(a) At any time after three years after the organization of a district under the provisions of this article, any 25 owners of land lying within the boundaries of such district may file a petition with the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee praying that the operations of the district be terminated and the existence of the district discontinued. The committee may conduct such public meetings and public hearings upon such petition as may be necessary to assist it in consideration thereof. Within 60 days after such a petition has been received by the committee, it shall give due notice of the holding of a referendum and shall supervise such referendum and issue appropriate regulations governing the conduct thereof, the question to be submitted by ballots upon which the words "For terminating the existence of the _____ (name of the soil conservation district to be here inserted)" and "Against terminating the existence of the _____ (name of the soil conservation district to be here inserted)" shall be printed, with a square before each proposition and a direction to insert an X mark in the square before one or the other of said propositions as the voter may favor or oppose discontinuance of such district. All owners of lands lying within the boundaries of the district shall be eligible to vote in such referendum. Only such landowners shall be eligible to vote. No informalities in the conduct of such referendum or in any matters relating thereto shall invalidate said referendum or the result thereof if notice thereof shall have been given substantially as provided in this section and said referendum shall have been fairly conducted. The committee shall publish the result of such referendum and shall thereafter consider and determine whether the continued operation of the district within the defined boundaries is administratively practicable and feasible.
(b) If the committee shall determine that the continued operation of such district is administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and deny the petition. If the committee shall determine that the continued operation of such district is not administratively practicable and feasible, it shall record such determination and shall certify such determination to the supervisors of the district. In making such determination, the committee shall give due regard and weight to the attitudes of the owners of lands lying within the district, the number of landowners eligible to vote in such referendum who shall have voted, the proportion of the votes cast in such referendum in favor of the discontinuance of the district to the total number of votes cast, the approximate wealth and income of the land occupiers of the district, the probable expense of carrying on erosion control operations within such district and such other economic and social factors as may be relevant to such determination, having due regard to the legislative findings set forth in Section 9-8-21; provided, however, that the committee shall not have authority to determine that the continued operation of the district is administratively practicable and feasible unless at least a majority of the votes cast in the referendum shall have been cast in favor of the continuance of such district.
(c) Upon receipt from the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee of a certification that the committee has determined that the continued operation of the district is not administratively practicable and feasible pursuant to the provisions of this section, the supervisors shall forthwith proceed to terminate the affairs of the district. The supervisors shall dispose of all property belonging to the district at public auction and shall pay over the proceeds of such sale to be covered into the Treasury. The supervisors shall thereupon file an application, duly verified, with the Secretary of State for the discontinuance of such district and shall transmit with such application the certificate of the State Soil and Water Conservation Committee setting forth the determination of the committee that the continued operation of such district is not administratively practicable and feasible. The application shall recite that the property of the district has been disposed of and the proceeds paid over as in this section provided and shall set forth a full accounting of such properties and proceeds of the sale. The Secretary of State shall issue to the supervisors a certificate of dissolution and shall record such certificate in an appropriate book of record in his office.
(d) Upon issuance of a certificate of dissolution under the provisions of this section, all ordinances and regulations theretofore adopted and in force within such districts shall be of no further force and effect. All contracts theretofore entered into, to which the district or supervisors are parties, shall remain in force and effect for the period provided in such contracts. The State Soil and Water Conservation Committee shall be substituted for the district or supervisors as party to such contracts. The committee shall be entitled to all benefits and subject to all liabilities under such contracts and shall have the same right and liability to perform, to require performance, to sue and be sued thereon and to modify or terminate such contracts by mutual consent or otherwise as the supervisors of the district would have had. Such dissolution shall not affect the lien of any judgment entered under the provisions of Section 9-8-28 nor the pendency of any action instituted under the provisions of such section, and the committee shall succeed to all the rights and obligations of the district or supervisors as to such liens and actions. The State Soil and Water Conservation Committee shall not entertain petitions for the discontinuance of any district nor conduct referenda upon such petitions nor make determinations pursuant to such petitions in accordance with the provisions of this article more often than once in three years.