CHAPTER 158 - CITIES AND TOWNS—BRIDGEVILLE
AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE TOWN OF BRIDGEVILLE
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 thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. That the corporate limits and boundaries of the Town of Bridgeville, hereinafter designated as "Commissioners of Bridgeville", shall include all the land within the following limits: The centre of the town to be the middle of Laws and Market Streets, thence one line to run South seventy-seven and one-half degrees West one hundred and twenty rods; one line North twelve and one-half degrees West one hundred and sixty rods; one line North seventy-seven and one-half degrees East one hundred and twenty rods; one line South twelve and one-half degrees East one hundred and sixty rods, which lines hit the middle of the outside lines which bound the town, and which are: Beginning at a stone East of J. H. Myer's barn, runs North seventy-seven and one-half degrees East two hundred and forty rods; thence South twelve and one-half degrees East three hundred and twenty rods; thence South seventy-seven and one-half degrees West two hundred and forty rods; thence North twelve and one-half degrees West three hundred and twenty rods, to beginning.
Section 2. The present Commissioners of Bridgeville and their successors in office shall be and they are hereby created a body politic, corporate in fact and in law and equity. The style and name of the corporation of said Town shall be "Commissioners of Bridgeville". By that name said corporation shall be and hereby is made able and capable in law to have, take, purchase, receive, possess, enjoy and retain to it and its successors, lands, tenements, hereditaments, goods, chattels and effects of what kind, nature or quality soever, in fee simple or otherwise, and the same to sell, grant, demise, alien or dispose of; to sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, answer and be answered, defend and be defended, in all courts of law and equity in the State of Delaware, or in any other place whatsoever; and also to make, have and use a common seal, and the same to break, alter and renew at pleasure, and generally to have all the privileges and franchise incident to a Municipal Corporation or Body Politic.
Section 3. The elective Town officers shall be an Alderman, a Board of Commissioners to consist of five members and an Assessor. The appointive Town officers, except as herein provided, shall be such as said Commissioners of said Town shall, by ordinance, provide for.
Section 4. No person shall be eligible to the office of Commissioner who is not at the time of his election a citizen of the State of Delaware and resident and non-delinquent taxable of said Town above the age of twenty one years and the owner of real estate within said Town, Provided, however, that any married man, otherwise qualified, whose wife is the owner of .real estate within said Town, and any married woman, otherwise qualified, whose husband is the owner of real estate within said Town, may be elected to the office of Commissioner although such person may not be the owner of real estate within said Town, and real estate in said Town owned jointly by husband and wife shall make both husband and wife eligible, if otherwise qualified.
Section 5. Every officer of said Town, before he enters upon the duties of his office, shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Delaware and that he will perform the duties of the office to which he has been elected or appointed with fidelity and without favor or partiality. Such oath may be administered by any officer authorized, under the laws of this State, to administer oaths or affirmations.
Section 6. An election shall be held in said town for elective officers on the first Monday of February in each year from one to four o'clock in the afternoon, and at such place as shall be determined and fixed by the Town Commissioners. At least ten days previous thereto, due notice thereof shall be given by said Town Commissioners. At such election the votes shall be received by the State's Justice of the Peace residing in said Town, or by such other person as said Town Commissioners may select, and the result of the balloting for said officers shall be ascertained by him and two competent citizens, qualified as voters of said Town, selected by said Town Commissioners to assist in holding such election. At such election every citizen of the said Town of the age of twenty-one years, or upwards, who has within twelve months of said election paid a Town Tax which has been assessed within twelve months, shall have a right to vote, and persons arriving at the age of twenty-one years since the last town Assessment shall have a right to vote. The persons who shall conduct such election as in this Act provided, shall be the Judges thereof and shall decide on the legality of the votes offered. Immediately after the election is closed, the votes shall be read and counted and the person having the highest number of voters for Alderman or Assessor shall be declared elected. The two candidates for Commissioners for the two year term who have the highest and next highest number of votes for such office and term shall be declared elected for the two year term and the candidate for Commissioner for the one year term shall be declared elected for such term. Immediately after such election, said persons under whose superintendence the election is held shall enter in a book to be provided for that purpose, a minute of such election containing the names of all persons who were candidates for office, designating the office for which they were candidates and showing the number of votes received by each and shall subscribe to the same and deliver said book to said Commissioners at their organization meeting. They shall also give to the persons so elected a certificate of their election. The book containing such minutes shall be preserved by the Commissioners and shall be evidence in all Courts in this State or elsewhere. No person shall be voted upon as a candidate for any of such offices unless at least one week before the date set for said election, he or she shall have filed with the Secretary or President of said Town Commissioners a letter or other certificate setting forth that he will be a candidate for a certain designated office for a like designated term. Immediately after the expiration of the time for filing names of candidates, said Town Commissioners shall cause the election ballots to be printed. Upon such ballots the names of the candidates for the offices to be filled, arranged alphabetically under each office, shall be placed, and immediately below each group of names, instructions as to how many to vote for; for instance, "vote for one" or "vote for two", or as many as the voter shall be entitled to vote for in any particular case. The voters shall designate their choice of candidates to be voted for, for each particular office, at such elections, by drawing a line through the names of all persons who are candidates for each particular office except those candidates in each group desired to be voted for; provided, however, that no Elector at any such elections shall be allowed to vote for more candidates (but may vote for less) than the number to be elected at said election. Defective designation of a voter's choice under the head of one or more of such groups of candidates shall not invalidate such ballot so far as there shall appear to be a proper designation of choice in any other of said groups of candidates. The form of ballot shall be substantially as follows:
CANDIDATES FOR ELECTION TO ELECTIVE OFFICES
IN THE TOWN OF BRIDGEVILLE
(vote for one)
(vote for one)
For Town Commissioner for the Term of One Year
(vote for ________ )
For Town Commissioner for the Term of Two Years
(vote for two)
The method of voting shall be by striking out the names of those not voted for so that the eligible number of candidates for any particular office shall remain on the ballot.
Section 7. At the Town election to be held on the first Monday in February, A. D. 1942, and on the same day in every year thereafter, the voters of said Town of Bridgeville shall vote for an Alderman, who shall be elected by a plurality of all the votes cast. The Alderman shall hold office for the term of one year, commencing on the Monday next following the date of his election.
Section 8. The Alderman and President of the Town Commissioners are hereby constituted conservators of the peace within said Town and it shall be their duty to see that the laws and ordinances governing said Town are faithfully executed.
Section 9. In the case of the temporary absence or disability of the Alderman and the President of the Town Commissioners, the Town Commissioners shall appoint one of the members of said Town Commissioners to act during their temporary absence or inability.
Section 10. If the office of Alderman or any other elective officer of said Town shall become vacant by reason of death, removal from the Town or resignation of any such officer, the Town Commissioners shall make appointments to supply such vacancies and the person so appointed shall hold office for the unexpired term. In case of a tie vote, the President shall have a right to vote, and should the office of President become vacant and a tie vote result as aforesaid, the Town Treasurer shall have a right to vote. The provisions of this Section shall apply to any elective office to which a person who has been elected, shall be found ineligible or shall fail to qualify or to give bond as in this Act provided.
Section 11. The common seal now used by the Commissioners of Bridgeville shall continue to be used as such until the same shall be changed, altered or renewed by ordinance passed by the Town Commissioners.
Section 12. Insofar as concerns crimes, misdemeanors and breaches of the peace committed within the corporate limits of said Town, the said Alderman and/or President of the Town Commissioners shall have the same power, authority, jurisdiction and cognizance as a Justice of the Peace. They shall have original jurisdiction to inquire of, hear, try and determine any and all offenses which shall be committed within said Town against any of the laws, ordinances, regulations or charter of said Town and to punish the offender or offenders as by the said laws, ordinances, regulations or charter shall be prescribed. They shall have authority to punish contempt and to issue all process necessary for the exercise of their jurisdiction; and it shall be the duty of any County Constable or of the Town Constable to execute the same when placed in their hands, and any failure to properly execute the same shall be punishable as a contempt of court. The fees of said Alderman and/or President of Town Commissioners shall be the same as are allowed Justices of the Peace for similar services under the laws of this State. It shall be their duty to keep a book of record or a docket, which shall be provided by the Town Commissioners. All official accounts shall be entered in said docket and it, together with all books, papers and documents pertaining thereto, shall be delivered to their successor or successors within twenty-four hours after their election and qualification. If either the Alderman or the President of Town Commissioners, who may be in possession of said docket, together with all the books, papers and documents pertaining thereto, shall default in so doing, he shall forfeit and pay a fine of Twenty-five ($25.00) Dollars and in default thereof shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding thirty (30) days. Any Justice of the Peace in Sussex County shall. have jurisdiction to hear and determine said cause.
Section 13. At the Town election held on the first Monday of February, A. D. 1942, three Commissioners shall be elected, two of whom shall serve for a term of two years and one of whom shall serve for a term of one year. Annually thereafter, three Commissioners shall be elected, two of whom shall serve for two years and one of whom shall serve for one year. All acts and transactions heretofore done and performed by said "Commissioners of Bridgeville" in so far as the same may have been defective by reason of failure to hold elections in the manner prescribed by law, are hereby ratified, confirmed and made valid with the same force and effect as though said elections had been legally held.
Section 14. At the first meeting of said Town Commissioners after their election, and annually thereafter, they shall choose a President and a Secretary from among their own number. The President shall be the presiding officer and the Secretary shall keep a record of all the proceedings of said Town Commissioners in books to be provided for that purpose and shall carefully preserve all books, papers and documents and deliver the same to his successor in office.
Section 15. Regular meetings of the Town Commissioners shall be held on the second Monday in each and every month at eight o'clock P. M., at such place as the Town Commissioners shall, by resolution, provide. Special meetings may be called by the President upon his own motion or shall be called at the request of three members, and proceedings at such special meetings shall have the same force and effect as at regular meetings provided personal notice be given to each member and a record thereof entered on the journal. They shall conduct their proceedings in accordance with rules to be adopted for that purpose. Three members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business and the acts of a majority of the members present shall be valid except for the adoption of ordinances.
Section 16. No ordinance shall be passed, amended, or repealed except with the concurrence of a majority of all the Town Commissioners and unless it shall have had at least two readings at a previous meeting or meetings, and the votes of all members voting entered upon the Journal. All elections for officers to be appointed by the Town Commissioners shall be by ballot.
Section 17. Said Town Commissioners shall constitute the Legislative Body of said Town and shall be denominated when assembled, "Town Commissioners". The Town Commissioners shall have power to enact ordinances to preserve the health of the Town and to prevent the introduction of infectious and contagious diseases. The Town Commissioners may also pass ordinances to define and remove nuisances; to ascertain and fix the boundaries of streets, squares, lanes and alleys, or to repair and amend the same, and provide for the paving thereof, or to alter, extend or widen any street, square, lane or alley, or open and lay out new ones, subject to the provisions in that behalf hereinafter contained; to regulate and fix the ascent and descent of all streets, lanes and alleys; to direct the paving of all footways and to prescribe the width thereof; to direct the laying out of gutters and to prescribe the depth thereof; to prescribe the extent of steps, porches, cellar doors and other inlets to buildings; to prescribe and regulate the use of the highways, streets, squares, lanes and alleys of the Town and to have and exercise control over the same subject to the provisions in that behalf hereinafter contained and to the general supervision and control of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware; to provide for the regulation of auctions and auctioneers; to license and regulate public amusements; to regulate party walls; to provide for the safety of the citizens; to prescribe the height and thickness of walls and material of buildings and the safe erection of the same within said Town in such way as to provide for and secure the safety of the inmates thereof, and may make provisions for the enforcement of such regulations; to provide against the adulteration of foodstuffs sold or brought to be sold in said Town and to provide for the proper inspection of the same; to license and regulate peddlers and pool rooms; to provide for the proper lighting of streets, squares, lanes and alleys of said Town and for the maintenance of the water works of said Town, and in its discretion to provide for the payment of the expenses thereof; to regulate the storage of gun powder or other dangerously combustible matter; to lay and collect fines on owners or harborers of any dog in heat in any of the streets, lanes or alleys of said Town.
The Town Commissioners shall, in like manner, have the power to direct and regulate the planting, rearing, treatment and preserving of ornamental shade trees in the streets, highways, avenues and parks in said Town and to authorize and prohibit the removal or destruction of said trees; to direct the digging down, draining, filling-up or fencing of lots, tracts, pieces or parcels of ground in said Town, which may be deemed dangerous or unwholesome or necessary to carry out any improvements authorized by this Charter; to prescribe the manner in which such work shall be performed and to cause the expense thereof to be assessed on such lots, tracts, pieces or parcels of ground, whether improved or unimproved and to determine the time and manner in which such assessment shall be collected; for the prevention of fire and the preservation of the beauty of the Town, to regulate and control the manner of building or removing of dwelling houses or other buildings, and to establish a code for the same and to provide for the granting of permits for the same and to establish a building line for buildings to be erected; to zone or district the Town in such manner and under such conditions as the Town Commissioners may deem proper and make particular provisions for particular zones or districts with regard to buildings or building materials, and may forbid any building except for which a building permit therefor has been obtained from and as prescribed by the Commissioners: provided, that this provision shall be deemed to include new buildings or re-buildings or addition to or alterations of existing structures of any kind, as to which the Commissioners are hereby granted all the authorities and powers vested in the Legislative body of Cities and Incorporated Towns under and by virtue of Chapter 179 of the Revised Code of Delaware, 1935; to prohibit, within certain limits, to be from time to time prescribed by ordinance, the building or erecting of stables; to regulate the construction of chimneys, to compel the sweeping thereof; to prevent the setting-up or construction of furnaces, boilers, ovens or other things in such manner as to be dangerous; to prohibit the deposit of ashes in unsafe places and to authorize any town Officer or Constable or person whom they may designate for that purpose, to enter upon and inspect any place or places for the purpose of ascertaining whether the same is or are in a safe condition; and, if not, to direct or cause the same to be made so; to make, adopt and promulgate all rules and regulations relative to the use of any sewer in said Town and the tapping thereof, including the charge and fee therefor, as they shall deem proper and they may also adopt ordinances prescribing penalties for any injury to the said sewer system or any part thereof, or for any abuse of any privilege granted in connection therewith; to prescribe the material of private drains or sewers which shall enter into any Town sewer and shall direct the manner in which they shall be laid; upon written notice from either the Town or State Board of Health of the existence of a nuisance detrimental to the public health of the inhabitants of said Town, stating that such nuisance can be eliminated by connecting the property upon which said nuisance exists with the sewerage system of the Town, to compel the owner or owners of such property to connect such property with the sewerage system of the Town, within thirty days after written notice, directed to such owner or owners.
In the promotion of the public health or welfare, when not conflicting with any of the laws of this State or any regulations of the State Board of Health, to regulate the use of cemeteries within the limits of the town, to order the removal of bodies in any cemetery within the limits of the town where the cemetery is abandoned and neglected and in the judgment of the Commissioners of the Town such removal is in the interests of the public health and welfare.
The Town Commissioners shall have power to regulate and control the operation of any gasoline or other motor on the highway or on private property when said operation shall result in the discharge from said motor of any noxious smoke, gas, steam or other offensive odor or result in any unusual or offensive noise which might be detrimental to the health or comfort of any of the population of the Town, provided said regulation or control does not conflict with any existing laws of this State or of the United States.
The Town Commissioners shall, in like manner, have the power to regulate or prohibit the carrying on of manufactories dangerous in causing or promoting fires; to regulate or prohibit the manufacture, sale or use of fireworks, and the use of firearms, including air rifles, in said Town; to regulate or prohibit the use of candles and lights in barns, stables and other buildings.
The Town Commissioners shall, in like manner, have the power and authority to collect license fees annually of such various amount or amounts as the Commissioners shall from time to time fix from any individual, firm, association or corporation carrying on or practicing any business, occupation or profession within the limits of the town, provided that any resident of the State of Delaware may sell farm produce or any farm products grown on his or her farm. They shall also have the power to regulate or license the distribution of handbills within the limits of said Town.
The Town Commissioners may annually set aside a sum not exceeding ten per cent. of the total amount collected as taxes on real estate and capitation taxes to be applied for providing equipment for and the maintenance of the Bridgeville Fire Company. This fund shall be known as the "Fire Department Fund" and shall be paid out by the Treasurer of the Town Commissioners upon orders drawn by the President and Treasurer of said Bridgeville Fire Company after approval of the Town Commissioners.
The enumeration herein of particular powers shall not be held to be exclusive or to restrict, in any way, the general powers herein, but, in addition, the Town Commissioners shall also have all powers and functions necessary for the government of the Town, its sanitation, beauty, the health, convenience, government and well-being of its population and the protection and preservation of property, public and private, not in contravention of any existing laws of this State or of the Constitution thereof.
In particular the Commissioners of Bridgeville are hereby authorized and empowered to purchase within or without the limits of the Town of Bridgeville such real estate as it may deem necessary for a place for dumping refuse or for any other purposes herein enumerated or implied and the said Commissioners of Bridgeville shall have the same authority and jurisdiction over the same as if said property were within the limits of said town, and all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the said Commissioners shall have the same force and effect over and upon said property so purchased by said Commissioners.
The Town Commissioners shall have the power to enact ordinances, rules and regulations and to fix the fines or penalties for violations thereof, provided that no fine or penalties shall be imposed in a sum exceeding one hundred ($100.00) dollars, exclusive of costs, and no term of imprisonment shall be imposed for violation of any rules, regulations or ordinances, or for failure to pay any fine or penalty imposed, in excess of a period of thirty days.
Section 18. Said Town Commissioners shall cause a fund to be raised by way of tax upon persons authorized to vote for Town Commissioners by this Act, and upon all lands and tenements, and any interest in such lands and tenements within the lines of said Town; provided, that all lands and tenements or any interest therein not within the corporate limits of the said Town of Bridgeville prior to the passage of this Act, shall not be subject to any taxation for the uses of the said Town (excepting school taxes) until such time as said property or any part thereof, to be taxed for uses of said Town shall have established thereon all the advantages, improvements and benefits of streets, street lighting, sewers, inlets, water-maim and fire plugs as have been established, enjoyed and provided for upon and abutting the properties within the corporate limits of said town prior to the passage of this Act, and provided further, that all lands, tenements and any interest in such lands and tenements within the limits of said Town as are now exempt from taxation shall from and after the passage of this Act continue so to be exempt from taxation; and provided further, that in no case shall the tax so raised exceed the sum of Twelve Thousand Dollars in any one year, without an Act of the Legislature of the State of Delaware authorizing such increase; provided, however that the provisions of this section shall not affect or be affected by the provisions of an Act entitled: "An Act authorizing the Commissioners of Bridgeville to Borrow Money and Issue Bonds to Secure the Payment Thereof, for the Purpose of Providing a Supply of Water and a Sewerage System for the Town of Bridgeville, and to Control and Regulate the Same," approved March 12, A. D. 1909; or by the provisions of an Act entitled: "An Act Authorizing the Commissioners of Bridgeville to Appropriate Annually Out of the Taxes Collected on Real Estate and Capitation Taxes a Sum of Money to the Bridgeville Fire Company, a corporation of the State of Delaware," approved April 1, 1937.
Section 19. The Commissioners of Bridgeville shall annually appoint a Town Treasurer, who shall hold office for a term of one year beginning on the second Monday of February following his appointment.
Section 20. Said Town Treasurer shall at his own cost before entering upon the duties of his office, give bond to the "Commissioners of Bridgeville" in such amount as shall be determined by the Town Commissioners, with surety to be approved by said Town Commissioners conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of his office, with a Warrant of Attorney for the confession of judgment thereto annexed.
Section 21. All monies belonging to the Town which shall come into the hands of the Town Treasurer shall be by him deposited in some incorporated Banking Institution to be designated by the Town Commissioners, such deposits to be made in the name of "Commissioners of Bridgeville", except in the case of money proceeds arising out of a bonded debt authorized by the General Assembly for a specific purpose or use, in which case such money shall be deposited in the name of "Commissioners of Bridgeville" for the special purpose or use for which the debt was authorized and shall only be drawn out for such special purpose or use. All monies so deposited shall be drawn out only on an order signed by the President and Secretary of said Town Commissioners and countersigned by the said Town Treasurer, or in case of the absence or temporary disability of any of said three persons, then by such person as the Town Commissioners may designate by resolutions and the others.
Section 22. The Town Treasurer shall furnish to the Town Commissioners at each regular meeting, an itemized statement of all monies received by him during the period between such regular meeting and the one immediately preceding, together with the aggregate amount paid out during said time, and the balance remaining therein at the time of making said statement. If the Town Treasurer shall pay any money contrary to the provisions of this Act, he shall forfeit and pay to the corporation for every such offense, a fine of One Hundred Dollars, and he and his sureties shall be liable to the Town upon his official obligation for any money so paid out by him.
Section 23. The Town Treasurer shall perform such duties as are prescribed by this Act or by any ordinance the Town Commissioners shall from time to time enact, and which shall not be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act. The Town Commissioners may enforce by suitable penalties, any duties enjoined by this Act or by such ordinance, except where penalties are provided by this Act.
Section 24. At or prior to the regular meeting of the Town Commissioners to be held on the second Monday in January of each year, the Town Commissioners shall appoint one or more competent persons to audit the accounts of all Town Officers for the fiscal year ending on the second Monday in February, and such person or persons so appointed, shall present his or their report at the organization meeting of the Council in the month of February. Said Auditor or Auditors shall be paid such amount for his or their services as said Town Commissioners shall determine. Copies of said report shall, sometime in the month of February in each year, be posted in at least five of the most public places in said Town.
Section 25. Said Town Commissioners shall have authority to employ a Town Solicitor, who shall be a member in good standing of the Bar of the State of Delaware. It shall be his duty to give legal advice to the Commissioners and other officers of the Town and to perform such other legal services as may be required.
Section 26. That said Town Commissioners shall have authority to build and maintain or to lease a suitable place as a lockup or jail for the use of said Town, and the Alderman of said Town or any Justice of the Peace, in enforcing the provisions of this Act, or of any ordinance of said Commissioners of Bridgeville, may commit to the said lockup or jail, for any time not exceeding one week; or may commit to the public jail of Sussex County for any longer term in any case, and for the term of one week or less in case said Town Commissioners shall not provide such lockup or jail within said Town. The lockup or jail of said Town shall be in charge of the said Town Constable (who shall be under the supervision of said Town Commissioners), whose duty it shall be to provide for the maintenance of such persons as from time to time may be confined therein, and the expenses of such maintenance shall be defrayed upon bills presented to and approved by said Town Commissioners.
Section 27. Said Town Commissioners shall have the power to appoint and remove such Town Constables as in their judgment may be necessary and proper. They shall have the same power and jurisdiction in the service of any process within the whole of Sussex County as any Constable of the State of Delaware, in and for Sussex County, as to the cognizance of all breaches of the peace and other offenses within the limits of said Town. Their fees and emoluments shall be the same as those of a County Constable for like services; provided that said Town Commissioners shall have authority by ordinance to fix additional compensation for them.
Section 28. It shall be the duty of the Alderman, Town Commissioners, Town Constable, County Constable and Justice of the Peace residing in said Town, or any of them, to suppress all riotous, turbulent, disorderly or noisy conduct of any person, or any disorderly or noisy assembly or gathering on any of the streets of said Town or in any house therein; and for this purpose it shall be the duty of any such person above named, without warrant, to seize and arrest any person caught in the act of so offending and carry him before said Alderman, said Justice of the Peace or President of Town Commissioners, and upon conviction before either of said officials, the person so offending shall pay a fine of not less than one dollar and not more than twenty dollars, or in default of payment thereof, be committed to jail for a term of not less than five days nor more than twenty days. Any person or persons charged with any of the offences set forth in this section may be arrested on a warrant issued by said Alderman, Justice of the Peace or President of Town Commissioners and upon conviction shall be subject to the penalties herein set forth as though arrested while committing said breach of the peace.
Section 29. Any fine imposed under the provisions of this Act or by any ordinance of said Town of Bridgeville, whether imposed by said Alderman, President of Town Commissioners or Justice of the Peace, shall be paid over to said Town Treasurer for the use of the Town.
Section 30. The Alderman shall not receive any compensation except the fees provided for in this Act. The Secretary, Assessor, Constable and Town officers provided for by ordinance shall receive such compensation as the Town Commissioners shall by ordinance provide. The Treasurer shall receive such compensation for his services as the Treasurer and such separate compensation for the collection of taxes as the Town Commissioners shall determine. Each Town Commissioner shall receive two dollars for each and every meeting he shall attend and whenever any Town Commissioner is called by Town business out of the Town limits, the Town Commissioners may allow to said official his actual traveling expenses and such other reasonable compensation as may be deemed proper.
Section 31. The said Town Commissioners shall exercise a general and supervisory power over the Assessor who shall be elected at each Town election for the term of one year, to begin on the Monday following his election, and like power over the Town Treasurer, and shall cause such Assessor to make a faithful, full, fair and complete assessment of all the property in said Town liable to taxation. Said Town Commissioners may adopt such rules and regulations as they shall deem expedient to produce fairness, equality and completeness of assessment and shall have full power at any time to examine the assessments while the assessor is making them and cause them to be conformed to such rules and regulations as such Town Commissioners may have adopted.
Section 32. The Town Assessment shall be completed and delivered to the Town Commissioners by the Assessor, in duplicate, during the month of February in each year, and all taxes shall be collected before the first day of July in the succeeding year. For any amount remaining on the Town Treasurer's duplicate uncollected at that time and not sufficiently accounted for or allowed for errors, delinquencies or otherwise by the Town Commissioners, the said Town Treasurer and his sureties may be held accountable upon their bond; the said Town Commissioners may, by resolution, extend the time for the collection of said taxes; provided, however, that all taxes shall be a lien on the .property for three years from June first of the year for which the taxes are assessed. The said lien shall be full paid and satisfied before any recognizance, mortgage, judgment, debt, obligation or responsibility which the real estate may be charged with or liable to. In the case of sale under execution process of any real estate upon which any such tax lien shall exist, such lien shall be transferred to the fund arising from such sale in the hands of the officer making the same; provided that if such fund shall not be sufficient to pay and discharge the said tax lien by reason of said real estate having been sold subject to another or other lien or liens, then the unpaid balance of tax shall remain a lien upon the lands so sold. In case of such sale, the Town Treasurer shall file the tax claim with the officer making such sale, which officer shall be bound by the provisions of this section.
Section 33. All real estate within said Town shall be assessed according to the assessed value. The assessment of real estate shall be made according to a certain rate on and upon every hundred dollars of the estimated value of the property assessed, if sold for cash and so pro rata. The real estate shall be described with sufficient particularity to be clearly identified and the principal improvements thereon, if any, shall also be specified. Real estate, the owner or owners of which cannot be found or ascertained, may be assessed to "Owner unknown". Every citizen of said Town above the age of twenty-one years shall be rated for a capitation tax in addition and without regard to the assessment of real estate, at a capital not exceeding One Thousand Dollars nor less than One Hundred Dollars. To better enable said Assessor to make said assessments, he shall have the right to examine all records in the County offices kept at Georgetown, free of all costs and charges.
Section 34. The Town Commissioners, upon receiving such assessment, shall forthwith examine it, with power to revise, alter or add any assessment on or before the ensuing thirty-first day of March. After receiving said assessment list, said Town Commissioners shall cause a full and complete copy thereof to be posted for one week in a public place in the post-office of said Town (or such other place as the Town Commissioners shall, by resolution, determine), and the Secretary of said Town Commissioners shall give notice by written or printed copies posted in at least five of the most public places in said Town that such assessment, being completed, is posted at the designated place for public inspection. Said notice shall also designate the time appointed by said Town Commissioners for sitting as a Board of Appeals.
Section 35. Said Town Commissioners shall sit at some public and convenient place in said Town one afternoon during the month of March in each and every year from two o'clock until four o'clock in the afternoon, to hear appeals from assessments, and shall continue to sit during the same hours each afternoon thereafter (except Sundays), as long as may be necessary to adjudge appeals. Upon appeals the said Town Commissioners shall have power to alter any assessments and to make additional assessments and to determine and to do whatever may appertain to justice and right. Appeals may be filed in writing with the Secretary or made directly to said Board. No appeals shall be received or heard nor shall said list be altered or added to after the thirty-first day of March in any year.
Section 36. Nothing contained in this Charter shall be construed to affect or impair in any way the validity of any assessment heretofore laid or done or in any way to affect the validity of any tax, fee, assessment or other charge lawfully levied, assessed or due the Town of Bridgeville under existing laws in reference to the Town of Bridgeville and the same are hereby declared to be valid, binding and vested in the Town of Bridgeville.
Section 37. the assessments being so settled as aforesaid the said Town Commissioners shall, on or before the fifteenth day of April in each year, determine the whole amount of money necessary to be raised for the use of the Town by taxation during the year of said assessment and shall apportion such amount among the several persons and estates assessed upon the Town assessment and so pro rata; said assessment list shall, on or before the twentieth day of April in each year, be delivered to the Secretary of said Town Commissioners who shall immediately write thereon the warrant of said Town Commissioners for the collection of said taxes, which said warrant shall be signed by the President of said Town Commissioners, under the seal of said Corporation, and countersigned by said Secretary, and the said lists and warrant thereon shall be delivered by said Secretary to said Town Treasurer on or before said twentieth day of April, whereupon it shall be the duty of said Town Treasurer to forthwith collect and receive the taxes thereupon, and in collecting said taxes he shall have the same powers as are given by law to the Receiver of Taxes for Sussex County and shall be entitled to deduct from the proceeds of any sale for non-payment of taxes the same charges or costs as are now deducted by said Receiver of Taxes for Sussex County. The powers, duties, and authority of said Town Treasurer as to the collection of taxes shall continue after his term as Town Treasurer shall otherwise have expired, when he shall be known as "Late Town Treasurer."
Section 38. The said Town Commissioners shall have power, by ordinance, to enjoin upon the said Assessor, and upon said Town Treasurer, acting as collector of taxes, any duties in addition to those in this Act specified, touching the assessment and collection of taxes, which it shall deem necessary or proper for carrying into effect the provisions of this Act, and may enforce by suitable penalties, any duties so enjoined by this Act or by such ordinance as aforesaid.
Section 39. Upon the delivery to a Town Treasurer of such lists, with said warrant, to collect such taxes, he and his sureties, his and their executors and administrators shall become and are hereby declared to be responsible for the whole amount of money which it shall be his duty to collect, subject only to such just allowances as shall be made to him or them upon settlement with said Town Commissioners as hereinafter provided.
Section 40. On all Town taxes assessed as aforesaid paid before the first day of July, an abatement or discount of five per centum shall be allowed; on all Town taxes thereafter paid until the first day of January thereafter, no abatement or discount shall be allowed; on all Town taxes paid after the said first day of January, a penalty of one per centum per month until the same shall be paid shall be added.
Section 41. If any such Town Treasurer die, or in the judgment of said Town Commissioners be incapable of performing his duties, or upon petition by the surety of such Town Treasurer, and the Town Commissioners being satisfied that it is a proper case for relief, the Town Commissioners may appoint another person to collect the residue of the unpaid taxes and may compel the delivery to such person of the list and warrant or cause a new one to be issued to him, bond with surety being first given as required by this Act in the case of the original Town Treasurer. Thereupon such other person so appointed and his sureties, his and their executors and administrators, shall become responsible for the uncollected taxes subject to allowances as herein provided. Such appointment shall not discharge the first Town Treasurer or his sureties from any part of their original responsibility, but all sums collected by the substituted collector shall be credited to him. All the powers, duties and liabilities of the Town Treasurer shall devolve upon the substituted collector and his sureties, executors and administrators upon final settlement with the Town Commissioners as herein provided. The said Town Commissioners shall make a just apportionment between the original Town Treasurer or his representative and the substituted collector, of the compensation allowed for the collection of taxes.
Section 42, The Town Treasurer and the substituted collector provided for in this Act shall make deposits in the depository bank of said Town to the Credit of "Commissioners of Bridgeville," of the taxes from time to time collected by either of them at such times and in such manner as the Town Commissioners may, by ordinance direct.
Section 43. The Town Treasurer or substituted collector, as the case may be, shall appear before the Town Commissioners at such time or times and place as said Town Commissioners shall appoint, and produce to them a list of taxes as aforesaid, together with the certificates of deposit as aforesaid, and thereupon the said Town Commissioners shall ascertain and determine whether, after a just allowance for errors, delinquencies or otherwise, any and what sum is due and unpaid from such Town Treasurer to said Town.
Section 44. The Town Treasurer shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, take an oath or affirmation similar to that hereinbefore prescribed to be taken by members of the Town Commissioners, and shall give a separate bond as to the collection of taxes to the "Commissioners of Bridgeville," in addition to any other bond which may be required of him, with security to be approved by said Town Commissioners, in an amount to be determined by said Town Commissioners, conditioned for the collection of said taxes and for the faithful performance of all the duties of his office, in so far as the collection of taxes is concerned, that may be prescribed by said Town Commissioners. Said bond shall have annexed thereto a warrant of attorney for the confession of judgment thereon. Said bond must be given by such Town Treasurer within ten days after his election.
Section 45. Said Town Commissioners shall have power and authority to levy and collect taxes upon all telephone, telegraph, electric light and gas equipment within the limits of said Town and the Town Commissioners may, by ordinance, prescribe the mode of levying and collecting the same. In case the owners or lessees of such equipment shall refuse or neglect to pay the taxes that may be levied thereon, said Town Commissioners shall have authority to cause the same to be removed and may institute suit to recover the amount of taxes so levied, and the expenses incident to the removal of such equipment.
Section 46. The said Commissioners of Bridgeville are hereby authorized to direct in writing the owner or owners of any house or land in Bridgeville before, along, in front of, or adjoining which they may deem proper that a pavement should be laid, to curb and lay a pavement, or either or both, of brick or smooth stones or cement, as the Commissioners of Bridgeville may direct, of such length and width as the said Commissioners of Bridgeville may specify.
In the event of any owner neglecting or refusing to comply with the said notice for the space of three months, the said Commissioners of Bridgeville may proceed to have the same done, and when done, the Collector of the said Town shall, as soon as convenient thereafter, present to the owner or owners of said lands, a bill, showing the expense of such paving or curbing, or either, or both; if such owner or owners shall not reside in the Town of Bridgeville, such bill may be presented to the occupier or tenant of such land, or, if there be no occupier or tenant resident in said Town of Bridgeville, such bill may be sent by mail to such owner or owners, directed to him, her or them at the address shown in the tax record for the current year. If such bill be not paid by the owner or owners of such lands within thirty days after the presentation of the same as aforesaid, then it shall be the duty of said Commissioners of Bridgeville to issue a warrant in the name of the Commissioners of Bridgeville, under the hand of the President, attested by the Secretary, and under the seal of the Corporation, directed to the Collector of Taxes of the Town of Bridgeville, commanding him that of the goods and chattels, lands and tenements of such owner or owners he shall cause to be levied and made the amount of said bill, together with all costs. It shall be the duty of said collector, as soon as convenient after the said warrant be delivered to him, and after ten days' notice to the owner or owners of such lands in the manner provided above, and after posting five or more notices of sale in at least five public places in the Town of Bridgeville at least ten days before the day of sale, to sell the goods and chattels of such owner or owners at public auction, or so much thereof as may be necessary to pay the amount of said bill, with all costs. If no goods and chattels of such owner or owners can be found within said town sufficient to satisfy the amount of said bill, with all costs, then it shall be the duty of the said collector after ten days' similar notice to such owner or owners aforesaid, and after posting five or more notices of sale in at least five public places in the Town of Bridgeville for at least ten days before the day of sale, to sell the lands and tenements of such owner or owners before, along, in front of or adjoining which such paving or curbing, or either or both, have been done, or so much of said lands and tenements as may be sufficient to satisfy the amount of said bill, with all costs, and a deed from the Commissioners of Bridgeville, signed by the President and attested by the Secretary under the corporate seal of the Commissioners of Bridgeville, shall convey to the purchaser or purchasers of such lands and tenements as full and complete title, in fee simple or otherwise, as if the same were executed by the owner or owners thereof and the Commissioners of Bridgeville are hereby authorized and empowered to employ a person to bid for them at any such sale and in case where the person so employed shall be the highest bidder, the deed for said lands shall be executed by the Collector effecting said sale, to said Commissioners of Bridgeville.
The claim for paving or curbing, or either or both, with interest on the same from the date of completion of the improvements, shall be a lien on the premises before, along, in front of or adjoining which the said work was done, and shall have priority over any lien encumbrance or conveyance after the beginning of the said improvements; provided that within thirty days after the completion of said improvements a certificate, under the corporate seal of the said Commissioners of Bridgeville, signed by the President, and attested by the Secretary, setting forth the amount of the bill, the date of the beginning of the improvements and a description of the property affected by said lien, with the name or names of the owner or owners, shall be recorded in the mortgage records, in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds at Georgetown, in and for Sussex County; and the record of such certificate shall be evidence in all courts of law or equity in this State.
Any such lien heretofore acquired shall be continued, provided that a certificate as above described shall be recorded in the said Office of the Recorder of Deeds within ninety days after the approval of this Act.
From the proceeds of the sale of the goods and chattels or lands and tenements, sold as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the Collector aforesaid to pay all costs arising from the sale to the parties entitled thereto, and to retain for the use of the said Town the amount of the said bill as aforesaid, and the residue thereof, if any, shall be deposited in the Baltimore Trust Company, at Bridgeville, Delaware, to the credit of said owner or owners.
Lands and tenements sold as aforesaid shall be subject to any lien or encumbrance suffered or made by the owner or owners thereof before the beginning of said improvements.
The Collector aforesaid shall be entitled to receive two dollars for every sale of personal property under this Section, and five dollars for every sale of real estate under this Section together with such additional sum as may be reasonable and proper for the keeping, taking care of, advertising and selling such personal property, and for the advertising and selling such real estate, all of which shall be part of the cost to be paid out of the purchase money aforesaid. Any notice required by this Section to one co-owner shall be notice to all, and in case no owner shall reside in the said Town, notice served upon the occupier or tenant of such property shall be sufficient; or if there be no owner, occupier or tenant of said premises in said Town, it shall be sufficient to send notice by registered mail to any owner of said premises directed to him or her at the post office nearest his or her place of residence; and the return registry receipt properly signed by such owner or co-owner for such registered letter shall be conclusive evidence that such notice has been received by the person to whom it was mailed.
The provision contained in this Section shall apply to any order made by the Commissioners of Bridgeville in respect to any pavement, sidewalk or curb heretofore made or done which the said Commissioners of Bridgeville may deem insufficient or to need repairing.
If any lot or lots, house or houses, on any of the streets of said Town of Bridgeville shall be held or owned by any widow or widows as and for her or their dower, or any tenant for life, such expenses incurred as aforesaid for the lot or lots, house or houses so held, shall be paid by the owner or owners of the reversion in fee simple; and if such owner or owners be a minor or minors at the time of such expense being incurred, then the same shall be paid by the guardian or guardians, agent or agents acting for such minor or minors, out of any money or effects of such minor or minors, and a receipt therefore to such guardian or agent shall be sufficient evidence of such payment and shall be allowed in his or her guardian's or agent's account and if not paid by the guardian or agent as aforesaid, on the presentation of the bill, the same shall remain on interest from the day of the presentation and be a lien against such lot and improvement until paid. All subsequent repairs named in this Act to be kept up at the expense of the said tenant in dower or other life tenant. The said Commissioners of Bridgeville in addition to the provisions of this Section hereinbefore contained, shall have the power and authority to enforce by ordinance all the requirements of this Section by imposing such fines and penalties as shall, in the judgment of said Commissioners, be necessary and proper.
Section 47. Said Town Commissioners shall have entire jurisdiction and control within the limits of said Town, of the drainage thereof and may pass ordinances for the opening of gutters, drains and sewers within the limits thereof and the regulating and maintaining, cleansing and keeping the same, and the natural water courses, runs and rivulets open, clear and unobstructed and for that purpose may authorize the entry upon private lands and by general regulations prescribe the mode in which they shall be opened, maintained, cleansed and kept open and unobstructed and who shall pay the expense thereof, and may, in their discretion, assess the costs thereof upon the persons and property, real and personal of those particularly benefited thereby, or of those owning or holding lands through or along which said sewers, drains or water courses shall flow or pass and prescribe the mode of collection thereof; provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the taking of private property for public use without just compensation.
Section 48. Said Town Commissioners in order to provide for the health of the citizens of said Town shall have power, and they are hereby authorized and directed to adopt and promulgate suitable rules and regulations for the construction of drainage and removal of nuisances and for the enforcement of such rules and regulations and to make provisions for the punishment of persons who shall refuse or neglect to comply with the same.
Section 49. The doing of all work and the furnishing of all materials and supplies, where the cost thereof in any particular instance shall exceed five hundred dollars, shall be let out by said Town Commissioners to the lowest and best bidders, except in cases where it is not practicable to do such work or furnish such materials and supplies by contract. In such cases the Town Commissioners shall give at least one week's public notice that they will receive proposals for such work, materials or supplies, such notice to be given in such manner as the Town Commissioners shall prescribe.
Section 50. The Commissioners shall have power to enact ordinances, rules and regulations in regard to the use of water, —for either private or public purposes,—furnished by the Commissioners, and the amounts to be paid by the users thereof, provided, however, that the total revenue therefrom shall be sufficient at least to pay the interests on any outstanding indebtedness thereon and the principal thereof as it shall become due, together with all running expenses of said water system and depreciation thereon.
Section 51. No person or corporation shall open or excavate the bed of any street or highway for the purpose of laying or placing pipes, conduits, rails or other conductors or means of traffic therein, or any other purpose whatsoever, without first obtaining the consent of the duly constituted authorities of such Town. The said Town Commissioners may further provide, by means of any ordinance, rules or regulations, for the repair of any damage which may be caused to said streets or highways or any other damage whatsoever.
Section 52. The Town of Bridgeville shall not be responsible for any damage that may result to persons or property by reason of any hole, excavation or obstruction in and upon the footways, or sidewalks, of said Town or from any defective condition of such footways or sidewalks, unless such hole, excavation or obstruction or other defective condition of the footways or sidewalks aforesaid is caused by said Town or its authorized agents.
Section 53. It shall be lawful for said corporation, from time to time and as occasion may require, further to extend and to widen any street, square, lane, road or alley of said Town and likewise to lay out all necessary new streets, squares, lanes, roads or alleys within said Town, but only after proceedings to be had as follows: Upon the written application to said Commissioners by ten or more qualified voters of said Town at least thirty days before any regular Town election recommending the further extension and widening of any street, square, lane, road or alley within said Town or the laying out and opening of any new street, square, lane, road or alley within said Town, said Commissioners shall adopt a resolution, submitting to the qualified voters of said Town the question as to whether any such street, square, road, lane or alley shall be widened, extended, opened, or laid out as the case may be, and such resolution shall give a description of the property necessary to be taken for such purpose. At said election, the question submitted shall be substantially as follows:
"Shall the Town of Bridgeville widen (or extend and open or lay out any street or new street as the case may be) Street? (Here give general description of the lands to be taken)." Below this shall be the word "Yes" and below it the word "No", as follows:
Each person voting shall vote by striking out either of said words so that the remaining word will indicate whether or not he shall vote for or against said proposition. The vote shall be ascertained by the same officers who conduct said Town election and the result thereof shall be certified to the Town Commissioners, showing the number of votes cast for and the number of votes cast against said proposition. If a majority of said votes cast are in favor of the said proposition, said Commissioners, after at least ten days written notice to all persons interested in the property to be taken, shall make written application to the Resident Judge of the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, in and for Sussex County, who shall issue a commission under his hand directed to five impartial freeholders of Sussex County, commanding them to assess the damages or benefits that may result from the extending, widening, laying out or opening of such streets, squares, lane, road or alley to the owner or owners of property or ground necessary to be taken or occupied therefor. Said freeholders shall take into consideration all of the circumstances of benefit and convenience as well as of the detriment to result to such owner or owners and shall make return of their proceedings to said Judge at a time in said Order appointed. Said freeholders shall first be duly sworn or affirmed as in said Commission shall be directed and shall then view the premises, and they or a majority of them shall assess the damages or benefits aforesaid and shall make return in writing of their proceedings in the premises to the said Judge, who shall file the same in the office of the Prothonotary in and for Sussex County. The return upon one commission shall not be conclusive, but upon application by the Commissioners of Bridgeville or any person interested, within fifteen clays after the filing of such return, said Judge shall issue a Commission of Review appointing five other freeholders of said County, with like instructions as were contained in the first Commission. If no appeal is taken as aforesaid within fifteen days after the filing of the return of the first Commission, such return shall be conclusive. Said Judge shall have power to fill any vacancy in any such Commission at any time. No exception can be taken to the qualifications of the freeholders appointed under the provisions of this Section unless made to said Judge within five days after such appointment. There shall be allowed to said Commissioners for their services Two Dollars per day to be paid by the Commissioners of Bridgeville. The amount of damages or benefits being so ascertained, the Commissioners may pay or tender such damages to the person or persons entitled thereto within two months after the same shall have been finally ascertained, or if the person or persons so entitled reside out of or are absent from the Town of Bridgeville during said period of two months, then the same may be deposited to his or her credit at Baltimore Trust Company, Bridgeville, Delaware, within said time, and thereupon the said property or ground may be taken or occupied for the use aforesaid. Upon the approval of the assessment of benefits, or the return of the Commissioners appointed on a Review setting forth assessment of benefits, as herein provided, said return shall be conclusive evidence of a debt for that amount due to "Commissioners of Bridgeville" from the owners of the property against which said benefits were assessed, and said Commissioners of Bridgeville shall have power to recover judgment therefor against the owner of such property in an action of assumpsit before any Justice of the Peace in and for Sussex County, and such judgment, upon entry thereof in the office of the Prothonotary in and for Sussex County, shall be and remain for ten years a lien upon all the lands of such defendant situate within Sussex County. The provisions of this section as to the assessment of damages or benefits shall not apply if a majority of said Commissioners shall agree with the owner or owners of such property as to the amount of such damages or benefits, and such damages or benefits, as the case may be, paid to the parties entitled and the conveyance of the lands necessary for such street, free of all liens and encumbrances, be made in favor of such Town.
Section 54. The word "damages", when used in the preceding section, shall refer to and mean an equivalent in money which the owner of any property to be taken sustains over and above the benefits resulting to him from such improvement, by reason of said condemnation proceedings, and the amount which each such owner is entitled to receive from the Commissioners of Bridgeville; and the word "benefits", when used in this section, shall mean that sum of money which any property owner shall be benefited in excess of any detriment to him and in excess of the benefits to the citizens of said Town generally, by virtue of said condemnation proceedings and the amount which, by reason of such benefits, he shall be required to pay to said Commissioners of Bridgeville.
Section 55. That all acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith be and the same are hereby repealed.
Approved May 12, 1941.