CHAPTER 318

RELATING TO CITY OF DOVER

AN ACT TO AMEND THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF DOVER, CHAPTER 158, VOLUME 36, LAWS OF DELAWARE, BY REVISING THE PROVISIONS FOR THE CONDUCT OF MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS AND THE QUALIFICATIONS OF VOTERS, THE PROVISIONS FOR THE PAY OF THE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF COUNCIL; BY AUTHORIZING THE EXTENSION OF THE SEWER SYSTEM OUTSIDE THE CITY LIMITS AND THE IMPOSITION OF SEWER RENTS; BY REVISING THE PROVISIONS FOR BORROWING MONEY FOR MUNICIPAL PURPOSES; BY AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE OF BONDS FOR CERTAIN MUNICIPAL PURPOSES PURSUANT TO A REFERENDUM AND BY PROVIDING FOR A REFERENDUM.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all the Members of each Branch thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. That Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out Section 8 of said Chapter and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 8, to read as follows:

Section 8. (a) The regular municipal election shall be held on the third Monday in January of each year. At each such election the polls shall be opened at 1:00 P. M. and closed at 7:00 P. M. The Council shall designate the place of election and make all necessary rules and regulations not inconsistent with this Charter or with other Laws of the State of Delaware for the conduct of elections, for the prevention of fraud in elections, and for the recount of ballots in case of doubt or fraud.

(b) All elections shall be held by an Election Board which shall consist of the Alderman and two of the four members of Council whose terms of office continue for the year following the election, to be chosen by the Council at a meeting prior to the election. The Council may designate such other persons as it shall deem necessary to assist the members of the Election Board in the conduct of the election and counting of the ballots. Should any or all of the members of the Election Board be absent from the place of election at 1:00 P. M. on the day of election or fail or neglect to act in the conduct of such election during the time the polls are open and until the ballots are counted and the results of the election are certified, the voters of the City present at such time may choose from the qualified voters of the City such person or persons as shall be necessary to fill the places made vacant by the absence or neglect aforesaid.

(c) When the polls are closed the Election Board shall publicly count the votes and shall certify the result of the election to each of the persons elected and to the Council. The candidate for the office of Mayor who receives the highest number of votes cast for that office shall be declared to be elected Mayor, and the candidate for the office of Councilman from each district who has received the highest number of votes cast for Councilman in that district shall be declared to be elected to that office. In the event of a tie vote for any office the Election Board shall determine the person elected to that office by lot.

(d) Every resident of The City of Dover who shall have reached the age of twenty-one (21) years, who has resided in The City of Dover for at least six (6) months preceding the day of election, and who is not delinquent in the payment of any tax levied by the City shall be entitled to vote at the regular municipal elections. Any person who by the 31st day of December next preceding the day of a regular municipal election has failed to pay any tax levied against such person or his property by The City of Dover shall be considered delinquent in the payment of his taxes and shall not be eligible to vote.

The Council by ordinance duly adopted may provide for the registration of voters and require that a person otherwise qualified to vote must also be properly registered in order to vote in the municipal elections. Any such ordinance providing for registration of voters shall make adequate provision for the preparation and custody of registration books and for the entry therein of the names of registered voters, their qualifications as such, the fact of their voting at each municipal election, and such other matters as may be required by this Charter or the Laws of the State of Delaware. Reasonable opportunity shall be provided for voters to register, and there shall be at least three (3) registration days in each year.

(e) The Council shall provide for each election a sufficient number of official ballots printed on white paper and containing the names of the candidates for each office listed in alphabetical order under the names of the offices to which they seek election. The Election Board shall supply one official ballot to each qualified voter as he enters the polls. If a voter spoils a ballot so delivered to him he may be provided with a new ballot only upon the return to the Election Board of the spoiled ballot. No ballot other than an official ballot supplied to a voter as he enters the polls shall be cast at a municipal election, and no official ballots shall be supplied to any person except a voter entering the polls to vote.

The Council may provide sample ballots plainly marked as such and printed on paper of any color except white to be distributed to any voter or candidate who requests them prior to or during an election.

(f) The Council by ordinance duly adopted may provide for the use of voting machines in municipal elections.

Section 2. That Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out Section 12 of said Chapter and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 12, to read as follows:

Section 12. The Mayor and each member of Council shall be paid the sum of Ten Dollars ($10.00) for each regular or special meeting of the City Council which he attends. Any member of the City Council sitting to hear appeals from the municipal assessment shall be paid the sum of Ten Dollars ($10.00), and each member of the Election Board shall be paid such amount as the Council shall determine for his services. The Mayor and members of the City Council shall be reimbursed for all expenses incurred in the execution of their official duties.

Section 3. That Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by adding at the end of Section 26 thereof the following two paragraphs:

The Council may extend the sewer system of the City to places outside of the City limits upon such terms, charges and conditions as it shall determine.

The Council is hereby authorized to impose a charge or rent for the use of the sewer system of the City, both within and without the limits of the City, and in addition to the connection or tapping charges.

Section 4. That Chapter 158, Volume 36, Laws of Delaware, as amended, be and the same is hereby further amended by striking out Section 50 of said Chapter and substituting in lieu thereof a new Section 50, to read as follows:

Section 50. (a) Whenever the needs of the City shall require more money than is at the time in the City treasury from current receipts, the Council shall be authorized and empowered to anticipate current revenue by borrowing such sum as shall be needed, not in excess of the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) in any one year. The amount so borrowed shall be paid back out of current revenue received thereafter.

To exercise the power aforesaid the Council shall adopt a resolution to that effect, which resolution shall require the affirmative vote of at least three-fourths of all members of Council, and the approval of the Mayor. The indebtedness created under this section shall be evidenced by the bond, or note, of the City, and the faith and credit of the City shall be deemed to be pledged thereby.

(b) The City Council is hereby authorized and empowered to borrow from time to time on the faith and credit of The City of Dover sums of money for the construction, enlargement, improvement, or repair of the water, electric, and sewer plants, and of the streets and buildings of the City, and for these purposes, the City Council shall have full power and authority to issue bonds of the said "The City of Dover."

The aggregate of the amounts so borrowed, together with all other bonded indebtedness of The City of Dover, shall not at any time exceed the sum of Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000.00).

The said bonds shall be issued in one or more series, shall bear such dates or dates, shall mature at such time or times, shall bear interest at such rate or rates, shall be payable at such time or times, and at such place or places, shall be in such denominations, and shall contain such other provisions as the Mayor and Council may provide and shall be set forth in the said bonds. Said bonds may or may not be coupon bonds and may be registered or otherwise as the Mayor and Council deem advisable.

The Mayor and Council shall direct and effect the preparation and sale of said bonds at such time or times, at such price or prices, and upon such terms as the said Mayor and Council deem advisable, and all the monies arising from the sale of said bonds shall be used for the municipal purposes of the City of Dover specified in the resolution authorizing their issue.

The form of said bonds and of any coupons which may be thereunto attached shall be as prescribed by the Mayor and Council, and all such bonds shall be signed by the Mayor and the Treasurer of The City of Dover and sealed with the corporate seal thereof. Facsimile signatures of the Mayor and Treasurer may be imprinted upon any coupons attached to said bonds in lieu of the signatures of the said Mayor and Treasurer in their own handwriting.

Said bonds of The City of Dover shall be exempt from all State, County and Municipal taxes.

The Mayor and Council of The City of Dover are hereby authorized and required to levy and raise by taxation in each and every year such sums of money as may be required to pay the interest accrued on said bonds while all or any of said bonds remain unpaid, and the said Mayor and the City Council are further authorized and required to levy and raise by taxation, from time to time, such sum or sums of money as shall be needed to establish such sinking fund as the said Mayor and the City Council may at their discretion authorize for the redemption of said bonds, or any of them, at or before their maturity and such sum or sums of money as shall be required to otherwise redeem any or all of said bonds at or before their maturity. Taxes for interest and for redemption of said bonds shall be levied and raised as taxes for general municipal purposes in the said City are levied and raised, and shall be in addition to the taxes levied and raised for any and all other municipal purposes.

A statement appearing in the bonds issued under the provisions of this section to the effect that the bonds have been duly authorized shall be deemed and held to be conclusive evidence in favor of the lawful holder of any such bonds that the terms and conditions of this section have been fully met and complied with.

(c) Before any bonds shall be issued under the provisions of this Act, the said bond issue shall be approved by a referendum vote of the qualified voters of "The City of Dover." Notice of the holding of such referendum election shall be authorized by resolution of the Mayor and Council, published once a week, for at least three consecutive weeks in at least one newspaper published in the City of Dover, Delaware. Such notice shall set out in summary form the amount and purposes of such bond issue, the date and place of holding the referendum election and the hours the polls will be open.

At said referendum election every resident and non-resident taxable of the City, of the age of twenty-one years, or upwards who has, by the time of voting, paid all city taxes theretofore assessed to him and/or assessed against the property he owns at the time of the referendum election, shall be entitled to vote and shall have one vote for each dollar, or fractional part of a dollar, of taxes paid by him according to the last city assessment and tax payment records preceding the referendum election. The Judge of the election shall note on the outside of each ballot, before he deposits the ballot in the ballot box, the number of votes to which each voter is entitled, in accordance with City assessment and tax payment records.

In cases of jointly owned property, the votes of the owners of shares therein shall be in accordance with their respective shares, or if all owners appear at the polls and so consent, all of the votes may be cast by the owner of any share, except that the spouse first present at the polls may cast all the votes in reference to property held by husband and wife as tenants by the entirety. Life tenants shall have the entire vote as to the property so held, and holders of remainder interest only shall have no vote by reason thereof.

The Mayor and Council shall provide sufficient ballots which shall have printed thereon "For Bond Issue" and "Against Bond Issue." Each voter shall indicate his preference by making a clearly legible mark, by pencil or in ink, opposite the words showing his preference, or by merely striking out the alternative to which he is opposed, or by said mark of preference and also by striking out the alternative to which he is opposed. Any other writing and/or form of marking the ballot, except the number of votes noted thereon by the Judge, shall render it void. No voting by proxy shall be permitted.

The Mayor and Council shall, prior to the date of the referendum election, appoint one judge and two clerks to pass upon the qualifications and number of votes of each voter and to conduct the election, and a majority of the election officers present at the opening of the polls shall fill any vacancy among the election officers. A majority of the election officers shall be sufficient to decide the qualifications and the number of votes of the voters. The Mayor and Council, prior to the date of the referendum election, shall designate either the City Manager or other City employee familiar with the City assessment and tax payment records to attend the election with the last City assessment and tax payment records for the inspection of the election officers. The referendum election shall be held not less than thirty days after the approval of this Act and at such date thereafter as the Mayor and Council shall designate after having first determined the extent of the present and probable future municipal improvements and having available such estimates of the probable cost of the same as they deem advisable. The referendum election shall be held at such suitable place in the said City as the Mayor and Council shall designate in said published notice. The polls shall be open from 2 o'clock P. M. (Eastern Standard Time), and shall close at 7 o'clock P. M. (Eastern Standard Time), unless at the time of said election Daylight Saving Time be in effect in said City in which case the polls shall open at 2 o'clock P. M. (Daylight Saving Time) and shall close at 7 o'clock P. M. (Daylight Saving Time). The Judge of the election shall, in the case of a tie vote on the bond issue, cast the deciding vote, otherwise he shall refrain from voting, but the election clerks may vote.

The election clerks shall each keep a separate tally sheet and their tally sheets shall be compared and must agree as to the total votes cast for and the total votes cast against the bond issue. Both tally sheets shall then be certified as correct by at least two of the election officers and be delivered to the Mayor, or to the Clerk of Council, immediately after the tally sheets are compared, are in agreement and have been certified.

The Mayor and Council shall at the next regular meeting after the election, or at a special meeting, receive the results of the referendum election and make the same a part of the minutes of said meeting, whereupon if a majority of the votes cast were "For Bond Issue" this Act immediately shall become effective and the bonds herein provided for may be issued and sold as in this Act provided, but if at such referendum election the majority of the votes cast were "Against Bond Issue," then no bonds shall be issued nor shall any money be borrowed under this Act.

Approved July 8, 1953.