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A drain commissioner is an elected official in counties of the U.S. state of Michigan with a population over 12,000. In counties with a population under 12,000, the statutory duties and responsibilities of the drain commissioner are performed by the county's board of road commissioners.

The office of drain commissioner is statutory, and is the only county-wide office not mandated or created by the Michigan Constitution. Drain commissioners are elected on the partisan ballot in presidential election years for a term of four years. A recent change in state law allows the office to be renamed to water resources commissioner. [1]

Contents

Reform

The office of drain commissioner dates to Michigan's statehood in 1837, as the state was largely undesirable with much of the land considered swamps and wetlands. The first bill passed by the Michigan Legislature was a drainage act, which led to the creation of drain commissioners at the township level. In 1897, township drain commissioners were abolished and the position was mandated in counties.

A proposal by Drain Commissioner Dennis Lennox, of Cheboygan County, would amend the law establishing the office of drain commissioner by increasing the population threshold to 35,000. [2] This proposal is currently before the Legislature as House Bill No. 5216 and Senate Bill No. 758 after being approved by the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners in 2009. [3] [4] [5]

Duties and Responsibilities

The power exercised by drain commissioners is second only to the county sheriff. It is the only elected office in Michigan that can directly levy taxes. While the powers of the drain commissioner are immense, the position has become little more than a figurehead in some counties with salaries as low as a dollar per day.[6] [7] [8] [9]

The drain commissioner is responsible for planning, developing, and maintaining surface water drainage systems under Public Act 40 of 1956 [10]. The need for an elected official to handle drainage is facilitated by the high density of waterways and low-lying areas throughout the state.

A drain may be a natural or artificial creek or ditch, or a massive pipe for carrying storm water. The territory served by a particular drain, its watershed, is typically organized as a drainage district, and the drain commissioner levies tax assessments and directs construction or maintenance of drains and culverts on behalf of each district. Drainage districts are public corporations, with legal rights similar to other political subdivisions of state government. A county may have dozens or even hundreds of drainage districts.

See also

External links

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A drain commissioner is an elected official in counties of the U.S. state of Michigan with a population over 12,000. In counties with a population under 12,000, the statutory duties and responsibilities of the drain commissioner are performed by the county's board of road commissioners.

The office of drain commissioner is statutory, and is the only county-wide office not mandated or created by the Michigan Constitution. Drain commissioners are elected on the partisan ballot in presidential election years for a term of four years. A recent change in state law allows the office to be renamed to water resources commissioner. [1]

Contents

Reform

The office of drain commissioner dates to Michigan's statehood in 1837, as the state was largely undesirable with much of the land considered swamps and wetlands. The first bill passed by the Michigan Legislature was a drainage act, which led to the creation of drain commissioners at the township level. In 1897, township drain commissioners were abolished and the position was mandated in counties.

A proposal by Drain Commissioner Dennis Lennox, of Cheboygan County, would amend the law establishing the office of drain commissioner by increasing the population threshold to 35,000. [2] This proposal is currently before the Legislature as House Bill No. 5216 and Senate Bill No. 758 after being approved by the Cheboygan County Board of Commissioners in 2009. [3] [4] [5]

Duties and Responsibilities

The power exercised by drain commissioners is second only to the county sheriff. It is the only elected office in Michigan that can directly levy taxes. While the powers of the drain commissioner are immense, the position has become little more than a figurehead in some counties with salaries as low as a dollar per day.[6] [7] [8] [9]

The drain commissioner is responsible for planning, developing, and maintaining surface water drainage systems under Public Act 40 of 1956 [10]. The need for an elected official to handle drainage is facilitated by the high density of waterways and low-lying areas throughout the state.

A drain may be a natural or artificial creek or ditch, or a massive pipe for carrying storm water. The territory served by a particular drain, its watershed, is typically organized as a drainage district, and the drain commissioner levies tax assessments and directs construction or maintenance of drains and culverts on behalf of each district. Drainage districts are public corporations, with legal rights similar to other political subdivisions of state government. A county may have dozens or even hundreds of drainage districts.

See also

External links


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