CHAPTER 170 - CITIES AND TOWNS—LEWES
AN ACT TO RE-INCORPORATE THE TOWN OF LEWES.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of the members of each branch thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. The present Mayor and Commissioners and their successors in office, shall be and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate in law and equity, and shall be able and capable to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered, defend and be defended in all courts of judicature whatsoever in this State by the corporate name of "Commissioners of Lewes", and may have and use a common seal with device or devices as they shall determine to be proper, with power to alter or change the same as may be deemed expedient; to purchase, take, hold, receive and enjoy any messuage, lands, tenements or hereditaments, in fee simple or otherwise, and also goods and chattels, rights and credits, and to alien, grant, devise, sell and dispose of the same in such manner and form as they shall deem expedient; provided, nevertheless, that there is hereby reserved to the Legislature the power and authority to repeal this act, or any part thereof, or any other law which may hereafter be enacted respecting the said town.
Section 2. The limits and bounds of the town of Lewes shall be as follows: Beginning at a point on the Bay shore at the mouth of Broadkiln River and following said river to a point where the Lewes River intersects; thence following said Lewes River until it reaches the mouth of Canary Creek; thence following said Canary Creek until it intersects a line drawn from Greenhill Light-house to a point on the Southwest side of Block House Pond and Market Street; thence following said Market Street until it strikes a division line between the lands of Sarah C. Wright and Eliza Metcalf; thence following said division line to South Street; thence running the same course between the lands of Dr. Hiram R. Burton and Virginia L. Mustard across King Street to a point in George Robinson's field about five hundred feet from King Street; thence in an Easterly direction until it strikes the division line between the lands of Robert Arnell and lands formerly of Dr. David Hall; thence following said course until it strikes a ditch through Miss McIlvaine's lands, following said ditch to Lewes Creek; thence following said Creek in a Southeasterly direction until it strikes the former corporation line; thence following said line to the Bay shore; thence following the low water mark along said Bay shore to the place of Beginning.
The survey and plot, of record in the office of the Recorder of Deeds at Georgetown, in and for Sussex County, in Deed Book C.C.R., No. 143, Page 11, made and recorded in pursuance of the provisions of Section 1 of Chapter 199 of Volume 22 of the Laws of Delaware, shall be evidence in all courts of law and equity in the State.
Section 3. An election shall be held in Lewes, Sussex County, on the first Saturday after the first Monday in January in each year at the Firemen's Hall, or at such other time and place as shall be determined by the Commissioners of Lewes, provided that due notice of the change shall be given to the public by advertisement at least five (5) days before said election. The polls shall be opened at one o'clock and shall be closed at six o'clock in the afternoon. At that election there shall be chosen two Commissioners, an Assessor, and, on the even years, a Mayor. The said Mayor, Commissioners and Assessor shall be elected by a plurality of the votes cast at any such town election. The sole qualifications for eligibility for election to one of the offices above named, shall be that the candidates whose names are presented for election shall be bona fide residents of the town of Lewes, at least twenty-one years of age, and substantial freeholders in the town.
In the event that any vacancy shall occur in the Mayor's office, among the Commissioners, or in the office of Assessor, that vacancy shall be filled temporarily by a person chosen by the Commissioners of Lewes, and the qualifications and eligibility of said appointed persons shall be the same as in the case of an election. But if there shall be remaining unexpired, when the vacancy occurs, more than a year of the term of office in any such case, there shall be a person elected at the annual election who will serve during the remaining year or years of the said unexpired term. Vacancies may occur in the Mayor's office, among the Commissioners, or in the office of Assessor, either by death, resignation, or removal from the town. Further, in case any Commissioner shall absent himself from any two consecutive stated meetings of said Commissioners for any cause other than the illness of himself or some member of his immediate family, the said Commissioners by a majority vote may declare his office vacant. Unless there is a vacancy under the terms of this act, the persons elected at the annual election in January shall serve for the whole term for which they are elected, and until their successors are chosen.
No person shall be voted upon as a candidate for either the office of Mayor, Commissioners, or Assessors unless at least one week before the date set for the said election, he, or some freeholder for him, shall have filed with the Secretary of said Town Commissioners, a letter or certificate endorsed by at least five substantial freeholders, setting forth his intentions to become a candidate for the designated office for ,a like designated term. Immediately after the expiration of the time for filing names of the candidates, the Town Commissioners shall cause the election ballots to be printed. Upon such ballots the names of the candidates for the office 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. 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 election 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 Lewes:
MAYOR, For 2 years
(Vote for one)
COMMISSIONERS, For two years
(Vote for two)
ASSESSOR, For 3 years
(Vote for one)
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."
The votes at said annual election shall be received by a judge selected by the Commissioners of the town at least two weeks before the said election, and the result of the balloting shall be ascertained by himself as judge of the election, but the failure of the Commissioners to select such a judge shall not prevent the citizens of the town from doing so by viva voce vote when the time arrives to open the polls. The judge shall have the power to select two citizens of the town as clerks to assist him in holding said election. At such election any bona fide resident, whether a full time resident or only a summer resident, of said town who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years shall have the right to vote. The judge of the election shall decide upon the eligibility of any elector under this act to cast a ballot. Immediately after the election is closed, the votes shall be read and counted in public, and the person having the plurality of votes shall be declared elected. In the event that two candidates for the same office shall receive the same number of votes, the judge of the election shall determine the winner or winners by lot. Immediately after such election, the judge of the election shall enter in a book to be provided for that purpose a minute of such election, containing the names of the persons elected, and shall immediately give to the officers elected certificates of their election. The book containing such minutes shall be preserved by the Commissioners, and shall be evidence in all courts of law and equity in this State.
*upon the eligibility of any elector under this act to cast a ballot, Immediately after the election is closed, the votes shall be read and counted in public, and the person having the plurality of votes shall be declared elected. In the event that two candidates for the same office shall receive the same number of votes, the judge of the election shall determine the winner or winners by lot. Immediately after such election, the judge of the election shall enter in a book to be provided for that purpose a minute of such election, containing the names of the persons elected, and shall immediately give to the officers elected certificates of their election. The book containing such minutes shall be preserved by the Commissioners, and shall be evidence in all courts of law and equity in this State.*
The Mayor, Commissioners, and Assessor or Assessors elected by the voters of the town of Lewes at their regular election, shall, before entering upon their duties as officers of the town, appear before one of the Justices of the Peace in Sussex County and by oath or affirmation pledge themselves to perform the duties of their respective offices to the best of their knowledge and ability and without favor or partiality. Immediately upon the taking of the oath of office by newly elected officers of the town, the terms of the officers whose places they were elected to fill shall be deemed to have expired, and the newly elected persons shall be deemed to be the officers of the town.
Section 4. The Mayor of the town of Lewes shall be elected for a term of two years at the regular January election which falls in an even year. The Mayor shall be a member of the said Commissioners of Lewes and President of the same, and be entitled to all rights and privileges which extend to the other four Commissioners, including the right to vote in meetings of the Board.
The President of the Commissioners of Lewes, the Mayor, shall preside at all meetings of said Commissioners when he is present, shall appoint all committees, receive complaints of nuisances, and other complaints of citizens of any violation of laws and ordinances, and present the same to the Commissioners for their action.
The person elected Mayor of said town shall have, within the limits of said town, and within the limits of the public lands vested in said town, all the powers, authority, jurisdiction, and cognizance of a Justice of the Peace of and over all breaches of the peace and other offenses, the power to arrest and to hold on bail, or to fine and imprison all offenders; and of and over all fines, forfeitures and penalties which may be prescribed by any law of the State, or by ordinances of said Commissioners regularly passed, published and established for the government of the said town; and of and over all neglects, omissions or defaults of the town Constables or Bailiffs, Assessors, or Treasurer, or any other person or officer whose duty it may be to collect, receive, pay over, or account for any money belonging to said town, or to execute or obey any law or ordinance thereof; provided that he shall not impose any fine exceeding ten dollars, nor have jurisdiction in any civil matter other than to carry out the provisions of this Act or the rules and regulations for the government of the said town by the persons authorized to adopt the same under this Act.
The fees of said Mayor shall be the same as are allowed Justices of the Peace for similar services under the laws of this State. It shall be the duty of the Mayor to keep a book of record or docket, to be called the "Mayor's Docket of Lewes", to be provided by the Commissioners, in which all his official acts shall be entered; and he shall, upon the expiration of his term of office, deliver over to his successor all the books, papers, etc., pertaining to his office within ten days after the election and qualification of his successor, and in default of so doing he shall forfeit and pay, for the use of the said town, the sum of ten dollars, to be recovered before the succeeding Mayor or any Justice of the Peace in Sussex County.
Section 5. The Commissioners of the town of Lewes at their first meeting after each election shall choose a Secretary, who may or may not be a member of the Board, who shall serve for the term of one year and receive a reasonable compensation for his services. If by death or otherwise the office of Secretary shall become vacant, a majority of the Board of Commissioners, at any subsequent meeting thereafter, are hereby authorized to fill the said vacancy. The person so appointed Secretary, if not a member of the Board of Commissioners, shall not have the right to vote as a member of the Board.
It shall be the duty of the Secretary to record all the proceedings of the said Commissioners of Lewes and to keep a correct journal of the same in a book or books provided for the purpose, and also the papers, records and correspondence relative to the said town or its business, all of which are to be carefully preserved and delivered to his successor in office. He shall issue and sign all licenses for every exhibition within the town of Lewes for which by Section 1, Chapter 51, of the Revised Code of 1893, or by the authorized ordinances of the Commissioners, a license is required; his signature shall be required on all warrants on the Treasurer for the payment of any money; and he shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by any ordinance or ordinances of the Commissioners.
Section 6. At the next regular meeting of the Commissioners of Lewes after their annual election in each year, the Commissioners of Lewes shall appoint a proper person, being a freeholder of the town of Lewes, to be the Treasurer of the town. The Treasurer may or may not be a member of the Board of Commissioners. In the event that the office of Treasurer shall become vacant by reason of death, resignation, removal or otherwise, the said Commissioners shall at the next regular meeting after said office shall have become vacant, appoint a proper person, being a freeholder to serve for the balance of the unexpired term of said office.
The Treasurer, immediately after receiving the tax list from the Commissioners of Lewes in March of each year, or as soon thereafter as is convenient for the Commissioners, shall proceed to collect the taxes mentioned in said list. In the exercise of his functions as the Collector of Taxes of the town of Lewes, the Treasurer shall be clothed with the same powers and burdened with the same duties as the County Treasurer and Receiver of Taxes of Sussex County in so far as those powers and duties are reasonably applicable to the Collector of Taxes of a town. But the Treasurer before he enters upon the duties of his office, shall give bond approved by the Board of Commissioners in the penal sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) if individual bond is given, or Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) if the bond of any reputable surety company is given, to the Commissioners of Lewes, conditioned upon the faithful discharge of the trust imposed in him and the payment over to his successor in office of all such sums of money as may remain in his hands upon the settlement of his accounts. The said Treasurer shall pay all orders drawn on him by the said Commissioners, and shall settle his accounts with said Commissioners annually before the fifth day of December, and as often and at such times as the said Commissioners shall require. The said assessors and treasurer shall each receive a reasonable compensation to be determined by the Commissioners.
The compensation to be paid out of funds belonging to the town to the Treasurer of the town of Lewes shall not exceed 6% of the amount of monies collected by him.
Section 7. The Commissioners of Lewes shall be composed of five members, including the Mayor and four commissioners. The term of office of the commissioners, including the Mayor, shall be two years for each member, and two members shall be elected annually on the odd years, while two members and the Mayor shall be elected in the even years.
The said Commissioners shall provide for stated and special meetings and shall prescribe the time and place of holding such meetings and the manner of calling the same; provided that there shall be at least six stated meetings of said Commissioners in every year, to-wit: on the first Monday of each alternate month. Each Commissioner shall be allowed for attendance at each of said stated meetings a sum not exceeding One Dollar,
GENERAL POWERS OF THE COMMISSIONERS
Section 8. The said Commissioners of Lewes for the good government and welfare of said town, shall have power to make, establish, publish and modify, amend, or repeal ordinances, rules, regulations, and by-laws for the following purposes:
To prevent vice, drunkenness and immorality; to preserve peace and good order; to prevent and quell riots, disturbances, and disorderly assemblages; to restrain and suppress disorderly and gaming houses, and houses of ill fame, all instruments and devices for gaming; and to prohibit all gaming and fraudulent devices; to prohibit, restrain, and regulate all sports, exhibitions of natural and artificial curiosities, caravans of animals, theatrical exhibitions, circuses or other public performances and exhibitions for money, and fix the sum to be paid for such licenses to the town; to ascertain and establish the boundaries of all streets, avenues, highways, lanes and alleys in said town and the beach or beach strand or public lands in or contiguous to or vested in said town, and prevent and remove all encroachments on said streets, avenues, highways, lanes, alleys, beach or beach strand; to regulate, clean and keep in repairs the streets, highways, avenues, parks, lanes, and alleys, bulkheads, wharves, and docks in said town, and to prevent and remove obstructions and encumbrances in and upon all streets, avenues, highways, parks, sidewalks, crosswalks, sewers, drains, aqueducts, water courses, bulkheads, wharves or docks in any manner whatsoever; to prescribe the manner in which corporations or persons shall exercise any privilege granted to them in the use of any street, avenue, highway, lane, or alley in said town, or in digging up any street, avenue, highway, lane or alley for the purpose of laying down pipes, or for any other purposes whatsoever, and to prohibit and prevent any such use or work at such times and seasons of the year as they may designate; to direct and regulate the planting, rearing, trimming and preserving of trees in the streets, avenues, parks and grounds of said town or public lands vested in said town, and to authorize or prohibit the removal or destruction of such trees, and to enforce the removal of snow, ice or dirt from the sidewalks and gutters by the owner or occupants of the premises fronting thereon; to level, grade, flag or reflag, curb or re-curb, gutter or re-gutter, pave or re-pave, macadamize, gravel, or shell or otherwise surface or re-surface the streets, avenues, highway , lanes and alleys of said town, and the sidewalks and gutters thereof, or any of them, or any parts or sections of the same, and to prescribe the manner in which any such work shall be performed; to build, re-build, or repair wharves, docks, and bulkheads; to direct the digging down, draining, filling up or fencing of lots, pieces or parcels of ground in said town or in said public lands, which shall be by said Commissioners deemed dangerous or unwholesome, or necessary to carry out any improvement authorized by this Act, to prescribe the manner in which said work shall be performed and to cause the expenses 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; to prevent or regulate the erection of any porch, step, platform or bay window, cellar door, gate, area, descent into a cellar or basement, sign or any post or erection, or any projection or otherwise, in, over or upon any street, sidewalk or avenue, and to remove the same where already erected, at the expense of the owner or occupant of the premises; to prevent and punish horse racing and immoderate driving or riding in any street, highway or strand, and to authorize the stopping and detention of any person who shall be guilty of immoderate driving or riding in any street, highway or strand; to prevent the driving of any drove or droves of horses, mules, cattle, sheep or swine through any of the streets of the town or over said public lands, on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday, and to regulate the same at other times; to regulate, protect and improve the public grounds of said town; to provide lamps and to light the streets and public places of every description in said town; to make and regulate wells, pumps, aqueducts and cisterns in the public streets; to establish and regulate one or more pounds, and to restrain the running at large of horses, cattle, swine, goats and other animals, geese and other poultry, and to authorize the impounding and sale of the same, for the penalty incurred, and the cost of keeping, impounding and sale; to regulate and prevent the running at large of dogs; to authorize the destruction of dogs running at large, and to impose taxes on the owners of clogs; to locate, regulate and remove slaughter houses and hog pens, privies and water closets; to prevent the use of or prescribe and regulate rules for the use of any machinery or device which will have the effect of interfering with radio reception in the town; to prescribe and regulate the places of vending or exposing for sale wood, hay, straw and other articles from wagons or other vehicles; to regulate or prohibit any practice having a tendency to frighten animals or to annoy persons passing in the streets or on the sidewalks in said town or public lands; to restrain drunkards, vagrants, mendicants and street beggars; to prescribe the manner in which all contracts for performing work or furnishing materials for the town shall be made and executed; to abate or remove nuisances of every kind, at the expense of those maintaining the same and to compel the owner or occupant of any lot, house, building, shed, cellar or place wherein may be carried on any business or calling, or in or upon which there may exist any matter or thing, which is or may be detrimental in the opinion of the Commissioners or local board of health to the health of the inhabitants of the town, to cleanse, remove or abate the same, under the directions of the Commissioners, as often as the said Commissioners or local board of health may deem necessary for the protection, and preservation of the health of the inhabitants of the town; or in a summary manner to cause the same to be done at the expense and proper cost of such owner or occupant; and such owner or occupant is hereby expressly made liable for said cost and expenses, to be collected in such manner as the Commissioners may by ordinance direct, from such owner or occupant, in addition to any fine or penalty to which he or she may be liable for maintaining the said nuisance. To regulate and control the manner of building or removal of dwelling houses or other buildings and to provide for granting permits for the same; to establish a building line for buildings hereafter to be erected; provided that such building line shall not be established more than twenty feet back from the front line of the lots. To prohibit within certain limits to be from time to time prescribed by ordinances, the building or erection of stables; to regulate the construction of chimneys, to compel the sweeping thereof, to prevent the setting up or construction of furnaces, stoves, boilers, ovens or other things in such manner as to be dangerous; to prohibit the deposit of ashes in unsafe places, to authorize any town officer 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 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 in said town; to regulate or prohibit the use of candles and lights in barns, stables and other buildings. To establish, regulate and control a suitable sewer and drainage system for said town; to regulate or prohibit swimming or bathing in the bay in front of or contiguous to said town or public lands, or in the waters within the limits of said town; to provide sanitary measures for the health of the citizens, and to prevent the introduction of infections or contagious diseases; for which purpose their jurisdiction shall extend to any distance within one mile of the limits of said town. To make and establish such other ordinances, regulations, rules and by-laws, not contrary to the laws of the State or of the United States, as they, the said commissioners, may deem necessary to carry into effect the powers and duties conferred and imposed upon them by this Act or any other law of this State, and such also as they may deem necessary and proper for the good government, order, protection of persons and property, and for the preservation of the public health and property of said town and its inhabitants. To contract with, or to grant franchises, concessions or rights to any person, persons, firm, partnership, or corporation who may apply for the privileges of erecting wharves or piers, or for the use of any street, highway, avenue, lane, alley, or beach strand, or right of way over said public lands, for the construction and operation of steam, motor or electric railways.
COMMISSIONERS POWERS OVER PUBLIC LAND
Section 9. All the public and vacant lands lying within the corporate limits of said town of Lewes, and all the public or vacant lands contiguous to but outside the corporate limits of said town and fronting on the Bay between the point of Cape Henlopen on the south and Vessey's Inlet on the north, shall be vested in the Commissioners of Lewes, and the said Commissioners shall have jurisdiction over the same; and all ordinances adopted by the said Commissioners shall have the same force over and upon the said public and vacant lands as within the corporate limits of said town, and the said Commissioners are hereby authorized to lease, to persons who will improve or agree to improve the same, such portions of said public lands for such time and upon such terms as they, the said Commissioners, may deem proper for the interest and benefit of said town; and if hereafter any person or persons shall, without the permission and consent of the said Commissioners, build upon any of said public lands, he, she, or they shall forfeit such improvements or buildings to the said town.
The said Commissioners may assess or levy upon any person or persons leasing, occupying, enclosing, or claiming the uses or privileges of any of the said public lands vested as aforesaid in the said Commissioners, and not held under a lease from said Commissioners at a certain rent which expressly includes taxes, and not held by virtue of the provisions of any act of the Legislature of this State otherwise providing, nor any law of the United States otherwise providing, a tax, not exceeding six per cent of the assessed actual value of the lands so leased, enclosed, occupied or claimed, and two per cent of the actual value of the improvements thereon.
Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize any person or persons to build upon or enclose any of the said public lands without permission and consent of said Commissioners, nor to authorize the said Commissioners to assess or levy a tax upon persons excluded from the provisions of Section 9 of the Act entitled "An Act to Incorporate the Town of Lewes, and for other purposes", as amended by Chapter 535 of Volume 14 of the Laws of Delaware, and as re-published in Chapter 536 of the same Volume.
The said Commissioners of Lewes are hereby invested with full and exclusive authority and control over the Great and Beach Marshes, Cape and Cape Marshes, near Lewes, and may sell and dispose of the grass and hay thereof in the month of July in each and every year, at public sale, giving notice by printed advertisements, posted in five of the most public places in Lewes and Rehoboth Hundred ten days before the day of sale, to the highest and best bidder or bidders for the same; the notices shall specify the place where and the time when the grass or hay will be sold; the said Commissioners are further authorized to sell sand and gravel by measure or otherwise, as may be deemed by the Commissioners to be to the best interests of the town, wherever such sand and gravel may be located within the limits of the vested lands of the Town of Lewes; and said Commissioners are further authorized to sell the wood and timber on the Cape and Cape Marshes at any time that it may be necessary or desirable for any improvement made in or near said town, by and with the concurrence of a majority of said Commissioners; and the proceeds arising from the sale of the sand, gravel, grass, hay, wood and timber shall be paid over to the Treasurer of the town, to be applied by the said Commissioners to such improvements of the town as they may deem proper. If any person or persons, without first obtaining permission from the Commissioners, shall fell, cut, cart or convey any green timber or wood, or any timber on or from said Cape for any private use whatsoever, except wood cut from dead timber for fuel, he or they shall forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding fifty dollars, with costs, to be recovered by the Commissioners, for the use of the town, in the same manner as debts of that amount are recoverable; and persons so offending shall also be subject to a fine, not exceeding ten dollars, to be enforced as other fines and penalties provided for in this Act; and the said Commissioners may seize any timber or wood so cut, from any person or persons so offending, and may dispose of the same to the highest bidder, for the use of said town, and may pass any rules, regulations and ordinances regarding the cutting of said timber as they may deem proper for the interest of said town; provided that nothing in this Section or Act shall authorize the said Commissioners to pass any ordinances to prevent any citizen of said town of Lewes or State of Delaware from fishing along said Delaware Bay shore.
COMMISSIONERS POWER TO CONDEMN PROPERTY
Section 10. The said Commissioners shall have the right, power, and authority upon the presentation of a petition to that effect, signed by five or more substantial freeholders of said town, to locate or lay out or open any new street or streets, lane or lanes, alley or alleys, or to reopen, narrow, straighten, or widen any old street or streets, lane or lanes, alley or alleys, or to establish such new courses, limits, or widths thereof as they may deem advisable. And they shall likewise have the authority upon such petition to purchase lands, buildings, leaseholds, and other property, including buildings on the public lands vested in the town of Lewes and the leaseholds of said public lands, for the purpose of establishing public parks and ornamental spaces in said town, or of building and maintaining ornamental boulevards upon and along the banks of Lewes River or Creek, or of building public piers, wharves, or docks.
And whenever the Commissioners of Lewes cannot agree with the owners of any land, building, leasehold, or other property necessary to be taken or used in the opening of new streets, lanes, or alleys, or the widening, narrowing, reopening, straightening of old streets, lanes, or alleys, or the establishment of public parks and ornamental spaces, or public docks, bulkheads, wharves or piers, or the construction and maintenance of ornamental boulevards along and upon the banks of Lewes River or Creek, said Commissioners of Lewes may apply to the Associate Judge of the State of Delaware resident in Sussex County, first giving to the other party or owner at least five days' notice in writing of the intended application, if such party or owner is within the State, and if said party or owner is unknown or without the State, or if under legal disability and having no legal representative in the State, then such notice shall be published in some newspaper in the County of Sussex at least ten days prior to the intended application, and such publication shall be sufficient notice; upon application being made as aforesaid, the said Judge shall appoint five judicious and impartial freeholders of said County of Sussex, two of whom shall be residents of said Town of Lewes, to view the premises and to assess the damages which the owner of the property to be taken will sustain by reason of condemning his property for the particular purpose in question. The said Judge shall have power to fill any vacancy in the Commission. The freeholders shall be sworn or affirmed before some officer authorized to administer oaths and affirmations, before viewing the premises, faithfully and impartially to perform the duties assigned to them. They shall give ten days' notice in writing to the owner of the property proposed to be condemned or to the guardian thereof, if within the State, and to said Commissioners of Lewes of the time of their meeting to view the premises and to assess the damages; if the owner is unknown, or without the State, or under legal disability and having no legal representative in the State, publication of such last-mentioned notice shall be made in some newspaper published in Sussex County at least ten days prior to said meeting, and such publication shall be sufficient notice thereof. The said Commissioners shall keep a record of their proceedings with their findings and awards and shall return the same to the Prothonotary of Sussex County, and shall certify their findings and awards to the owners of the property and to Commissioners of Lewes. If the said Commissioners of Lewes or any party in interest is dissatisfied with the findings and awards, it or he, may on application to said Prothonotary within fifteen days after such findings and awards have been made and filed, sue out a writ of ad quod damnum, requiring the Sheriff of said County, in the usual form, to inquire of twelve impartial men of his bailiwick of the damages which will be sustained as aforesaid, and their report shall be final. The amount of damages being ascertained, Commissioners of Lewes may pay or tender the amount thereof within two months after the same shall have been ascertained to the person entitled thereto, or, if the person entitled refuses to accept the same, or resides out of the County, or is absent from the County during all or any part of the said two months, the same may be deposited to his credit in any Bank of said Town of Lewes, within said time, and, thereupon, the said property may be taken and used for the purposes for which it was condemned.
The expenses of the assessment by the said Commissioners of the damages aforesaid, shall be paid by the Commissioners of Lewes, and in the event of a writ of ad quod damnum being sued out by the owner of land or property proposed to be condemned, if the damages to be allowed shall be increased thereby, the costs shall be paid by the Commissioners of Lewes, otherwise the costs shall be paid by the person so suing out said writ.
Whenever any property shall be acquired by said Commissioners of Lewes under the provisions of this Act, the title there to shall be in Commissioners of Lewes for the purpose for which it was acquired.
COMMISSIONERS POWER IN RESPECT TO PAVEMENTS AND CURBS
Section 11. The said Commissioners are hereby authorized and required, upon the written petition of five or more substantial freeholders of said town, to direct in writing, the owner or owners of any house or land in Lewes 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 concrete, as the Commissioners may direct, of such length and width as the said Commissioners may specify, or to repair, add to, or extend any pavement, sidewalk, or curb heretofore made or done which the said Commissioners may deem • insufficient or in need of repair.
In the event of any owner neglecting or refusing to comply with said notice for the space of three months, the said Commissioners may proceed to have the same done, and, when done, the Treasurer 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 Lewes, such bill may be presented to the occupier or tenant of such land, or, if there by no occupier or tenant resident in said town of Lewes, such bill may be sent by mail to such owner or owners, directed to him, her or them at the post office nearest his, her or their residence. 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 to issue a warrant, in the name of the Commissioners of Lewes, under the hand of the President, attested by the Secretary, and under the seal of the corporation, directed to the Treasurer of the Commissioners of Lewes, 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 Treasurer, as soon as convenient after the said warrant shall be delivered to him, and after ten days' notice to the owner or owners of such lands, and after posting five or more notices of sale in at least five public places in the town of Lewes 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 Treasurer, after ten days' 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 Lewes for at least ten clays before the day of sale, and after causing such notice of sale to be published twice in a newspaper of the said town of Lewes, to sell the lands and tenements of such owner or owners before, along, in front of or adjoining which such paving and 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, signed by the President and attested by the Secretary under the seal of the Commissioners, shall convey to the purchaser or purchasers of such lands and tenements as full and complete a title, in fee simple or otherwise, as if the same were executed by the owner or owners thereof.
The Commissioners of Lewes are hereby authorized and empowered to employ a person to bid for them at any such sale and in a case where the person so employed shall be the highest bidder, the deed for said lands shall be executed by the Treasurer effecting said sale, to said Commissioners of Lewes.
The claim for paving or curbing, or either or both, with interest on the same from the date of the completion of the improvements, shall be a lien on the premises before, along, in front of, or adjoining which the said work was clone, and shall have priority over any lien, encumbrance or conveyance after the completion of the said improvements; provided that within thirty clays after the completion of said improvements a certificate, under the corporate seal of said Commissioners, signed by the President and attested by the Secretary, setting forth the amount of the bill, the date of the completion 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 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 and 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 Treasurer 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 any bank of said town of Lewes to the credit of said owner or owners.
Lands and tenements sold as aforesaid shall be sold subject to any lien or encumbrance suffered or made by the owner or owners thereof before the completion of said improvements.
The Treasurer aforesaid shall be entitled to receive out of the purchase money two dollars for every sale of personal property under this Section, and ten 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 advertising and selling such real estate, all of which shall be part of the costs to be paid out of the purchase money as 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 mail to any owner of said premises directed to him or her at the post office nearest his or her place of residence.
If any lot or lots, house or houses, on any of the streets of said town of Lewes shall be held or owned by any widow or widows as and for her or their dower, or any tenant for life, such expenses incurring 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 therefor 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 improvements 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 Lewes, 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.
Whenever a pavement shall be laid before, along, in front of, or adjoining any house or land pursuant to the provisions of this Section, the Commissioners, if satisfied that such pavement has been made in accordance with their directions, may allow the owner or owners of such house or land a sum not exceeding one-third of the cost of said pavement.
COMMISSIONERS POWER TO ENFORCE ORDER
Section 12. The said Commissioners shall have and are hereby vested with power and authority to prescribe the fines and penalties for violations of any of the provisions of this Act, or of the ordinances which they may adopt in pursuance thereof, and which are not specially provided for in this Act.
It shall and may be lawful for said Commissioners to keep and maintain a suitable place as a lock-up or jail for the use of the said town of Lewes.
All fines and penalties which may be imposed either by this Act or by the ordinances adopted as aforesaid, may be collected before the Mayor of said town or any Justice of the Peace of said town, and in default of payment said Mayor or Justice of the Peace may commit to the town lock-up or the public jail of Sussex County for any time not exceeding thirty days, or until such fine and costs shall be paid.
No fine, except where otherwise provided in this Act, shall exceed the sum of ten dollars, exclusive of costs.
The said Commissioners of Lewes shall pay for the board (and commitment fee) of all persons committed to said public jail of Sussex County, for violation of the Charter and ordinances of the said town, at the same rate as is paid to the Warden of the Sussex County jail by the Levy Court for the board of prisoners.
The said Commissioners of Lewes shall have power to appoint such number of town constables or bailiffs as shall be deemed necessary, who shall constitute the town police, with power to remove any such constables or bailiffs and appoint others if it be deemed necessary, and it shall be the duty of the constable or constables or bailiffs aforesaid, to arrest any drunken or disorderly person they may see on the streets of said town, without a warrant, and take such person so arrested before the Mayor of said town, who shall hear and determine the case within a reasonable time, and upon conviction before him, he shall sentence such person or persons so convicted to pay a fine not exceeding ten dollars, and may commit the party or parties to the town lock-up or to the public jail of the County for a period not exceeding thirty days, or until such fine and the costs be paid.
The Commissioners shall fix the fees and emoluments of such constables or bailiffs and prescribe their duties which are not herein specifically set forth. In proceedings before the Mayor the fees of such constables or bailiffs shall be the same as the fees of constables in proceedings before the Justices of the Peace.
If any constable or bailiff shall neglect or refuse to perform any of the duties required of him by this Act he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and it shall be the duty of the said Commissioners to present him to the Grand Jury of Sussex County, and upon conviction thereof by indictment he shall be fined in a sum not less than ten or more than one hundred dollars, and may be imprisoned, in the discretion of the Court, for any term not exceeding one year, and upon such conviction he shall ipso facto forfeit his office.
COMMISSIONERS POWER TO LEVY AND COLLECT TAXES
Section 13. The said Commissioners of Lewes are hereby authorized and empowered, for the purposes of general improvement, current expenses, and for the payment of interest on the bonded indebtedness of said town of Lewes, and to provide for sinking funds which may be necessary to liquidate said bonded indebtedness, to levy and collect a tax not exceeding in any one year the sum of Thirty Thousand Dollars, to be raised by way of tax upon residents of said town, and upon all the real estate within said town, which is not expressly exempted from assessment and taxation by law, and upon all the public or vacant land within or without the limits of said town, vested in said town, which shall be occupied, enclosed, or the use or privilege thereof claimed by any person or persons, and upon the improvements on such public or vacant land.
ASSESSMENT OF TAXES
Section 14, The Board of Assessment of the town for the time being shall annually, within one month after the annual election of Commissioners, make a true, just and impartial valuation or assessment of all the real estate within said town, and of all the public or vacant lands within or without the corporate limits of said town, vested in said town, which shall be occupied, enclosed, or the use or privilege thereof claimed by any person or persons, and of the improvements on said public or vacant lands, and also an assessment of all the citizens residing in said town above the age of twenty-one years, as well those not owning as those owning real estate within its limits; and the said Assessor shall forthwith, after making such assessment, deliver to the Commissioners for the time being a duplicate containing the names of all persons assessed, and the amount of their assessment, distinguishing the real and personal assessment of each, and the assessment of those occupying, enclosing or claiming the use or privilege of any of the public or vacant lands aforesaid, and the improvements thereon.
The said Commissioners shall assess the real estate and person of the Assessors.
The said Commissioners shall examine and adjust the Assessor's duplicate, and for this purpose are hereby empowered to increase or diminish the valuation of any property listed by them, and between the first and twentieth days of February in each and every year, or as soon thereafter as is practicable, cause a complete and full transcript of said duplicate, so examined, adjusted and corrected, to be hung up in a public place in the post office in said town, there to remain for a space of twenty days for public inspection; and the said Commissioners shall, on the Wednesday next after the expiration of the said twenty days, hold a Court of Appeals, which shall continue open from ten o'clock in the forenoon until twelve o'clock, noon, and from one o'clock until three o'clock in the afternoon, of the said day, when they shall hear and determine appeals from said assessment.
Notice of the hanging .up of the list, and also, at the same time, notice of the time and place of hearing appeals, shall be given by notices posted in at least six public places in said town. The decision of the Commissioners upon any appeal shall be final and conclusive.
No Commissioner shall sit upon his own appeal, but the same shall be heard and determined by the others.
After the valuation and assessment shall be examined and adjusted by the said Commissioners, all taxes shall be levied, assessed and raised on the real estate and persons thus valued and assessed, and the public or vacant lands and the improvements thereon, in just and equal proportions and rates.
The said Commissioners, after having ascertained the sum necessary to be raised in the said town for the purposes of this Act, and having apportioned the same on the assessment and valuation aforesaid shall, yearly, in the month of March or as soon thereafter as convenient, furnish the Treasurer of said town with a list containing the names of the taxables, as well those not owning real estate as those owning real estate, and opposite the names of each the amount of the real estate and his personal assessment, distinguishing between them; also the amount of the assessment of the public land occupied by him and the improvements thereon, distinguishing between them; and also the tax levied on each person, and also the tax on the whole valuation, and the rate per hundred dollars. The list shall be signed by the Commissioners, or a majority of them.
COMMISSIONERS POWER TO BORROW MONEY AND ISSUE BONDS
Section 15. (A) Commissioners of Lewes may borrow money and issue bonds or certificates of indebtedness to secure the payment thereof whenever in the opinion of said -Commissioners such borrowing shall be expedient to provide funds for the execution of any lawful purpose within the provisions and scope of the charter powers of the Corporation. And said Commissioners may from time to time, borrow money and issue bonds or certificates of indebtedness as aforesaid without any special legislative authority other than that contained in this section, provided that the entire amount of the indebtedness incurred under the provisions of this section shall not at any time exceed the sum of Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00), and further provided that the borrowing of the money shall in each case be authorized by Commissioners of Lewes and shall be approved by the electors of the Town in the manner and at the time following:
(B) 1. Commissioners of Lewes shall by resolution propose to the electors of the Town of Lewes that a certain sum of money be borrowed and be secured either by bonds or by certificates of indebtedness at the election of said Commissioners. The resolution shall state the amount of money desired to be borrowed, the purpose for which it is desired, the manner of securing the same, and all other pertinent facts relating to the loan, and shall fix a time and place for a hearing on the said resolution.
2. A public hearing on the proposal to borrow shall be held at a time and place appointed by Commissioners of Lewes, notice of which shall be printed in a newspaper published in Lewes and Rehoboth Hundred at least one week before the time set for said hearing.
3. After a hearing held as aforesaid, a second resolution shall then be passed by Commissioners of Lewes ordering a special election to be held not less than ten days nor more than thirty days after the date of said second resolution for the purpose of allowing the electors to vote for or against the proposal to borrow.
4. The notice of the time and place for holding the said special election shall be printed in a weekly newspaper published in Lewes and Rehoboth Hundred once a week for two successive issues of such newspaper prior to said election.
5. Commissioners of Lewes shall cause to be prepared and printed and shall have available for general distribution an ample number of ballots not less than five days prior to the date set for the special election, which said ballots shall contain the language "for the proposal to borrow" and "against the proposal to borrow" so printed that the electors may easily indicate their preference thereon.
6. At the special election every person who had a right to vote at the last preceding annual town election shall have one vote for every dollar or fractional part of dollar of tax paid by him or her respectively during the year preceding said election, and every owner of property, whether it be an individual, a partnership, or a corporation, shall have one vote for every dollar or part of dollar of tax paid by said owner during the year preceding said election, and the said vote may be cast either in person or by proxy.
7. The rules for holding said election, the manner of counting the votes for and against the proposal to borrow, and the manner of certifying to the returns shall be the same as the rules herein elsewhere provided for holding the annual election.
(C) The form of bond or certificate of indebtedness, the times of payment of interest, the classes, the time of maturity, and the provisions as to the registration shall be determined by Commissioners of Lewes. The bonds or certificates shall be offered for sale to the best and most responsible bidder therefor, after such advertisement as Commissioners of Lewes may deem expedient before offering the same for sale. Commissioners of Lewes shall provide in its budget for the payment of interest and principal of said bonds or certificates at the maturity or maturities thereof, and said Commissioners shall establish and maintain a surety bond therefor. The faith and credit of Commissioners of Lewes shall be deemed to be pledged for the due payment of the bonds and interest thereon when issued under the provisions hereof after the same have been properly executed and delivered for value.
COMMISSIONERS POWER OVER DITCHES
Section 16. The said Commissioners of Lewes shall have full power and control over all ditches and gutters in said town, and all ditch companies, whether created under the laws of this State, or corporation, shall not and they are hereby prohibited from taxing any individual for any real estate within said corporate limits, but shall tax the corporation of Lewes only for the privilege of venting the water from said town into said ditch companies' ditches or canals.
DUTY OF AUDITORS
Section 17. And be it further enacted as aforesaid, that it shall be the duty of the Mayor of Lewes to appoint annually not later than the fifth day of December, two competent and suitable persons, who shall be reputable. certified public accountants, to be auditors of the accounts of said town of Lewes, provided that, if the Board of Commissioners specifically so direct in any year, the persons appointed auditors will not be required to be certified public accountants, but may be any bona fide residents in and freeholders of the said town of Lewes. It shall be the duty of the aforesaid auditors to examine all the accounts of said town, those of the Mayor, Commissioners, Treasurer or any other person or persons who have an account with said town, for the current year, and to audit the same. The said auditors shall on or before the last Saturday of December following their appointment, publish a report of said accounts so examined and audited, in any newspaper published in said town of Lewes.
PRESENT ORDINANCES, ACTS, DEBTS, BONDS, SUITS UNAFFECTED
Section 18. This Act shall not be construed to repeal or modify Chapters 220 in Volume 24 of the Laws of Delaware in any manner whatsoever; nor shall it be construed to repeal any other Acts in relation to the town or Commissioners of Lewes, unless the same are manifestly inconsistent with the provisions of this Act; and all the ordinances of the Commissioners of Lewes heretofore adopted and now in force, in pursuance of any laws of this State shall continue in full force and effect until repealed, altered, or amended by the Commissioners of Lewes; that all the acts and doings of the Commissioners of Lewes or of any officer of said town, lawfully done or performed under the provisions of any law of this State or of any ordinance of the said Commissioners, are hereby ratified and confirmed; that all debts, fines and penalties and forfeitures due said town of Lewes, and all debts due from said town of Lewes to any person or persons whatsoever, or to any corporation or corporations, are hereby declared to be unaffected and unimpaired by this Act, and all the laws of this State for the collection and enforcement thereof shall continue in full force and effect until the same shall be fully paid and discharged; that all the powers now conferred by law upon the Treasurer for the collection and enforcement of all taxes in said town heretofore assessed and uncollected shall continue in full force and effect until the said taxes shall be fully collected and paid; that the official bond of the Treasurer of said town shall not be affected or impaired by this Act, and that he and his sureties therein shall continue liable for any breaches of any of the conditions of the said bond; that all proceedings heretofore commenced for the collection of any penalty, fine, forfeiture or debt due said town, under any law or ordinance, shall not be affected or impaired by this Act, but the same may be prosecuted to judgment and execution until the same be fully paid, liquidated and discharged.
Approved May 21, 1941.