has the same meaning as in section 6131.01 of the Revised Code.

(N) "Manure," "operation and management plan," and "residual farm products" have the same meanings as in section 1511.01 of the Revised Code.

(O) "Voluntary nutrient management plan" has the same meaning as in section 905.31 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Effective Date: 05-02-1980; 04-15-2005

1515.02 Ohio soil and water conservation commission - powers and duties.

There is hereby established in the department of natural resources the Ohio soil and water conservation commission. The commission shall consist of seven members of equal status and authority, six of whom shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, and one of whom shall be designated by resolution of the board of directors of the Ohio federation of soil and water conservation districts. The directors of agriculture , environmental protection, and natural resources, the vice-president for agricultural administration of the Ohio state university , and an officer of the Ohio federation of soil and water conservation districts, or their designees, may serve as ex officio members of the commission, but without the power to vote. A vacancy in the office of an appointed member shall be filled by the governor, with the advice and consent of the senate. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall hold office for the remainder of that term. Of the appointed members, four shall be persons who have a knowledge of or interest in agricultural production and the natural resources of the state. One member shall represent rural interests and one member shall represent urban interests. Not more than three of the appointed members shall be members of the same political party.

Terms of office of the member designated by the board of directors of the federation and the members appointed by the governor shall be for four years, commencing on the first day of July and ending on the thirtieth day of June.

Each appointed member shall hold office from the date of appointment until the end of the term for which the member was appointed. Any appointed member shall continue in office subsequent to the expiration date of the member's term until the member's successor takes office, or until a period of sixty days has elapsed, whichever occurs first.

The commission shall organize by selecting from its members a chairperson and a vice-chairperson. The commission shall hold at least one regular meeting in each quarter of each calendar year and shall keep a record of its proceedings, which shall be open to the public for inspection. Special meetings may be called by the chairperson and shall be called by the chairperson upon receipt of a written request signed by two or more members of the commission. Written notice of the time and place of each meeting shall be sent to each member of the commission. A majority of the commission shall constitute a quorum.

The commission may adopt rules as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, subject to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

The governor may remove any appointed member of the commission at any time for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, after giving to the member a copy of the charges against the member and an opportunity to be heard publicly in person or by counsel in the member's defense. Any such act of removal by the governor is final. A statement of the findings of the governor, the reason for the governor's action, and the answer, if any, of the member shall be filed by the governor with the secretary of state and shall be open to public inspection.

All members of the commission shall be reimbursed for the necessary expenses incurred by them in the performance of their duties as members.

Upon recommendation by the commission, the director of natural resources shall designate an executive secretary and provide staff necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the commission.

The commission shall do all of the following:

(A) Determine distribution of funds under section 1515.14 of the Revised Code, recommend to the director of natural resources and other agencies the levels of appropriations to special funds established to assist soil and water conservation districts, and recommend the amount of federal funds to be requested and policies for the use of such funds in support of soil and water conservation district programs;

(B) Assist in keeping the supervisors of soil and water conservation districts informed of their powers and duties, program opportunities, and the activities and experience of all other districts, and facilitate the interchange of advice, experience, and cooperation between the districts;

(C) Seek the cooperation and assistance of the federal government or any of its agencies, and of agencies of this state, in the work of the districts;

(D) Adopt appropriate rules governing the conduct of elections provided for in this chapter, subject to Chapter 119. of the Revised Code, provided that only owners and occupiers of lands situated within the boundaries of the districts or proposed districts to which the elections apply shall be eligible to vote in the elections;

(E) Recommend to the director priorities for planning and construction of small watershed projects, and make recommendations to the director concerning coordination of programs as proposed and implemented in agreements with soil and water conservation districts;

(F) Recommend to the director, the governor, and the general assembly programs and legislation with respect to the operations of soil and water conservation districts that will encourage proper soil, water, and other natural resource management and promote the economic and social development of the state.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Effective Date: 10-01-2002

1515.03 County to have district coextensive with its geographic area.

Each county shall have a soil and water conservation district coextensive with the geographic area of the county, and each district shall constitute a political subdivision of this state.

Effective Date: 03-18-1999

1515.04 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 05-02-1980

1515.05 Soil and water conservation district supervisors.

Each soil and water conservation district shall be administered by a board consisting of the five supervisors. Elections of supervisors shall be conducted by the Ohio soil and water conservation commission pursuant to rules it adopts under Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. The term of each supervisor shall be for three years, except that supervisors holding office on May 2, 1980 shall serve the terms to which they were elected or appointed under former section 1515.05 of the Revised Code. Due notice of election of supervisors shall be given by the commission. Successors to fill unexpired terms may be appointed by the commission on the unanimous recommendation of the remaining supervisors. In any case in which a unanimous recommendation cannot be agreed upon, a successor to fill an unexpired term shall be elected in the same manner in which his predecessor was elected.

Eligible voters and candidates for supervisor shall be at least eighteen years of age by the day of election. Candidates shall reside in the district in which they are running for office.

Effective Date: 03-16-1982

1515.06 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 03-18-1999

1515.07 Governing body of district.

The governing body of a soil and water conservation district shall consist of five supervisors, as provided for in section 1515.05 of the Revised Code.

The supervisors shall organize annually by selecting a chairman, a secretary, and a treasurer. They shall designate one of their members as fiscal agent. A majority of the five supervisors shall constitute a quorum. The concurrence of a majority of the five supervisors in any matter shall be required for its determination. A supervisor shall receive no compensation for his services, except when both of the following occur:

(A) A district board of supervisors designates one or more of its supervisors to represent the district on a joint district board or if an agency or instrumentality of the United States, of this state, or of a political subdivision of this state requires or requests district board representation;

(B) Such compensation is provided for by public moneys other than moneys in the special fund of the local district created pursuant to section 1515.10 of the Revised Code.

A supervisor is entitled to be reimbursed for the necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of his official duties.

The supervisors shall furnish to the Ohio soil and water conservation commission, upon its request, copies of rules, orders, contracts, forms, and other documents they adopt or employ and other information concerning their activities as it requires in the performance of its duties under this chapter.

At least once each year, a district shall submit to the commission a report of progress and operations, including a summary of receipts and disbursements during the period covered by the report. A district shall submit additional financial reports as requested by the commission.

The supervisors shall provide for the execution of surety bonds for all employees and officers who are entrusted with funds and shall provide for the keeping of a full and accurate record of all proceedings and of all resolutions and orders issued or adopted. Any supervisor may be removed by the commission upon notice and hearing for neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.

Effective Date: 10-20-1994

1515.071 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 03-18-1999

1515.08 Supervisors of soil and water conservation district - additional powers.

The supervisors of a soil and water conservation district have the following powers in addition to their other powers:

(A) To conduct surveys, investigations, and research relating to the character of soil erosion, floodwater and sediment damages, and the preventive and control measures and works of improvement for flood prevention and the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water needed within the district, and to publish the results of those surveys, investigations, or research, provided that no district shall initiate any research program except in cooperation or after consultation with the Ohio agricultural research and development center;

(B) To develop plans for the conservation of soil resources, for the control and prevention of soil erosion, and for works of improvement for flood prevention and the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water within the district, and to publish those plans and information;

(C) To implement, construct, repair, maintain, and operate preventive and control measures and other works of improvement for natural resource conservation and development and flood prevention, and the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water within the district on lands owned or controlled by this state or any of its agencies and on any other lands within the district, which works may include any facilities authorized under state or federal programs, and to acquire, by purchase or gift, to hold, encumber, or dispose of, and to lease real and personal property or interests in such property for those purposes;

(D) To cooperate or enter into agreements with any occupier of lands within the district in the carrying on of natural resource conservation operations and works of improvement for flood prevention and the conservation, development, utilization, and management of natural resources within the district, subject to such conditions as the supervisors consider necessary;

(E) To accept donations, gifts, grants, and contributions in money, service, materials, or otherwise, and to use or expend them according to their terms;

(F) To adopt, amend, and rescind rules to carry into effect the purposes and powers of the district;

(G) To sue and plead in the name of the district, and be sued and impleaded in the name of the district, with respect to its contracts and, as indicated in section 1515.081 of the Revised Code, certain torts of its officers, employees, or agents acting within the scope of their employment or official responsibilities, or with respect to the enforcement of its obligations and covenants made under this chapter;

(H) To make and enter into all contracts, leases, and agreements and execute all instruments necessary or incidental to the performance of the duties and the execution of the powers of the district under this chapter, provided that all of the following apply:

(1) Except as provided in section 307.86 of the Revised Code regarding expenditures by boards of county commissioners, when the cost under any such contract, lease, or agreement, other than compensation for personal services or rental of office space, involves an expenditure of more than the amount established in that section regarding expenditures by boards of county commissioners, the supervisors shall make a written contract with the lowest and best bidder after advertisement, for not less than two nor more than four consecutive weeks preceding the day of the opening of bids, in a newspaper of general circulation within the district or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code and in such other publications as the supervisors determine. The notice shall state the general character of the work and materials to be furnished, the place where plans and specifications may be examined, and the time and place of receiving bids.

(2) Each bid for a contract shall contain the full name of every person interested in it.

(3) Each bid for a contract for the construction, demolition, alteration, repair, or reconstruction of an improvement shall meet the requirements of section 153.54 of the Revised Code.

(4) Each bid for a contract, other than a contract for the construction, demolition, alteration, repair, or reconstruction of an improvement, at the discretion of the supervisors, may be accompanied by a bond or certified check on a solvent bank in an amount not to exceed five per cent of the bid, conditioned that, if the bid is accepted, a contract shall be entered into.

(5) The supervisors may reject any and all bids.

(I) To make agreements with the department of natural resources giving it control over lands of the district for the purpose of construction of improvements by the department under section 1501.011 of the Revised Code;

(J) To charge, alter, and collect rentals and other charges for the use or services of any works of the district;

(K) To enter, either in person or by designated representatives, upon lands, private or public, in the necessary discharge of their duties;

(L) To enter into agreements or contracts with the department for the determination, implementation, inspection, and funding of agricultural pollution abatement and urban sediment pollution abatement measures whereby landowners, operators, managers, and developers may meet adopted state standards for a quality environment, except that failure of a district board of supervisors to negotiate an agreement or contract with the department shall authorize the division of soil and water resources to implement the required program;

(M) To conduct demonstrations and provide information to the public regarding practices and methods for natural resource conservation, development, and utilization;

(N) To enter into contracts or agreements with the chief of the division of soil and water resources to implement and administer a program for urban sediment pollution abatement and to receive and expend moneys provided by the chief for that purpose;

(O) To develop operation and management plans as necessary;

(P) To determine whether operation and management plans developed under division (A) of section 1511.021 of the Revised Code comply with the standards established under division (E)(1) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code and to approve or disapprove the plans, based on such compliance. If an operation and management plan is disapproved, the board shall provide a written explanation to the person who submitted the plan. The person may appeal the plan disapproval to the chief, who shall afford the person a hearing. Following the hearing, the chief shall uphold the plan disapproval or reverse it. If the chief reverses the plan disapproval, the plan shall be deemed approved under this division. In the event that any person operating or owning agricultural land or an animal feeding operation in accordance with an approved operation and management plan who, in good faith, is following that plan, causes agricultural pollution, the plan shall be revised in a fashion necessary to mitigate the agricultural pollution, as determined and approved by the board of supervisors of the soil and water conservation district.

(Q) With regard to composting conducted in conjunction with agricultural operations, to do all of the following:

(1) Upon request or upon their own initiative, inspect composting at any such operation to determine whether the composting is being conducted in accordance with section 1511.022 of the Revised Code;

(2) If the board determines that composting is not being so conducted, request the chief to issue an order under division (G) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code requiring the person who is conducting the composting to prepare a composting plan in accordance with rules adopted under division (E)(8)(c) of that section and to operate in accordance with that plan or to operate in accordance with a previously prepared plan, as applicable;

(3) In accordance with rules adopted under division (E)(8)(c) of section 1511.02 of the Revised Code, review and approve or disapprove any such composting plan. If a plan is disapproved, the board shall provide a written explanation to the person who submitted the plan.

As used in division (Q) of this section, "composting" has the same meaning as in section 1511.01 of the Revised Code.

(R) With regard to conservation activities that are conducted in conjunction with agricultural operations, to assist the county auditor, upon request, in determining whether a conservation activity is a conservation practice for purposes of Chapter 929. or sections 5713.30 to 5713.37 and 5715.01 of the Revised Code.

As used in this division, "conservation practice" has the same meaning as in section 5713.30 of the Revised Code.

(S) To develop and approve or disapprove voluntary nutrient management plans in accordance with section 905.323 of the Revised Code;

(T) To do all acts necessary or proper to carry out the powers granted in this chapter.

The director of natural resources shall make recommendations to reduce the adverse environmental effects of each project that a soil and water conservation district plans to undertake under division (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this section and that will be funded in whole or in part by moneys authorized under section 1515.16 of the Revised Code and shall disapprove any such project that the director finds will adversely affect the environment without equal or greater benefit to the public. The director's disapproval or recommendations, upon the request of the district filed in accordance with rules adopted by the Ohio soil and water conservation commission, shall be reviewed by the commission, which may confirm the director's decision, modify it, or add recommendations to or approve a project the director has disapproved.

Any instrument by which real property is acquired pursuant to this section shall identify the agency of the state that has the use and benefit of the real property as specified in section 5301.012 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. TBD, SB 150, §1, eff. 8/21/2014.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 09-26-2003

1515.081 Defense of tort actions.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Judgment" includes a consent judgment.

(2) "Tort action" means a civil action for damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property, other than a civil action for damages for a breach of contract or another agreement between persons.

(B) Except as provided in divisions (C) and (D) of this section, the provisions of Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code apply to soil and water conservation districts as political subdivisions of the state and to their supervisors and other officers, employees, and agents as employees of political subdivisions of the state.

(C)

(1) The attorney general, an assistant attorney general, or special counsel appointed by the attorney general shall defend a soil and water conservation district in any tort action that is commenced against the district as a political subdivision of the state under or pursuant to Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code, if a written request for the legal representation is submitted to the attorney general by the soil and water conservation commission. If a request is so submitted, the prosecuting attorney of the county associated with the district does not have legal representation duties in connection with the tort action under section 1515.11 of the Revised Code.

(2) The attorney general, an assistant attorney general, or special counsel appointed by the attorney general shall defend a supervisor or other officer, employee, or agent of a soil and water conservation district in any tort action that is commenced against that person and based upon an action or omission allegedly associated with his employment or official responsibilities for the district, if both of the following apply:

(a) At the time of the action or omission, the person was not acting manifestly outside the scope of his employment or official responsibilities for the district or acting with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner;

(b) A written request for the legal representation is submitted to the attorney general by the soil and water conservation commission.

(3) If a request for legal representation is submitted to the attorney general pursuant to division (C)(2) of this section, divisions (A)(1) and (C) of section 2744.07 of the Revised Code do not apply to the soil and water conservation district and the defense of its supervisor or other officer, employee, or agent.

(D)

(1) The state shall indemnify and hold harmless a soil and water conservation district as follows:

(a) In the amount of any judgment that is rendered against the district in a tort action that is commenced under or pursuant to Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code;

(b) In the amount of any settlement of a tort action against the district as described in division (D)(1)(a) of this section, or of a claim for damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property that could become a basis of a tort action against the district as described in division (D)(1)(a) of this section.

(2) The state shall indemnify and hold harmless a supervisor or other officer, employee, or agent of a soil and water conservation district as follows:

(a) Subject to the limitations specified in division (D)(3) of this section, in the amount of any judgment that is rendered against that person in a tort action based upon an action or omission allegedly associated with his employment or official responsibilities for the district;

(b) Subject to the limitations specified in division (D)(3) of this section, in the amount of any settlement of a tort action as described in division (D)(2)(a) of this section or of any settlement of a claim for damages for injury, death, or loss to person or property that could become a basis of a tort action as described in division (D)(2)(a) of this section.

(3)

(a) The maximum aggregate amount of indemnification paid directly from state funds to or on behalf of any supervisor or other officer, employee, or agent of a soil and water conservation district pursuant to divisions (D)(2)(a) and (b) of this section shall be one million dollars per occurrence, regardless of the number of persons who suffer injury, death, or loss to person or property as a result of the action or omission of that person.

(b) An indemnification may be made pursuant to division (D)(2)(a) or (b) of this section only if, at the time of the action or omission, the supervisor or other officer, employee, or agent of a soil and water conservation district was not acting manifestly outside the scope of his employment or official responsibilities for the district or acting with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner.

(c) An indemnification shall not be made pursuant to division (D)(2)(a) or (b) of this section for any portion of a consent judgment or settlement that is unreasonable or for any portion of a judgment that represents punitive or exemplary damages.

(4) Division (A)(2) of section 2744.07 of the Revised Code does not apply to a soil and water conservation district, or to any of its supervisors or other officers, employees, or agents, to the extent that division (D) of this section requires the state to indemnify and hold harmless a supervisor or other officer, employee, or agent of that district.

Effective Date: 05-13-1987

1515.09 Supervisors to employ assistants and personnel and acquire materials, equipment, supplies and offices.

The supervisors of a soil and water conservation district may employ assistants and such other employees as they consider necessary and may provide for the payment of the reasonable compensation of such assistants and employees and expenses incurred by them in the discharge of their duties from the special fund established for the district pursuant to section 1515.10 of the Revised Code.

District employees are entitled to the sick leave benefits that are provided in section 124.38 of the Revised Code and the vacation leave benefits that are provided in section 325.19 of the Revised Code and are entitled to participate in the sick leave donation program established under section 1515.091 of the Revised Code.

The supervisors may designate the amounts and forms of other benefits, including insurance protection, to be provided to employees and may make payments of benefits from the district fund that is created with moneys accepted by the supervisors in accordance with division (E) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code or from the special fund created pursuant to section 1515.10 of the Revised Code. The board of county commissioners may make payments of benefits that are provided under this section.

The supervisors may purchase such materials, equipment, and supplies, may lease such equipment, and may rent, purchase, or construct, and maintain, such offices, and provide for such equipment and supplies therefor, as they consider necessary and may pay for the same from the special fund established for the district pursuant to section 1515.10 of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 06-30-1997

1515.091 Donated sick leave program - procedure.

(A) As used in this section:

(1) "Receiving employee" means an employee of a soil and water conservation district who receives donated sick leave as authorized by this section.

(2) "Donating employee" means an employee of a soil and water conservation district who donates sick leave as authorized by this section.

(3) "Paid leave" has the same meaning as in section 124.391 of the Revised Code.

(4) "Full-time employee" means an employee of a soil and water conservation district whose regular hours of service for the district total forty hours per week or who renders any other standard of service accepted as full-time by the district.

(5) "Full-time limited hours employee" means an employee of a soil and water conservation district whose regular hours of service for the district total twenty-five to thirty-nine hours per week or who renders any other standard of service accepted as full-time limited hours by the district.

(B)

(1) An employee of a soil and water conservation district is eligible to become a receiving employee if the employee is a full-time employee, or a full-time limited hours employee, who has completed the prescribed probationary period, has used up all accrued paid leave, and has been placed on an approved, unpaid, medical-related leave of absence for a period of at least thirty consecutive working days because of the employee's own serious illness or because of a serious illness of a member of the employee's immediate family.

(2) An employee who desires to become a receiving employee shall submit to the board of supervisors of the employing soil and water conservation district, along with a satisfactory physician's certification, a written request for donated sick leave. The board of supervisors shall determine whether the employee is eligible to become a receiving employee and shall approve the request if it determines the employee is eligible.

(C)

(1) A board of supervisors that approves a request for an employee to become a receiving employee shall forward the approved application to a committee that the Ohio association of soil and water conservation district employees shall appoint to act as a clearinghouse for the donation of sick leave under this section. The committee shall post notice for not less than ten days informing all employees of soil and water conservation districts throughout the state that it has received an approved application to become a receiving employee.

(2) A soil and water conservation district employee desiring to become a donating employee shall complete and submit a sick leave donation form to the employee's immediate supervisor within twenty days after the date of the initial posting of the notice described in division (C)(1) of this section. If the board of supervisors of the employing district of an employee desiring to become a donating employee approves the sick leave donation, the board shall forward to the committee, together with a check equal to the total value of the sick leave donation, a copy of the sick leave donation form, and the board shall notify the receiving employee regarding the donation.

(D) If the committee described in division (C)(1) of this section receives a sick leave donation form and a check from a board of supervisors, the committee shall deposit the check into an account that it shall establish to be used to dispense funds to the employing district of a receiving employee. The committee shall notify the board of supervisors of the employing district of a receiving employee of the amount of sick leave donated. The board of supervisors shall bill the committee during each pay period for the receiving employee's gross hourly wages in an amount that does not exceed the amount donated to the receiving employee. The board of supervisors, with the approval of the county auditor, shall provide for the deposit into its appropriate payroll account of any payments it receives for the benefit of a receiving employee.

(E) The donation and receipt of sick leave under this section is subject to all of the following:

(1) All donations of sick leave shall be voluntary.

(2) A donating employee is eligible to donate not less than eight hours and not more than eighty hours of sick leave during the same calendar year.

(3) The value of an hour of sick leave donated is the value of the donating employee's gross hourly wage. The number of hours received by a receiving employee from a donating employee shall be a number that, when multiplied by the receiving employee's gross hourly wage, equals the amount resulting when the donating employee's gross hourly wage is multiplied by the number of hours of sick leave donated.

(4) No paid leave shall accrue to a receiving employee for any compensation received through donated sick leave, and the receipt of donated sick leave does not affect the date on which a receiving employee first qualifies for continuation of health insurance coverage.

(5) If a receiving employee does not use all donated sick leave during the period of the employee's leave of absence, the unused balance shall remain in the account that the committee described in division (C)(1) of this section established under division (D) of this section and shall be used to dispense funds in the future to the employing district of a receiving employee.

Effective Date: 09-29-1999

1515.092 Sale of unneeded personal property of district.

(A) When the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district find, by resolution, that the district has personal property, including motor vehicles acquired for the use of district officers, road machinery, equipment, tools, or supplies, which is not needed for public use, or is obsolete or unfit for the use for which it was acquired, the supervisors may sell such property at public auction or by sealed bid to the highest bidder, after giving at least ten days' notice of the time, place, and manner of sale by posting a typewritten or printed notice in the office of the board of county commissioners. In case the fair market value of the property to be sold pursuant to this division is, in the opinion of the supervisors, in excess of two thousand dollars, notice of the time, place, and manner of the sale shall also be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the district at least ten days prior to such sale. The supervisors may authorize the sale of such personal property without advertisement or public notification and competitive bidding to the federal government, state, or any political subdivision of the state.

If the supervisors conduct a sale of personal property by sealed bid, the form of the bid shall be as prescribed by the supervisors, and each bid shall contain the name of the person submitting it. Bids received shall be opened and tabulated at the time stated in the notice. The property shall be sold to the highest bidder, except that the supervisors may reject all bids and hold another sale, by public auction or sealed bid, in the manner prescribed by this section.

(B) Where the supervisors find, by resolution, that the district has vehicles, equipment, or machinery which is not needed, or is unfit for public use, and the supervisors desire to sell such vehicles, equipment, or machinery to the person or firm from which they propose to purchase other vehicles, equipment, or machinery, the supervisors may offer to sell the vehicles, equipment, or machinery to such person or firm, and to have such selling price credited to the person or firm against the purchase price of other vehicles, equipment, or machinery.

(C) Where the supervisors advertise for bids for the sale of new vehicles, equipment, or machinery to the district, they may include in the same advertisement a notice of their willingness to accept bids for the purchase of district-owned vehicles, equipment, or machinery which is obsolete or not needed for public use, and to have the amount of such bids subtracted from the selling price of the other vehicles, equipment, or machinery as a means of determining the lowest responsible bidder.

Effective Date: 03-11-1987

1515.093 Employee use of district credit cards - misuse.

The supervisors of a soil and water conservation district may hold one or more credit cards on behalf of the district and may authorize any supervisor or employee of the district to use such a credit card to pay for expenses related to the purposes of the district. The supervisors shall pay the debt incurred as a result of the use of such a credit card from money accepted by the supervisors as authorized under division (E) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code or from the special fund established for the district under section 1515.10 of the Revised Code.

The misuse of a credit card held on behalf of a soil and water conservation district is a violation of section 2913.21 of the Revised Code. In addition, a supervisor or employee of a district who makes unauthorized use of such a credit card may be held personally liable to the district for the unauthorized use. This section does not limit any other liability of a supervisor or employee of a district for the unauthorized use of such a credit card.

A supervisor or employee of a soil and water conservation district who is authorized to use a credit card that is held on behalf of the district and who suspects the loss, theft, or possibility of another person's unauthorized use of the credit card immediately shall notify the supervisors in writing of the suspected loss, theft, or possible unauthorized use.

Effective Date: 04-06-2007

1515.10 Levy of tax within ten-mill limitation.

The board of county commissioners of each county in which there is a soil and water conservation district may levy a tax within the ten-mill limitation and may appropriate money from the proceeds of the levy or from the general fund of the county. The money shall be held in a special fund for the credit of the district, to be expended for the purposes prescribed in sections 1515.09 and 1515.093 of the Revised Code, for construction and maintenance of improvements by the district, and for other expenses incurred in carrying out the program of the district upon the written order of the fiscal agent for the district after authorization by a majority of the supervisors of the district.

Effective Date: 05-02-1980; 04-06-2007

1515.11 Prosecuting attorney is legal adviser.

The prosecuting attorney of a county in which there is a soil and water conservation district shall be the legal adviser of the district. The prosecuting attorney shall be the legal counsel of such district in all civil actions brought by or against it and shall conduct all such actions in his official capacity. The supervisors of a district may also employ such attorneys as may be necessary or desirable in the operations of the district.

Effective Date: 05-02-1980

1515.12 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 11-06-1969

1515.13 Infringement of rights.

Sections 1515.01 to 1515.29 of the Revised Code do not infringe upon the rights, powers, and authority vested by law in the division of wildlife.

Effective Date: 03-16-1982

1515.14 Payments to local soil and water conservation districts.

Within the limits of funds appropriated to the department of natural resources and the soil and water conservation district assistance fund created in this section, there shall be paid in each calendar year to each local soil and water conservation district an amount not to exceed one dollar for each one dollar received in accordance with section 1515.10 of the Revised Code, received from tax levies in excess of the ten-mill levy limitation approved for the benefit of local soil and water conservation districts, or received from an appropriation by a municipal corporation or a township to a maximum of eight thousand dollars, provided that the Ohio soil and water conservation commission may approve payment to a district in an amount in excess of eight thousand dollars in any calendar year upon receipt of a request and justification from the district. The county auditor shall credit such payments to the special fund established pursuant to section 1515.10 of the Revised Code for the local soil and water conservation district. The department may make advances at least quarterly to each district on the basis of the estimated contribution of the state to each district. Moneys received by each district shall be expended for the purposes of the district.

For the purpose of providing money to soil and water conservation districts under this section, there is hereby created in the state treasury the soil and water conservation district assistance fund consisting of money credited to it under sections 3714.073 and 3734.901 and division (A) (4) of section 3734.57 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 6/30/2011.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.26, SB 155, §1, eff. 3/31/2010.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 10-20-1994; 04-15-2005; 06-30-2005

1515.15 Advance of moneys from soil and water conservation fund - repayment.

A board of county commissioners may apply to the Ohio soil and water conservation commission for an advance of moneys from the soil and water conservation fund, which is hereby created in the state treasury, to enable a soil and water conservation district to pay all or part of the cost of surveys and plans, appraisals, estimates of cost, land options, and other incidental expenses of constructing works of improvement for the district. The commission shall consider the application and shall recommend an amount of moneys reasonably needed for that purpose.

The order of the commission recommending the amount of the moneys needed shall be certified to the controlling board. The controlling board shall then determine the amount to be advanced to the county and shall certify its action to the director of budget and management for payment.

All such amounts received by any such district shall be repaid by the board of county commissioners to the state immediately upon the receipt by the board of funds from the sale of bonds or from other sources that may be used for that purpose, or in such number of equal annual installments, not exceeding five, and commencing at such time, as shall be specified in the order of the commission.

If an unfavorable referendum or court decision has denied the work of improvement, the controlling board, upon receipt of sufficient and satisfactory evidence that the board and district have proceeded in good faith and the recommendation of the commission, shall relieve the board or district of its repayment obligation.

Effective Date: 10-01-2002

1515.16 Sharing costs of improvement by conservation district.

The director of natural resources, upon recommendation by the Ohio soil and water conservation commission, may enter into agreements with boards of county commissioners under which the state shares the cost of construction of works of improvement constructed by the county for a soil and water conservation district. The state share shall be paid from moneys appropriated for such purposes. The state share authorized under this section shall not exceed fifty per cent of the non-federal cost of the project.

Effective Date: 11-06-1969

1515.17 Joint board of supervisors.

The supervisors of any two or more adjoining soil and water conservation districts may, with approval of the Ohio soil and water conservation commission, form a joint board of supervisors for the purpose of construction, maintenance, and operation of a work of improvement located or to be located in such districts. Each district shall have the same number of supervisors on the joint board, except that where the members on the joint board would otherwise be an even number, an additional supervisor shall be designated from the district in which it appears that the highest amount of taxes or assessment for benefits for the improvement is to be made.

A joint board may exercise the powers given the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district under Chapter 1515. of the Revised Code in connection with the work of improvement for which it was formed.

Effective Date: 11-06-1969

1515.18 Petition to supervisors for construction of conservation improvement.

An owner of land that is located in a soil and water conservation district may file a petition with the supervisors of the district requesting the construction of a conservation works of improvement. Upon the receipt of such a petition, the supervisors shall make a preliminary determination to accept or reject the petition.

A petition may be rejected if the supervisors determine that the information that it contains about the proposed improvement is insufficient to enable the supervisors to proceed with the petition under this chapter or if the petition appears to be frivolous. The supervisors also may reject a petition on the grounds that the district lacks sufficient staff or other resources to proceed with the improvement in accordance with this chapter. If the supervisors reject a petition, they shall notify the petitioner of the reasons for the rejection. A petition that was rejected due to insufficient information may be supplemented with additional information and filed again.

If the supervisors accept a petition for a proposed improvement, they shall establish a date and time for a view of the proposed improvement, which date shall be not fewer than twenty-five nor more than ninety days after the date on which the petition was filed. The supervisors shall designate a convenient place near the proposed improvement at which the view shall start.

Upon receipt of a petition, the supervisors also shall establish a date and time on and at which and designate a location at which they will hold a hearing on the proposed improvement. The hearing shall occur not later than ninety days after the date established for the view.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.181 Notice of hearing on proposed improvement.

As soon as the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district have established the dates, times, and locations of the view and the hearing concerning a proposed improvement, they shall send, at least twenty days prior to the date established for the view, a written notice of the view and the hearing to the landowners within the area to be benefited by the proposed improvement and to the board of county commissioners and the county engineer. The supervisors shall notify all landowners that are adjacent to the proposed improvement by certified mail and shall notify all others by certified mail or first class mailings. Any such written notice shall have the words "Legal Notice" printed in plain view on the face of the envelope. In addition, the supervisors shall invite to the view and the hearing the staff of the soil and water conservation district and the staff of the natural resources conservation service in the United States department of agriculture that is involved with the district together with any other people that the supervisors consider to be necessary to the proceedings.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.182 View of site of proposed improvement.

On the date established for the view of a proposed improvement, the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district shall meet at the designated location near the proposed improvement at the established time. At that time, they shall hear proof of the need for the proposed improvement offered by any landowner that is affected by it.

The supervisors shall view the area in which the proposed improvement is to be constructed. If the proposed improvement is a ditch, the view shall include the line of the proposed ditch and each branch, lateral, or spur of the ditch that is mentioned in the petition. If the area to be viewed is extensive, the supervisors may conduct the view on more than one day and may adjourn from day to day, or a longer period, until the view is completed.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.183 Preliminary report on proposed improvement - alternate proposals - review by engineer.

Upon acceptance of a petition requesting the construction of an improvement, the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district shall begin to prepare, as a guide to the board of county commissioners and the petitioners, a preliminary report regarding the proposed improvement. The supervisors shall present the completed preliminary report at the hearing that is held on the proposed improvement.

The preliminary report shall include a preliminary estimate of cost, comments on the feasibility of the project, and a statement of the supervisors' opinion as to whether the benefits from the project are likely to exceed the estimated cost. The preliminary report shall identify all factors that are apparent to the supervisors, both favorable and unfavorable to the proposed improvement, so that the petitioners may be informed concerning what is involved with the construction of the improvement.

In addition to reporting on the improvement as petitioned, the supervisors may submit alternate proposals to accomplish the intent of the petition. The preliminary report and all alternate proposals shall be reviewed and receive concurrence from an engineer who is employed by the division of soil and water resources or by the natural resources conservation service in the United States department of agriculture and who is responsible for providing technical assistance to the district or from any other registered professional engineer whom the supervisors choose.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 7/17/2009.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.184 Hearing on petition - objections by affected landowners.

On the date and at the time established for the hearing on a petition for a proposed improvement, the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district shall conduct the hearing. Prior to the hearing, landowners affected by the proposed improvement may file objections to it with the supervisors, and at the hearing the supervisors shall hear any objections so filed. In addition, the supervisors shall present their preliminary report on the proposed improvement and shall hear any evidence offered by any landowner for or against construction of the proposed improvement. If necessary, the hearing may occur on more than one day and may be adjourned from day to day or for a longer time that may be reasonable so that all interested landowners may have an opportunity to be heard in favor of or in opposition to the proposed improvement.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.185 Subsequent view regarding modifications or alternatives.

If modifications or alternatives to a proposed improvement are proposed or discussed at the hearing on the improvement, the supervisors of the soil and water conservation district may adjourn the hearing for a period of time that is necessary to conduct a subsequent view of the proposed improvement in light of the proposed changes. If it appears that a subsequent view is necessary, the supervisors shall establish a date, time, and location for it and shall notify, in the same manner, the same persons that were required to be notified of the first view.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.19 Approval - date for completion of plans - certification to commissioners.

At the conclusion of the hearing on a proposed improvement, the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district may approve the petition for the improvement if they are reasonably certain that the cost of the proposed improvement will be less than the benefits from it and if they find that the improvement is necessary, that it will be conducive to the public welfare, that it will improve water management and development in the county in which the district is located to the advantage of lands located in it, and that it will aid lands in the area by promoting the economical, industrial, environmental, or social development of the area.

Upon approval of the petition, the supervisors shall establish a date by which the supervisors must complete, in accordance with sections 1515.191 to 1515.193 of the Revised Code, plans and specifications for the improvement together with estimates of damages from and costs for it. The date established shall allow as much time as is necessary for the preparation of the plans, specifications, and estimates. The supervisors may extend the completion date if necessary. Upon completion of the plans, specifications, and estimates, the supervisors shall do both of the following:

(A) Determine the area that would be benefited by the proposed improvement and certify the determination together with the supervisors' approval of the improvement to the board of county commissioners of each county containing land included in the benefited area;

(B) Submit the plans, specifications, and estimates together with the preliminary report to each such board.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.191 Surveys - plans and maps - construction specifications - cost estimates.

Upon approval by the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district of a petition for a proposed improvement, the supervisors or their designee shall conduct all necessary surveys for the proposed improvement. In addition, the supervisors or their designee shall prepare plans for constructing the improvement and shall prepare maps showing the location of the land that is proposed to be assessed in accordance with section 1515.24 of the Revised Code for the improvement.

The supervisors or their designee shall prepare specifications for construction of the improvement and shall specify dimensions of any temporary easement that is necessary for construction purposes. In addition, the supervisors or their designee shall make estimates of the cost of material and any excavation costs. The construction of the improvement may be divided into construction areas if that would be expedient.

In the case of an improvement that is a ditch or similar structure for the disposal of water, the specifications for its construction that the supervisors or their designee must prepare shall provide for spreading and leveling of spoil banks and shall provide for erosion and sediment control through the establishment of a sod or seeded strip not fewer than four feet nor more than fifteen feet wide, measured at right angles to the top of the ditch bank on both sides of the ditch, except where suitable vegetative cover exists. The strip or other such controls shall be considered to be part of the permanent improvement. Sod or seeded strips that are established and maintained in excess of four feet shall be compensated for by their removal from the taxable valuation of the property of which they are a part.

The supervisors or their designee shall make note of all fences, floodgates, culverts, bridges, and other structures that will be removed or adjusted in constructing the improvement. The supervisors or their designee also shall make note of any gates that need to be installed in existing fences in order to provide access to the improvement for maintenance purposes. The gates shall be locked when requested by the owner of the fence and shall be considered to be a part of the original improvement and subject to maintenance along with the improvement.

The supervisors shall submit the plans, specifications, and other information prepared in accordance with this section to the board of county commissioners of each county in which the proposed improvement is to be located.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.192 Estimate of value of property taken - schedule of damages.

The supervisors of a soil and water conservation district or their designee shall estimate the value of land or other property that must be taken and the damages to be sustained by any owner as a result of the construction and subsequent maintenance of a proposed improvement. The supervisors or their designee shall prepare a schedule of damages consisting of the name and address of each owner that is alleged to be damaged, the amount of the estimated damages, and an explanation of the injury upon which the estimate is based. The supervisors' or their designee's schedule of damages also shall contain the value of the land or other property that is necessary to be taken and a complete description of that land or other property. The supervisors shall include the total of the estimated damages and valuations as part of the estimate of the total cost of constructing the improvement and shall submit the schedule of damages to the board of county commissioners of each county in which the improvement is to be located.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.193 Estimate of construction costs and other expenses.

The supervisors of a soil and water conservation district or their designee shall make an estimate of the cost of the construction of a proposed improvement, which shall include actual construction costs, any other expenses incurred in investigations and notifications related to the project, the value of land or other property that must be taken and the damages to be sustained by any owner as a result of the construction and subsequent maintenance of the proposed improvement, the cost of installing any gates in fences or any other structures that are necessary to provide access to the improvement for maintenance purposes, and any other incidental costs. Upon completion of the estimate of cost, the supervisors shall submit it to the board of county commissioners of each county in which the improvement is to be located.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.20 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 04-15-2005

1515.21 Approval or disapproval of construction of improvement.

Upon receipt of a certification under section 1515.19 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners shall, within sixty days, approve or disapprove construction of the improvement. If a board disapproves construction of the improvement, the supervisors may revise the plan for the improvement and again proceed under section 1515.19 of the Revised Code. If the board of county commissioners of each county containing any of the territory included in the project area approves construction of the improvement, the board, or if there is more than one such county, the joint board formed under section 1515.22 of the Revised Code, has in addition to its other powers, the powers of a soil and water conservation district granted by division (C) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code.

When considering whether to approve or disapprove construction of an improvement, the board shall consider all of the following factors:

(A) The cost of location and construction;

(B) The compensation for land or other property that must be taken;

(C) The benefits to the public welfare;

(D) The benefits to land, public corporations, and the state needing the improvement;

(E) In the case of an improvement involving the drainage of water, the effect on land below the improvement that may be caused by constructing the improvement and the sufficiency or insufficiency of the outlet that receives flow from the improvement;

(F) Any other proper matter that will assist the board in approving or disapproving construction of the improvement.

When, in the opinion of the board of county commissioners, it is necessary for the board to acquire real property or a right-of-way or other easement for a conservation works of improvement under this chapter, the board may appropriate the real property or right-of-way or other easement in accordance with sections 163.01 to 163.62 of the Revised Code.

If the board approves construction of the improvement, the county engineer shall file with the county recorder a property plat showing the general location of the improvement and a statement describing the dimensions of any permanent easement that is necessary for maintenance of the improvement. In the case of an improvement that is an open ditch, provisions that govern the permanent easement for maintenance of the ditch that are established in section 6137.12 of the Revised Code shall apply.

A board shall follow sections 307.86 to 307.91 of the Revised Code, except that the board may designate the board of supervisors as the contracting agency and it shall follow division (H) of section 1515.08 of the Revised Code, or except that if the improvement is being undertaken through the joint efforts and cooperation of the board of county commissioners or board of supervisors and another state or federal agency, and if the state or federal regulations or procedures are in conflict with those sections with respect to the procedures for the preparing of contracts, the issuing of bids, the making of awards, and generally the administering of the contracts, the board of county commissioners or board of supervisors may adopt the state or federal regulations or procedures in those areas where conflict exists and proceed with the improvement in accordance with the requirements of the state or federal regulations or procedures.

Effective Date: 05-02-1980; 04-15-2005

1515.211 Commissioners to prepare schedule of estimated assessments.

(A) A board of county commissioners that approves construction of a proposed improvement or the board's designee shall prepare a schedule of estimated assessments on property within the area that is to be benefited by the improvement. In preparing the schedule, the board or its designee shall use information concerning the proposed improvement that must be submitted to the board by the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district. The information includes plans for the proposed improvement, including surveys, maps, and specifications, together with schedules of damages, cost estimates, and any related reports that the supervisors or their designee prepared.

The schedule of estimated assessments that must be prepared shall include the name and address of each owner of land believed to be benefited by the proposed improvement together with a description of the land. The names and descriptions shall be obtained from the tax duplicates of the county. The board or its designee shall enter in the schedule the amount of each estimated assessment, which shall be determined using considerations established in section 1515.24 of the Revised Code. In no case shall an assessment be less than twenty-five dollars for each parcel of land, except in the case of a multi-parcel lot, in which case the board may charge a minimum of twenty-five dollars with respect to all of the parcels comprising the multi-parcel lot. In addition, the board may charge an assessment of less than twenty-five dollars if the board determines that a lower amount is appropriate, provided that the lower amount includes the cost of preparing and mailing the notice required under division (D)(1) of section 1515.24 of the Revised Code. The total of the estimated assessments, including the total estimated assessments allocated to public corporations and the state, shall equal the estimated cost of the proposed improvement. The board shall use the schedule of estimated assessments for purposes of levying final assessments under section 1515.24 of the Revised Code.

(B) As used in this section, "multi-parcel lot" means a site on which a dwelling is located and that comprises two or more contiguous parcels of land.

Effective Date: 04-15-2005; 04-06-2007

1515.22 Joint board of county commissioners - powers.

The boards of county commissioners of all the counties containing any of the territory included in the project area, if all such counties have approved construction of an improvement under section 1515.21 of the Revised Code, are a joint board of county commissioners for the improvement.

A joint board of county commissioners may do all the things that a board of county commissioners may do in connection with the improvement and shall proceed as if it were a board of county commissioners representing a county that included all the territory within the project area.

The joint board may agree to apportion any cost of the improvement, or expenses incurred in connection therewith, not paid by assessments or taxes levied for the improvement, or funds other than county funds, among the participating counties.

The joint board shall elect one of its members president and designate a clerk of one of the boards of county commissioners of the participating counties as clerk of the joint board. A majority of the county commissioners constituting the joint board constitutes a quorum. All decisions of the joint board shall be made by a majority vote of the county commissioners constituting the joint board.

For the purpose of bringing a referendum petition against a soil and water conservation project under section 305.31 of the Revised Code, a resolution adopted by a joint board of county commissioners shall be considered to be a resolution adopted by the board of county commissioners of each county in the project area. The electors of any county in the project area may file a petition for referendum under that section against a resolution adopted by the joint board of county commissioners as if it had been adopted by the board of county commissioners for that county. The referendum shall be conducted only in the county in which the referendum petition was filed. The electors of any county in the project area in which no referendum petition was filed shall not be eligible to vote in the referendum, and the outcome of a referendum shall have effect only in the county in which the referendum was held. Any county in the project area in which a referendum is not held remains subject to the provisions of the resolution adopted by the joint board of county commissioners for the soil and water conservation district.

Effective Date: 10-01-2002

1515.23 County auditor and county treasurer of one county to be fiscal agents of all counties.

The county auditor and county treasurer of one of the counties represented by a joint board of county commissioners under section 1515.22 of the Revised Code, to be designated by the joint board, shall ex officio become the fiscal agents of all the participating counties. Such auditor shall certify to the auditor of the other counties a schedule of any taxes or assessments to be levied for the improvement, and the auditor of such other county shall proceed forthwith to place such tax or assessment upon the duplicates. Taxes or assessments so certified for collection to an auditor of another county is a lien on the land within such county from the date such certificate is received by the auditor of such other county. The treasurer of each county shall proceed to collect the same pursuant to the orders made in the proceedings of the joint board, and such taxes or assessments when collected shall be paid to the treasurer for the joint board. The auditor and treasurer shall receive and account for such funds in the same manner as they would for taxes or assessments collected within their county. The treasurer and auditor with their bondsmen are liable on their official bonds for any misappropriation of such funds. All warrants for the payment of costs in connection with the improvement shall be drawn by the auditor designated under this section, on the treasurer of said county, payable out of the fund designated by the joint board to receive moneys for the improvement.

Effective Date: 11-06-1969

1515.24 Procedure for assessments.

(A) Following receipt of a certification made by the supervisors of a soil and water conservation district pursuant to section 1515.19 of the Revised Code together with receipt of all plans, specifications, and estimates submitted under that section and upon completion of a schedule of estimated assessments in accordance with section 1515.211 of the Revised Code, the board of county commissioners may adopt a resolution levying upon the property within the project area an assessment at a uniform or varied rate based upon the benefit to the area certified by the supervisors, as necessary to pay the cost of construction of the improvement not otherwise funded and to repay advances made for purposes of the improvement from the fund created by section 1515.15 of the Revised Code. The board of county commissioners shall direct the person or authority preparing assessments to give primary consideration, in determining a parcel's estimated assessments relating to the disposal of water, to the potential increase in productivity that the parcel may experience as a result of the improvement and also to give consideration to the amount of water disposed of, the location of the property relative to the project, the value of the project to the watershed, and benefits. The part of the assessment that is found to benefit state, county, or township roads or highways or municipal streets shall be assessed against the state, county, township, or municipal corporation, respectively, payable from motor vehicle revenues. The part of the assessment that is found to benefit property owned by any public corporation, any political subdivision of the state, or the state shall be assessed against the public corporation, the political subdivision, or the state and shall be paid out of the general funds or motor vehicle revenues of the public corporation, the political subdivision of the state, or the state, except as otherwise provided by law.

(B) The assessment shall be certified to the county auditor and by the county auditor to the county treasurer. The collection of the assessment shall conform in all matters to Chapter 323. of the Revised Code.

(C) Any land owned and managed by the department of natural resources for wildlife, recreation, nature preserve, or forestry purposes is exempt from assessments if the director of natural resources determines that the land derives no benefit from the improvement. In making such a determination, the director shall consider the purposes for which the land is owned and managed and any relevant articles of dedication or existing management plans for the land. If the director determines that the land derives no benefit from the improvement, the director shall notify the board of county commissioners, within thirty days after receiving the assessment notification required by this section, indicating that the director has determined that the land is to be exempt and explaining the specific reason for making this determination. The board of county commissioners, within thirty days after receiving the director's exemption notification, may appeal the determination to the court of common pleas. If the court of common pleas finds in favor of the board of county commissioners, the department of natural resources shall pay all court costs and legal fees.

(D)

(1) The board shall give notice by first class mail to every public and private property owner whose property is subject to assessment, at the tax mailing or other known address of the owner. The notice shall contain a statement of the amount to be assessed against the property of the addressee, a description of the method used to determine the necessity for and the amount of the proposed assessment, a description of any easement on the property that is necessary for purposes of the improvement, and a statement that the addressee may file an objection in writing at the office of the board of county commissioners within thirty days after the mailing of notice. If the residence of any owner cannot be ascertained, or if any mailed notice is returned undelivered, the board shall publish the notice to all such owners in a newspaper of general circulation within the project area, once each week for three weeks or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code. The notice shall include the information contained in the mailed notice, but shall state that the owner may file an objection in writing at the office of the board of county commissioners within thirty days after the last publication of the notice.

(2) Upon receipt of objections as provided in this section, the board shall proceed within thirty days to hold a final hearing on the objections by fixing a date and giving notice by first class mail to the objectors at the address provided in filing the objection. If any mailed notice is returned undelivered, the board shall give due notice to the objectors in a newspaper of general circulation in the project area or as provided in section 7.16 of the Revised Code, stating the time, place, and purpose of the hearing. Upon hearing the objectors, the board may adopt a resolution amending and approving the final schedule of assessments and shall enter it in the journal.

(3) Any owner whose objection is not allowed may appeal within thirty days to the court of common pleas of the county in which the property is located.

(4) The board of county commissioners shall make an order approving the levying of the assessment and shall proceed under section 6131.23 of the Revised Code after one of the following has occurred, as applicable:

(a) Final notice is provided by mail or publication.

(b) The imposition of assessments is upheld in the final disposition of an appeal that is filed pursuant to division (D)(3) of this section.

(c) The resolution levying the assessments is approved in a referendum that is held pursuant to section 305.31 of the Revised Code.

(5) The county treasurer shall deposit the proceeds of the assessment in the fund designated by the board and shall report to the county auditor the amount of money from the assessment that is collected by the treasurer. Moneys shall be expended from the fund for purposes of the improvement.

(E) Any moneys collected in excess of the amount needed for construction of the improvement and the subsequent first year's maintenance may be maintained in a fund to be used for maintenance of the improvement. In any year subsequent to a year in which an assessment for construction of an improvement levied under this section has been collected, and upon determination by the board of county commissioners that funds are not otherwise available for maintenance or repair of the improvement, the board shall levy on the property within the project area an assessment for maintenance at a uniform percentage of all construction costs based upon the assessment schedule used in determining the construction assessment. The assessment is not subject to the provisions concerning notice and petition contained in this section. An assessment for maintenance shall not be levied in any year in which the unencumbered balance of funds available for maintenance of the improvement exceeds twenty per cent of the cost of construction of the improvement, except that the board may adjust the level of assessment within the twenty per cent limitation, or suspend temporarily the levying of an assessment, for maintenance purposes as maintenance funds are needed.

For the purpose of levying an assessment for maintenance of an improvement, a board may use the procedures established in Chapter 6137. of the Revised Code regarding maintenance of improvements as defined in section 6131.01 of the Revised Code in lieu of using the procedures established under this section.

(F) The board of county commissioners may issue bonds and notes as authorized by section 131.23 or 133.17 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 10-01-2002; 04-15-2005

1515.25 to 1515.27 [Repealed].

Effective Date: 10-01-2002

1515.28 Resolution declaring necessity for tax levy.

A board of county commissioners may declare by resolution that it is necessary to levy a tax upon the property within the project area in order to pay the costs of the improvement not otherwise funded.

Such resolution shall specify the rate which it is necessary to levy, the purpose thereof, and the number of years during which such increase shall be in effect, which levy may include a levy upon the duplicate of the current year.

A copy of the resolution shall be certified to the board of elections for the county not less than ninety days before the general election in any year and said board shall submit the proposal to the electors within the project area at the succeeding November election in accordance with section 5705.25 of the Revised Code. For purposes of that section, the subdivision is the project area.

If the per cent required for approval of a levy as set forth in section 5705.26 of the Revised Code vote in favor thereof, the board of county commissioners may levy a tax within the project area, outside the ten-mill limitation, during the period and for the purpose stated in the resolution, or at any less rate or for any less number of years.

The board may issue bonds and notes in anticipation of the collection of taxes levied under this section, and notes in anticipation of the issuance of bonds.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.29, HB 48, §1, eff. 7/2/2010.

Effective Date: 03-23-1981

1515.29 Joint board to maintain works of improvement.

The board of county commissioners, or, if a joint board of county commissioners has been created under section 1515.22 of the Revised Code, the joint board, shall maintain the works of improvement constructed by the board for a soil and water conservation district . For that purpose, the board or joint board may use procedures and requirements established in sections 6137.08 to 6137.14 of the Revised Code and may contract with or authorize the supervisors or joint board of supervisors of a soil and water conservation district to perform maintenance of such works of improvement.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.7, HB 114, §101.01, eff. 6/29/2011.

Effective Date: 11-06-1969

1515.30 to 1515.33, 1515.99 Amended and Renumbered RC 1511.02, 1511.05, 1511.07, 1511.08, 1511.99.

Effective Date: 1981 SB155 03-16-1982