Maintenance on County Drains can be done through three different processes:
1. A petition can be submitted by five property owners in a drainage district or by a municipality
2. $5,000 can be spent on routine maintenance per drain, per mile, per year $2,500 per year, per mile can be assessed to a drain for future maintenance
3. Resolution can be passed by a municipality to exceed the $5,000 per year, per mile
In accordance to the Drain Code of 1956 drain maintenance is not funded through the counties general fund but through special assessments on properties in a drainage district and at-large assessments to municipalities. A drainage district consists of properties and municipalities that contribute water to the drain through its watershed and derive benefit from the drain.
Hand Cleaning Program
In October of 2006, in conjunction with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department a maintenance program was set-up to hand-clean county drains. The Sheriff’s Alternative Worker Program removes trees, logjams, brush, and debris from county drains and easements. The intent of the program was to be less invasive than large equipment, more cost effective, and more proactive toward drain maintenance. If county drains are maintained on a regular basis then the possibility of larger construction projects are reduced which translates into lower over all maintenance costs in the future. In 2007 the Sheriff’s Work Crew maintained 9 drains totaling over twelve miles of open channel (partial year). In 2013 the Work Crew cleaned over 40 drains totaling 20 miles of open channel.