Nebraska Revised Statute 31-301
Chapter 31 Section 301
Drainage districts organized by proceedings in district court; formation; articles of association; contents.
A majority in interest of the owners in any contiguous body of swamp or overflowed lands in this state, situated in one or more counties in this state, may form a drainage district for the purpose of having such land reclaimed and protected from the effects of water, by drainage or otherwise. For that purpose they may make and sign articles of association, in which shall be stated the name of the district, the number of years the same is to continue, the limits of the proposed drainage district, which shall in no event embrace an area of less than one hundred and sixty acres, the names and places of residence of the owners of the land in the proposed district, the description of the several tracts or parcels of land situated in the district owned by those who may organize the district, and the name or names and the description of the real estate owned by such as do not join in the organization of the district but who will be benefited thereby. Such owners of real estate as are unknown may be set out in such articles as such. The articles shall further state that the owners of real estate so forming the district for such purposes are willing and obligate themselves to pay the tax or taxes which may be assessed against them to pay the expense of making the improvements that may be necessary to effect the drainage of the lands so formed into a district, as provided by law, praying that they may be declared a drainage district under sections 31-301 to 31-369.
- Laws 1905, c. 161, § 1, p. 610;
- Laws 1909, c. 147, § 1, p. 507;
- R.S.1913, § 1797;
- C.S.1922, § 1744;
- C.S.1929, § 31-401;
- R.S.1943, § 31-301.
3. Status as public corporation
4. Powers and restrictions
Act sustained as constitutional as against claim that it gives legislative power to the courts. Mooney v. Drainage District No. 1 of Richardson County, 126 Neb. 219, 252 N.W. 910 (1934).
Drainage district act upheld as constitutional. Drainage District No. 1 of Pawnee County v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co., 96 Neb. 1, 146 N.W. 1055 (1914); O'Neill v. Leamer, 239 U.S. 244 (1915).
Act, as amended in 1909, is constitutional, though it omits provisions to recover damages. Nemaha Valley Drainage District No. 2 v. Marconnit, 90 Neb. 514, 134 N.W. 177 (1912).
Title was sufficiently comprehensive to include assessment of public highways when benefited. Drainage Dist. No. 1 of Richardson County v. Richardson County, 86 Neb. 355, 125 N.W. 796 (1910).
Court performs judicial and not administrative functions. Barnes v. Minor, 80 Neb. 189, 114 N.W. 146 (1907).
Creation of such political administrative corporations is constitutional. Neal v. Vansickle, 72 Neb. 105, 100 N.W. 200 (1904).
Lands within district are not required to actually adjoin. Petersen v. Thurston, 157 Neb. 833, 62 N.W.2d 68 (1954).
The court acquires jurisdiction to organize district under this article by filing of articles of association and service of notice, and the court, having jurisdiction, may permit additional landowners in district to join in articles of association. Henderson v. Holliman, 108 Neb. 67, 187 N.W. 128 (1922).
Notice must be given to all owners of land within the district who have not signed the articles. Latham v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co., 100 Neb. 173, 158 N.W. 923 (1916).
Articles of incorporation, if properly drawn, may take the place of petition or application, and the statute defines what they shall contain. Drainage Dist. No. 1 of Otoe and Johnson Counties v. Wilkins, 93 Neb. 567, 141 N.W. 151 (1913).
Court may refuse to declare the district organized, where petitioners are nonresidents of county. Catron v. Dailey, 84 Neb. 487, 121 N.W. 462 (1909).
3. Status as public corporation
Drainage district organized under this article is a public and not a private corporation, and it has no authority to engage in irrigation, or to consent to the diversion, for purposes of irrigation, of any waters carried in any drainage ditch. Drainage Dist. No. 1 v. Suburban Irrigation Dist., 139 Neb. 333, 297 N.W. 645 (1941).
A drainage district is a public and not a private corporation. Mooney v. Drainage District No. 1 of Richardson County, 133 Neb. 197, 274 N.W. 467 (1937). Judgment vacated on rehearing, 134 Neb. 192, 278 N.W. 368 (1938).
Drainage district organized under this article is a public corporation. O'Neill v. Leamer, 93 Neb. 786, 142 N.W. 112 (1913), affirmed, 239 U.S. 244 (1915); Drainage Dist. No. 1 of Richardson County v. Richardson County, 86 Neb. 355, 125 N.W. 796 (1910).
4. Powers and restrictions
District is liable for failure to maintain and keep in repair its works. McGree v. Stanton-Pilger Drainage Dist., 164 Neb. 552, 82 N.W.2d 798 (1957).
Power is conferred to drain swamp or overflowed lands. Petersen v. Thurston, 161 Neb. 758, 74 N.W.2d 528 (1956).
Duty is imposed upon district to maintain and keep system in repair. County of Johnson v. Weber, 160 Neb. 432, 70 N.W.2d 440 (1955).
Drainage district organized under this article has no authority to levy assessments on property outside of district. Drainage Dist. No. 1 v. Village of Hershey, 139 Neb. 205, 296 N.W. 879 (1941).
Drainage assessments levied by board cannot be enjoined unless void. Richardson County v. Drainage District No. 1 of Richardson County, 113 Neb. 662, 204 N.W. 376 (1925).
Petitioners cannot restrict powers of corporation as to manner of drainage. Nemaha Valley Drainage Dist. No. 2 v. Marconnit, 90 Neb. 514, 134 N.W. 177 (1912).
Proceedings for the establishment of a drainage district is purely statutory. Kuhlman v. Folkers, 179 Neb. 80, 136 N.W.2d 364 (1965).
Proceedings to form sanitary and improvement district are similar to proceedings under this article. Zwink v. Ahlman, 177 Neb. 15, 128 N.W.2d 121 (1964).
Assessment of benefit units for drainage improvement to streets and alleys of a village within a drainage district cannot be ascertained to an exact nicety of apportionment. Drainage District No. 1 of Lincoln County v. Village of Hershey, 145 Neb. 138, 15 N.W.2d 337 (1944).
Waters running in drainage ditches constructed and maintained by a drainage district organized under this article are not subject to legal appropriation under irrigation laws. Drainage Dist. No. 1 v. Suburban Irrigation Dist., 139 Neb. 460, 298 N.W. 131 (1941).
Incorporation of drainage district and proceedings had pursuant to statute create contracts between the district and individual landowners which cannot be impaired by subsequent legislation. Ritter v. Drainage Dist. No. 1 of Otoe and Johnson Counties, 137 Neb. 866, 291 N.W. 718 (1940).
Landowners acquired vested property rights by payment of legal assessments on their lands to a public drainage district, and it could not discontinue operation. Mooney v. Drainage District No. 1 of Richardson County, 134 Neb. 192, 278 N.W. 368 (1938).
Drainage district is liable for damages caused by negligence in construction or maintenance. Miller v. Drainage District No. 1 of Richardson County, 112 Neb. 206, 199 N.W. 28 (1924).