(1) Any county may provide for the construction or reconstruction of a facility and for the levying of special assessments upon benefited property under the provisions of this section. The initial proceeding hereunder shall be the passage at any lawful meeting of the commission of a resolution ordering the construction or reconstruction of such facility under and subject to the provisions of this section, indicating the location by terminal points and route and either giving a description of the improvements by its material, nature, character, and size or giving two or more such descriptions with the direction that the material, nature, character, and size shall be subsequently determined in conformity with one of such descriptions. Water system improvements or sewer improvements need not be continuous and may be in more than one locality or street. The resolution ordering any such improvement may give any short and convenient designation to each improvement ordered thereby, after which it shall be sufficient to refer to such improvement and property by such designation in all proceedings and assessments, except in the notices provided by subsections (3) and (4).
(2)(a) As soon as may be after the passage of such resolution, the engineer for the county shall prepare in duplicate plans and specifications of each improvement ordered thereby and an estimate of the cost thereof. Such cost may include, in addition to the items of cost set forth in s. 153.02(8), the cost of relaying streets and sidewalks necessarily torn up or damaged and shall include the following items of incidental expense:
1. Printing and publishing of notices and proceedings and costs of abstracts of title; and
2. Any other expense necessary or proper in conducting the proceedings and work provided for in this section.
(b) If the resolution shall provide alternative descriptions of material, nature, character, and size, such estimate shall include an estimate of the cost of the improvement of each such description.
(c) The engineer shall also prepare in duplicate a tentative apportionment of the estimated cost as between the county and each lot or parcel of land subject to special assessment under the resolution, such apportionment to be made in accordance with the provisions of the resolution and the provisions of subsection (6) in relation to apportionment of cost in the preliminary assessment roll. Such tentative apportionment of estimated cost shall not be held to limit or restrict the duties of the engineer in the preparation of such preliminary assessment roll. One of the duplicates of such plans, specifications, and estimate and such tentative apportionment shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county and the other duplicate shall be retained by the engineer in his or her files, all thereof to remain open to public inspection.
(3) The county commission upon the filing with it of such plans, specifications, estimate, and tentative apportionment of cost shall publish once in a newspaper published in the county a notice stating that at a regular meeting of the commission on a certain day and hour, not earlier than 10 days from such publication, the commission will hear objections of all interested persons to the confirmation of such resolution, which notice shall state in brief and general terms a description of the proposed improvement with the location thereof and shall also state that plans, specifications, estimate, and tentative apportionment of cost thereof are on file in the office of such clerk. The commission shall keep a record in which shall be inscribed, at the request of any person, firm, or corporation having or claiming to have an interest in any lot or parcel of land, the name and post office address of such person, firm, or corporation, together with a brief description or designation of such lot or parcel; and it shall be the duty of the commission to mail a copy of such notice to such person, firm, or corporation at such address, at least 10 days before the time for the hearing as stated in such notice, but the failure of the commission to keep such record or so to inscribe any name or address or to mail any such notice shall not constitute a valid objection to holding the hearing as provided in this section or to any other action taken under the authority of this section.
(4) At the time named in such notice, or to which an adjournment may be taken by the commission, the commission shall receive any objections of interested persons and may then or thereafter repeal or confirm such resolution with such amendments, if any, as may be desired by the commission and which do not cause any additional property to be specially assessed.
(5) All objections to any such resolution on the ground that it contains items which cannot be properly assessed against property, or that it is, for any default or defect in the passage or character of the resolution or the plans or specifications or estimate, void or voidable in whole or in part, or that it exceeds the power of the commission, shall be made in writing, in person or by attorney, and filed with the commission at or before the time or adjourned time of such hearing. Any objections against the making of any improvement not so made shall be considered as waived, and if an objection shall be made and overruled or shall not be sustained, the confirmation of the resolution shall be the final adjudication of the issues presented unless proper steps shall be taken in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure relief within 10 days.
(6) Promptly after the completion of the work, the engineer for the county shall prepare a preliminary assessment roll and file same with the clerk, which roll shall contain the following:
(a) A description of the lots and parcels of land within the district, which shall include all lots and parcels which abut upon the sides of that part of any street in which a water supply system, water system improvement, or sanitary sewer, except a curb sewer, is to be constructed or reconstructed; all lots and parcels which abut upon the side or sides of any street in or along which side or sides a sanitary curb sewer shall have been constructed or reconstructed; and all lots and parcels which are served or are to be served by such water supply system, water system improvement, or sanitary sewer. Such lots and parcels shall include all property, whether publicly or privately owned. There may also be given, in the discretion of the engineer, the name of the owner of record of each lot or parcel, where practicable, and in all cases there shall be given a statement of the number of feet of property so abutting, which number of feet shall be known as frontage.
(b) The total cost of the improvement and the amount of incidental expense.
(c) An apportionment as between the county and the property included in the preliminary assessment roll of the cost of each improvement, including incidental expense, to be computed as follows:
1. To each lot or parcel of land, to the property or curb line of which a water supply lateral or sanitary sewer lateral shall have been laid, shall be apportioned the cost of such lateral or laterals.
2. To abutting property shall be apportioned according to frontage, or any other method being deemed equitable by the commission, all or any part of the cost of such water system improvements or sewer improvements as may be fixed by resolution ordering the improvements.
3. To the county shall be apportioned the remaining costs of the water system improvements or sewer improvements, unless all of such costs shall be apportioned to the abutting property; provided, however, that in the case of lots or parcels which abut on more than one street or which are served or are to be served by such water system improvements or sewer improvements although not abutting on either side of the street in which such improvement is constructed, the apportionment shall be made under such rules and regulations as the commission shall deem to be fair and equitable.
(7) The preliminary roll shall be advisory only and shall be subject to the action of the commission as hereinafter provided. Upon the filing with the commission of the preliminary assessment roll, the commission shall publish once in a newspaper published in the county a notice stating that at a meeting of the commission to be held on a certain day and hour, not less than 12 days from the date of such publication, which meeting may be a regular, adjourned or special meeting, all interested persons may appear and file written objections to the confirmation of such roll. Such notice shall state the class of the improvement and the location thereof by terminal points and route. Such meeting of the commission shall be the first regular meeting following the completion of the notice hereinabove required, unless the commission shall have provided for a special meeting for such purpose.
(8) At the time and place stated in such notice, the commission shall meet and receive the objections in writing of all interested persons as stated in such notice. The commission may adjourn the hearing from time to time. After the completion thereof, the commission shall either annul or sustain or modify in whole or in part the prima facie assessment as indicated on such roll, either by confirming the prima facie assessment against any and all lots or parcels described therein, or by canceling, increasing, or reducing the same, according to the special benefits which the commission decides each such lot or parcel has received or will receive on account of such improvement. If any property which may be chargeable under this section shall have been omitted from the preliminary roll or if the prima facie assessment shall not have been made against it, the commission may place on such roll an apportionment to such property. The commission shall not confirm any assessment in excess of the special benefits to the property assessed, and the assessments so confirmed shall be in proportion to the special benefits. Forthwith after such confirmation, such assessment roll shall be delivered to the county property appraiser. The assessment so made shall be final and conclusive as to each lot or parcel assessed unless proper steps be taken within 10 days in a court of competent jurisdiction to secure relief. If the assessment against any property shall be sustained or reduced or abated by the court, the county property appraiser shall note that fact on the assessment roll opposite the description of the property affected thereby. The amount of the special assessment against any lot or parcel which may be abated by the court, unless the assessment upon the entire district is abated, or the amount by which such assessment is so reduced, may be, by resolution of the commission made chargeable against the county at large; or, in the discretion of the commission, a new assessment roll may be prepared and confirmed in the manner hereinabove provided for the preparation and confirmation of the original assessment roll.
(9) Any assessment may be paid at the office of the county tax collector within 30 days after the confirmation thereof, without interest. Thereafter all assessments shall be payable in equal annual installments, with interest at 8 percent per year, or, if bonds are issued pursuant to this chapter, at a rate not to exceed 1 percent above the rate of interest at which the improvement bonds authorized pursuant to this chapter and used for improvements are sold, from the expiration of said 30 days in each of the succeeding 20 calendar years at the time or times in each year at which the general county taxes are payable; however, the commission may by resolution fix a shorter period of payment for any assessment; further, any assessment may be paid at any time before due, together with interest accrued thereon to the date of payment.
(10) All assessment shall constitute a lien upon the property so assessed from the date of confirmation of the resolution ordering the improvement, of the same nature and to the same extent as the lien for general county taxes falling due in the same year or years in which such assessment or installments thereof fall due, and any assessment or installment not paid when due shall be collectible in the same manner and at the same time as such general taxes are or may be collectible, with the same attorney’s fee, interest, and penalties and under the same provisions as to forfeiture and the right of the county to purchase the property assessed as are or may be provided by law in the case of county taxes; provided, however, that no such sale of any property for general county taxes or for an installment or installments of any such assessment and no perfecting of title under any such sale shall divest the lien of any installment of such assessment not due at the time of the sale. Collection of such assessments, with such interest and with a reasonable attorney’s fee and costs, but without penalties, may also be made by the county by proceedings in a court of equity to foreclose the lien of assessments as a lien for mortgages is or may be foreclosed under the laws of the state; or by an action in rem in the manner provided by law for the foreclosure and collection of ad valorem taxes; provided that any such proceedings to foreclose shall embrace all installments of principal remaining unpaid with accrued interest thereon, which installments shall, by virtue of the institution of such proceedings, immediately become and be due and payable. Nevertheless, if, prior to any sale of the property under decree of foreclosure in such proceedings, payment be made of the installment or installments which are shown to be due under the provisions of the resolution passed pursuant to subsection (9), with interest as required by said subsection and by this subsection (10) and all costs including attorney’s fee, such payment shall have the effect of restoring the remaining installments to their original maturities as provided by the resolution passed pursuant to subsection (9), and the proceedings shall be dismissed. It shall be the duty of the county to enforce the prompt collection of assessments by one or the other of the means herein provided, and such duty may be enforced at the suit of any holder of bonds issued under this chapter in a court of competent jurisdiction by mandamus or other appropriate proceedings or action. Not later than 30 days after the annual sale of property for delinquent taxes of the county, or if such property or taxes are not sold by the county, then within 60 days after such taxes become delinquent, it shall be the duty of the commission to direct the attorney or attorneys whom the commission shall then designate, to institute actions within 3 months after such direction to enforce the collection of all special assessments for local improvements made under this section and remaining due and unpaid at the time of such direction (unless theretofore sold at tax sale). Such action shall be prosecuted in the manner and under the conditions in and under which mortgages are foreclosed under the laws of the state. It shall be lawful to join in one action the collection of assessments against any or all property assessed by virtue of the same assessment roll unless the court shall deem such joinder prejudicial to the interest of any defendant. The court shall allow a reasonable attorney’s fee for the attorney or attorneys of the county, and the same shall be collectible as a part of or in addition to the costs of the action. At any sale pursuant to decree in any such action, the county may be a purchaser to the same extent as an individual person or corporation, except that the part of the purchase price represented by the assessments sued upon and the interest thereon need not be paid in cash. Property so acquired by a county, including the certificate of sale thereof, may be sold or otherwise disposed of, for cash or upon terms, the proceeds of such disposition to be placed in the fund provided by subsection (11); provided, however, that no sale or other disposition thereof shall be made unless notice calling for bids therefor to be received at a stated time and place shall have been published in a newspaper published in the county one time at least 1 week prior to such disposition.
(11) All assessments and charges made under the provisions of this section for the payment of all or any part of the cost of any sewer improvement or improvements for which bonds shall have been issued under the provisions of this chapter, are hereby pledged to the payment of the principal of and the interest on such bonds and shall when collected be placed in a separate fund, properly designated, which fund shall be used for no other purpose than the payment of such principal and interest.
(12) Each school district and other political subdivision wholly or partly within the county and each public agency or instrumentality owning property within the county shall possess the same power and be subject to the same duties and liabilities in respect of assessment under this section affecting the real estate of such county, district, political subdivision, or public agency or instrumentality which private owners of real estate possess or are subject to hereunder; and such real estate shall be subject to liens for said assessments in all cases where the same property would be subject had it at the time the lien attached been owned by a private owner.