House File 711 - IntroducedA Bill ForAn Act 1relating to levee and drainage districts, by providing
2for the repair or reconstruction of levees, requesting the
3establishment of a legislative interim committee to consider
4levee and drainage district laws, making appropriations, and
5including effective date provisions.
2Levee improvements
3   Section 1.  Section 8.57, subsection 5, paragraph f,
4subparagraph (1), Code 2023, is amended by adding the following
5new subparagraph division:
6   NEW SUBPARAGRAPH DIVISION.  (0e)  (i)  For the fiscal year
7beginning July 1, 2023, and for each fiscal year thereafter
8through the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2027, of the wagering
9tax receipts received pursuant to sections 99D.17 and 99F.11,
10the next five million dollars shall be deposited in the levee
11improvement fund created in section 8.57D.
   12(ii)  This subparagraph division is repealed July 1, 2028.
13   Sec. 2.  NEW SECTION.  8.57D  Levee improvement fund —
14creation — appropriations.
   151.  A levee improvement fund is created within the department
16of homeland security and emergency management created pursuant
17to section 29C.5 which shall be under the control of that
   192.  The levee improvement fund shall consist of moneys
20deposited in the fund pursuant to section 8.57, subsection 5,
21paragraph “f”, subparagraph (1), subparagraph division (0e);
22appropriations made to the fund; and transfers of interest,
23earnings, and moneys from other funds as provided by law.
   243.  The levee improvement fund shall be separate from the
25general fund of the state and the balance in the fund shall
26not be considered part of the balance of the general fund of
27the state. However, the fund shall be considered a special
28account for the purposes of section 8.53, relating to generally
29accepted accounting principles.
   304.  a.  Moneys in the levee improvement fund are appropriated
31to the department of homeland security and emergency management
32for the exclusive purpose of supporting all of the following:
   33(1)  The office of levee safety, including to conduct a
34statewide analysis of the condition of the state’s levees as
35provided in section 418A.4.
   1(2)  The flood mitigation board, including to award
2cost-share moneys to levee districts pursuant to the levee
3improvement program as provided in section 418A.5.
   4b.  Not more than five percent of moneys in the levee
5improvement fund shall be available to defray expenses incurred
6in administering chapter 418A by the department, including the
7office of levee safety and flood mitigation board.
   85.  a.  Notwithstanding section 8.33, moneys in the levee
9improvement fund that remain unencumbered or unobligated at
10the close of a fiscal year shall not revert but shall remain
11available for the expenditure for the purposes designated.
   12b.  Notwithstanding section 12C.7, subsection 2, interest or
13earnings on moneys in the fund shall be credited to the fund.
   146.  This section is repealed July 1, 2028.
15   Sec. 3.  NEW SECTION.  418A.1  Definitions.
   16For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context
17otherwise requires:
   181.  “Board” means the flood mitigation board created in
19section 418.5.
   202.  “Department” means the department of homeland security
21and emergency management created in section 29C.5.
   223.  “Hazardous event” means an event caused by a levee’s
23uncontrolled or controlled release of surface water in a manner
24that may injure humans and animals or damage real and personal
25property used for agricultural, commercial, industrial,
26residential, or public purposes.
   274.  “Levee district” means a levee district, including a
28subdistrict, established pursuant to chapter 468.
   295.  “Office” means the office of levee safety created in
30section 418A.3.
   316.  “Program” means the levee improvement program established
32pursuant to section 418A.5.
   337.  “Survey” means the Iowa geological survey created in
34section 456.1.
35   Sec. 4.  NEW SECTION.  418A.2  Purpose.
   1The purpose of this chapter is to reduce and manage
2risks associated with a hazardous event caused by a levee’s
3inadequate design, structural performance, or operational
5   Sec. 5.  NEW SECTION.  418A.3  Office of levee safety.
   61.  An office of levee safety is created within the
   82.  a.  In administering this chapter, all of the following
   10(1)  The office shall cooperate with the flood mitigation
   12(2)  The office and the board shall cooperate with the Iowa
13geological survey.
   14b.  The office and board may cooperate with other state
15and federal agencies, including the United States army corps
16of engineers and the federal emergency management agency,
17administering the national levee safety program, as provided in
   193.  The office, in cooperation with the board, shall assist
20communities benefiting from a levee, including levee districts.
21The office, in cooperation with the board, shall evaluate
22methods to best carry out the purpose of this chapter.
23   Sec. 6.  NEW SECTION.  418A.4  Statewide analysis.
   241.  The office of levee safety, in cooperation with the Iowa
25geological survey, shall conduct a statewide analysis of the
26condition of the state’s levees. The office and survey shall
27identify each levee requiring repair or reconstruction based on
28a scale adopted by the office which assigns a number based on
29the levee’s level of critical need. The office shall consider
30all of the following:
   31a.  Deficiencies in the construction, maintenance, and
32operation of each levee in a levee district.
   33b.  The amount of capital expenditures required for the
34repair or reconstruction for each levee in a levee district.
   35c.  Payment obligations creating legal indebtedness incurred
-3-1by the levee district, including those evidenced by bonds,
2warrants, certificates, contracts, or judgments.
   3d.  The current total revenue collected by the levee
4district, and the budgeted revenue ceiling of the levee
5district based on a maximum assessment rate for classified
6lands used to maintain the levee as apportioned to each owner
7of such land.
   82.  The governing body of each levee district shall assist
9the office in conducting the analysis for the governing body’s
10levee district.
   113.  This section is repealed July 1, 2028.
12   Sec. 7.  NEW SECTION.  418A.5  Flood mitigation board — levee
13improvement program.
   141.  A levee improvement program is established to provide
15for the repair or reconstruction of those levees requiring
16immediate capital expenditure in order to reduce and manage
17a hazardous event. The program shall be administered by the
18flood mitigation board acting in cooperation with the office of
19levee safety.
   202.  In administering the program, the board, acting in
21cooperation with the office, shall award moneys to levee
22districts applying for assistance on a cost-share basis. The
23amount of cost-share moneys contributed by the board shall not
24exceed fifty percent of the estimated cost or fifty percent of
25the actual cost of the improvement, whichever is less.
   263.  a.  The department shall provide for the publication and
27submission of applications for an award of cost-share moneys
28under the program. The board, in cooperation with the office,
29shall approve or disapprove the applications based on criteria
30established by the board.
   31b.  (1)  The board shall consider the scale number assigned
32to the levee by the office as provided in section 418A.4.
   33(2)  This paragraph is repealed July 1, 2028.
   344.  The department may enter into a chapter 28E agreement in
35order to administer the program on behalf of the board.
1   Sec. 8.  NEW SECTION.  418A.6  Department — statewide levee
2improvement report.
   31.  The department of homeland security and emergency
4management shall prepare and submit a statewide levee
5assessment report to the governor and general assembly not
6later than January 5 of each year.
   72.  a.  (1)  The statewide levee assessment report must
8include a summary of the condition of levees in each levee
   10(2)  This paragraph is repealed July 1, 2028.
   11b.  The statewide levee assessment report must identify those
12levees having the highest level of critical need of repair or
13reconstruction and the budget of a levee district to finance
14the repair or reconstruction.
   153.  The statewide levee assessment report must include
16the results of efforts to repair or reconstruct levees using
17cost-share moneys awarded to the governing bodies of levee
18districts under the levee improvement program.
   194.  The statewide levee assessment report must include
20a summary of future plans to administer the program. The
21statewide levee assessment report may include recommendations
22for additional funding and legislation necessary to carry out
23the purpose of this chapter.
24   Sec. 9.  NEW SECTION.  456.15  Levees.
   25The Iowa geological survey shall assist the office of levee
26safety as provided in chapter 418A.
27   Sec. 10.  EFFECTIVE DATE.  This division of this Act, being
28deemed of immediate importance, takes effect upon enactment.
30Legislative interim study
31   Sec. 11.  INTERIM COMMITTEE.  The legislative council is
32requested to establish an interim study committee to review
33Iowa’s levee and drainage district laws, including chapter 468.
34The interim committee, if established, is charged to update
35laws regarding the rights and duties of landowners to manage
-5-1water resources within watershed areas; the establishment and
2governance of districts; the construction, maintenance, and
3repair of improvements; and the financing of improvements.
5The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with
6the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.
   7BACKGROUND. This bill amends provisions that relate to a
8levee or drainage district, including subdistricts, where a
9project (improvement) is constructed to divert or store water
10in a manner that allows land that would otherwise be saturated
11to instead be used for development, including agricultural
12production (Code chapter 468). A district is established
13and managed by different forms of local governing bodies,
14including a board of supervisors or joint boards of supervisors
15governing intercounty districts. An established district may
16also be managed by a board of trustees elected by landowners
17in the district. An improvement may include a facility that
18increases the district’s capacity to divert or store water
19by new construction, such as the installation of a drain or
20tile line or ditch, the modification of a watercourse, or the
21erection of a barrier such as a dam or embankment. It may
22also include the maintenance of a constructed facility that
23restores the district’s original capacity such as dredging a
24drainage ditch. The expense associated with an improvement
25is borne by owners of land located within the district. A
26special property tax “assessment” is imposed on a prorated
27basis according to a formula that distributes the total tax
28amount due among affected landowners based on the relative
29increase to the owner’s land value assigned a “classification”
30according to 40-acre or less tracts. The land subject to an
31increased valuation is referred to as being “benefited” by the
34establishes a levee improvement fund (new Code section
358.57D) supported by revenues deposited in the rebuild Iowa
-6-1infrastructure fund which includes moneys derived from
2wagering tax receipts (amended Code section 8.57(5)). The
3bill appropriates $5 million to the levee improvement fund
4for each of the next five fiscal years to support efforts by
5the department of homeland security and emergency management
6(department) to repair or reconstruct levees in order to reduce
7and manage risks associated with hazardous events caused by a
8levee’s uncontrolled or controlled release of surface water
9as a consequence of the levee’s inadequate design, structural
10performance, or operational control (new Code section 418A.2).
12ADMINISTRATION. The bill creates an office of levee safety
13(office) within the department (new Code section 418A.3)
14and assigns new duties and powers to the flood mitigation
15board (board). The office, in cooperation with the board, is
16required to assist communities, including levee districts,
17benefiting from levees. The office, in cooperation with the
18Iowa geological survey (survey), is required to conduct a
19statewide analysis (analysis) of the condition of the state’s
20levees and the budget of levee districts required to finance
21the repair or reconstruction of those levees (new Code section
22418A.4). The governing body of each levee district is required
23to assist the office in conducting its analysis. The board is
24required to administer a levee improvement program (program)
25(new Code section 418A.5). The purpose of the program is to
26finance, on a cost-share basis, the repair or reconstruction of
27levees based on criteria established by the board, including
28levees assigned a scale number by the office when conducting
29its analysis. The department is required to submit an annual
30report to the governor and general assembly regarding the
31status of the analysis and program (new Code section 418A.6).
33requests the legislative council to establish an interim study
34committee to review Iowa’s levee and drainage district laws.
35The interim committee would consider updating laws regarding
-7-1the rights and duties of landowners to manage water resources
2within watershed areas; the establishment and governance
3of districts; the construction, maintenance, and repair of
4improvements; and the financing of improvements.
6the bill, other than those which request a legislative interim
7study, take effect upon enactment.