Special Assessment Districts

Townships may use special assessment districts to fund special projects such as paving roads in an unincorporated townsite or subdivision or lakefront roads.

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58-18-01. Power of townships to defray expenses of improvements by special assessment. A township, upon complying with the provisions of this chapter, may defray the expenses of improvements through special assessment districts.

58-18-02. Improvement districts to be created. For the purpose of making an improvement project and defraying the cost by special assessment, a board of township supervisors may create an improvement district upon petition of sixty percent of the freeholders in a proposed improvement district area. The improvement district must be designated by a name appropriate to the type of improvement and by a number distinguishing it from other improvement districts.

58-18-03. Size and form of improvement districts. Each improvement district must be of such size and form as to include all properties, which in the judgment of the board of township supervisors will be benefited by the construction of the improvement project that is proposed to be made in or for the district.

58-18-04. Approval of plans, specifications, and cost estimates - Special meeting. After an improvement district has been created, the board of township supervisors shall direct a competent engineer to prepare a report as to the general nature, purpose, and feasibility of the proposed improvement and an estimate of the probable cost of the work. The board of township supervisors shall provide thirty days' written notice by first-class mail to each freeholder within the improvement district at the address shown on the records of the county treasurer and shall publish a notice in a legal newspaper published in the township or, if there is no such newspaper, then in the county's official newspaper at least ten days prior to a special meeting for public disclosure of the findings of the engineer.

58-18-05. Election for proceeding. At the special township meeting for public disclosure of the findings of the engineer, the freeholders of the township in attendance are entitled to vote on the question of whether to proceed with the improvement project. Upon approval by sixty percent or more of the votes cast at the meeting or votes filed with the township clerk within fifteen days after the meeting, the improvement project may proceed. A freeholder affected by the project is entitled to one vote for each dollar of the proposed special assessment against the freeholder's property within the proposed improvement district. If there is more than one owner of a parcel of property, the votes available for the parcel must be prorated among the owners in accordance with each owner's percentage interest in the property. If fewer than sixty percent of the votes cast or filed on the question approve the project, the election result is a bar against proceeding further with the improvement project described in the plans and specifications. An election result barring proceeding further with the improvement project does not preclude the payment of any costs incurred in developing the plans, specifications, cost estimates, or other costs which must be paid from the general fund of the township. If the costs incurred pose a financial burden on the general levy of a township of forty percent or more, the board of township supervisors may levy and collect assessments from the improvement district in yearly assessments not exceeding five years. If under forty percent, the township may use methods approved by law.

58-18-06. Election approval of project - Assessment levy. If the election under this chapter results in approval of a project, the board of township supervisors may cause the improvement to be made and may levy and collect assessments from the improvement district.

58-18-07. Appeal notice - Special meeting - Assessment determination - Limitations. Any aggrieved freeholder may appeal the special assessment against the freeholder's real property by providing the township clerk a written notice of appeal, stating the grounds upon which the appeal is based, within twenty days after the special township meeting. The clerk shall notify the township board of supervisors of the appeal and schedule a special meeting to hear the appeals by publishing a notice of the special meeting at least ten days before the meeting in a legal newspaper published in the township or, if no such newspaper exists, in the county's official newspaper. Any aggrieved freeholder who submitted an appeal may be heard and may present reasons to change the freeholder's assessment at the special meeting. The board of township supervisors may hear the appeals and reasons and may increase or diminish any of the assessments as it may deem just, providing that the total amount of the assessments may not be changed and an assessment as adjusted may not exceed the benefits to the parcel of land on which it is assessed.

58-18-08. Financing of special improvements - Procedure.

When it is proposed to finance in whole or in part the construction of a project with funds raised through the collection of special assessments, the township has the authority granted to municipalities in chapters 40-22, 40-23, 40-23.1, 40-24, 40-25, 40-26, 40-27, and 40-28, and the township shall comply with the provisions of those chapters regarding the issuance and sale of warrants and bonds for financing improvements. Whenever action is required of city officials in those chapters, the comparable township officials shall take the action.