AN ACT CHANGING THE CORPORATE NAME OF "COMMISSIONERS OF THE TOWN OF BETHEL" TO "THE TOWN OF BETHEL" AND ESTABLISHING A CHARTER THEREFOR.
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):
NAME AND TERRITORIAL LIMITS
Section 1. The municipal corporation of the State of Delaware, now known as "Commissioners of the Town of Bethel" shall hereafter be known as "The Town of Bethel".
The Boundaries of the Town of Bethel are hereby established and declared to be the same boundaries and limits that have been heretofore determined and as are designated and delineated on a plot of the Town of Bethel of record in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for Sussex County, Delaware, in Deed Book 189, page 530.
Section 2. (A) The inhabitants of the town of Bethel, within the limits and boundaries referred to in Section 1 of this Act, or within the limits and boundaries hereafter established, shall be and they are hereby created a body politic and corporate in Law and Equity by the Corporate name of "The Town of Bethel", hereinafter called The Town, and under that name shall have perpetual succession; may have and use a corporate seal, which may be altered, changed or renewed at pleasure; may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in all Courts of law and equity in the State of Delaware, and elsewhere, by said corporate name, may hold and acquire by purchase, gift, devise, lease or by condemnation real property and personal property within or without its boundaries for any municipal purposes, in fee simple or for lesser estate or interest, and may sell, lease, hold, manage and control such property as its interest may require, subject however to other sections of this Act.
As hereinafter provided in Section 22 of this Charter relating to power to issue Bonds, the Town shall have all other powers and functions requisite to, or appropriate, for the government of the Town, its peace and order, its sanitation, beauty, the health, safety, convenience, comfort and well-being of its population and the protection and preservation of property, public and private; and all actions, suits, and proceedings shall be brought in the name of "The Town of Bethel".
(B) The enumeration of particular powers by this Charter shall not be held to be exclusive, but in addition to the powers enumerated herein, it is intended that the Town of Bethel shall have, and may exercise, all powers as may be implied therefrom or necessary to the reasonable exercise of such enumerated powers. All powers of the Town of Bethel shall be exercised as prescribed by this charter, or, if not prescribed herein, by ordinance or resolution of the Town Council.
STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT
Section 3. The Government of the Town and the exercise of the powers conferred by this Charter, except as otherwise provided herein, shall be vested in a Town Council. The Town Council shall consist of five members, who shall be citizens of the State of Delaware and residents and non-delinquent taxables of the said Town above the age of twenty-one years, three of whom at least shall be freeholders, within the said Town in their own name, at the time of their nomination and election, provided however that any married man, resident of said Town, whose wife is a freeholder of said Town, may be elected a member of said Council, although he may not be the owner in his own right, in any real estate within said Town. No compensation shall be paid to Councilmen.
ELECTION IN GENERAL
Section 4. The present commissioners of the town of Bethel shall by this Act be appointed to serve and shall act as Councilmen of said Town from and after the passage hereof until Councilmen are duly elected; and that at the annual election held on the last Saturday in February, 1947 after the passage of this Act as provided for in Section 5 of this Act, five Councilmen shall be elected, two of whom shall be elected for one year, two for two years, and one for three years; and thereafter the successor of every Member of the Town Council shall be elected by the qualified voters as defined in Section 5 of this Act to serve for a term of three years.
MANNER OF HOLDING ELECTIONS AND MAKING NOMINATIONS
Section 5. (A) The annual municipal election shall be held on the last Saturday in the month of February from one o'clock P. M. until four o'clock P. M., at such place as shall be determined by the Council, due notices of which shall be given by posting notices in five public places within the limits of the Town of Bethel, not less than ten days before the day of the annual election.
(B) Said members of the Council shall be nominated as follows, viz: At least ten days before the day of the election nominations shall be filed with the Secretary of the Council. Said nominations shall be in writing signed by the nominee or by five other citizens of the Town, of which at least two of whom shall be freeholders, which nominations shall be presented to the Council by the said Secretary at the meeting to be held at the usual meeting place, which shall not be later than eight o'clock in the evening of the last day for filing said nominations. Council shall cause to be printed or typed ballots, at least as many in number as the number of citizens in said town entitled to vote at the elections. Said ballots shall contain the names of all persons nominated under headings designating the offices for which nominated, and such ballots shall be delivered to the persons appointed or selected to hold the election at the opening of the polls, and every citizen calling for a ballot shall receive one from the persons holding the election. Voters may also prepare for themselves ballots, either printed or written, provided that such ballots do not contain a name or names other than those nominated as aforesaid.
(C) Every election shall be held under the supervision of an Election Board consisting of three qualified voters of said Town to be appointed for that purpose by the Council at least two weeks before the election, but if at the opening of the election there shall not be present the three qualified voters so appointed, or any one of them, in such case, the persons entitled to vote at such election, and then present shall appoint, by viva voca vote, a qualified voter or voters to act. The Three persons composing the Election Board shall be Judges of the election and shall decide upon the legality of the votes offered, keeping a list of all voters voting.
(D) 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 voters shall not vote for more candidates than are to be voted for at the election and in voting shall cross out the names of all candidates which he or she does not desire to vote for.
(E) Upon the close of the election the votes shall be read and counted publicly, and the persons having the highest number of votes for each office shall be declared duly elected and continue in office for the term stated or until his successors are duly elected and qualified. In case of a tie, the three persons holding the election shall, by a majority vote, decide which of the candidates so tied shall be elected.
The election Board shall enter in a Book to be provided for that purpose, a minute of the election, containing the names of the persons chosen, shall subscribe the same, and shall give to the persons elected certificates of the Election, which Book, containing such minutes, shall lie preserved by the Council, and shall be evidence in any Court of Law and Equity. All Ballots cast and the records of the Elections shall be preserved in the custody of the Election Board for a period of ten days.
ORGANIZATION AND ANNUAL MEETINGS OF COUNCIL
Section 6. On the first Monday following the annual election each year, the Council shall meet and the newly elected officers shall assume the duties of office. Before entering upon the duty of their office, the newly elected members shall be sworn by a Notary Public, a Justice of the Peace, or by holdover Member of the Council faithfully and impartially to perform their duties. At this annual meeting the Council shall organize and thereafter shall hold meetings at such time as hereinafter provided.
SPECIAL MEETING, WAIVER OF NOTICE
Section 7. Special meetings shall be called by the Secretary upon the written request of the President of Council, or upon the written request of any two members of Council, stating the day, hour and place of the special meeting requested and the subject or subjects proposed to be considered thereat. The Secretary shall thereupon give written notice to the President and to each member of Council of the day, hour and place of such special meeting and of the subject or subjects proposed to be considered thereat. Such notice of the Secretary must be deposited in the U. S. Mail in the main post office in the Town of Bethel at least forty-eight hours prior to the time set for such special meeting, provided, however, that a written waiver of such notice, signed by the President and all other members of Council prior to or immediately upon the convening of such special meeting, shall make such forty-eight hour written notice unnecessary, and shall authorize and make valid the holding of a special meeting at any time named in such waiver, and the transaction of any other business at the meeting, if the waiver so states. The Town Council of the Town of Bethel shall have the same power and authority to enact all ordinances, adopt all resolutions, pass all motions, make all orders and transact all business at any such special meeting, called as aforesaid, as Council has at regular meeting.
Section 8. In the general performance of their duties, the acts, doings and determinations of a majority of the entire Council shall be as valid as the acts, doings and determinations of all of the members of Council, but if a less number be present at any regular or properly called special meeting, they may adjourn from time to time, and may compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalties as may be prescribed by ordinance adopted by a majority of the entire Council. No ordinance, resolution, motion, order or other act of Council, except as immediately hereinabove provided for, shall be valid unless it received the affirmative vote of a majority of all members elected to Council.
RULES AND MINUTES OF COUNCIL
Section 9. The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and the Yeas and Nays shall be taken upon the passage of every ordinance and resolution and shall be entered in the journal with the text of the ordinance or resolution.
Section 10. In case of vacancy created in the members of Council either by death, resignation, loss of residence in the Town of Bethel, or otherwise, the Council shall fill such vacancy for the residue of the whole term; provided, however, if a vacancy shall be created in the office of Councilman, the unexpired term of which office shall be for more than one year, the Council shall appoint some suitable person to serve until the next annual election, at which time there shall be elected a suitable person to fill the unexpired term of said office.
Section 11. If any Councilman shall, during his term of office, lose his residence in said Town, or his citizenship in the State of Delaware, or be found guilty of any crime or misdemeanor, and sentenced to imprisonment for any term whatever, he shall forthwith be disqualified to act as a Member of Council and his office shall be deemed vacant and shall be filled by Council, as aforesaid.
Section 12. It shall be unlawful for the said Council to make or enter into any contract for materials, supplies, work or labor for the use and benefit of the Town of Bethel with any member of the Council or with any partnership in which any member of Council is a partner, or with any corporation in which any member of Council is a director or stockholder or with any firm or company in which any member of Council is pecuniarily interested, except with the unanimous consent of the entire Council, and such contract shall be absolutely null and void without such unanimous consent.
REGULAR MEETINGS OF COUNCIL
Section 13. The Council of the Town of Bethel shall hold regular meetings once a month at such times as may be prescribed by the ordinance and resolution at the Town Hall, or at such other suitable place in said Town as the Council may select, but in the event of a temporary change in the place of meeting, notice shall be posted in some suitable public place, plainly stating the new place of meeting selected by Council, and the day and hour of such meeting.
Section 14. (A) The Council shall, at the annual meeting held on the first Monday next following the annual election, organize by the election of a President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. The Council shall elect a Collector of Taxes, an Assessor, an Auditor and may elect an Alderman, Police Officer and Town Solicitor, at such meeting or at any other meeting of Council when deemed advisable to do so. The President of the Council shall be a member of the Council. The Town Solicitor, Assessor, The Police Officer, Collector of Taxes and Alderman may or may not be a member of the Town Council. The Council shall also elect and appoint any such other officers, employees and agents of the Town which by it may be deemed proper and necessary for the proper conduct and management of the Town. Any Officer may be removed at any time by the Town Council for sufficient cause.
(B) The Council shall by ordinance fix the salaries and compensation of employees, officers and agents of the Town and the time and manner of his or her payment, which salaries or compensations shall not be increased during the terms of said office. No officer, employee or agent of the Town shall have, take, or receive from the Town any compensation in any form in addition to the salary or compensation fixed by Council.
(C) The Council shall cause to be kept a full and complete is
(D) record of all officers appointed and employees and agents hired by the Town containing the names of such officers, employees, and agents, the dates and term of their appointment or employment, the salary or compensation and the date of the termination of service.
DUTIES AND POWERS OF PRESIDENT
(E) The duties of the President of the Council shall be to preside at all meetings of Council; to have general superintendence of municipal affairs, provided, however, that such general superintendency shall in all cases be subordinate to the authority of all committee and appointees as selected by Council for the superintendency or conduct of any specified municipal activity, to receive complaints of nuisances and all complaints or violations of Laws and Ordinances and present the same to Council at its first meeting thereafter for action of Council, and to cause such infractions or violations of the Law or Ordinances, as require immediate action, to be proceeded on before the Town Alderman or any Justice of the Peace of Sussex County. The President shall issue and sign all licenses for every exhibition within the Town, or licenses for any other purpose for which, under the Laws of Delaware or the Ordinances of said Town, a license therefor is required.
The President shall sign all warrants on the Treasurer for the payment of any Town money and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by resolution or ordinance of Council. If the President be incapacitated from acting by reason of absence, or for any other cause whatsoever, then all the powers and duties conferred and imposed upon him by this Act, or any other Law, or any resolution or ordinance now or thereafter adopted or enacted by Council, shall be exercised and performed by the Member of Council chosen by Council as acting President for the period of such incapacity.
The President shall have the same right as other Councilmen to vote on all matters and may at any time appoint a Councilman to preside if he desires to make a motion, move the adoption of a resolution, second either, or debate any question from the floor, and may thereafter immediately resume his duties as presiding officer.
(E) The Secretary shall record all the proceedings of the Council and keep a correct journal of the same in a book to be provided for the purpose; and shall file and keep in a safe place the Seal of the Town and all papers, and documents, relative to the affairs of the Town, and deliver the same to his successor in office. The Secretary shall attest the seal of the Town when authorized by Council, and shall perform such duties and have such other powers as may be prescribed by ordinance. All records, books, papers and documents in the custody of the Secretary shall be always open for the inspection of Council and the public under such regulations as Council may prescribe.
(F) The Alderman shall be sworn or affirmed to perform the duties of his office with fidelity. In the absence or disability or otherwise, the Council, at any meeting, may appoint a citizen as Acting Alderman. The Alderman or Acting Alderman shall have all powers of a Justice of the Peace within said Town and shall have jurisdiction and cognizance of all breaches of the peace and other offenses committed within the limits of the Town so far as to arrest and hold to bail, or fine and imprison offenders; of all fines, penalties and forfeitures prescribed by this Charter, ordinance enacted hereunder, or any law of the State of Delaware; and of all neglects, omissions or defaults of the Police Officer or other Town officer, agent or employee; provided, that he shall impose no fine or penalty in excess of that fixed by the ordinances and shall not commit to prison for a longer term than thirty days. The jails of Sussex County
(G) may be used for imprisonment under the provisions of this Charter, provided that the Council shall pay for the board of persons committed for breaches of ordinances which are not breaches of the general law.
The Alderman shall also have jurisdiction in suits of civil nature, for the collection of taxes, recovery of amounts due and payable for the construction of sidewalks, curbs or pavements, expenses of abatement of nuisances, and all other matters which may arise in the proper government and control of the Town under the provisions of this Charter; and within his jurisdiction he shall have all the powers and authority, and shall be subject to all the limitations of the Justice of the Peace of Sussex County, except as herein otherwise provided; and his fees shall be the same as those of a Justice of the Peace for like services. For any service or duty for which no fee is provided by law, such fee shall be established by ordinance.
Upon expiration of his term of office, or upon resignation or removal from office, the Alderman shall forthwith deliver to his successor all books, papers, documents, and other things belonging or appertaining to his office, and shall pay over to the Treasurer all moneys in his hands belonging to the Town. Upon neglect or failure to make such delivery or payment for the space of five (5) days, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction in the Court of General Sessions of the State of Delaware shall be fined not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or imprisoned for not more than (1) year, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the Court.
At every regular monthly meeting of the Council, the Alderman shall report in writing all fines imposed by him, and all fines and penalties and other money received by him during the preceding month belonging to the Town. He shall pay all such moneys to the Treasurer within ten (10) days after making report thereof to the Council; and for failure to make report to the Council, or for failure to make payment to the Treasurer for the space of ten (10) days, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished, upon conviction, as herein-above provided.
The Alderman shall keep a docket in which all his official acts shall be entered, which shall be open to public inspection and examination at all times.
(G) The Treasurer shall be a citizen and resident of the said Town above the age of twenty-one years at the time of his appointment.
The Town Treasurer, before entering upon the duties of his office, shall be sworn or affirmed to faithfully and honestly perform the duties of his office, which oath or affirmation shall be administered by the President, or acting President of Council.
The Town Treasurer, before entering upon the duties of his office, shall also give bond to the Town of Bethel, with sufficient surety to be approved by Council, in the sum of Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00), conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office and for the payment to his successors in office of all sums of money belonging to said Town, which may remain in his hands upon the settlement of his accounts, to which bond and condition shall be annexed a warrant of attorney for the confession of judgment.
The Treasurer shall pay all orders drawn on him by order of said Council and signed by the President thereof, out of any moneys in his hands belonging to said Town. He shall settle his accounts with said Council annually by the end of the Fiscal year and at such other times as Council may require.
COLLECTOR OF TAXES
(H) The Collector of Taxes shall be a citizen and resident of the said Town above the age of twenty-one years at the time of his appointment.
It shall be the duty of the Town Collector to collect all Town Taxes and to pay the same to the Town Treasurer as herein otherwise provided. The Council may appoint such person or persons to collect the water rents of said Town and all other kinds of Town revenue as they deem advisable and require such bond or bonds as deemed proper.
The Town Collector, before entering upon the duties of his office, shall give bond to the Town of Bethel, with sufficient surety to be approved by Council, in the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of his office and the payment to the Treasurer of said Town of all moneys collected by him belonging to said Town from taxes, and for the settlement of his accounts with the Treasurer of the Town at the end of each fiscal year, and at such other times as Council may require, to which bond and condition shall be annexed the usual full warrant of attorney for confession of judgment for said penalty.
(I) The Auditor shall be a resident and taxable of the Town and it shall be his duty to audit the accounts of the Town and all of its officers whose duty involves the collection, custody and payment of the moneys of the Town. He shall audit the books of the Alderman and the records of all fines, penalties and costs imposed or collected by either of them pursuant to any judgment, order or decree made. The Auditor on or before the last business day in the month of February next following his appointment shall make and deliver a detailed report of all and every of the accounts, records and books by him examined and audited, which copies of said report shall be posted in five public places in the Town. The Auditor in the performance of his duties shall have access to all records of Council and records of the officers of the Town; and is authorized and empowered to employ such clerks or accountants as in his judgment may be necessary for the proper performance of his duties.
(J) At the annual meeting, the Council may select a Town Solicitor for the term of one year or until his successor shall have been duly chosen and qualified. The Town Solicitor shall be a member of the Bar of Sussex County. It shall be his duty to give legal advice to the Council and other officers of the town, and to perform other legal services as may be required of him by the Council.
(K) The Council may appoint a Police Officer whenever the Council may deem it wise to do so; and the Council shall from time to time make rules and regulations as may be necessary for the control of the Police Officer. The Police Officer shall be subject to the direction of the Council, and may be removed by the Council at any time. He shall preserve peace and order, and shall compel obedience within the Town limits to the ordinances of the Town and the Laws of the State; and he shall have such other duties as the Council shall from time to time prescribe, and be entitled to the same fees and costs as a Constable of Sussex County, in addition to compensation allowed by Council.
The Police Officer shall be vested within the Town limits with all the powers and authority of a Constable of Sussex County and shall have the power to make arrests for all motor vehicle and traffic violations within the limits of said town. In the case of pursuit of an offender his authority and power shall extend to any part of the State of Delaware. Every person sentenced to imprisonment by the Alderman or a Justice of the Peace of Sussex County shall be delivered by the Police Officer to the County Jail of Sussex County, or lock-up of the Town, to be there imprisoned for the term of the sentence. In the case of any arrest at a time when the Alderman or a Justice of the Peace shall not be available to hear and determine the charge, the person arrested may be delivered to the Sussex County Jail, or to the lock-up of the Town, for imprisonment until such reasonable time thereafter as shall enable the Alderman, or Justice of the Peace to hear and determine the charge against such person.
It shall ,be the duty of the Police Officer to suppress riotous disorderly or turbulent assemblages of persons in the streets of the Town, or the noisy conduct of any person in the same, and upon view of the above, or upon the view of the violation of any ordinances of the Town, relating to the peace and good order thereof, the Police Officer shall have the right and power to arrest without warrant and to take the offender before the Alderman or any Justice of the Peace of Sussex County for hearing.
ASSESSOR AND ASSESSMENT OF TAXES
Section 15. The Assessor shall be a resident of said Town and over the age of twenty-one years. He shall be sworn or affirmed by a Justice of the Peace or by the Alderman or by a Notary Public to perform his duties with fidelity and without favor. It shall be his duty to make a fair and impartial assessment of property and persons subject to taxation situated within the Town.
1. In the year 1947 and every fourth year thereafter, there shall be a true, just and impartial valuation and assessment of all real property subject to County Taxation within the Town, locating each parcel of real property by street and number, or other description, and also an assessment of all the male residents of the Town above the age of twenty-one years, whether owners or not owners of real property within its limits.
2. All assessments shall be made and completed by the Assessor prior to the first day of April. The assessment made in the year 1947 and in every fourth year thereafter shall be known as the General Assessment. In other years, there shall be made a scrap assessment, as hereinafter provided.
3. The scrap assessment shall value and assess all taxable real property in the Town not already valued and assessed by the General Assessment then in force, and all improvements made upon said real property since said General Assessment and all male residents of the Town above the age of twenty-one (21) years and not already assessed, and said assessment shall omit the names of those who have removed from the Town or who have died. In the year that a scrap assessment is made, the General Assessment then in force as supplemented or modified by the scrap assessment, shall constitute the assessment of the year.
4. The assessor shall make and deliver to the Council as soon as the assessments are made such numbers of copies thereof as the Council shall direct.
5. The real property of the Assessors shall be assessed by the Council.
6. The Council shall, prior to the fifteenth day of April, in each year, cause a copy of the General Assessment, or scrap assessment as made in said year, to be posted in two public places, in the Town, and there to remain for the space of ten (10) days for public information. Attached to said copies shall be a notice of the day, hour and place that the council will sit as a Board of Revision and Appeal; and the notices of the posting of the copies of the assessment and the places where the same are posted and of the day, hour and place when the Council will sit as a Board of Revision and Appeal; shall be posted in at least five public places in the Town.
7. At the time and place designated in the notice aforesaid, the Council shall sit as a Board of Revision and Appeal to correct and revise the assessment, and to hear appeals concerning the same. They shall have full power and authority to alter, revise, add to, and take from the said assessment. The decision of a majority of the Council shall be final and conclusive; and no member of Council shall sit on his own appeal.
8. The assessment, as revised and adjusted by a majority of the Council, shall be the basis for the levy and collection of the taxes for the Town.
9. The Council shall also have the right to levy and collect taxes upon all telephone, telegraph, power poles, or other erections of like character erected within the limits of the Town, together with the wires and appliances thereto or thereon attached, that are not assessable and taxable, and to this end, may at any time direct the same to be included in or added to the Town Assessment. In case the owner or lessee of such poles or erections shall refuse or neglect to pay the taxes that may be levied thereon, the said taxes may be collected by the Collector of Taxes as in case of other taxes.
10. No farm lands hereby included within, the limits of the Town of Bethel shall be subject to any Town tax unless the same shall be laid out as building lots and unless the same shall front upon some public street of the Town of Bethel which shall be laid out and improved; and all farm lands within the aforesaid limits which shall be laid out as building lots and which shall front upon some public street of the Town of Bethel laid out and improved shall be subject to be taxed to the depth of three hundred (300) feet from said street line for Town purposes. The Council shall be sole judges of what lands are, and what lands are not "farm lands" within the meaning of this Charter.
11. The general assessment made and in force under the Charter of the Town of Bethel and the amendments thereto shall continue in force and effect until the next General Assessment to be made in the year 1947.
12. The Council shall determine and fix a rate of taxation which will produce approximately the amount of money necessary to defray the expenses of the Town for the current year, including interest on bonded indebtedness and for redemption of maturing bonds and for maintenance of a sinking fund.
13. The limit of the amount to be raised by taxation under this Section shall not exceed the sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in any one year clear of all delinquencies and expenses of collection, provided, however, that the Council of the said Town, whenever authorized by referendum vote duly held and conducted in all respects as provided for in Section 5 of this Act, may raise by taxation any amount above and exceeding the sum of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00). At such referendum one set of ballots used shall have written or printed thereon the words "for increased taxation" and another set of ballots shall have written or printed thereon the words "against increased taxation" and both sets of ballots shall specify thereon the amount proposed to be raised; when, however, any sum in excess of Five Thousand ($5,000.00) shall have been authorized and approved at such referendum, it shall be lawful to raise by taxation such approved sum from year to year without the necessity of holding a referendum election each year, when, however, it shall be proposed to increase the sum to be raised each year by taxation above the amount approved at the last referendum when * in order to authorize any such increase a new referendum shall be necessary and whenever any increased sum shall be authorized at any referendum said sum shall represent the maximum amount authorized to be raised from year to year by taxation until an increase shall have been authorized by referendum duly held as aforesaid.
Section 16. On or before the fifteenth day of May in each year, the Council shall deliver to the Collector of Taxes a list containing the names of the Taxables of the Town, opposite the name of each the amount of his real property assessment, and his poll assessment, and the tax upon the whole of his assessment, and the rate per hundred dollars. Attached to said tax list shall be a warrant, under the seal of the Town of Bethel, signed by the President and attested by the Secretary, commanding the Collector of Taxes to make collection of the taxes as stated and set forth in the tax list.
All taxes paid or imposed by the Council of the Town of Bethel, shall be and constitute a lien upon all the real estate of the taxable against or upon whom such taxes are laid or imposed of which such taxable was seized at any time after such taxes shall have been levied and imposed, situate in the Town of Bethel, and such lien shall have preference and priority to all other liens of record on such real estate created or suffered by the said taxable although such other lien or liens be of a date prior to the time of the attaching of such lien for taxes; provided that the lien for the town taxes shall remain a lien for the period of three years from the fifteenth day of May of the year in which such tax shall have been imposed and no longer.
All taxes when and as collected by the Collector of Taxes shall be paid to the Town Treasurer and all taxes shall be due and payable at and from the time of the delivery of the tax list to the Collector of Taxes. A discount shall be allowed by the Collector of Taxes of three per cent on every tax paid before the first day of July in each year; no discount shall be allowed by the Collector of Taxes on taxes paid after the first day of July, and to every tax paid after the thirtieth day of September in each year, there shall be added and collected one per centum for every month or fraction of a month after the said thirtieth day of September that the tax remains unpaid. Before exercising any of the powers herein given for collection of taxes, notices shall be given to the taxable of the amount due.
The Collector of Taxes shall have the following power for the collection of taxes;
(a) By distraint of the goods and chattels of the taxable.
(b) At any time after the delivery of the tax list and warrant, the Collector of Taxes may, in the name of the Town of Bethel, institute suit before any Justice of the Peace of the State of Delaware, in any of the Counties of the State or before the Alderman of the Town, for the recovery of the unpaid tax, in an action of debt, and upon judgment obtained, may issue writs of execution as in case of other judgments recovered before a Justice of the Peace.
The said execution shall constitute a lien upon all the personal property of the taxable within the County where the judgment shall have been obtained which, by virtue of such execution, shall be levied upon within thirty (30) days after the issuance thereof, and such lien shall have priority over all other liens against the said personal property created or suffered by the taxable, except such liens thereon, which may have been created in respect to County Taxes, although such other liens be of a date prior to the time of the attachment of said tax lien.
() At any time after the delivery of the tax list and warrant, the Collector of Taxes may notify in writing the person, firm or corporation by whom any taxable is employed, that the tax of said employee is due and unpaid. The notice shall be signed by the President of the Council and shall contain the correct name of the taxable as it appears upon the tax list, the amount of the tax due and the penalty added, if any; and thereupon it shall be the duty of the employer to take from the wage, salary, or other money then due the taxable the amount of the tax due and owing from the employee, and charge the same against him, and to pay the same to the Collector of Taxes within ten (10) days. The Collector of Taxes shall give to the employer a certificate of payment which shall be allowed in any suit or accounting between the employer and taxable. If any employer, being notified as aforesaid, and having in his hands money belonging to the taxable, shall neglect or refuse to comply with the provisions hereof, such employer shall become personally liable for the amount of the tax of the persons as to whom notice was given, and the amount thereof may be recovered from such employer in any action of debt before any Justice of the Peace or Alderman, as aforesaid. This process shall be deemed to be in the nature of a garnishment proceeding.
(d) The Collector of Taxes may make a complaint under oath before any Justice of the Peace of Sussex County, or before the Alderman, that the tax of any taxable is due and unpaid and that he has been unable to make collection of a tax by any of the methods for the recovery of taxes prescribed in this Charter, and thereupon a warrant shall be issued for the arrest of such taxable and if, after hearing it shall be found that the tax of the person arrested is due and unpaid, and if the taxable shall thereupon fail to pay the tax, together with accrued costs, he shall be committed to the Jail of Sussex County, until the tax, penalty, costs and charges are paid, but not to exceed the term of thirty (30) days.
(e) For the purpose of collecting the tax of any taxable, and without the necessity of first employing the other remedy herein provided, the Collector of Taxes is empowered to sell the land and tenements of a taxable, or the lands and tenements of a taxable alienated subsequent to the levy of the tax. The Collector of Taxes shall present to the Superior Court of Sussex County wherein the lands and tenements are situated, a petition in which shall be stated:
(1). The name of the taxable.
(2). The year for which the tax was levied.
(3). The rate of tax.
(4). The total amount due.
(5). The date from which the penalty for non-payment, if any, shall commence and the rate of such penalty.
(6). A short description of the lands and tenements proposed to be sold sufficient to identify the same.
(7). A statement that a bill of said tax has been mailed to the taxable at his last known post office address and that it has been found impractical to collect the said tax by any of the other remedies as herein above provided. The petition shall be signed by the Collector of Taxes and shall be verified before a Notary Public.
The Court thereupon shall make an order for the sale of said lands and tenements returnable at the next succeeding term of said Court; Sales of lands and tenements shall be advertised by posting hand bills in at least five public places in the Town of Bethel and publishing the notice of said sale in a newspaper published in Sussex County. The notices shall contain the day, hour and place of sale and a short description of the premises sufficient to identify the same, and the hand bills shall be posted at least ten days before the day fixed for sale, and the newspaper advertisement shall be published at least one week before the day of sale.
Each sale of lands and tenements shall be returned to the Superior Court aforesaid at the next term thereof following the sale, and the Court shall inquire into the circumstances and either approve or set aside the sale. If it be approved, the Collector of Taxes shall make a deed to the purchaser which shall convey the title of the taxable or of his alienee; if it be set aside, the Court may order another sale, and so on until the tax due is collected. The petition, return and deed, shall be presumptive evidence of the regularity of the proceeding.
No sale shall be approved by the Court if the owner be ready at Court to pay the taxes, penalty and costs, and no deed shall be made until the expiration of one year from the date of sale, within which time the owner, his heirs, executors or assigns, shall have power to redeem the lands on payment to the purchaser, his heirs or assigns of the costs, the amount of the purchase money and twenty per centum interest thereon, and the expenses of the deed, provided, that if the purchaser refuses to accept the same, or in the event the purchaser, or his heirs or assigns, cannot be located within the State of Delaware, then, in either event, it shall be lawful for the owner, his heirs, executors or assigns, to pay the amount of redemption to the Collector of Taxes making the sale, taking from him a good and lawful receipt therefor and such receipt shall be considered for all intents and purposes, as a valid and lawful exercise by the owner, his heirs, executors or assigns, of his or their power to redeem the land so sold.
After satisfying the tax due and the costs and expenses of sale from the proceeds of sale, the amount remaining shall be paid to the owner of the land, or upon the refusal of said owner to accept the same, or if the owner is unknown or cannot be found, the amount remaining shall be deposited in some bank in the Town of Laurel, either to the credit of the owner, or in a manner by which the fund may be identified.
In sales of lands for the payment of taxes, the following costs shall be allowed, to be deducted from the proceeds of sale, or chargeable against the said owner:
TO THE PROTHONOTARY
For filing and recording petition $1.00
For filing and recording return of sale..... 1.50
In addition, the costs of printing hand bills and publication of the advertisement of sale shall be chargeable as costs.
The costs of the deed shall not be chargeable as costs, but shall be paid by the purchaser.
If the owner of any lands and tenements against which a tax shall be levied and assessed shall be unknown, this fact shall be stated in the advertisement of sale.
If any person is assessed for several parcels of lands and tenements in the same assessment, the total of said taxes may be collected from the sale of any part or portion of said lands and tenements, provided that land alienated by the taxable shall not be sold until other property of the taxable shall have been disposed of.
If the Collector of Taxes shall be unable by the thirty-first day of December of each year of the date of tax list to collect the tax of any taxable, he is empowered, having first paid the amount thereof to the Town, to collect said tax from such taxable for his own use by any of the processes of law herein prescribed within the space of one further year, from said thirty-first day of December, after which the said tax shall be extinguished and all authority to the Collector of Taxes under said tax list and warrant shall cease.
During the month of February next following the date of the tax list and warrant, the Collector of Taxes shall make full, final and complete settlement with the Treasurer and Council. The Council shall fix such time and place during the said month for settlement with the Collector of Taxes of which he, the said Treasurer, shall have due notice. At said settlement, the Council shall allow to the Collector of Taxes all taxes which shall have been impossible to collect by reason of errors in the assessment lists or otherwise, and not through the default or neglect or delay of the Collector of Taxes, and said settlement shall be final and conclusive, and no other allowance in any form shall be made to the Collector of Taxes by the Council. Upon the conclusion of the said Settlement, the Collector of Taxes shall forthwith pay over to the credit of the Town the aggregate amount of the taxes found to be due the Town, and upon his failure or neglect to do so, it shall be the duty of the Council to proceed to collect the same from the Collector of Taxes and/or his surety.
The lien of any town taxes upon property may be extended as provided in Section 1418, Article 6, Chapter 79, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935, and the Collector shall have the same powers conferred by said section upon the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer for Sussex County but no sale shall be made as provided in said Section except upon direction of Council.
Section 17. The provision of Article 6 of Chapter 79 of the Revised Code of the State of Delaware, 1935, not inconsistent herewith, shall be deemed to apply to all taxes under the provisions of this Act.
ENUMERATION OF SPECIFIC POWERS OF COUNCIL
Section 18. The Town Council shall have power to enact ordinances to preserve the health of the Town and to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious or contagious diseases to define, prevent and abate nuisances; to ascertain and fix the boundaries, of streets, square, lanes, alleys and sidewalks, to repave and improve the same, to alter, extend or widen any street, square, lane, alley or sidewalk and to open, lay out, improve and repair new streets, squares, lanes, alleys and sidewalks subject, however, to the provisions and restrictions in that behalf herein otherwise contained; to regulate and fix the ascents and descents of all streets, lanes, alleys and sidewalks and the drainage thereof, to direct and carry out the paving, repaving and improvement of foot pavements and to prescribe the width and materials thereof as hereinafter set forth; to regulate and provide for the improvement of existing and the construction of new gutters and curbs, subject, however, to the provisions and restrictions in that behalf otherwise herein contained; to prescribe the extent and nature of and to alter or remove steps, bay windows, porches, awnings, drains, sheds, cellar doors, posts and pillars and all inlets to lots and buildings; to regulate the construction of and repair to chimneys and to provide for the keeping of the same cleaned and in a safe condition as to fire and other hazards; to regulate or prevent the storage of gasoline, naphtha, oil, gunpowder or any other inflammable, combustible or dangerous substance and materials; to define, investigate, prevent, abate and remove fire and explosion hazards, both within and without buildings in the said Town; to improve, extend, construct and maintain water mains, fire hydrants and other proper instruments for the prevention and combating of conflagrations and to expend through its own channels or through those of some fire company in said Town such sum or sums of money from the unappropriated funds of the Town, from time to time, as Council may deem necessary and expedient for the proper protection from fire of the lives and property of the inhabitants of the Town; to enact such ordinances, not in conflict with the Laws of the State of Delaware, as it may deem necessary and beneficial for the safety, regulation and control of pedestrians, automobiles, and animal drawn traffic over the streets, squares,, lanes, and alleys and other public places of the Town, including power to make and enforce \any and all parking and non-parking regulations; to enact such ordinances and police regulations as it shall deem necessary and beneficial for the order, protection and good government of said Town; to enact ordinances in relation to the keeping of dogs; to provide for a registration fee therefor and to regulate or prevent their running at large; to enact ordinances to regulate or prevent the keeping of pigs and hogs in said Town, or in its judgment, in the more thickly populated parts of said Town; to employ from time to time skilled surveyors to make plots and maps showing the limits of said Town and ascents, descents and limits of all streets, lanes, alleys, and sidewalks, and the building lines upon the same, to show the location, depth and grade of all sewers and water mains and generally to do and perform all other matter of a cognate nature as may be deemed necessary by Council.
The Town Council shall have superintendence and oversight of all roads, streets, squares, lanes and alleys now opened or hereafter to be opened, within the limits of the Town, and no overseer, or similar official, shall be appointed by the Levy Court of Sussex County, but said Levy Court shall annually appropriate for the repairs and upkeep of the roads and streets in said Town the sums of money provided for by the Laws of the State of Delaware now in force or hereafter enacted and said Levy Court shall make orders for the payment therefor to the Treasurer of the Town for the use of said Town.
The Town Council shall have full power and authority to enact ordinances to prevent, suppress and regulate all bonfires, the firing of firearms and' the setting off and exploding of fire crackers, fireworks, torpedoes and all explosives at any places in said Town.
The Town Council shall have power and authority to levy and collect license fees, annually, for such various amount or amounts as Council shall from time to time fix, from any individual, firm, association or corporation carrying on or practicing any business, profession or occupation within the limits of said Town, and shall have authority to levy and collect license fees upon the property of any person, firm, association or corporation carrying on business in said Town and supplying the inhabitants thereof with any form or manner of services for any valuable consideration; to regulate the operation of public utilities within the Town and the use of the streets in connection with the operation of public utilities outside of the Town, or the use of the streets by common carriers, either passengers or freight or both, and to require that licenses from the Town be secured and to determine the amount or amounts to be paid therefor, provided, that this power shall not be deemed to apply to steam utilities; to levy and collect taxes on gas and water mains, underground conduits, telephone, electric current or other poles or erections of like character in said Town, together with the wires thereon strung, and to this end may at any time direct the same to be included in or added to the Town assessment, with the authority of Council to cause such mains, conduits, poles and wires to be removed and suit to be instituted to collect the taxes so levied, in the event the owner or lessee thereof refuse or neglect to pay such taxes; Council has power to enact ordinances to prevent, abate or regulate electrical or other interferences with radio reception in said Town.
Council shall have the power to enact ordinances for fire protection and to this end may prohibit the use of building materials that Council may deem would create a fire hazard in the section to be used and may zone or district the Town and make particular zones or districts with regard to building and building materials, and may forbid any building except for which a building permit therefor has been obtained from and as prescribed by Council. This provision shall be deemed to include new buildings, or rebuildings or additions to or alterations of existing structures of any kind. Council shall have power upon inspection and upon notice and hearing to condemn any existing buildings or structures that it deems to be a fire menace and to cause the same to be torn down or removed; Council shall have power to establish a building line for buildings to be erected, provided that such building line shall not be established more than ten feet back from front line of the lots.
The Town Council shall be vested with power and authority to prescribe fines, or penalties, or both, for violations of any of the provisions of this Act, or of the ordinances now in force, or which hereafter may be enacted in pursuance of any power hereof or of any power which may not be enumerated herein, provided, that no ordinance or other Act of Council shall provide any fine of more than One Hundred Dollars, exclusive of costs, nor any penalty by way of imprisonment, in excess of thirty days, but Council may provide for both fine and imprisonment, not in excess of said limits.
USE OF TOWN MONEY
Section 19. The Town Council of said Town shall have full power and authority to use the money in the Treasury of said Town or any portion thereof, from time to time, for the improvement, benefit, protection, ornament and best interests of the said Town, as Council may deem proper, and to use Town money to accomplish and carry into effect all acts and things which it has power to do, by virtue of the Laws of Delaware, this Act and all lawful ordinances and resolutions of Council. In the General performance of its duties and particularly in the expenditure of moneys of the said Town, the acts, doings and determinations of a majority of the entire Council shall be as valid as the acts, doings and determinations of all the members of Council.
FISCAL YEAR, ANNUAL STATEMENT
Section 20. The fiscal year of the said Town shall begin the first day of March in each year and shall end with the next succeeding last day of February. The Town Council shall cause a full and correct annual statement of the receipts and disbursements of all Town moneys for the fiscal year next preceding to be posted in five public places in The Town of Bethel, at least ten days prior to the annual Town election.
EXEMPTION OF PROPERTY FROM TAXATION
Section 21. The Town Council of said Town shall have power by an ordinance, or by a resolution, to relieve, release, exonerate and exempt the real property of any person, firm, association or corporation engaged in any manufacturing business within the limits of said Town and employing no less than six persons.
No property shall be exempt from taxation aforesaid until such an ordinance is enacted or such a special resolution adopted and the period of such exemption shall be only such as is set forth in said ordinance or resolution, and shall not be in excess of ten years, and shall only be revocable upon the breach of a condition contained in such ordinance or resolution.
POWER TO BORROW MONEY AND ISSUE BONDS
Section 22. (A) The Council of the Town of Bethel may borrow money and issue bonds or certificates of indebtedness to secure the payment thereof on the faith and credit of the Town of Bethel to provide funds for the erection, the extension, the enlargement or the repair of any plant, machinery, appliances or equipment for the furnishing of water and light to the public, for the construction or repair or improvement of highways, streets or lanes or the paving, curbing or erection of gutters along the same; for the construction or repair of sewers of sewage disposal equipment; or to defray the costs of the Town of Bethel of any permanent municipal improvements, providing, however, that the borrowing of the money therefor shall be authorized by the Town Council and shall have been approved in the manner following:
(B) 1. Council by resolution shall propose to the electors of the Town that the stated amount of money shall be borrowed for any of the above purposes. 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 hearing on the said resolution.
2. Notice of the time and place of hearing on the resolution authorizing said loan shall be posted in five public places at least one week before the time set for said hearing.
3. A second resolution shall then be passed by Council ordering a special election to be held not less than thirty (30) days and not more than sixty (60) days after the date of its determination after said hearing to borrow the said money for the purpose of voting for or against the proposed loan.
4. The notice of the time and place for holding the said special election shall be given the inhabitants by posting notices in five public places for two weeks prior to the election. And the special election shall be conducted by a Board of Electors as herein provided in the case of annual elections.
5. The Council shall cause to be prepared, printed and have available for distribution a sufficient number of ballots not less than five (5) days prior to the date of the special election.
0. At the special election, every person who had a right at the next preceding annual Town election shall have one vote for every dollar and fractional part of dollar of tax paid by him or her respectively during the year preceding said election, and every owner of property, whether individual, partnership or 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.
1. The Board of Election shall count the votes for and against the proposed loan; and shall announce the result thereof, shall make a certificate under their hands of the number of votes cast for and against the proposed loan, and shall deliver the same to the Council, which said Certificate shall be entered on the minutes of the Council, and the original shall be filed with the papers of the Council.
(C) The form of Bond or Certificate of Indebtedness, the times of payment of interest, the classes, the time of maturity, and provisions as to the registration shall be determined by the Council. The bonds shall be offered for sale to the best and most responsible bidder therefor after advertisement in a newspaper of Sussex County for at least two weeks before offering the same for sale. The Council shall provide, in its budget, and in fixing the rate of tax, for the payment of interest and principal of said bond at the maturity or maturities thereof, and a sinking fund therefor. The faith and credit of the Town of Bethel shall be deemed to be pledged for the due payment of the bonds and interest thereon issued under the provisions hereof when the same have been properly executed and delivered for value.
(D) The bonded indebtedness of the Town of Bethel shall not at any time in the aggregate exceed the total sum of ten per centum of the value of the real property situate within the limits of the Town as shown by the last assessment preceding the creation of the said indebtedness.
OBSTRUCTIONS, NUISANCES AND UNSANITARY CONDITIONS
Section 23. The Town Council shall have power and authority to enact ordinances or adopt resolutions to define, prevent, abate and remove all obstructions, nuisances and unsanitary conditions at any time existing or deemed to be contemplated whether in the street, squares, lanes, or alleys, or on the sidewalks, or in any other public or private place within the limits of said Town either on its own inspection, or upon the written complaint of any citizen of said Town, stating the character and location of the obstructions, nuisances or unsanitary conditions, and signed by the citizen making the complaint. If a majority of Council, either upon inspection or upon such information, or both, shall determine that such obstruction, nuisance, or unsanitary condition exists and ought to be removed or abated, as the case may be, Council shall enact an ordinance or adopt a resolution, or both, appropriate to the contemplated or existing condition and Council shall thereupon give notice in writing, signed by the President or acting President of Council to the person or persons contemplating or causing such obstruction, nuisance or unsanitary condition, or to the person or persons who are responsible for its existence or continuance, to remove or abate the same and if such person or persons refuse or neglect for the space of two days after such notice is mailed to remove or abate the stated condition, Council shall have power and authority to remove or abate the same in a summary manner and at the expense of the person or persons responsible therefor.
Council shall have power and authority to enforce, by ordinance, all the requirements of this Section by imposing fines and penalties as shall be in the judgment of Council necessary and proper which shall be additional to the said expenses and costs of removal or abatement. For all the purposes of this Section, any property, whether dwelling, storehouse, or both, or otherwise, which does not have proper connections with the sewer system of the said Town, if such sewer connections be available for such property, shall be deemed to be in an unsanitary condition under the meaning of this Section, at the discretion of the Council.
Section 24. The Town Council shall have power and authority to locate, lay out, and open new streets and to widen streets or parts thereof, whenever they shall deem it for the best interest of the said Town. The procedure in every case as aforesaid, shall be as follows: The Council shall, by a majority vote, adopt a resolution favorable to the opening of the new street, or to the widening or altering of a street, or to the vacating or abandoning of a street or any portion thereof, as the case may be, and giving a general description of the street to be opened or widened, or altered, or of the street or part thereof to be vacated or abandoned, as the case may be. The said resolution shall also state the day, hour and place when the said Council will sit to hear objections and to award just and reasonable compensation to anyone who will be deprived of property. A copy of such resolution shall be posted in five or more public places in the said Town at least five days before the day fixed for the hearing aforesaid.
At the time and place fixed in the said resolution said Council shall hear such residents of the Town or owners of the property affected as shall attend, and it shall at said meeting, or at a subsequent day as it shall deem proper, adopt a resolution by a majority vote, to proceed with or to abandon as it shall deem for the best interests of the said Town, the opening of the street or streets, or the widening, altering, vacating or abandoning of the existing street or streets, or part thereof, as the case may be, as contemplated in its prior resolution. And in case the determination of the said Council shall be to proceed with the plan contemplated by the resolution first aforesaid, Council shall award just and reasonable compensation to anyone who will be deprived of property in consequence thereof. Such compensation, if any be awarded, shall be paid by the Treasurer of the Town, on a warrant drawn on him by authority of the Council aforesaid upon delivery of a Deed in fee simple in favor of the Town of Bethel, and clear of all liens and encumbrances. If anyone who will be deprived of property as aforesaid be dissatisfied with the compensation awarded by the Council aforesaid, he may, within five days after the award of the Council as aforesaid, appeal from such award by serving written notice to that effect on the Secretary or President of Council. In order to prosecute said appeal such appellant shall within five days, after the expiration of the five days allowed for the appeal as aforesaid, apply to the Judge of the Superior Court for the State of Delaware, resident in Sussex County, or in his absence at that time, to the Chief Justice of the said Court, for the appointment of freeholders to hear and determine the matter of compensation to such appellant for any property of which he will be deprived, as aforesaid, and thereupon the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be shall issue a commission under his hand directed to five impartial freeholders of Sussex County, commanding them to determine and fix the damages which the said appellant will sustain by reason of being deprived of any property as aforesaid, taking into consideration the benefits or advantages that will ensure to the said appellant from said new street or otherwise, and to make return of their findings to the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, at a time appointed in said commission.
The said freeholders shall give notice of the day, hour and place when they will meet to view the premises and to assess the damages, if any, as aforesaid. Such notice shall be served upon the appellant personally, or by posting a copy on the premises affected at least five days before the day when they are to view the premises as aforesaid and a copy of such notice shall also be served on the Secretary or the President of Council at least five days before the day of such meeting.
The freeholders named in such commission being first sworn or affirmed, on the day and at the hour and place stated in the notice aforesaid, shall view the premises and hear the appellant and his witnesses and the Council and its witnesses, and shall without delay, determine and fix the damages, if any, which the said appellant will sustain by reason of being deprived of any property as aforesaid. Thereupon and without delay the said freeholders shall make return in writing of their proceedings in the premises to the said Judge or Chief Justice, as the case may be, who shall cause the said return to be delivered to the said Secretary or President of Council and such return shall be final and conclusive. The said Judge or Chief Justice shall have power to fill any vacancy among the freeholders. The amount of damages being ascertained as aforesaid, the said Council may pay or tender the same to the person or persons entitled thereto, within one month after the same shall be finally ascertained, or may deposit the same to his Credit in any Bank in the Town of Bethel or in the Town of Laurel to the credit of the person or persons entitled thereto within the said period of one month, and thereupon the said Council may carry into effect the plan contemplated in their resolution aforesaid. In the ascertainment and assessment of damages by the freeholders appointed by the Judge or Chief Justice aforesaid, if the damages shall be increased or if the Council shall decide not to take said land, the costs of the appeal shall be paid by the Treasurer of the said Town out of any money in his hands belonging to the Town, but if said damages shall not be increased, the costs of the appeal shall be paid by the party appealing. The fees of the freeholders shall be five dollars per day to each, which shall be taxed as a part of the costs. After the damages shall be fixed and ascertained by the freeholders as aforesaid, Council shall have the option of paying the damages assessed within the term aforesaid and proceed with the improvements, or upon the payment of the costs only, may abandon the proposed improvement.
Whenever the land comprehended or included in any street, or part thereof, vacated or abandoned* under this Section if owned by the said Town, the Council may, in its discretion, sell such land at public sale and for such consideration as the Council shall deem proper, and shall have the right and power to convey to the purchaser or purchasers thereof a good and sufficient title thereto for whatever estate the said Town may have therein.
The word "street" shall be deemed and held to comprehend and include sidewalks, lanes, and alleys for all the purposes of this Section.
PAVING, GUTTERING, CURBING
Section 25. The Council shall have the power to cause to be paved or repaved the sidewalks of the said Town, or any part or portion thereof, and shall have power to have existing curbs or gutters, or both, repaired or relaid, or new curbs or gutters, or both constructed, or any part of or portion thereof, in said Town, with such material or materials and of such width or size, and subject to such specifications as it shall determine. Before the exercise of said power in any particular instance, the Council shall adopt an ordinance or resolution stating in effect that on a named day and at a named hour and place the Council will meet to consider the question of paving or repaving the sidewalks with a specified material or materials, or repairing existing curbs or gutters, or both, or altering existing curbs or gutters, or both, with any specified material or materials and according to the stated specifications on a named street in front of the property of named owners, and of assessment of the costs thereof against such owners. The said ordinance or resolution shall be published at least one week prior to the meeting aforesaid in at least one issue of a newspaper published in Sussex County. The Council shall hold a meeting in said Town in accordance with said ordinance or resolution and thereat shall hear the aforesaid owners of property and other residents of the Town appearing on the question referred to in the said ordinance or resolution.
After such hearing the Council, either at said meeting or at a subsequent meeting, shall decide whether or not to proceed with the improvements referred to in said ordinance or resolution, and if it shall decide to proceed, it shall determine whether the whole or some specified proportion of the costs of the improvements aforesaid in front of the real property of the owner or owners named in the aforesaid ordinance or resolution shall be borne by said owners. If said determination shall be that the whole or specified proportion of said costs shall be borne by said owners, then and in such case the said owners shall be compelled to pay the whole or specified proportion of the costs aforesaid, as the case may be, the amount to be paid by the owner of each parcel of property affected to be determined by the lineal frontage of the parcel on the sidewalk to be paved or repaved, or in the gutter to be repaired or laid, or on the curb, to be repaired or constructed, or any or all of said improvements, as the case may be.
When the said paving or repaving, curbing or recurbing, guttering or reguttering, or any or all of them, have been done and the costs thereof ascertained, the Council shall ascertain the amount that the owner of each parcel of property aforesaid shall pay as hereinbefore stated, and shall give written notice thereof to such owner, or one of the co-owners, by mailing the same to his last known address. If any such owner shall fail to pay the specified amount within thirty days after the mailing of such notice, the same together with costs may be collected by an action of debt before the Alderman or any Justice of the Peace of Sussex County. Writs of execution may issue upon judgment recovered as in like cases of a civil nature and the same proceedings had as on any other judgment before a Justice of the Peace. Upon a return of Nulla Bona on an execution issued on said judgment a certified abstract of said judgment shall be filed in the Prothonotary's office for Sussex County and said judgment shall become a lien upon the premises affected with same force and effect of any other judgment entered in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.
The term "Owner" as used in this Section shall be deemed to mean the person or persons who owned the property in question at the time of the adoption or passage of the ordinances or resolutions first in this Section referred to, and any change of ownership thereafter shall not be deemed or held to affect any of the steps or proceedings mentioned in this Section.
CONSTRUCTING, PAVING, REPAIRING OF STREETS
Section 26. The Town Council of the Town of Bethel, shall have full power and authority to regrade, redress or otherwise repair and rebuild all existing streets, lanes, alleys, and other public thoroughfares in the Town of Bethel and to construct, build, pave and in any manner improve all new and existing streets, lanes, alleys, and other public thoroughfares now opened or to be hereafter opened for public use in said Town, and in so doing shall use such materials and substances and such methods of construction and shall employ such contractor, engineers, inspectors and others as the Council may deem expedient and may use different materials and different methods of construction on different streets, or on parts of the same street, as Council deems advisable. For the purpose of this Section Council shall have full power and authority to expend such part or parts of the money of the said Town in the general fund of the Town not otherwise appropriated.
Section 27. The Council is vested with authority on behalf of the Town to enter into contracts for the rendering of personal service to the Town and/or the purchase of supplies and doing of work for any municipal purpose for the Town, provided:
A. No contract shall be made by Council for any purpose, the contract price of which is in excess of $3,000, without public competitive bidding; and
B. The contract shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, but Council may reject any and/or all bids for any cause by it deemed advantageous to the Town; and
C. All formal contracts shall be signed by the President of the Council with Seal of the Town attached attested by the Secretary.
WATER AND LIGHTING SYSTEMS
Section 28. The Town Council is hereby vested with full power and authority to provide for the Town of Bethel a lighting system and an ample supply of pure water and to purchase, lease, erect, construct, maintain, operate and control plants, wells, reservoirs, pumping machines and stations, water mains, fire hydrants and all other instruments for the manufacture and distribution of electric current, the collection, storage, conveyance and distribution of water, on, over, under or through the lands of any person. The Council shall have power to enact ordinances, rules and regulations in regard to the use for public or private purposes of electric current and water furnished by the Town, and the amounts to be paid by the users thereof, and to fix fines, or penalties, or both for any willful or negligent injury or damage to, or interference with the lighting and water system of the Town. The Council may, at its option, furnish electric current and water from the Town systems to places and properties outside the Town limits upon such special terms, charges and conditions as it shall deem wise.
The Council may, by condemnation proceedings, take private land, or the right to use private lands, under, over or on the surface thereof, for the proper- operation or extension of the lighting and water systems. The proceedings by condemnation under this Section shall be the same as prescribed in Section 24 of this Act for the opening and laying out of new streets, and the resolutions referred to in said Section 24 shall be changed and modified to cover* the cases contemplated by this present Section.
Section 29. The Town Council is hereby vested with full power and authority to provide, construct, extend, maintain and control a sewer system for the health, sanitation and convenience of the inhabitants of the said Town, on, over, under or through the lands of any person. The Council shall have power to enact ordinances, rules and regulations regarding the sewers and the sewer system of the Town and the use thereof, and the amounts to be paid by the users thereof, and to fix fines or penalties, or both, for any willful or negligent injury or damages to or interference with the said sewers or sewer system of the Town. The Council may, at its option, furnish sewer facilities to places and properties outside of the Town limits upon such special terms, charges and conditions as it shall deem wise. The Council may require any property in the Town, for which there is any available sewer, to be connected with the sewer system and may compel the owner of such property to pay the cost of such connection and the tapping fee therefor.
The Council may, by condemnation proceedings, take private land, or the right to use private land, under, over or on the surface thereof, for the proper operation or extension of the sewers and sewer system of the Town. The proceedings by condemnation under this Section shall be the same as prescribed by Section 24 of the Act, for the opening and laying out of new streets, and the resolutions referred to in said Section 24 shall be changed and modified to cover the cases contemplated by this present Section.
ELECTRIC CURRENT, POWER PLANT, FRANCHISES
Section 30. The Council shall have power to make contracts for the purchase of heat, light, water and electric current with any responsible persons, firms, or corporations for all municipal purposes.
The Town Council shall also have full power and authority at any regular or special meeting, by a majority vote, to enact ordinances or adopt resolutions granting franchises to any responsible person, firm, association or corporation, and for such terms of years as shall seem wise to said Council, to use the present and future streets, squares, alleys, and lanes of the said Town for purposes of furnishing light, heat, power, gas or water, or any or all of them to said Town and to the persons, firms, or corporations residing therein for the purpose of transmitting light, heat, power, gas and water, or any or all of them through, over, across or under said streets, squares, alleys and lanes to points outside of the limits of said Town; any such franchise or franchises to contain such restrictions, conditions and stipulations as shall to said Council seem wise, and said Council, by a majority vote, at any regular or special meeting, shall also have full power and authority to enter into contracts with any responsible persons, firms, associations or corporations for the furnishing of light, heat, power, gas or water, or any or all of them, or for the furnishing of electric current, either at wholesale or retail, to said Town, or to persons, firms and corporations residing therein, or adjacent thereto.
Section 31. The Town Council of said Town shall have the full jurisdiction and control within the limits of said Town of the drainage thereof, and the right to alter and change the course and direction of any of the natural water courses, runs or rivulets within the limits of the Town, and may pass ordinances for the opening of gutters; drains, and sewers within said Town limits and the regulating and maintaining, cleaning and keeping the same and the natural water courses, runs and rivulets within the said Town limits open, clean and unobstructed, and for that purpose may authorize the entry upon private lands and take, condemn and occupy the same in the same manner and by, the same condemnation proceedings as hereinbefore provided in case of the water and sewer systems of the said Town and as prescribed by Section 24 of this Act for the opening and laying out of new streets, and the resolutions referred to in said Section 24 shall be changed and modified to cover the cases contemplated by this present Section.
Section 32. The Council is hereby vested with the authority to enact ordinances or resolutions relating to any subject within the powers and functions of the Town, or relating to the government of the Town, its peace and order, its sanitation, beauty, the health, safety, convenience and comfort of its population, and the protections and preservation of property, and to fix, impose and enforce the payment of fines and penalties for the violation of such ordinances or resolutions, and no provision of this Charter as to ordinances on any particular subject shall be held to be restrictive of the power to enact ordinances or resolutions on any subject not specifically enumerated.
All ordinances or resolutions of general character relating to the government of the Town shall not be of force and effect until the same shall have been posted in at least two public places in the Town.
It shall be the duty of the Council, to compile the ordinances of the Town, to have a reasonable number of copies printed for the use of the officials of the Town and for public information; and from time to time, upon the enactment of new ordinances, or the amendment of existing ordinances, to enroll the same in the minutes of the Council, and to keep copies thereof in a book to be provided for that purpose, so that the same may be readily examined; and also to furnish the Alderman with copies thereof as they are enacted and published.
Section 33. A. The Board of Health for said Town of Bethel shall consist of three members appointed by the Council to serve for one year and one of whom shall be a practicing physician in said Town or in the Town of Laurel; they shall report to the Council in writing whatever is deemed by the Board to be injurious to the health of the people of the Town and shall make recommendations to Council of whatever may contribute to useful sanitary information.
B. The Council shall have the power to adopt all measures requisite or appropriate for protection against fire, and to appropriate money for the purpose of fire equipment, whether owned by the Town or by a Volunteer Fire Company.
C. For protection against fire, the Council may adopt ordinances to zone or district the Town and to make particular provisions for particular zones or districts with regard to buildings and building materials; to prohibit the use of building materials that may be deemed to create a fire hazard, and this power shall embrace new buildings or additions to or alterations of existing structures of every kind; to condemn buildings or structures, or portions thereof, that constitute a fire menace, and to require or cause the same to be torn down, removed, or so altered as to eliminate the menace of fire; to prescribe the height and thickness of walls of any building and the kind and grade of materials used in the construction thereof; to establish a building line for buildings to be erected, provided that such building line shall not be established more than ten feet back from front line of the lots.
The Council may adopt zoning ordinances limiting and specifying districts and regulating thereon buildings and structures according to their construction and according to the nature and extent of the business to be carried on therein.
The powers to be exercised under and by virtue of this provision shall be deemed to have exercised under the police power and for the general welfare of the inhabitants.
BUILDING INSPECTION PERMITS
D. The Council may provide for the issuance of building permits, and may forbid the construction of any new building, or addition to, or alteration, or repair of any existing building unless a building permit has been obtained therefor.
Should any person, firm or corporation hereafter desire to erect any buildings within the corporate limits of said Town for the purpose of conducting therein the business of canning fruits, vegetables, meats, oysters, etc., or for the manufacture or manipulation of phosphate, fertilizers or manures of any kind, he or they before erecting such buildings or building, or engaging in such business, shall make an application in writing for permission therefor to said Council. And should said Council determine that such building will not endanger the other property of the Town, and said business will not jeopardize the health of or be offensive to the citizens thereof, the Council shall have authority to grant a permit to erect such buildings and conduct such business.
The Council shall have full power to fix and determine the placing and replacing of poles or other structures within the Town limits for the carrying of telegraph, telephone, power or other wires, and the attachments thereto, and to cause existing poles or structures to be removed whenever the same shall be deemed to be obstructions or detrimental to the beauty of the Town, or when such poles or structures are so placed as to inconvenience persons or render property less desirable. This power shall extend as well to the location as to the relocation of such poles and structures, wires, and attachments, and may be exercised from time to time as occasion shall arise.
Section 34. The Council shall have the right to grant or refuse licenses for boxing exhibitions and other sports, to circuses, theatrical or minstrel companies, or like things, and exhibits or parades thereof, or the posting of bills for the advertisement thereof; to pool or billiard rooms and other places of amusement; to peddlers or canvassers; to any person having only a temporary place of business for selling or offering for sale goods, wares and merchandise; to peddlers of meats, fish, oysters or vegetables and the location of wagons or stalls, provided that the Council shall not have the power to permit, by the license, interference with any place of business or with the convenience of public travel; to provide for the payment of taxes, fines, penalties, and forfeitures by performance of labor for the Town by those who may owe taxes, fines, penalties or forfeitures, and to make proper regulations and rules therefor.
Section 35. Trees being among the chief beauties of the Town, and their preservation requiring that they be treated with special care, the Council is empowered to take necessary or appropriate action to prevent injuries to trees from electric wires or from any other source or cause whatsoever.
Section 36. The Council shall have the power to enact ordinances, rules and regulations and to fix the penalties for violations, thereof relating to the use of streets, highways, lanes, and alleys, the parking of vehicles thereon, with the power to prohibit parking on streets, or portions thereof, entirely or within certain hours, or for certain lengths of time.
FINES AND IMPRISONMENT
Section 37. No fine shall be imposed in a sum exceeding One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) exclusive of costs; and no term of imprisonment shall be imposed for violation of any rules, regulation or ordinance, or other offense or for failure to pay any fine or penalty imposed, in excess of a period of thirty days.
Section 38. The Town Council of said Town shall have full power and authority to borrow upon the faith and credit of the Town of Bethel, the sum or sums of money, not exceeding One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00), in any one fiscal year, when in the opinion of the majority of Council the needs of said Town demand it. Said Council may secure said sum or sums of money by promissory notes or certificates of indebtedness of the Town of Bethel, duly authorized by resolutions of Council, and signed by the President, or by the acting President, of the Council and by the Secretary, either with or without the corporate seal of the Town, affixed as is requested by the bank or person advancing the money on said notes or certificates, and no officer nor member of Council shall be personally liable for the payment of such notes or certificates because it is signed by them as officers of the Council, and is authorized by the resolution of the Council. Provided, however, any sum of money borrowed on the faith and credit of the Town of Bethel as aforesaid in any fiscal year shall be paid out of the general funds of the Town, at the minimum rate of twenty-five per centum per fiscal year and shall be paid at the end of four fiscal years following the first fiscal year which said money was borrowed with interest thereon.
SURVIVAL OF POWER AND VALIDATING SECTION
Section 39. The Act entitled "An Act to Incorporate the Town of Bethel", approved April 4, 1907, being Chapter 216 of Volume 24, Laws of Delaware, and other acts amendatory thereof are repealed; provided, however, that all ordinances of the Town of Bethel heretofore adopted and now in force pursuant to any law of this State shall continue in force until amended or repealed by the Council of the Town; all acts of the council, or of any officer of the town, lawfully done under the Laws of the State or ordinance of the town, are ratified and confirmed; all debts, fines, penalties and forfeitures due to the town of Bethel and all debts due from the Town to any person, are declared to be unaffected by this repeal and shall continue in force and effect until paid and discharged; all powers conferred by law upon the Collector of Taxes for the collection of taxes in the Town of Bethel heretofore assessed, and uncollected shall continue in force until all taxes shall be collected and paid, and the official bonds of the collector and of all other bonded officers shall be unaffected by this repeal, and they and their sureties shall continue liable for any breach of condition of said bonds; and all proceedings commenced for the collection of any penalty, fine, forfeiture or debt due said Town under any law of the ordinance shall not be affected by this repeal, but may be prosecuted to judgment and executed until the amount thereof be fully paid.
Section 40. This act shall be deemed to be a public act.
Approved April 14, 1947.