CHAPTER 276

RELATING TO DRAINAGE OF LAND

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 41, TITLE 7, DELAWARE CODE, ENTITLED "DRAINAGE OF LANDS; TAX DITCHES".

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

Section 1. § 4101, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4101. Declaration of policy

It is declared that the drainage and the prevention of flooding of low, wet, swampy or overflowed lands or lands subject to overflow shall be considered a public benefit and conducive to the public health, safety and welfare.

Section 2. § 4103, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by adding a fourth definition thereto as follows:

"Drainage" means water management, by drainage areas or watersheds, to safely remove or control both excess, surface flood waters and damaging, excess sub-surface waters.

Section 3. § 4104, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4104. Application of chapter; effect of chapter on previously established drainage organizations and on earlier drainage laws

(a) Any landowner or owners in an area served by a drainage organization established prior to June 1, 1951, under any other law of this State, or any landowner or owners who desire their lands to be drained or protected from flooding may, at any time, petition for the establishment of a Tax Ditch under the provisions of this chapter.

(b) In those cases, when an existing drainage organization becomes a Tax Ditch under the provisions of this chapter, the present assets or liabilities of said existing drainage organization may be transferred to the Tax Ditch provided that such assets or liabilities are declared by the Tax Ditch Commissioners in their report, and that the transfer of such assets or liabilities is approved by the affected taxables either by a referendum held by Board of Ditch Commissioners pursuant to section 4132 of this title or by a signed statement pursuant to section 4135 of this title.

(c) No drainage organization shall be established or reorganized under any law of this State, other than this chapter. However, Article 2, Chapter 65, and Article 1, Chapter 105, of the 1935 Revised Code of Delaware shall remain in effect and shall apply to drainage organizations established thereunder prior to June 1, 1951, unless such drainage organizations reform or reorganize under the provisions of this chapter.

Section 4. § 4106, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4106. Continuation; membership; qualifications; term of office; vacancies; secretary

(a) A Board of Ditch Commissioners, consisting of three ditch commissioners and three alternate ditch commissioners, is continued for each county within the State. Upon the expiration of the terms of office of the present and all future commissioners, the Resident Associate Judge for each county shall appoint ditch commissioners and alternate ditch commissioners, who may be selected from lists of ten or more names submitted by the supervisors of the Soil Conservation District within the County. Each ditch commissioner and alternate ditch commissioner shall be a resident landowner of the county from which he is appointed, shall have some knowledge of flood and drainage problems and shall be familiar with farming and with land values within such county.

(b) The term of office for each ditch commissioner shall be three years. The term of office for the alternate ditch commissioners shall be one year each. A ditch commissioner or alternate ditch commissioner may be re-appointed to succeed himself.
All appointments shall be effective as of August 1 of each year.

(c) In the case of the death, resignation, or removal from office of a ditch commissioner, the vacancy shall be filled by the appointment of one of the alternate ditch commissioners to serve for the remainder of the term of the vacating ditch commissioner.

(d) Except in the case of death or removal from office, a ditch commissioner shall hold office until his successor has been appointed.

(e) The State Drainage Engineer shall serve as secretary, without voting authority, for each of the County Boards of Ditch Commissioners.

Section 5. § 4109 (b), Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

(b) Ditch Commissioners will be reimbursed for their expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties in connection with the formation of a Tax Ditch after the Ditch Order has become effective, or at such time as the Superior Court issues an order denying the petition for the formation of the Tax Ditch.

Section 6. § 4117, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4117. Petition for formation of a Tax Ditch; assistance of State Drainage Engineer

(a) Whenever one or more of the owners of any lands desire their lands to be drained or protected from flooding, they may present a petition for the formation of a Tax Ditch to the Superior Court of the county in which all or the major portion of the area to be drained, or protected from flooding, is located, through the Board of Supervisors of the Soil Conservation District of the county.

(b) The services of the State Drainage Engineer shall be available to assist the landowners in the preparation of such petitions.

Section 7. § 4122, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4122. Investigation; hearing

The County Soil Conservation District shall cause an investigation to be made by the State Drainage Engineer in order to ascertain the general location and approximate watershed boundaries of the proposed Tax Ditch, and to obtain other information to assist the District to determine whether the formation of the Tax Ditch is practicable and feasible and is in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare. The District may hold such hearings as it deems necessary in order to assist it in making such determination.

Section 8. § 4125, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4125. Filing of petition and report; action by District when formation is found to be not practicable and feasible

(a) If the County Soil Conservation District determines that the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch is practicable, feasible and in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, it shall file the petition in the office of the Prothonotary of the county in which all or the major portion of the land to be drained or protected from flooding is located, together with the report of the State Drainage Engineer and such other relevant information as the District deems appropriate.

(b) In those cases where the County Soil Conservation District determines that the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch is not practicable and feasible or is not in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare, it shall so notify all of the petitioners involved, and a new petition for the formation of that Tax Ditch may not be re-filed for a period of one year from the date of said notice.

Section 9. § 4126, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4126. Determinations to be made by Board of Ditch Commissioners

(a) Upon the filing of a petition for the formation of a Tax Ditch in the office of the Prothonotary of a county, the Board of Tax Commissioners of such county, acting as officers of the Court, shall, at the direction of the Resident Judge thereof, go upon the lands to be drained or protected from flooding and determine the approximate sizes, grades and locations of the required drainage ditches ; the sizes, locations and specifications for required dikes, levees, structures and other necessary works of improvement ; the location of public roads and railroads, and public utility installations within the watershed of the proposed Tax Ditch ; the exterior boundaries of said watershed; the approximate boundaries of each farm, parcel or piece of land within the Tax Ditch watershed; the location and extent of needed permanent rights of way ; the estimated total cost of all required Tax Ditch works of improvement ; the damages to lands, if any, which will result from the construction of the Tax Ditch; and an equitable basis, considering relative benefits to each landowner, for the distribution of costs. The Board of Ditch Commissioners shall obtain from the County Soil Conservation District such assistance and information as is needed in making the required determinations.

(b) In those cases when all of the landowners involved, with the approval of the Board of Ditch Commissioners and with the cooperation of the County Soil Conservation District and the State Drainage Engineer, (1) jointly make the determinations regularly assigned to the Board of Ditch Commissioners in sections 4126 (a) and 4127 of this title, and (2) prepare the assessment list required by section 4129 of this title, and (3) supply any additional data necessary to complete the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners required by section 4130 of this title and (4) personally sign a statement to the effect that they approve the formation of the Tax Ditch, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall prepare their report from said determinations and such data without going upon the lands to be drained or protected from flooding.

Section 10. § 4127, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4127. Existing works of improvement; compensation for work done thereon

The Board of Ditch Commissioners may deem adequate any works of improvement already constructed, including but not limited to ditches and structures and may incorporate these in the Tax Ditch, and may allow a fair compensation to landowners for work previously done by them on such works of improvement.

Section 11. § 4128, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4128. Factors in determination of cost

(a) In determining the total cost of the proposed Tax Ditch works of improvement, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall include, among other things, the estimated costs of construction, the estimated cost of forming the Tax Ditch, the amount of damages, if any, awarded to landowners and the amount of compensation, if any, to be paid to landowners for works of improvement previously constructed and deemed adequate under section 4127 of this title.

(b) The estimated cost of interest which will develop if the Tax Ditch borrows money to finance construction and the estimated cost of annual maintenance shall not be included in the total cost of the proposed Tax Ditch works of improvement.

Section 12. § 4129, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4129. Assessment list

After determining the basis for distribution of costs among the landowners, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall prepare an assessment list which shall show the names of all owners of property, wholly or partly within the watershed of the proposed Tax Ditch, together with addresses and descriptions of those properties as currently recorded by the Board of Assessment of the county. The list shall also show, for each property,

that portion, expressed in acres, which is within the watershed or drainage area. The cost-sharing or assessment base, expressed in dollars, for each of said properties shall also be shown. The sum of the individual property assessment bases shall be termed the total assessment base which in all cases shall be equal to or greater than the total cost of the proposed Tax Ditch works of improvement. The assessment list, as modified by the Ditch Order, described in section 4137 of this title, shall be the basis for all taxes levied under this chapter.

Section 13. § 4130, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4130. Proposed report of Board of Ditch Commissioners

The Board of Ditch Commissioners, with the assistance of the State Drainage Engineer, shall prepare a proposed report containing the following determinations and information--

(1) The name of the proposed Tax Ditch;

(2) The Hundred and the County in which the proposed Tax Ditch is situated ;

(1) A map, drawing or serial photograph, to a suitable scale, on which the following is shown:

(A) The main ditch, all prongs, all sub-prongs and other divisions of the proposed Tax Ditch;

(B) All dikes, levees, structures and other works of improvement of the proposed Tax Ditch;

(C) All railroads, public highways and all public utility installations near the points where such reach, cross, or pass close to any part of the proposed Tax Ditch;

(D) The exterior boundaries of the Tax Ditch watershed or area proposed to be drained ;

shed, together with the identification of each farm, parcel or piece of land by name or code number ;

(F) The location and extent of rights of way, including overhead and underground clearances where necessary, assigned to the Tax Ditch for construction and maintenance operations;

(4) Profiles and cross sections, together with the necessary capacities expressed in cubic feet of discharge per second, of the main ditch, all prongs, all sub-prongs and other divisions of the proposed Tax Ditch ; and specifications, together with necessary drawings, for all other work of improvement of the proposed Tax Ditch; and the required capacities of structures such as culverts and bridges under roads and railroads which cross any part of the Tax Ditch ;

(5) The estimated total cost of the proposed Tax Ditch works of improvement;

(4) The assessment list required under section 4129 of this title;

(4) Factors which influenced the determination of relative benefits and the basis for distribution of costs among the landowners, and other pertinent information ;

(5) The names of all landowners awarded damages or to be paid compensation for works of improvement previously constructed and deemed adequate under section 4127 of this title ; and the amount of damages or compensation to which each such landowner is entitled ; and factors which influenced the determination of the damages awarded and compensation to be paid ;

(6) The number of Ditch Managers, not less than two nor more than five, required to conduct the business affairs of the proposed Tax Ditch;

(7) In the case of a previously existent drainage organization, the amount of present assets to be turned over to, or liabilities to be assumed by the proposed Tax Ditch.

Section 14. § 4131, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4131. Notice of hearing on establishment of Tax Ditch

Upon completion of the proposed report required by section 4130 of this title, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall notify all owners of property, wholly or partly within the watershed of the proposed Tax Ditch, of a hearing concerning the establishment of said Tax Ditch to be held in the county in which all or the major portion of the lands to be drained or protected from flooding is located. The notice shall be given by first class mail at least 15 days prior to the hearing and shall designate the time and place thereof. It shall also state that the purpose of the hearing is to consider the formation of a Tax Ditch which may affect the lands of the person notified and to hold a referdum among the affected landowners concerning the establishment of a Tax Ditch. In addition, the notice shall state the place where a copy of the above proposed report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners will be open to inspection for at least 5 days, excepting Saturday and Sunday, prior to the hearing.

Section 15. § 4132, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4132. Hearing; adoption of proposed report; right to adjourn hearing; referendum

At the time and place designated in the notice, the Board of Ditch Commissioners, with the assistance of the State Drainage Engineer, shall hold a hearing at which all persons interested shall have an opportunity to express their opinions on and objections to the proposed report required by section 4130 of this title. The Board of Ditch Commissioners shall make such changes in the proposed report as it deems warranted from evidence presented at the hearing, and shall then adopt the report and declare it final. If, however, as a result of the hearing, the Board of Ditch Commissioners deems it advisable, it may adjourn the hearing to a fixed future date in order to enable it to re-examine and modify its report in the light of the opinions and objections expressed at the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, a referendum shall be held under the supervision of the Board of

Ditch Commissioners and the State Drainage Engineer. The referendum shall afford each landowner the opportunity to cast his ballot for or against the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch in accordance with the final report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners. Each landowner shall be entitled to the same number of votes as the number of dollars shown as the assessment base for his lands by the Board of Ditch Commissioners.

Section 16. § 4133, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4133. Report; recommendations and other papers; filing

After holding the hearing and supervising the referendum provided. for in section 4132 of this title, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall file the original and two copies of its final report in the .office of the Prothonotary of the county in which all or the major portion of the lands to be drained or prevented from flooding is located, and shall attach to the report a certificate stating the results of the referendum and the place where and the time when it was held. The Board of Ditch Commissioners shall also prepare and attach to the report a statement show-ing--

(1) Whether the Board of Ditch Commissioners has fully discharged the duties assigned to it as prescribed by law ;

(2) Whether the proposed Tax Ditch is practicable and feasible and in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare;

(3) Whether in laying out the Tax Ditch, the lands of every landowner assessed are provided with a direct drainage outlet into some part of the proposed Tax Ditch ;

(4) Any objections made to the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners which did not warrant further changes in the report and the reasons therefor;

(5) Whether, in the opinion of the Board of Ditch Commissioners, the benefits that will result from the construction of the proposed Tax Ditch will exceed the total cost ;

(6) Any other recommendations or information which the Board of Ditch. Commissioners deems pertinent.

Section 17. § 4135, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4135. Waiving of Commissioners' hearing and referendum

In those cases, when all of the landowners involved, indicate by signed statement that they are familiar with the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners and that they favor the formation of the Tax Ditch, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall not hold a hearing and referendum, pursuant to section 4132 of this title, nor shall they give notice thereof as pursuant to section 4131 of this title, but they shall prepare the statement required and file their report, pursuant to section 4133 of this title, without a certificate of referendum.

Section 18. § 4136, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by re-wording subsection (c) and by adding subsection (d) as follows:

(c) If the report of a majority of the Board of Ditch Commissioners is in favor of the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch, and if the statement attached to said report indicates that the total benefits that will result from the Tax Ditch will exceed the total cost of the proposed Tax Ditch works of improvement, and if the certificate stating the results of the referendum shows that a majority of all votes cast were in favor of the formation of the Tax Ditch, then the Superior Court shall set a date for the final hearing on the petition and shall direct the Prothonotary to give notice of the hearing by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which any of the lands to be drained or protected from flooding are located and by posting a written or printed notice on the door of the court house of each such county, such publication and posting to be made for at least 15 days prior to the final hearing. From the time the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners is filed in the office of the Prothonotary of the appropriate county it shall be open to inspection by any interested person.

(d) In those cases, when all of the landowners involved have indicated by signed statement that they are familiar with

the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners and that they favor the formation of the Tax Ditch, and if the report of a majority of the Board of Ditch Commissioners is in favor of the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch, and if the statement attached to the report indicates that the total benefits that will result from the Tax Ditch will exceed the total cost of the proposed Tax Ditch works of improvement, then the Superior Court shall not hold a final hearing, nor give notice thereof, but shall confirm the report and issue an order granting the petition for the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch, the order to become effective immediately, and to be known as the Ditch Order. The confirmed report shall be considered a part of the Ditch Order.

Section 19. § 4137, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4137. Final hearing; Ditch Order

On the date set for the final hearing before the Superior Court, any interested person may appear in person or by counsel and file his objection in writing to the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners. The Superior Court shall review the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners and any objections filed thereto, and make, in consultation with the ditch commissioners, such changes as are necessary to render substantial and equal justice to all interested persons. If the conditions set forth in subsection (c) of section 4136 of this title, still exist after the objections have been considered and the necessary changes have been made in the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners, the Superior Court shall confirm the report and issue an order granting the petition for the formation of the proposed Tax Ditch, said order to be known as the Ditch Order. The confirmed report shall be considered a part of said Ditch Order. If no objections are filed at the final hearing before the Superior Court the Ditch Order shall become effective when issued.

Section 20. § 4138, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by re-wording the first sentence thereof to read as follows :

§ 4138. Right to jury trial; procedure

In those cases when objections to the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners are filed in writing with the Superior

Court and when the party filing feels aggrieved by the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners, such party may apply to the Superior Court, within 30 days after the issuance of the Ditch Order, for an order in the nature of a writ of inquiry to ascertain by the verdict of a jury at the bar of the Court, the full and true value of the relative benefits, damages, injury or loss which will result to the lands of such person from the construction of the proposed Tax Ditch.

Section 21. § 4140, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4140. Notice of final action on Ditch Order

When the Ditch Order has become effective because no objection has been filed, or because the right to appeal therefrom has expired, the Prothonotary shall notify the State Drainage Engineer and the appropriate County Soil Conservation District accordingly, and shall forward two certified copies of the Ditch Order to the State Drainage Engineer.

Section 22. § 4141, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by re-wording the final sentence as follows:

The Prothonotary shall make such docket entries of proceedings as directed by Rule of Court.

Section 23. § 4151 (b), Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

(b) The State Drainage Engineer shall send a notice to every taxable, by first class mail to that landowner's address as currently recorded by the Board of Assessment of the county, at least 10 days prior to said meeting, stating the time, place and object of the meeting.

Section 24. § 4152, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4152. Distribution of Ditch Order and of this chapter; filing of assessment list

(a) At the organization meeting of the Tax Ditch, the State Drainage Engineer shall deliver to the managers, when

elected, a certified copy of the Ditch Order and a copy of this chapter, together with all effective amendments thereto.

(b) The State Drainage Engineer shall deliver another certified copy of the Ditch Order to the State Soil Conservation Commission. This certified copy shall remain as a permanent record in the office of that Commission.

(c) The State Drainage Engineer shall deliver a copy of the assessment list prepared under section 4129 of this title, as modified by the Ditch Order, to the Board of Assessment of the county, making such changes in the names of the owners thereon as are warranted by transfers, to new owners, of lands assessed.

Section 25. § 4156 (c), Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by deleting the third and final sentence thereof.

Section 26. § 4159, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

§ 4159. Annual and other meetings of taxables; notice of meetings

At the first meeting the taxables shall set a date for the regular annual meeting, which shall be held in January. This date may not be changed except by action of a majority of the taxables present at a regular annual meeting. The chairman of the ditch managers may call special meetings at such times as the circumstances warrant. At least 10 days notice of all meetings shall be given by the ditch managers using either of the following methods :

(1) By publishing in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of a Tax Ditch, and by posting at five conspicuous places in or near the area of said Tax Ditch, a notice stating the time, place and object of the meeting; or

(2) By mailing to each affected taxable at the address currently shown on the records of the Board of Assessment of the county, a notice stating the time, place and object of the meeting.

Section 27. § 4161, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by adding the following at the end thereof :

(8) Accept contributions from landowners assessed in the Tax Ditch, and disburse such funds for the purposes of performing certain operations, such as, but not limited to, additional clearing or the installation of structures, which operations are authorized in the Tax Ditch Order, but which are not included in the original estimated construction requirements and costs.

(9) Call upon the State Drainage Engineer for assistance with administrative and operations problems of the Tax Ditch.

Section 28. § 4162, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4162. Duties of ditch managers

In addition to the duties specified in other sections of this chapter, the ditch managers shall--

(1) Determine from the taxables the desired program of operations ;

(2) Determine the amount of taxes to be levied to carry out such desired program ;

(3) Secure specific authority for borrowing money, in the name of the Tax Ditch, by a majority vote of the taxables present at a duly called meeting of the Tax Ditch;

(4) At the first meeting, or within 30 days thereafter, prepare, with the assistance of the State Drainage Engineer, a comprehensive plan for carrying out the desired program, which plan shall include provisions for levying taxes and for financing the program ;

(5) Execute warrants, with the assistance of the State Drainage Engineer, to the Receiver of Taxes and County

Treasurer authorizing and requesting the collection of all Tax Ditch taxes other than maintenance taxes ;

(6) Execute a warrant, with the assistance of the State Drainage Engineer, to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer authorizing and requesting the annual collection of a tax in the amount of 2 percent of the total assessment base, or in the amount of 2 percent of the total benefits for Tax Ditches previously formed under the original provisions of this chapter, said warrant to be marked plainly as being for annual maintenance taxes, and to be issued simultaneously with the issuance of the first warrant for the collection of taxes for construction purposes;

(7) Make a report, at the annual meeting, of their activities during the year preceding such annual meeting;

(8) Provide for construction work on the Tax Ditch;

(9) Provide for adequate maintenance of the Tax Ditch.

Section 29. § 4168, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4168. Limitation on borrowing power of Tax Ditch

A Tax Ditch may borrow money pursuant to this chapter with the consent of a majority of the votes cast at a meeting duly called under the provisions of section 4159 of this title. In no event shall a Tax Ditch borrow money in excess of 90 percent of the total assessment base established by the Ditch Order.

Section 30. § 4171, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended by adding the following sentence at the end thereof :

The State Drainage Engineer shall assist the various Boards of Assessment of all three counties, upon request, to make such changes in their special ditch assessment books as are warranted by transfers of properties listed therein.

Section 31. § 4172, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4172. Determination of tax; method

In determining the amount of any taxes to be levied against each owner's lands under this chapter, the ditch managers shall determine the same in accordance with the ratio which exists between the assessment base for each property and the total assessment base for the Tax Ditch.

Section 32. § 4176, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4176. Collection of Taxes levied by Tax Ditch; duties of Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer

All taxes levied by any Tax Ditch organized under the provisions of this chapter shall be collected by the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer in the county or counties wherein the lands taxed are located. The Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer shall accept tax warrants in proper form from such Tax Ditches, shall refer to Tax Ditch assessment lists on file with the Board of Assessment of the County and shall collect such taxes warranted annually, pursuant to the terms of the warrants in the same manner as provided by law for the collection of county taxes, and money so collected shall be paid monthly to the receiver designated in the tax warrants. Warrants received not later than May first of each year, by the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer, shall be processed to be collected during that same year. Tax warrants marked plainly as being for annual maintenance taxes shall be filed by the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer in a special binder and the same shall be maintained as part of the permanent records of that office. Such annual maintenance taxes shall be deemed to have been levied by the Tax Ditch as of April 30th of each year, except the year in which the original or a revised maintenance tax warrant is delivered to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer, in which case the levy shall be effective from and after the date of the delivery of such warrant. Annual maintenance taxes, once warranted, shall be collected yearly by the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer, except that an annual maintenance tax shall not be collected during any tax year when another warrant, whether for construction taxes or

special taxes, for an identical portion of the Tax Ditch is in effect and is being collected. The Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer shall accept original tax warrants for annual maintenance taxes signed by the chairman of the ditch managers and attested by the secretary-treasurer of the Tax Ditch. Such warrants may not be withdrawn and may not be revised except with the consent of the County Soil Conservation District, pursuant to section 4181 of this title.

Section 33. § 4186, (c), Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows:

(c) Whoever wilfully obstructs or damages any part of a Tax Ditch, as specified in subsection (a) of this section, or wilfully interferes in any way with Tax Ditch operations as provided for in this chapter or in a Ditch Order made pursuant to this chapter, shall be fined not more than $100.

Section 34. § 4188, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4188. Addition of territory to a Tax Ditch

(a) Any landowner who desires his lands to be included within a Tax Ditch formed under the provisions of this chapter, may present a petition for an amendment to the existing Ditch Order to include such lands, to the Superior Court of the county which issued said Ditch Order through the Board of Supervisors of the Soil Conservation District of the same county, and the procedure shall be substantially the same as method in section 4189 (c) of this title, for amending a Ditch Order, except that, in addition to establishing an assessment base which will be the basis for all future ditch taxes, for each parcel of land being included within the Tax Ditch, a special assessment, based generally on the approximate total amount of taxes that would have been levied against such parcels of land since the Tax Ditch was formed, had such lands been within the original boundaries of said Tax Ditch and other considerations, shall be determined by the Board of Ditch Commissioners and payment thereof prescribed in their report to the Superior Court.

() In those cases when any landowner drains, directly or indirectly, into any part of a Tax Ditch, land which is not

within the drainage area of the Tax Ditch as established in the Ditch Order and which was not assessed as part of the Tax Ditch, or which was not assessed to the prong or part of the Tax Ditch into which said land is drained, and when the landowner or owners have not secured an amendment to the Ditch Order in accordance with the procedure set forth in subsection (a) of this section, it shall be assumed that such landowner accepts the liability for payment of a special assessment and costs incurred in processing an amendment to the Ditch Order, in addition to all future ditch taxes, and it shall be the duty of the Ditch Managers in the name of the Tax Ditch to present a petition for an amendment to the existing Ditch Order to include such lands, in the same manner as set forth in subsection (a) of the section and the procedure shall be the same as outlined in that subsection, except that estimated costs of processing the amendment shall be added to the special assessment which will be established by the Board of Ditch Commissioners.

(c) In those cases when any landowner desires his lands to be included within a Tax Ditch and when agreement can be reached on the part of the landowner and the Tax Ditch managers as to the special assessment to be paid and the assessment base to be established as the basis for all future ditch taxes, then method (1) or method (2) of section 4189 of this title may be used to add the additional territory to the Tax Ditch.

Section 35. § 4189, Title 7, Delaware Code, is amended to read as follows :

§ 4189. Alteration of Tax Ditches; amendments to Ditch Orders

If it becomes necessary to change any part of a Tax Ditch, such changes may be made in one of the following ways :

(1) The desired or required changes, justified in writing and including any necessary maps or drawings, shall be presented by the Tax Ditch managers to the taxables at a regularly called Tax Ditch meeting. If a majority vote of the taxables present favors the changes, and providing that such changes do not include any relocations of works of improvement, or of the construction area, or of the maintenance right-of-way on the lands of any owner without his consent, the Tax

Ditch managers shall present 4 copies of their request for the changes, including the written justification and any necessary maps or drawings, and also including the results of the referendum, to the State Drainage Engineer for his approval. Should that approval be given, the change shall be effective at once, and the State Drainage Engineer shall file the original request with supporting papers in the office of the Prothonotary of the proper county, return one copy to the Tax Ditch, and file one copy with the State Soil Conservation Commission. Whenever changes are made which affect the Tax Ditch assessment list, the State Drainage Engineer shall notify the Board of Assessment of the proper county of such changes.

(2) When all landowners affected consent to changes of any part of a Tax Ditch, including the assessment list, they shall enter into a written agreement to make such changes and present 4 copies of such agreement, together with any necessary maps or drawings, to the State Drainage Engineer for his approval. Should that approval be given, the change shall be effective at once, and the State Drainage Engineer shall file the original request with supporting papers in the office of the Prothonotary of the proper county, return one copy to the Tax Ditch, and file one copy with the State Soil Conservation Commission. Whenever changes are made which affect the Tax Ditch assessment list, the State Drainage Engineer shall notify the Board of Assessment of the proper county of such changes.

(3) Any landowner within the boundaries of a Tax Ditch, or the Tax Ditch managers in the name of said Tax Ditch, may, at any time, petition for the amendment of the Ditch Order that created the Tax Ditch. Such petition shall list the changes that are desired and shall be presented to the Superior Court that issued the Tax Ditch Order through the Board of Supervisors of the Soil Conservation District of the same county. That Board of Supervisors shall require and handle a deposit from the petitioners in accordance with section 4120 of this title, so far as that section is applicable. As soon as the deposit is received, the Board of Supervisors shall file the petition in the office of the Prothonotary of the proper county without further investigation. Upon the filing of a petition for amendments to a Ditch Order in the office of the Prothonotary of a county, the Board of Ditch Commissioners of such county, shall, at the direction of the Resident Judge thereof, go upon the lands of the Tax Ditch watershed, if necessary, review the existing Ditch Order, consider the changes requested and make determinations regarding these. The Board of Ditch Commissioners shall obtain from the County Soil Conservation District such assistance and information as may be required. The Board of Ditch Commissioners, with the assistance of the State Drainage Engineer, shall prepare a special proposed report in the nature of one or more proposed amendments to the existing Ditch Order, together with any maps or drawings deemed necessary. Upon completion of that report, they shall give notice, and hold a hearing and referendum in accordance with sections 4131 and 4132 of this title so far as these are applicable. After holding the hearing and supervising the referendum, the Board of Ditch Commissioners shall file the original and two copies of its report in the Office of the Prothonotary of the county in which all the major portion of the Tax Ditch is located and shall attach to the report a certificate showing the results of the referendum and the place where, and the time when, it was held. The Board of Ditch Commissioners shall also prepare and attach to the report a statement showing--

(A) the Board of Ditch Commissioners has fully discharged the duties assigned to it as prescribed by law,

(B) any objections made to the report of the Board of Ditch Commissioners which did not warrant further changes in the report and the reasons therefor,

(C) any other recommendations or information which the Board of Ditch Commissioners deems advisable including their determination as to whether the petitioners or the Tax Ditch are liable for the costs of this action.

Action by the Superior Court shall follow sections 4136, 4137, 4138, 4139, 4140, 4141, of this title so far as these sections are applicable.

Section 36. Each Prothonotary may dispose of the transcribed petitions, court orders, and all proceedings in connection therewith made pursuant to § 4141, Title 7, Delaware Code as said section stood before the effective date of this Act.

Approved. June 13, 1955.