298.77 Readjustment of assessments; procedure, notice, hearings.—
(1) Whenever the owners of 25 percent or more of the acreage of the land of any district situated wholly in a single county existing under the general drainage laws of this state, now this chapter, joined by the holders of not less than 95 percent of the indebtedness outstanding against that district, shall file a petition with the board of supervisors, stating that there has been a material change in the value of the property in the district since the last previous assessment of benefits, contributed to by the drainage system; that a relatively large portion or portions of the district have become nontaxable for the purpose of paying the indebtedness of such district; that a named person, corporation, or agency has purchased the obligations of the district at a discount and under circumstances whereby the district is expected to pay in discharge of its obligations a sum greatly less than the par value of such obligations; that improvements within the district made possible or practicable by the drainage effected have been such as to enhance values in a portion or portions thereof more than in other portions of the district; and that developments in all parts of the district are believed to have been retarded by the inability of property owners to pay assessments and discharge individual properties from the lien of the drainage tax; and praying for readjustment of the assessment of benefits for the purpose of making a more equitable basis for the levy of taxes to pay the indebtedness of such district and to maintain its drainage system, the board of supervisors shall give notice of the filing and hearing of the petition in the manner and for the time provided for in s. 298.301.
(2) Such notice may be in the following form:
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to all persons interested in the lands included within the ____ Water Control District that a petition has been filed with the district, praying for a readjustment of the assessment of benefits for the purpose of making a more equitable basis for the levy of taxes against the various pieces and parcels of land in said district to pay its indebtedness and maintain its drainage system, and that said petition will be heard by the board of supervisors on the ____ day of ____, (year) .
Dated ____, (year) .
(Secretary of District)
(3) Any interested person may file an answer to the petition before the return day and, if so, shall be duly heard, but, if not, the cause shall proceed ex parte. Upon the hearing of the petition, if the board shall find that there has been a material change in the values of the lands in the district since the last previous assessment of benefits, contributed to by the drainage system, and that the other material allegations of the petition herein required to be set forth are substantially true, the board of supervisors shall order that there be made a readjustment of the assessment of benefits for the purpose of providing a basis upon which to levy further and future taxes for the payment of the obligations of, and maintaining the drainage system in, the district, and shall order the engineer’s report to be revised accordingly. Thereupon, the board of supervisors shall proceed pursuant to s. 298.301 to make such readjustment of assessment of benefits to each piece or parcel of land which has accrued or will accrue as a result of the drainage system. Provided, in making the readjustment of the assessment of benefits, the board of supervisors shall not increase the existing assessment, or unpaid portion thereof, on any piece or parcel of land; provided, further, that after the making of such readjustment, the limitation of 10 percent of the annual maintenance tax which may be levied shall apply to the amount of benefits as readjusted.
History.—s. 1, ch. 22103, 1943; s. 34, ch. 79-5; s. 6, ch. 80-281; s. 25, ch. 97-40; s. 22, ch. 99-6; s. 5, ch. 2005-238.