Howard Run Information
A view is a chance for the Board of Hancock County Commissioners, the petitioner, and any interested party to see the ditch and allow them to view obstructions to water flow.
At the 1st Hearing the County Engineer will give his preliminary report explaining what he feels would need to be done to clean the ditch and an estimated cost. It also is an opportunity for landowners to ask questions about the project and voice their opinion for or against the proposed project. At the end of the 1st Hearing the Board of Commissioners will make a decision to either proceed or drop the project. If they drop the project, generally, no cost will be assessed to landowners in the watershed.
If the commissioners proceed with the project, within approximately 1.5-2 years the County Engineer will present his detailed plans and specifications with a more realistic cost of the project. At this point we will notify you of another hearing, the Final Hearing. Again this is a chance for landowners to voice their opinion and a decision will be rendered.
If the Commissioners proceed with the proposed project, you would be assessed with two options of payment. Payment could be in full or assessed on your real estate taxes with the period of collection years decided on at the Final Hearing.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A PETITION DITCH?
- Any owner may file a petition with the Clerk of the Board of County Commissioners of the County in which is located a part of the land that is averred to be benefitted by the construction of a proposed improvement. The petition shall state that the construction of the improvement is necessary, will and may ask to locate, clean, remove obstructions from, construct, reconstruct, straighten, deepen, widen, alter, box, tile, fill, wall, or arch any ditch, drain, watercourse, floodway, creek, run, or river or to change the course, location, or terminus thereof, or may ask to construct a levee, wall, embankment, jetty, dike, dam, sluice, revetment, reservoir, holding basin, control gate, breakwater, or other structure for control of water (Per Sec. 6131 O.R.C.)
HOW IS THIS PROJECT GOING TO BENEFIT ME?
- "Benefit" or "benefits" includes any or all of the following factors: Elimination or reduction of damage from flood; removal of water conditions that jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare; increased value of land resulting from the improvement; use of water for irrigation, storage, regulation of stream flow, soil conservation, water supply, or any other purpose incidental thereto; providing an outlet for the accelerated runoff from artificial drainage whenever the stream, watercourse, channel, or ditch under improvement is called upon to discharge functions for which it was not designed by nature; it being the legislative intent that uplands that have been removed from their natural state by deforestation, cultivation, artificial drainage, urban development, or other man-made causes shall be considered as benefitted by an improvement required to dispose of the accelerated flow of water from the uplands (Per Sec. 6131 O.R.C.)
WHY AM "I" BEING ASSESSED FOR THIS PROJECT?
- Because you own a piece of property that is to be benefitted (as described above) by this proposed improvement, which also means that this property lies, all or in part, within the boundaries of the Watershed (Watershed is the term used to describe the ground surface area that "sheds" water off, either directly or indirectly, into a drainage system). Any and all state, county, and township owned property in the watershed is also assessed.
IS THIS A "ONE TIME ASSESSMENT"?
- The notice of tentative assessment that you received is a one-time assessment for the construction of the project. A portion of the assessment is also used to establish the maintenance fund for the ditch. Property owners are only assessed in the future for a maintenance assessment on an as needed basis. As long as the maintenance fund is adequate enough to maintain the ditch for the upcoming year, then no assessment is needed. Each ditch on maintenance has its own maintenance fund that is used only for that ditch. All maintenance fund records are kept at the Hancock County Courthouse and are always available to the public.
WHAT IS PERMANENT MAINTENANCE?
- Prior to 1957, any drainage project that was constructed or reconstructed through the petition process was not required to be maintained by the County Commissioners. In 1957 the Ohio Revised Code was changed by the addition of Sec. 6137. This section states that any project, which is constructed through the petition process, must be placed on a permanent maintenance program under the direct control of the County Commissioners. This means that if "this" project is approved and constructed through the petition process, a maintenance fund would be established for this project and this fund would be used to maintain this project forever. The annual maintenance would prevent the project from returning to its deteriorated state. Instead, the project would be kept free of sediment and debris, suck holes, logjams, trash, etc.