and Taxes – Drainage Assessments
Iowa Drainage Law Manual
is a drainage district?
districts have been established for the drainage of surface
waters from agricultural and other lands for the protection
of said lands from overflow when said protection is a
public benefit or is conducive to public health, convenience,
and welfare (Section
468.2, State Code of Iowa).
sets up drainage districts?
districts are established by the Drainage District Trustees at
the request of the land owners within the proposed district (Section
468.6-468.8). Petitions and actions to establish are kept
in the minute books in the county auditor’s office.
are drainage assessments for?
are made as necessary to pay for engineering costs,
improvements, and repairs within a given drainage district.
is my drainage assessment determined?
or classification of land in a drainage district is based on
the benefit that land is seen to receive from being in the district.
The original percent of benefit of any parcel of land within
a district was set when that district was established and is
the basis for all assessments unless the district is reclassified
by the trustees (Section
are the Drainage District Trustees?
under the Code of Iowa, Chapter 468, the County Board of Supervisors
act as Drainage District Trustees in all district matters. However,
the land owners of a particular district may, if they wish, elect
their own trustees and maintain the district themselves.
the Drainage District Trustees make repairs without my consent?
The trustees are required by the Code of Iowa (Section
468.126) to maintain all drainage districts at their original
capacity. Notice of repairs is only required when the cost will
exceed $15,000 or 75% of the original assessed benefit of the
district, whichever is greater.
I get out of the drainage district?
are the drainage district records kept?
drainage district records are kept in the County Auditor’s
can I complain about drainage problems?
repairs, contact the Auditor to find out who performs this task
in your county (it varies from county to county). Other complaints,
problems, or questions can be directed to the drainage clerk
in the Auditor’s Office or to the drainage district trustees.
pays for drainage district repairs?
owners within a district pay for all its maintenance and repairs.
The County Engineer’s Office or an independent contractor
hired by the trustees will do the work and bill the cost to the
district. Members of the district pay based on the proportion
of the original percent of benefit of their property to the original
assessed benefit of the entire district.
are the drainage assessments not proportional to property valuation?
are computed as a percentage of the original assessment which
is based on the benefit that a property is seen to receive by
being inside the district (see next question).
is my assessment $25.00 when my neighbor’s is only $7.00?
are based on the benefit a particular property receives
from the district. You can consult district maps (available
through the drainage clerk) to determine your property’s
location within the drainage district in relation to
the district tiles.
lived here for years and never gotten a drainage bill. Why now?
districts are not levied on a regular basis. When a
district is levied the trustees set the percentage such
that a minimal surplus remains after all bills are paid.
The district will not be levied again until its funds
are depleted. Depending on the amount of work required
in the district, some districts are levied every two
years while a few have gone 50 years or more without
a levy. The norm is every 4-5 years. To find out when
your district was last levied, contact the drainage
just purchased this property and got a drainage bill. The previous
owner paid me for property taxes due. Should they pay for this
contact your realtor or attorney to determine the answer.
happens if I don’t pay my assessment?