Indebtedness of inactive districts
(1)In addition to the methods provided in sections 37-43-169 to 37-43-178, the following method of providing for the naming of directors and ascertaining and providing for the payment and discharge of the indebtedness of inactive or abandoned irrigation districts may be followed:
(a)Whenever any irrigation district organized prior to April 7, 1921, in this state has no duly elected or appointed and acting board of directors, by reason of the death, resignation, expiration of the terms of office of its former directors, or from any other cause, and no action has been taken by the electors of said district to fill such vacancies in its directorate by election or appointment as provided by law, upon petition filed and presented by any landowner, creditor, or bondholder of the irrigation district and upon notice given as provided in this section, the district court in and for the county in which the office of said district is located, by order, shall appoint not less than two nor more than three persons to act as directors of said district until their successors have been elected by the district and qualified as provided by law. Such directors so appointed by the district court shall be selected either from electors of said district or from owners of lands therein, although not otherwise qualified as electors of said district. If any person so appointed refuses to qualify as such, the court may appoint others in the place of those so refusing. The persons so appointed who qualify as directors shall file a certified copy of such order of court with the county clerk and recorder of said county in lieu of the statement of the results of election of directors required to be filed by the secretary of the district by section 37-41-112, and said directors so appointed shall have all the powers of, and shall otherwise qualify in the same manner provided by law for, directors elected by the district.
(b)If it appears to the court, upon the hearing, that there are not two or more electors or owners of land in said district who are ready and willing to accept such appointment and to qualify as such directors, the court, by order duly entered, shall direct the county assessor of the county in which the office of the district is located and it is thereupon his official duty to forthwith ascertain and certify to the court and thereafter certify to the board of county commissioners of said county, on or before October 15 of that year and succeeding years until directors of said district are elected or appointed, the amount and maturities of the outstanding bonds of said district, the amount of the unpaid interest thereon, the amounts and payees of the several outstanding warrants of said district, and the number of acres of land in said district which are burdened and obligated for the payment of bonded indebtedness and the number of acres subject to taxation for the payment of the general indebtedness of such district. Such certificate by the assessor shall have the same force and effect as the annual appropriation resolution required by law to be certified to the board of county commissioners by the directors of the irrigation district.
(c)The petitioners may submit to the court in any such proceeding any offer, proposition, or contract of compromise with holders of outstanding bonds and interest coupons of said district, wherein it is proposed to issue warrants of said district in exchange for said bonds and coupons and providing for the amounts to be levied from year to year to pay such warrants; and, if it appears to the court that said proposition or contract of compromise affords an equitable method of paying off said outstanding indebtedness, the court shall enter an order directing an election to be held at some convenient point at or near the location of the last office of the district for the purpose of submitting the question of the approval or rejection of such offer, proposition, or contract of compromise to a vote of the electors of the district. The election shall be conducted, and returns thereof made to the court, by the clerk of the court upon four weeks’ published notice in the newspaper published nearest the place of holding said election. If a majority of the electors voting at said election vote in favor of said offer, proposition, or contract, or, in event no votes are cast, upon returns by the clerk, the court shall enter an order directing the carrying out of said offer, proposition, or the execution of said contract.
(d)If there are no directors of said district, the board of county commissioners of the county in which the office of the irrigation district is located, or should be located according to law, is hereby given the powers of directors of such district and shall act in the name of the district for the purpose of carrying out such offer or proposition or executing such contract and any warrants necessary to fulfill the terms of said offer, proposition, or contract, upon filing with the county clerk and recorder of said county a certified copy of said order of the court, and said board shall thereupon notify the county assessor of the amount of money to be collected from year to year as fixed and determined by said proposition or contract and the warrants so issued, which said certificate shall be followed by the county assessor in making certificate to the board of county commissioners. If the electors of the district reject such offer, proposition, or contract, the court may in like manner submit other or different propositions or contracts that may be proposed, and the proceedings shall be held open by the court for such purpose.
(e)All such proceedings before the district court shall be proceedings in rem and shall be entitled “In the matter of the .............. irrigation district, for appointment of directors and other purposes”, and notice of the hearing upon such petition shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation published nearest the office of the district for the time required for publication of summons as provided by the Colorado rules of civil procedure, and copies of such printed notice shall be mailed by the clerk of the court to the last-known directors and secretary of said district, as shown by the records of the county clerk and recorder of the county in which the office of the district is or was last located, and to all creditors, bondholders, or owners of warrants of said irrigation district, as nearly as the court and county assessor may be able to ascertain, at least three weeks prior to the date of such hearing. Any landowner or creditor of said district may appear and plead to or answer said petition and may offer testimony at said hearing. The court shall liberally construe sections 37-43-169 to 37-43-178 in carrying out the provisions of this section and shall retain jurisdiction of such proceedings until final provision has been made to pay off the indebtedness of any such irrigation district.
Section 37-43-177 — Indebtedness of inactive districts,
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2023-title-37.pdf (accessed Oct. 20, 2023).