Section 5. The proprietors of any area described in section one or a majority in interest either in value or area may petition the board setting forth their desire to improve such area, the necessity or desirability of such improvements, the objects to be accomplished, a general description of the lands proposed to be affected and the names of known owners of said lands. Upon receipt of said petition and of a sum sufficient to meet its expenses therefor, the board shall proceed to make such investigations and such surveys of said lands as may be necessary to determine the approximate area and boundaries thereof, the need of the proposed improvements, the probable benefit, if any, to the public health, the agricultural or other uses to which the lands can be put and their probable value for such uses after the improvements are completed, and in general the practicability and advisability of undertaking the proposed improvements. Any unexpended balance of the amount so received shall be reimbursed to the contributors in proportion to their contributions. If such improvements appear to the board to be advisable and practicable, the board shall give notice of the petition therefor by publication in a newspaper published in the county where the greater part of the land lies and by registered mail to each known proprietor, stating the date of a hearing to be held by the board not less than seven days after the publication of said notice and the date of mailing notices to the proprietors. After the hearing, if the board approves the proposed improvements, it shall determine whether or not the organization of a reclamation district is necessary to construct and maintain said improvements.
If the board decides that a district should be organized, it shall issue a certificate appointing three, five or seven district commissioners, who shall be sworn to the faithful performance of their duties, and shall authorize said commissioners to form a reclamation district under the following section. The board shall fix the compensation of said commissioners, which shall not exceed ten dollars for each day of actual service, and shall allow them necessary traveling expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. Such compensation and expenses shall be paid by the district and the district shall reimburse the contributors to the expenses of the board the amounts of their several contributions less any unexpended balances returned to them as hereinbefore provided, and said expenditures shall be a part of the total expense of the improvements. Any commissioner may be removed by the board for cause and the board may fill vacancies. The certificate of appointment of said commissioners shall be revoked by the board when the objects for which they were appointed have been accomplished. For the purpose of this and the eleven following sections, a mortgagor or mortgagee in possession shall be deemed a proprietor.