The court of common pleas, on appeal, shall hear the matters appealed de novo. The proceedings shall be conducted under the rules of law and procedure for civil cases. An appeal shall bring into the court all the owners who in any way may be interested in or affected by the matter appealed. The court, exercising equitable jurisdiction, shall hear all matters appealed, except an appeal from an order allowing or refusing to allow compensation or damages. The court may view the premises the same as views in other civil cases and shall make such judgment, order, or decree as is warranted by the evidence. Any owner aggrieved by the judgment, order, or decree may appeal for a review of the proceedings, the same as in other civil cases. On appeal, the burden of proof shall be on the owner having the affirmative of the proposition, who shall have the opening and closing. The court, exercising equitable jurisdiction, shall bring the entire proceedings before it in order to determine all the issues raised in the proceedings and enter a final judgment, order, or decree for or against the improvement petitioned for and for or against the assessments to be levied and the compensation and damages to be paid.
If the court orders the county engineer to make a survey and file his reports, plans, and schedules, the court also shall enter an order for transfer from the general revenue funds of the county to the general drainage improvement fund a sum of not more than twenty-five per cent of the engineer's preliminary estimate.
The court of common pleas may appoint a board of arbitrators to assume the duties of the judge. The board shall be comprised of three disinterested persons chosen by the judge, who shall designate one of the persons to be chairman. A decision of the board shall require approval of a majority of the members. Either party may appeal the board's decision to the court of common pleas, which shall decide the case on the record of arbitration.
Effective Date: 03-17-1987