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The District Organization Law

A procedure for the organization, operation and government of districts

By Chris Micheli, August 15, 2020 6:54 am

Government Code Title 6, Division 1, Chapter 1 establishes The District Organization Law (TDOL), which was added to the law in 1951.  Chapter 1 contains Sections 58000 to 58200, which notes that Chapter 1 may be cited as the District Organization Law, whose purpose under Article 1 is to “make available a procedure for the organization, operation and government of districts.” Pursuant to Section 58002, this chapter “applies only when and to the extent that it is adopted or incorporated by reference in a law providing for a particular district or type of district.”

Section 58004 provides a number of definitions for terms used in this chapter. Notice is required to be published once a week for three successive weeks prior to the date set for the event for which the notice is given. Proof of publication may be by affidavit of the owner, publisher, printer, or clerk of the newspaper. The affidavit is prima facie evidence of the facts stated in it pursuant to Section 58008.

Article 2 deals with petitions for formations. Formation proceedings are to be commenced by petition, which is to be signed by the requisite number of petitioners and addressed to and filed with the supervising authority. Section 58034 has five requires for the petition to meet.

Article 3 deals with preliminary hearings, including the requirement that the supervising authority must fix a time and place for its hearing, and that such a hearing may be continued from time to time to enable the making of any required investigation and report.

Article 4 deals with the final hearing and Section 58090 requires the supervising authority to fix the time and place for the final hearing on the petition and order the clerk to give notice of the hearing. Section 58091 requires six items to be contained in the notice of final hearing. Section 58097 permit oral or written protest to be made at the hearing by any person interested in the formation of the proposed district. Other code sections provide specifics related to the protests.

Pursuant to Section 58101, at the hearing any owner of land in the proposed district may present to the supervising authority a written request for exclusion of all or part of such land. Section 58102 permits at the hearing any owner of land outside the proposed district may present to the supervising authority a written request for inclusion of such land.

Section 58108 requires the clerk to publish notice of inclusion to the address of the owner of such land as shown by the last equalized county assessment roll and to any person who has filed with the clerk his name, address, and a description of land in which he has a legal or equitable interest. Section 58109 requires the notice to describe the land proposed to be included and state the time and place at which objections to inclusion will be heard.

Article 5 deals with formation and Section 58130 requires that, within 20 days after the adoption of the resolution establishing the boundaries, the supervising authority must call and give notice of an election to be held in the proposed district to determine whether the district is to be formed and to select the elective officers, if any, of the district.

Pursuant to Section 58132, if a majority of the votes cast at the election favors the organization of the district, by resolution entered on its minutes, the supervising authority is required to declare the district duly organized under the principal act, give the designated name of the district, and describe its boundaries. Thereafter, pursuant to Section 58133, the clerk must file a certified copy of the resolution with the Secretary of State and for record in the office of the county recorder of each county in which any land in the district is situated. Once these filings are made, the organization of the district is complete.

Article 7 deals with validating proceedings and Section 58200 specifies that an action to determine the legality of the existence of the district may be brought pursuant to the Code of Civil Procedure.

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