The clerk may make an estimate of the aggregate sum of money which shall appear to be necessary to pay all the expenses incident to the performance of the duties by the board of viewers, including the compensation of the drainage engineer and his necessary assistants, and also including the sum for the compensation of the attorney for the district, and such court costs as may probably accrue, which estimates shall embrace the period of services up to and including the establishment of the drainage district and the selection and appointment of the board of drainage commissioners. The clerk shall then estimate the number of acres of land owned or represented by the petitioners, as nearly so as may be practicable without actual survey, and shall assess each acre so represented a level rate per acre, to the end that such assessment will realize the sum of money which he has estimated as necessary to pay all necessary costs of the drainage proceeding up to the time of the appointment of the drainage commissioners, as above provided. The assessment above provided for which has been or may hereafter be levied shall constitute a first and paramount lien, second only to State and county taxes, upon the lands so assessed, and shall be collected in the same manner and by the same officers as county taxes are collected. The board of viewers, including the drainage engineer, shall not be required to enter upon the further discharge of their duties until the amount so estimated and assessed shall be paid in cash to the clerk of the court, which shall be retained by him as a court fund, and for which he shall be liable in his official capacity, and he shall be authorized to disburse the same in the prosecution of the drainage proceeding. Unless all the assessments shall be paid within a time to be fixed by the court, which may be extended from time to time, no further proceedings shall be had, and the proceeding shall be dismissed at the cost of the petitioners. If the entire sum so estimated and assessed shall not be paid to the clerk within the time limited, the amounts so paid shall be refunded to the petitioners pro rata after paying the necessary costs accrued. Nothing herein contained shall prevent one or more of the petitioners from subscribing and paying any sum in addition to their assessment in order to make up any deficiency arising from the delinquency of one or more of the petitioners. When the sum of money so estimated shall be paid, the board of viewers shall proceed with the discharge of their duties, and in all other respects the proceeding shall be prosecuted according to the law. After the district shall have been established and the board of drainage commissioners appointed, it shall be the duty of the board of drainage commissioners to refund to each of the petitioners the amount so paid by them as above provided, out of the first moneys which shall come into the hands of the board from the sale of bonds or otherwise, and the same shall be included in ascertaining the total cost of improvement.
In lieu of the procedures set forth in the preceding paragraph, the board of county commissioners may advance funds, or any part thereof, for the purposes set forth in the preceding paragraph. Such advances shall be made to a county official designated by the commissioners, and shall be disbursed upon such terms as the county commissioners may direct. If the district shall be organized, the funds advanced shall be repaid from assessments thereafter levied. (1917, c. 152, s. 1; C.S., s. 5319; 1941, c. 342; 1961, c. 614, s. 6; c. 662.)