CHAPTER 163 - FREDERICA

AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE TOWN OF FREDERICA.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of all the members elected to each branch concurring therein):

Section 1. That the inhabitants of the Town of Frederica, Kent County, Delaware, be and they are hereby constituted a municipal corporation and body politic.

The name and style of the said corporation shall be "The Town of Frederica" by which name the said corporation may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, complain, answer and defend suits in all Courts of this State.

The said corporation shall have and use a common corporate seal of its own devising with power to alter and renew the same.

The said corporation may hold and acquire by purchase, gift, devise, lease or condemnation real property and personal property within or without its boundaries for any municipal purpose in fee simple and in lesser estate or interest, and may sell, lease, hold, manage and control such property as its interests may require; and shall have all other powers and functions requisite and appropriate for the government of the town, its people and order, its sanitation, appearance and beauty, the health, safety, convenience, comfort and well-being of its population and the protection and preservation of property, public or private.

The enumeration of particular powers by this charter shall not be held or deemed to be exclusive but in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied thereby, or appropriate to the exercise , thereof, and it is intended that the Town of Frederica shall have and may exercise all powers which, under the constitution of the State of Delaware, it would be competent for this charter specifically to enumerate. All powers of the Town of Frederica held, expressed or implied, shall be exercised in the manner prescribed by this charter, or if not prescribed herein then in the manner provided by ordinance or resolution of the Council.

Section 2. The boundaries of the said corporation shall be as follows:

Beginning at the fork or point formed by the junction of Murderkill River or Spring Creek and running from thence with Spring Creek to the line dividing the lands now or late of the heirs of Robert 1. Lober, deceased, and lands now or late of the heirs of Samuel W. Darby; thence running in a westerly direction to a point opposite the dividing line between lands now or late of Thomas D. Burton and lands now or late of Mrs. Sarah H. Lister; thence running with said division line to a point in the lands now or late of Robert C. Stevenson opposite the draw bridge; thence in a straight line to the draw bridge and thence following the course of the Murderkill River to the place of beginning.

The Town Council of the Town of Frederica is hereby authorized to have a survey made of all the territory embraced within the corporate limits of the said Town of Frederica which survey shall show all roads, streets, lanes and alleys within the limits of the said Town and to cause a copy of the same to be recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds at Dover, and the copy thereof so recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office at Dover shall be received as evidence in all the Courts of this State.

Section 3. The government of the said Town of Frederica shall be vested in a Mayor and Town Council which shall exercise all of the powers conferred by any of the provisions of this charter, except as otherwise provided herein.

The Town Council shall consist of five members and shall constitute the legislative body of the said Town of Frederica.

The Town Council in addition to the powers hereinbefore conferred shall have power to regulate the streets, lanes, alleys and sidewalks of the said Town, and direct the sidewalks, or such part thereof, as they may determine to be paved or otherwise improved at the expense of the owner of the property adjacent thereto; on complaint of any citizen to examine any chimney, stove pipe, fixtures, or any other matter or object dangerous to the Town or to the welfare of the citizens and property of said Town, and if adjudged dangerous to cause and require the same to be repaired and remedied, or, if necessary, to be removed; to prevent or remove nuisances in said Town; to prohibit the firing of guns and pistols, the making of bonfires or setting off of fireworks or any dangerous sport; and to suppress and prevent any noisy and turbulent assemblage of persons within the said Town.

Section 4. The members of the Town Council shall be residents of said Town and shall be freeholders therein. They shall serve for a term of two years next after their election and qualification. There shall be an election held at the Town Hall in said Town on the first Monday of March, A. D. 1936, and on the same day in each year thereafter from the hours of two o'clock P. M. until four o'clock P. M. for the election of five members of the Council to serve and to constitute the Town Council of the Town of Frederica. At the election held in the year 1936 two members shall be elected to serve for the term of two years and at the election on the first Monday of March, 1937, three members of the Town Council shall be elected for a full term of two years. On and after the first Monday in March, 1937, all members of the Council shall be elected to serve for a full term of two years. In the event that the Town Hall is not available for the holding of town elections during any year then Council shall designate a place within said Town for the holding of said annual election by giving at least ten days' notice of such place of election posted in at least five of the most public places in said Town. At any annual or special election within said Town every person resident in said Town above the age of twenty-one years who shall not be delinquent in the payment of any taxes assessed against such voter and who has resided in the said Town for at least six months prior to the holding of such election shall be entitled to vote. All elections under the provisions of this charter shall be held by two persons designated by the Council of the Town of Frederica to hold said election and it shall be the duty of such persons so designated to hold said election on the day and between the hours designated and to keep an accurate record of the vote cast and report and certify the same to the Council at its next meeting. In the event that the first Monday of March in any year should fall on a holiday then such election shall be held on the Tuesday next following.

The Town Commissioners of the Town of Frederica as now constituted shall continue in office until the first Thursday of March, 1935. On the first Thursday in the month of March, 1935, and on the first Thursday of March of each year thereafter the members who shall have been elected to the Town Council of the said Town of Frederica, as well as the hold over members of said Town Council, shall meet in the Town Hall, or such other place as shall be designated, for the purpose of organizing by the election of officers and such other business as may come before such meeting. Such meeting shall be known as the annual meeting of the Town Council. At the annual meeting one of the members of the Town Council shall be designated and elected by the members of the Council as and for the Mayor of the Town of Frederica.

Section 5. In addition to the annual meeting, there shall be four regular meetings in each year of the Town Council; namely: On the first Thursday of January, April, July and October, and special meetings may be held at such times as the matters of the Town shall require. It shall be the duty of the Mayor of the Town of Frederica, or in his absence it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Town of Frederica to call a special meeting of the Council at any time, first giving reasonable notice thereof upon the application of at least two members of the Council of the Town of Frederica. At any regular or special meeting the Council may pass upon such ordinances, resolutions or matters affecting the good government and requirements of the said Town, the improvement of the streets, lanes and alleys, the paving or other improvements of the streets, lanes, or alleys and all other matters relating to the said Town, its sanitation, ornaments, improvement and general welfare, as by said Commissioners may be deemed proper. The Council may by ordinance impose fines, penalties and forfeitures for the violation of any of the ordinances of the Town and may provide for the collection thereof.

Section 6. The Council shall, at the annual meeting in every year, determine the amount of tax to be raised in said town for that year, not exceeding Twenty-five Hundred Dollars 02500.00), exclusive of the dog tax, and shall appoint an assessor to make an assessment of persons and property therein, and shall also appoint a Collector and Treasurer. It shall be the duty of the Assessor of said town, within two weeks from his appointment to make a true, just and impartial valuation and assessment of all the real estate and assessable personal property within said town, and also an assessment of all citizens residing in said town, above the age of twenty-one years, as well those owning real estate as those not owning real estate in said town, and also to ascertain the number of dogs in said town and the owners of such dogs, assessing each dog to the owner thereof at fifty cents; and the said Assessor shall forthwith, after making such assessment, deliver, to the Council for the time being a copy of such assessment, containing the names of all the persons assessed and the amount of their assessment, distinguishing the real and personal assessment of each. When the assessment is returned, the Council shall give five days public notice of that fact, and that it will sit, at a place and on a day to be by it designated, from two till four o'clock in the afternoon, to hear appeals from said assessment. It shall have power at such time to add to or lessen any assessment, except that of dogs, which shall always be fifty cents to each owner or keeper of each dog. When the appeal day has passed, the Council shall, without delay, cause the assessment list to be transcribed and the copy to be delivered to the Collector, who shall thereupon collect from each taxable the amount of his tax and pay over the whole amount, after deducting commissions and such delinquencies as shall be allowed by the Council, to the Treasurer, by the first day of November next after the receipt of his duplicate. The Collector shall have the same powers for the collection of said taxes as are conferred by law on the collectors of county taxes. The Treasurer and Collector shall each give bond to the Council for the proper discharge of their respective duties.

Section 7. The Council, shall have authority to use the money in the Treasury of the town for the general improvement, benefit and ornament of the said town, as it may deem advisable; but no money shall be paid out by the Treasurer except upon the approval of the Town Council or upon a written order of an officer designated, by the Council to approve such payment.

Section 8. Whenever Council shall by ordinance or resolution direct the paving or improving of the sidewalks of the said town, or any part thereof, the Clerk of the Council shall immediately give notice to the owners of the property abutting thereon by serving such notice personally on the owner or owners thereof, if such person or owner shall be resident in the Town of Frederica; otherwise, it shall be sufficient notice if the Clerk shall post a notice on the property or properties affected by nailing or otherwise attaching such notice upon a conspicuous place on the said property affected or at the front door of the main building if such lands be improved. If such ordinance or resolution be not complied with within three months, the Council may direct the work to be done and the expenses of the same shall become a charge against the owner or owners of the property affected. The Council may on ten days' notice by advertisements posted at five of the most public places within said town sell any personal property or any of the real estate of the party or patties in default as shall be necessary to pay the expenses, together with costs, of such proceeding resulting from the improvements so made. Such sale shall be at public auction and notice of said sale shall be served on the owner or owners of the said property affected if they be resident within the corporate limits of said town. Otherwise, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the advertisement of said sale at the front door of the main building located on the lands affected if the same be improved, or upon a conspicuous part of such lands if the same are unimproved, and notice shall be sent to the owner or owners or to any of them, if known, by registered mail, addressed to the last known post office address of such owner or owners or any of them. Such sale shall transfer all the right and title of the person or persons in default in the property sold to the purchaser or purchasers thereof and the Mayor of the Town of Frederica is hereby authorized to execute under the seal of the corporation a deed or deeds conveying title to the lands and premises sold under the provisions hereof. The proceeds of such sale shall be paid to the Treasurer for the use of the town, but if there be any surplus after the payment of the claim, together with all costs and expenses for which the sale was made, such surplus shall be paid to the party or parties in default if known, or if unknown such surplus shall be deposited in a depository to be designated by the Council of the Town of Frederica to be there held until sufficient proof of the identity of the parties entitled shall have been established.

Section 9. At the annual meeting the Council shall elect an Alderman for the term of one year or until his successor has been duly chosen and qualified.

The Alderman may be removed during his term by a vote of three-fourths of the members elected to the Council.

In case of temporary disability of the Alderman to perform his duties by reason of sickness or absence, or otherwise, the said Council may at any meeting appoint an acting Alderman for the period of said disability.

Before entering upon the duties of his office, the Alderman shall be sworn or affirmed to perform the duties of his office with fidelity.

The Alderman shall have jurisdiction and cognizance of all breaches of the peace and other offenses committed in the Town so far as to arrest and hold for bail, or fine and imprison offenders; and also of all fines, penalties and forfeitures prescribed by this charter or any law of the State or by any ordinance of the Council and also of all neglects, omissions or defaults of any member of the Town police force or other city officer or employee, provided that in the case of a violation of an ordinance, he shall impose no fine or penalty in excess of that fixed by the ordinance and shall not commit to prison for a longer term than thirty days in default in the payment of a fine imposed by him. The jail of Kent County may be used for imprisonment under the provisions of this Act provided that the Council shall pay for the board of persons committed for breaches of ordinances that do not constitute breaches of the general law. Within his jurisdiction as aforesaid the Alderman shall have all the powers and authority of a Justice of the Peace for Kent County.

Any action, suit or proceeding authorized under any of the provisions of this charter or under any ordinance of said Town may be instituted in the name of "The Town of Frederica."

His fees for any service under this Section shall be the same as those of a Justice of the Peace for like service, and for any service or duty for which no fee may be provided by law the fee may be established by ordinance of the Council.

Upon the expiration of the term for which he was chosen, or if any Alderman shall be removed from his office by the Council as hereinbefore provided, he shall deliver to his successor all the books and papers belonging to his office, and shall pay over to the Town Treasurer all moneys in his hands belonging to the Town within five days after his removal. Upon neglect or failure to make such delivery or payment, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars, or be imprisoned in the discretion of the Court.

The Alderman shall, at the monthly meeting of the Council, report to the Council all fines imposed by him during the preceding month, and pay to the Treasurer of the Town all such fines and penalties received by him during the said time, and in default of making such report or paying such fines and penalties for a period of twenty days after such report should be made and such fines and penalties should be paid as aforesaid, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than One Hundred Dollars nor more than Five Hundred Dollars.

Section 10. The Town Council of the Town of Frederica shall have the right to lay out, open, vacate and close any street, lane or alley within the corporate limits of the said Town whenever Council shall deem such to be advisable and for the best interest of the town; provided, that no street, lane or alley shall be opened, vacated or closed without giving due notice to the property owners abutting on such street, lane or alley to appear and show cause if any they have why such street should not be opened, vacated or closed and if it shall appear from such hearing that such proposal would be inadvisable then the Council shall abandon such proceeding. If it be determined that such proceedings are advisable and that any person or persons will suffer damages to any property or properties as a result of such actions Council shall assess and determine the extent of such damages and shall pay such damages to the person or persons so affected before entering upon such lands or premises so affected. In the event that the owner or owners of the property affected and the Council cannot agree upon damages, then and in that event such owner or owners shall appoint one disinterested person, the Council shall appoint another disinterested person, and the persons so designated shall appoint a third disinterested person who shall go upon the lands and premises affected and shall assess the damages to such person or persons or the owner thereof and upon the determination and award by the disinterested persons such findings shall be final and conclusive and it shall be the duty of the Council of the Town of Frederica to pay such award or damages within thirty days next after the awarding of the same or else to abandon such proposed change.

Section 11. At the annual meeting of the Town Council the Council shall elect a Treasurer for the Town of Frederica. The Treasurer may or may not be a member of the Council. He may also serve as Secretary of the Council. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all moneys due the Town of Frederica from the Collector of Taxes, and from any other source or sources, to keep the same deposited in a depository to be designated by the Council, and to pay such charges or claims against the Town as the Council or the Mayor shall from time to time designate and direct. He shall account at each regular meeting of the Council, and more often if required, showing in detail the receipts and disbursements of the Town funds. Before entering upon his duties the Treasurer shall be first sworn to diligently and faithfully perform the duties of his office, and shall enter into bond to the Town of Frederica with surety to be approved by the Council in such amount as the Council shall designate to faithfully and diligently perform the duties of incumbent upon him as Treasurer of the Town of Frederica and a true and correct accountancy to make of all the moneys received by him as Treasurer of said Town of Frederica. The cost of the bond shall be paid by The Town of Frederica.

Section 12. At the annual meeting of the Town Council the Council shall elect a Collector of Taxes whose duties it shall be to collect all taxes which shall be assessed pursuant to the provisions of this charter, including dog taxes. He shall make a monthly accounting to the Treasurer of said Town and shall pay over to said Treasurer such sums as from said accounting shall be found due the said Town. The Treasurer shall give receipts for the money so paid. Before entering upon his duties the Collector shall be sworn or affirmed to diligently and impartially perform the duties of his office. He shall also enter into a bond to The Town of Frederica in such sum as The Council shall designate to faithfully perform the duties of his office and to make a just accounting of all moneys received by him for the said Town of Frederica and to pay over to the said Town of Frederica all moneys received by or charged to him as such Collector. The cost of the bond shall be paid by the Town of Frederica. The Collector shall at no time be a member of the Council while serving as Collector. The Council shall fix the compensation of the Collector. The Collector shall be charged with the full amount of the tax debit received by him, and it shall be his duty to collect the same; provided, however, that The Council may for cause shown, permit the allowance of any delinquencies as the Council may deem proper. At the regular meeting of the Council held during the month of March of each year, the Collector shall make a detailed report of all moneys collected and a list of those owing taxes not received and collected by him.

A penalty of one per centum per month, or fractional part thereof, shall be charged on all taxes remaining unpaid after October 31 of each year, and it shall be the duty of the Collector to collect such penalties in addition to the regular tax.

Section 13. The Council shall have the power and authority to enter into contracts for the supply of electrical energy and power for municipal uses, and shall have the authority to contract for the purchase and resale of electrical energy and power to the residents of The Town of Frederica.

The Council shall have the power and authority to employ such person or persons as shall be required from time to time by the Town and shall fix the compensation of such employees.

The Council shall elect one or more persons to serve as police officers for and on behalf of The Town and shall fix their compensation. Such police officers shall be under the direction of the Mayor of the Town except as Council shall otherwise direct. It shall be the duty of such officers to police the Town of Frederica and they shall have all the powers of the Constables of Kent County within the Town limits and within one mile adjacent to the corporate limits of said Town.

Section 14. The Mayor of the Town of Frederica shall be a member of the Town Council and shall preside at all meetings thereof, unless through absence or disability he is unable to do so, or unless the Mayor be personally interested in the matter before the meeting, in which events, or either of them, the other members of The Council shall designate one of their number to preside. The Mayor shall be the executive officer of the Town. He shall execute all legal instruments on behalf of the Town, and shall have such other duties as the Council by ordinance or resolution shall impose.

He shall have general supervision over the police and over all employees of the Town, and shall have the right to hire or dismiss any employee, except the Treasurer, the Collector of Taxes, the Alderman and the Town Solicitor.

Section 15. The Council shall designate one of their members as Secretary whose duty it shall be to keep an accurate record of all meetings, and of all matters relating to the Town as shall come to him. The Secretary may or may not be the Treasurer of the Town. He shall keep the corporate seal of the Town and shall affix the same to all instruments requiring the same upon resolution of the Council authorizing and directing him to do so. The records of the Secretary shall be received in evidence.

Section 16. The Council shall have the power to borrow in any one year a sum not in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) and to anticipate current revenue by such sum so borrowed whenever the needs of the Town shall require more money than is at the time in the Town Treasury from current receipts.

Section 17. Council shall have the power to exempt from municipal taxation for a period not in excess of ten consecutive years any property otherwise subject to municipal taxes, and which property is being used in any new industrial enterprise within said Town.

Section 18. No compensation shall be paid members of Council except as otherwise herein provided unless the same shall be first approved at the annual or at a special election of the voters qualified to vote at the municipal elections of said Town.

Section 19. The Council shall have the power to condemn any property real or personal within the Town limits as shall be necessary for municipal purposes. The procedure thereof shall be the same as that for the laying out of streets as set out in Section 10 hereof; provided, however, that if the damages sustained by any party interested shall exceed One Thousand Dollars ($1000.00), and such party shall be dissatisfied with the award made under Section 10 hereof, such party may file an appeal with the resident associate Judge of Kent County whose duty it shall be to appoint five disinterested freeholders of Kent County to view the property and assess the damages sustained by said party. The resident associate Judge of Kent County shall make such rules and orders as he may deem proper in carrying this provision into effect and shall assess the costs thereof as he shall deem proper. Where real estate is involved a copy of the final award and the approval thereof by the resident associate Judge of Kent County shall be recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds for Kent County. Upon the making of such award the Council of the Town of Frederica shall by Resolution determine upon the acceptance thereof, and if the award be accepted shall pay to the party to whom the award is made the full sum thereof within sixty days of such award. Otherwise the project shall be abandoned.

Section 20. Council shall have the power to adopt zoning ordinances, and all measures requisite or appropriate for protection against fire, and to appropriate money for the purpose of acquiring fire equipment whether owned by the Town or by a volunteer fire company.

Section 21. The Council shall have power to enact ordinances defining nuisances and providing for the removal or abatement thereof, and prescribing the fines, penalties and forfeitures for causing or continuing the same.

Section 22. At the annual meeting the Council shall elect a Town Solicitor for the term of one year or until his successor has been duly chosen and qualified. The Solicitor shall be an attorney at law who shall have practiced in the State of Delaware for at least five years and who shall be a resident of Kent County. He shall be the chief legal advisor of and attorney for the Town. In addition to the duties hereby imposed upon the Solicitor by this charter the Council may by resolution or ordinance fix any other duty as shall from time to time be required by the Town or any of the officers of the Town. The Town Solicitor shall be paid a reasonable compensation for his services rendered.

Section 23. All ordinances and resolutions heretofore adopted or in force in the Town of Frederica are continued in force and effect as ordinances and resolutions until repealed, attested or amended under the provisions of the charter, and the acts of the Commissioners of the Town of Frederica and of the officials of said Town heretofore lawfully done or performed under any prior charter of said Town of Frederica by whatever name designated, or under any ordinance of said Town, or of any law of this State, prior to the approval of this Act, are hereby ratified and confirmed.

Section 24. All taxes, fines, penalties, forfeitures, assessments and debts due the Town of Frederica at the time of the approval of this charter shall be deemed to be due the said Town of Frederica and the same shall remain unimpaired until paid.

Section 25. This Act shall become effective immediately upon the approval hereof.

Approved April 1, 1935.