AUTHORIZING SEWERAGE SYSTEMS FOR NEW CASTLE COUNTY
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE NEW CASTLE COUNTY TO PROVIDE FOR THE PLANNING, ACQUISITION, PURCHASE, CONSTRUCTION, RECONSTRUCTION, IMPROVEMENT, BETTERMENT, EXTENSION, OPERATION, AND MAINTENANCE OF SEWERAGE SYSTEMS FOR THE COLLECTION, TREATMENT, AND DISPOSAL OF SEWAGE, WASTE, GARBAGE, AND STORM WATER; AUTHORIZING THE EXERCISE OF THE POWER OF EMINENT DOMAIN; AUTHORIZING AND REGULATING THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS FOR FINANCING SUCH SEWERAGE SYSTEMS; AUTHORIZING THE CHARGING OF SERVICE CHARGES FOR SERVICE RENDERED BY SUCH SEWERAGE SYSTEMS AND PROVIDING FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE PAYMENT THEREOF; AND PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH BONDS AND FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE HOLDERS THEREOF.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:
Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "New Castle County Sewer Act."
Section 2. As used in this act, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context (1) "County" shall mean New Castle County; (2) "Sewerage System" shall mean the plants, structures and other real and personal property acquired, constructed or operated or to be acquired, constructed or operated by the County for the collection, treatment, purification or disposal in a sanitary manner of any sewage, liquid or solid wastes, night soil or industrial wastes, garbage and storm water, including sewers, conduits, pipe lines, mains, pumping and ventilating stations, sewage treatment or disposal systems, plants and works, connections, and outfalls, and other plants, structures, boats, conveyances, and other real and personal property, and rights therein, and appurtenances necessary or useful and convenient for such purposes; (3) "Revenue Bonds" shall mean bonds to the payment of which all or any part of the revenues derived from the operation of any Sewerage System are pledged in accordance with this act; and (4) "Service Charges" shall mean rents, rates, fees or other charges charged or collected under Section 10 of this act.
Section 3. In addition to the powers which it may now have, the County shall have power, under this act: (a) to plan, construct, acquire by gift, purchase, or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, reconstruct, improve, better or extend any Sewerage System, and to acquire by gift, purchase, or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, lands or rights in land in connection therewith; (b) to operate and maintain any Sewerage System and to furnish the services and facilities rendered or afforded thereby; (c) to enter into and perform contracts, whether long term or short term, with any industrial establishment for the provision and operation by the County of the Sewerage System to abate or reduce the pollution of waters caused by discharges of industrial wastes by such industrial establishment and the payment periodically by the industrial establishment to the County of amounts at least sufficient, in the judgment of the Levy Court, to compensate the County for the cost of providing (including payment of principal and interest charges, if any), and of operating and maintaining, the Sewerage System or part thereof serving such industrial establishment; (d) to issue its bonds to finance, either in whole or in part, the cost of the planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems; (e) to pledge to the punctual payment of said bonds and the interest thereon an amount of the revenues derived from the operation of such Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems (including the revenues of the existing facilities, if any, comprising a sewerage system which is being improved, bettered, or extended, and the revenues to be derived from any improvements, betterments, extensions thereafter constructed or acquired), or of any part of any such Sewerage System, sufficient to pay, on either equal or priority basis, said bonds and interest as the same shall become due and to create and maintain reasonable reserves therefor, which amount may consist of all or any part or portion of such revenues; (f) to accept from any authorized agency of the State or the Federal Government, or from persons, firms, or corporations, grants or contributions for the planning, construction, acquisition, lease, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any Sewerage System and to enter into agreements with such agency respecting such loans and grants; and (g) to enter into a contract or contracts with any City or Town situated within the County providing for the disposal of sewage collected by any Sewerage System either for a specified or an unlimited time and for the charge to be made for such service by any such City or Town. The Levy Court of the County in determining the cost of acquiring or constructing any Sewerage System may include all costs and estimated costs of the issuance of said bonds, all planning, engineering, inspection, fiscal and legal expenses, and interest which it is estimated will accrue during the construction period and for six months thereafter on money borrowed or which it is estimated will be borrowed pursuant to this act.
Section 4. No Sewerage System, or any part thereof, shall be constructed or maintained within the boundaries of any City or Town situated in the County without the consent of such City or Town, which consent shall be given only by an ordinance adopted by the council or other governing body of such City or Town.
Section 5. The planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any Sewerage System may be authorized under this act and bonds may be authorized to be issued under this act to provide funds for such purpose or purposes by resolution or resolutions of the Levy Court. Said bonds shall bear interest at such rate or rates, may be in one or more series, may bear such date or dates, may mature at such time or times not exceeding forty years from their respective dates, may be payable in such medium of payment, at such place or places, may carry such registration privileges, may be subject to such terms of redemption, may be executed in such manner, may contain such terms, covenants and conditions, and may be in such form, either coupon or registered, as such resolution or subsequent resolutions may provide. Said bonds shall be sold at public sale upon sealed proposals after at least ten days' notice published at least once in a newspaper published in the City of Wilmington in the State of Delaware; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that any of said bonds may be sold at private sale to the United States of America, or any agency, instrumentality or corporation thereof, at not less than par. Pending the preparation of the definitive bonds, interim receipts or certificates in such form and with such provisions as the Levy Court may determine may be issued to the purchaser or purchasers of bonds sold pursuant to this act. The rate of interest may be determined in advance of sale, or the bonds may be offered for sale at a rate of interest to be fixed by the successful bidder for such bonds.
Section 6. Said bonds bearing the signature of officers in office on the date of the signing thereof shall be valid and binding obligations notwithstanding that before the delivery thereof and payment therefor any or all the persons whose signatures appear thereon shall have ceased to be officers of the County. The validity of said bonds shall not be dependent on nor affected by the validity or regularity of any proceedings relating to the planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment, or extension of the Sewerage System for which said bonds are issued. The resolution authorizing said bonds may provide that the bonds shall contain a recital that they are issued pursuant to this act, which recital shall be conclusive evidence of their validity and of the regularity of their issuance.
Section 7. The faith and credit of the County are hereby pledged to the payment of any bonds issued by the County under this act. The Levy Court of the County shall, annually appropriate to the payment of such bonds and the interest thereon the amounts required to pay such bonds and interest as the same become due and payable. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law the Levy Court shall have power to levy an ad valorem tax, without limitation as to rate or amount, upon all property taxable by the County to raise the moneys necessary to meet any such appropriation.
Section 8. In the event that the County shall issue Revenue Bonds, the resolution or resolutions authorizing the issuance of such bonds may contain covenants as to (a) the purpose or purposes to which the proceeds of sale of said bonds may be applied and the use and disposition thereof, (b) the use and disposition of the revenue of the Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such bonds, in eluding the creation and maintenance of reserves, (c) the issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenues of such Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems, (d) the operation and maintenance of such Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems, (e) the insurance to be carried thereon and the use and disposition of insurance moneys, (f) books of account and the inspection and audit thereof, and (g) the terms and conditions upon which the holders of said bonds or any proportion of them or any trustee therefor shall be entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the appropriate court, which court shall have jurisdiction in such proceedings, and which receiver may enter and take possession of said Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems, operate and maintain the same, prescribe Service Charges therefor, and collect, receive and apply all revenue thereafter arising therefrom in the same manner as the County itself might do. The provisions of this act and any such resolution or resolutions shall be a contract with the holder or holders of said bonds, and the duties of the County and of the Levy Court and officers under this act and any such resolution or resolutions shall be enforceable by any bondholder, by mandamus or other appropriate suit, action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Section 9. If the County shall issue Revenue Bonds under this act the Levy Court shall prescribe and collect reasonable Service Charges for the services and facilities rendered or afforded by the Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such bonds, and shall revise such Service Charges from time to time whenever necessary. The Service Charges prescribed shall be such as will procure revenue at least sufficient (a) to pay when due all Revenue Bonds and interest thereon, for the payment of which such revenue is or shall have been pledged, charged or otherwise encumbered, including reserves therefor, and (b) to provide for all expenses of operation and maintenance of such Sewerage System or Sewerage Systems, including reserves therefor. Such Service Charges when collected shall be applied to the payment of such Revenue Bonds and interest and to the expenses of such operation and maintenance in accordance with the resolution or resolutions authorizing such Revenue Bonds.
Section 10. The Levy Court shall have power to charge and collect rents, rates, fees or other charges (in this act sometimes referred to as "Service Charges") for direct or indirect connection with, or the use or services of, any Sewerage System. Such Service Charges may be charged to and collected from any person contracting for such connection or use or service or from the owner or occupant, or both of them, of any real property which directly or indirectly is or has been connected with such Sewerage System, or from or on which originates or has originated sewage which directly or indirectly has entered or may enter into such Sewerage System, and such owner or occupant, or both of them, of any such real property shall be liable for and shall pay such Service Charges to the County at the time when and place where the Levy Court shall by ordinance, rule or regulation determine that such charges shall be due and payable. Such Service Charges shall, as near as the Levy Court shall deem practicable and equitable, be uniform throughout the area served by such Sewerage System, and may be based or computed either on the consumption of water on or in connection with the real property, making due allowances for commercial use of water, or on the number and kind of water outlets on or in connection with the real property, or on the number and kind of plumbing or sewerage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with the real property, or on the number of persons residing or working on or otherwise connected or identified with the real property, or on other factors determining the type, class and amount of use or service of the Sewerage System, or on any combination of any such factors. In the event that a Service Charge with regard to any parcel of real property shall not be paid as and when due, interest shall accrue and be due to the County on the unpaid balance at the rate of one per centum per month until such Service Charge, and the interest thereon, shall be fully paid to the County. In the event that any Service Charge with respect to any parcel of real property shall not be paid as and when due the County Engineer of the County may, in his discretion, enter upon such parcel and cause the connection thereof leading directly or indirectly to the Sewerage System to be cut and shut off until such Service Charge and any subsequent Service Charge with regard to such parcel and all interest accrued thereon shall be fully paid.
Section 11. Each municipality or public corporation, or other person or persons or corporation, owning or operating any system of water distribution serving three or more parcels of real property in the County shall, from time to time after request therefor by the County Engineer, deliver to the County Engineer a statement or statements showing the amount of water supplied to every such parcel of real property as shown by the records of such municipality or public corporation, or other person or persons or corporation. Such statements shall be delivered to the County Engineer within ten days after request is made for them, and the County Engineer shall pay the reasonable cost of preparation and delivery of such statements. The occupant of every parcel of property the sewage from which is disposed of or treated by any Sewerage System of the County shall, upon request therefor by the County Engineer, furnish to the County Engineer information as to the amount of water consumed by such occupant or in connection with such parcel and the number and kind of water outlets, and plumbing or sewerage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with such parcel and the number of persons working or residing therein.
Section 12. In the event that any Service Charge shall not be paid as and when due, the unpaid balance thereof and any interest accrued thereon shall be a lien on the parcel of real property with regard to which such Service Charge was made. Such lien shall be superior and paramount to the interest in such parcel of any owner, lessee, tenant, mortgagee or other person, except the lien of taxes. Payment of Service. Charges shall be enforced by the President of the Levy Court in the same manner as assessments levied for the construction of sewers made pursuant to Sections 25 and 26 of Chapter 43, Revised Code of Delaware, 1935.
Section 13. Each City or Town or other public corporation owning or operating any water distribution system serving three or more parcels of real property in the County, and every other person owning or operating any such system may, and is hereby authorized to, enter into and perform a contract with the County that it will, upon request by the Levy Court of the County specifying a parcel of real property in the County charged with any unpaid Service Charge under Section 10 of this act, cause the supply of water from its system to such parcel of real property to be stopped or restricted, as the Levy Court may request, until such Service Charge and any subsequent Service, Charge charged to such parcel and the interest accrued thereon shall be fully paid or until the Levy. Court directs otherwise. No such City or Town or other public corporation or other person shall be liable for any loss, damage or other claim based on or arising out of the stopping or restricting of such supply, and the Levy Court shall pay the reasonable cost of so stopping or restricting such supply and of restoring the same and may agree to indemnify such City or. Town, or other public corporation or other person from loss or damage by reason of such stopping or restriction, including loss of profits.
Section 14. The Levy Court is hereby authorized to make a contract or contracts with any City or Town within the territorial limits of the County to dispose of or treat by means of any Sewerage System of the County the sewage originating in such City or Town. Any such contract may be authorized by resolution duly adopted by the Levy Court and may be made with or without consideration and may contain provisions obligating the County to dispose of and treat all or any part of the sewage originating in such City or Town and obligating such City or Town to permit the County to dispose of or treat such sewage, either for a specific period, of time or for an unlimited time. Any such contract may contain other and different provisions relative to the kind and character of sewage to be disposed of and treated and the compensation, if any, to be paid for such services.
Section 15. The powers conferred by this act shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the powers conferred by any other general, special or local law. The powers conferred by this act may be exercised notwithstanding that any other general, special or local law may confer such powers, and without regard to the requirements, restrictions, limitations or other provisions contained in such other general, special or local law.
Section 16. It is hereby declared that the sections, clauses, sentences and parts of this act are severable, are not matters of mutual essential inducement, and any of them may be exscinded by any court of competent jurisdiction, and if any provision shall be adjudged unconstitutional or invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remaining provisions thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the specific provision or provisions so held unconstitutional or invalid, and the inapplicability or invalidity of any section, clause, sentence or part of this act in any one or more instances shall not be taken to affect or prejudice in any way the applicability or validity in any other instances.
Approved April 27, 1951.