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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

115.20 PROCEEDING TO CREATE DISTRICT.
    Subdivision 1. Petition required. (a) A proceeding for the creation of a district may be
initiated by a petition to the agency, filed with its secretary, containing the following:
(1) a request for creation of the proposed district;
(2) the name proposed for the district, to include the words "sanitary district";
(3) a description of the territory of the proposed district;
(4) a statement showing the existence in such territory of the conditions requisite for creation
of a district as prescribed in section 115.19;
(5) a statement of the territorial units represented by and the qualifications of the respective
signers;
(6) the post office address of each signer, given under the signer's signature. A petition may
consist of separate writings of like effect, each signed by one or more qualified persons, and all
such writings, when filed, shall be considered together as a single petition.
(b) A public meeting must be held to inform citizens of the proposed creation of the district.
At the meeting, information must be provided, including a description of the district's proposed
structure, bylaws, territory, ordinances, budget, and charges. Notice of the meeting must be
published for two successive weeks in a qualified newspaper published within the territory of
the proposed district or, if there is no qualified newspaper published within the territory, in a
qualified newspaper of general circulation in the territory, and by posting for two weeks in each
territorial unit of the proposed district. A record of the meeting must be submitted to the agency
with the petition.
    Subd. 2. Signatures; publication. Every petition shall be signed as follows:
(1) for each municipality wherein there is a territorial unit of the proposed district, by an
authorized officer or officers pursuant to a resolution of the municipal governing body;
(2) for each organized town wherein there is a territorial unit of the proposed district, by an
authorized officer or officers pursuant to a resolution of the town board;
(3) for each county wherein there is a territorial unit of the proposed district consisting of an
unorganized area, by an authorized officer or officers pursuant to a resolution of the county board,
or by at least 20 percent of the voters residing and owning land within the unit.
Each resolution shall be published in the official newspaper of the governing body adopting
it and shall become effective 40 days after publication, unless within said period there shall be
filed with the governing body a petition signed by qualified electors of a territorial unit of the
proposed district, equal in number to five percent of the number of such electors voting at the last
preceding election of the governing body, requesting a referendum on the resolution, in which
case the resolution may not become effective until approved by a majority of the qualified electors
voting at a regular election or special election which the governing body may call. The notice
of any election and the ballot to be used shall contain the text of the resolution followed by the
question: "Shall the above resolution be approved?"
If any signer is alleged to be a landowner in a territorial unit, a statement as to the signer's
landowner status as shown by the county auditor's tax assessment records, certified by the auditor,
shall be attached to or endorsed upon the petition.
    Subd. 3. Changes; errors. At any time before publication of the public notice required in
subdivision 4, or before the public hearing, if required under subdivision 4, additional signatures
may be added to the petition or amendments of the petition may be made to correct or remedy any
error or defect in signature or otherwise except a material error or defect in the description of the
territory of the proposed district. No proceeding shall be invalidated on account of any error or
defect in the petition unless questioned by an interested party before the reception of evidence
begins at the hearing except a material error or defect in the description of the territory of the
proposed district. If the qualifications of any signer of a petition are challenged, the agency or
its agent shall determine the challenge forthwith on the allegations of the petition, the county
auditor's certificate of land ownership, and such other evidence as may be received.
    Subd. 4. State Register; hearing. (a) Upon receipt of a petition and the record of the public
meeting required under subdivision 1, the agency shall publish a notice in the State Register and
mail a copy to each property owner in the affected territory at the owner's address as given by
the county auditor. The mailed copy must state the date that the notice will appear in the State
Register. Copies need not be sent by registered mail. The notice must:
(1) describe the petition for creation of the district;
(2) describe the territory affected by the petition;
(3) allow 30 days for submission of written comments on the petition;
(4) state that a person who objects to the petition may submit a written request for hearing to
the agency within 30 days of the publication of the notice in the State Register; and
(5) state that if a timely request for hearing is not received, the agency may make a decision
on the petition at a future meeting of the agency.
(b) If 25 or more timely requests for hearing are received, the agency must hold a hearing on
the petition in accordance with the contested case provisions of chapter 14.
    Subd. 5. Findings; order. After the public notice period or the public hearing, if required
under subdivision 4, and based on the petition, any public comments received, and, if a hearing
was held, the hearing record, the agency shall make findings of fact and conclusions determining
whether or not the conditions requisite for the creation of a district exist in the territory described
in the petition. If the agency finds that conditions exist, it may make an order creating a district for
the territory described in the petition under the name proposed in the petition or such other name,
including the words "sanitary district," as the agency deems appropriate.
    Subd. 6. Denial of petition. If the agency, after the conclusion of the public notice period
or the holding of a hearing, if required, determines that the creation of a district in the territory
described in the petition is not warranted, it shall make an order denying the petition. The
secretary of the agency shall give notice of such denial by mail to each signer of the petition. No
petition for the creation of a district consisting of the same territory shall be entertained within a
year after the date of an order, but this shall not preclude action on a petition for the creation of a
district embracing part of the territory with or without other territory.
    Subd. 7. Notice of orders. Notice of the making of every order of the agency creating
a sanitary district, referring to the date of the order and describing the territory of the district,
shall be given by the secretary in like manner as for notice of the hearing on the petition for
creation of the district.
    Subd. 8. Appeal. An appeal may be taken from an order of the agency creating or dissolving
a district, annexing territory to or detaching territory from a district, or denying a petition for any
such action, as now or hereafter provided for appeals from other orders of the agency except that
the giving of notice of the order as provided in subdivision 7 shall be deemed notice thereof
to all interested parties, and the time for appeal by any party shall be limited to 30 days after
completion of the mailing of copies of the order or after expiration of the prescribed period of
posting or publication, whichever is latest. The validity of the creation of a district shall not be
otherwise questioned.
    Subd. 9. Filing. Upon expiration of the time for appeal from an order of the agency creating a
district, or, in case of an appeal, upon the taking effect of a final judgment of a court of competent
jurisdiction sustaining the order, the secretary of the agency shall deliver a certified copy of the
order to the secretary of state for filing. Thereupon the creation of the district shall be deemed
complete, and it shall be conclusively presumed that all requirements of law relating thereto have
been complied with. The secretary of the agency shall also transmit a certified copy of the order
for filing to the county auditor of each county and the clerk or recorder of each municipality and
organized town wherein any part of the territory of the district is situated and to the secretary
of the district board when elected.
History: Ex1961 c 20 s 6; 1969 c 9 s 21; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1986 c 444; 1992 c 601 s 4-9