AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE TOWN OF ELSMERE, NEW CASTLE COUNTY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all Members elected to each House concurring therein):
Section 1. INCORPORATION
The municipal corporation of the State of Delaware now known as "The Commissioners of Elsmere" shall hereafter be known as "The Town of Elsmere" and the inhabitants thereof within the corporate limits as defined in Section 2 of this Act or subsequently altered by annexation procedures shall, under the name of "The Town of Elsmere", continue to be a municipal body politic in perpetuity.
Section 2. BOUNDARIES
The boundaries of the Town of Elsmere shall continue as heretofore existing under the Charter of "The Commissioners of Elsmere" immediately prior to the enactment of this charter.
The Council of the Town of Elsmere may at any time hereafter cause a survey and plot to be made of said Town and the said plot, when made and approved by the Council, shall be recorded in the Office of the Recorder of Deeds in and for New Castle County, State of Delaware, and the same or the record thereof, or a duly certified copy of the said record shall be evidence in all courts of law and equity in this State.
Section 3. ANNEXATION
If and when a majority of the property owners in territory contiguous to the Town of Elsmere shall sign a petition seeking to have the areas in which said property owners reside annexed to the Town of Elsmere and submit the petition together with a
survey of the areas proposed for annexation to the Council of the Town of Elsmere, the said Council shall submit the question of annexation to the voters of the Town of Elsmere. If a majority of the said voters, at a special election held for that purpose, shall vote in favor of the proposed annexation, then the said area, as shown on the said survey, shall become and be a part of the Town of Elsmere. The annexed area shall become and be a part of the district to which said area is contiguous. If the annexed area is contiguous to more than one district, the annexed area shall become a part of the district with which it has the longest common boundary.
Section 4. DISTRICTS
The Town of Elsmere shall be divided into six districts as follows:
(1) BEGINNING at a point in the center of New Road and the intersection of Ohio Avenue ; thence in a southerly direction along the center line of Ohio Avenue and Ohio Avenue extended to its junction with Mill Creek ; thence in a northeasterly direction along Mill Creek to its junction with Silverbrook ; thence in a northerly direction along the center of Silverbrook, by its several courses, to a point in the division line between lands now or lately of the estate of Dr. J. P. Stidham and the northerly side or the right of way of the old Delaware & Western Railroad ; thence northwesterly along the right of way of the said Railroad to its junction with the boundary of the City of Wilmington ; thence in a northwesterly and northeasterly direction to a point at the junction of the northerly boundary of the Town of Elsmere ; thence in a northwesterly direction along the northern boundary line of the Town of Elsmere to its intersection with N. duPont Road ; thence in a southerly direction along the center line of N. duPont Road to its intersection to New Road ; thence in a westerly direction along the center line of New Road to its intersection with Ohio Avenue, the point of beginning.
(2) BEGINNING at a point in the center of New Road at its intersection with Ohio Avenue ; thence in a southerly direction along the center line of Ohio Avenue, extended, to its
junction with Mill Creek ; thence in a southwesterly direction along the course of Mill Creek to its junction with Birch Avenue and Birch Avenue, extended ; thence in a northerly direction along the center line of Birch Avenue, extended, crossing Wilmington Avenue, and continuing on Birch Avenue, extended, to its intersection with New Road ; thence in an easterly direction along the center line of New Road to its intersection with Ohio Avenue, the place of beginning.
(3) BEGINNING at a point in the center of New Road at its intersection with Birch Avenue, extended ; thence in a westerly direction along the center line of New Road to its intersection with Tamarack Avenue; thence in a southerly direction along the center line of Tamarack Avenue, extended, to its junction with the right-of-way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ; thence in a westerly direction along the center of the right-of-way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to its junction with Mill Creek ; thence southerly and southeasterly along the Course of Mill Creek to its junction with Birch Avenue, extended, crossing Dover Avenue, and continuing on Birch Avenue, extended, crossing Wilmington Avenue, to its intersection with New Road, the place of beginning.
(4) BEGINNING at a point in the center of New Road and its junction with Tamarack Avenue ; thence southerly along the center of Tamarack Avenue and Tamarack Avenue, extended, to its intersection with the center of the right-of-way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad; thence in a southwesterly direction along the center of the right-of-way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to its junction with Mill Creek ; thence in a northerly direction along the center of Mill Creek to its junction with Chestnut Run (West Branch) ; thence along Chestnut Run, by its several meanderings, to its intersection with New Road; thence easterly along the center of New Road to its junction with Tamarack Avenue, the point of beginning.
(5) BEGINNING at a point in the center of New Road as its intersection with Chestnut Run (West Branch) ; thence in an easterly direction along the center line of New Road to its intersection with Sanders Road, extended, Vilone Village; thence in a northerly direction along the center line of Sanders Road,
crossing Olga Road, and continuing to its intersection with the Northerly boundary of the Town of Elsmere; thence in a westerly direction, along the meanderings of the Northerly boundary of the Town of Elsmere to its intersection, extended, with Chestnut Run (West Branch) ; thence in a southwesterly direction along the center line of Chestnut Run to its intersection with the center line of New Road, the place of beginning.
(6) BEGINNING at a point in the center of New Road at its intersection with the center line of Sanders Road, extended, Vilone Village ; thence in a northerly direction along the center line of Sanders Road, crossing Olga Road, and continuing to its intersection with the Northerly boundary of the Town of Elsmere; thence in an easterly direction along the meanderings of the Northerly boundary of the Town of Elsmere to its intersection with the center line of North duPont Road ; thence in a southerly direction along the center line of North duPont Road to its intersection with the center line of New Road ; thence in a westerly direction along the center line of New Road to its intersection with Sanders Road, extended, Vilone Village, the place of beginning.
Section 5. STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT
The Government of the Town and the exercise of all powers conferred by this Charter, except as otherwise provided herein shall be vested in a Mayor and a Town Council. The Mayor shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Town. One member of the Town Council shall be elected by the qualified voters of each district.
The Mayor and Council under this Charter shall first be elected on the last Saturday in June, 1955, to serve until their respective successors have been elected and qualified. The next regular municipal election of Mayor and Council after June of 1955 shall be held on the last Saturday in April of 1957, and regular municipal elections of Mayor and Council shall be held on the last Saturday in April of odd-numbered years thereafter.
Section 6. POWERS OF THE TOWN
the State of Delaware, together with all the implied powers expressly granted. The Town of Elsmere shall continue to enjoy all powers which have been granted to it by special Acts of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware, except insofar as they may be repealed by the enactment of this Charter. The Town of Elsmere as a body politic and corporate shall succeed to, own or possess all property, whether real, personal or mixed, and all rights, privileges, franchises, powers and immunities now belonging to, possessed by or enjoyed by the former corpordtion, known as "The Commissioners of Elsmere", without the necessity of any deeds or instruments of conveyance or transfer.
The Town of Elsmere may have and use a corporate seal, may sue and be sued, may acquire property within or without its corporate limits by purchase, gift, devise or lease for the purpose of providing sites for public buildings, parks, sewer systems, sewage treatment plants, water systems, water plants, or other municipal purposes except gas, telephone or electric systems ; and may sell, lease, mortgage, hold manage and control such property or utility as its interests may require; and except as prohibited by the Constitution or laws of the State of Delaware or restricted by this charter the Town of Elsmere shall and may exercise all municipal powers, functions, rights, privileges and immunities of every name and nature whatsoever.
The enumeration of particular powers in this Charter shall not be held or deemed to be exclusive but, in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied thereby, or appropriate to the exercise thereof, it is intended that the Town of Elsmere shall have and may exercise all powers which, under the Constitution of the State of Delaware, it would be competent for this Charter to specifically enumerate. All powers of the Town, whether express or implied shall be exercised in the manner prescribed by this Charter, or if not prescribed herein, then in a manner provided by ordinance or resolution of the Council.
Section 7. QUALIFICATIONS--MAYOR AND COUNCIL
Any qualified voter of the Town of Elsmere who has attained the age of twenty-one years in the case of councilman, and thirty years in the case of the Mayor, and who has not
been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude and who has owned real property in the Town of Elsmere for at least one year next preceding his election and who has paid all Town taxes and special assessments theretofore assessed against him shall be eligible for the office of Mayor or Councilman; provided that any person elected to Council must at the time of his election reside in the district from which elected.
Loss of residence in the Town or in the district from which elected, or conviction of a crime, as above, during tenure of office shall create a vacancy. In case of vacancy for any cause, a special election, conducted in the same manner as a regular election, except that the nominating petitions shall be filed not later than ten days before the date of the special election, shall be held within 30 days after the occurrence of the vacancy, as may be proclaimed by the Council; provided, however, that if the vacancy occurs within 90 days of a regular election, the vacancy shall not be filled.
Section 8. COMPENSATION
The Mayor shall receive an annual salary of Three Hundred Dollars ($300.00). Each Councilman shall receive an annual salary of Two Hundred Fifty Dollars ($250.00) each. The said salary shall be paid in equal monthly installments.
Section 9. MEETINGS OF COUNCIL
The Council of the Town of Elsmere shall take office on the Monday following the regular municipal election, shall hold an organization meeting in the evening of the next Thursday at which a President Pro Tempore shall be elected by the Council from among the members of the Council, and shall meet regularly at least once a month thereafter. Special meetings may be called by the Mayor and shall be called upon the written request of any three members of the Council. At least two days' written notice of special meetings shall be given to each Councilman, provided that if all the Councilmen shall sign a waiver of notice of a particular special meeting, then the notice aforesaid shall not be a prerequisite to the validity of such special meeting. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public.
Section 10. MAYOR'S RELATIONSHIP TO COUNCIL
The Mayor shall be the executive of the Town. He shall preside at meetings of the Council, but shall have no vote therein, except in case of ties. He shall execute on behalf of the Town, when authorized by Council, all agreements, contracts, bonds, deeds, leases, and other documents necessary to be executed. He shall appoint from among those residents of the Town who have resided in the Town for at least two years, and who are not members of the Council, by and with the consent of a majority of the Town Council, the Chief of Police, the members of the Zoning Commission, the members of the Park and Playground Committee, and all members of the Police force. He shall countersign all orders, checks or warrants authorized by Council and drawn on the Treasurer for payment of money ; and shall have all and every power conferred and perform all duties imposed upon him by this Charter and the ordinances of the Town.
In case of the temporary absence or inability to act of the Mayor, the President Pro Tempore shall act during such temporary absence or inability of the Mayor. The President Pro Tempore, when lawfully acting as Mayor shall have all the powers conferred upon the Mayor by this Charter.
In the event that the Mayor becomes disqualified from holding office by reason of resignation, death, removal from the Town, conviction of a felony, or malfeasance in office, the President Pro Tempore shall succeed to the office of Mayor for the balance of the unexpired term. The succession of the President Pro Tempore to the office of Mayor shall create a vacancy in the Council.
Section 11. POWERS OF COUNCIL
The Council shall constitute the legislative body of the Town of Elsmere. It shall have power to adopt ordinances relating to the health of the population of the Town or to prevent the introduction or spread of communicable diseases or nuisances affecting the Town. The Council may also pass ordinances to ascertain and fix boundaries of streets, squares, lanes
and alleys ; or repair and amend the same and provide for the paving thereof, or to alter, extend or widen any street, square, lane or alley, to open and lay out new ones subject to provisions in that behalf hereinafter contained ; to regulate the ascent and descent of all streets, lanes and alleys ; to fix the building lines on the same; to direct the paving of footways and to prescribe the width thereof; to direct the laying out of gutters and prescribe the depth thereof; to prescribe the extent of porches, cellar doors and other inlets to yards and buildings; to provide police and lighting of streets at the expense of the Town, and generally to prescribe and regulate the streets, lanes and alleys of the Town and to have and exercise control of the same; subject to the provisions in that behalf hereinafter contained; to provide for the regulation of auctions and auctioneers and public amusements ; to provide for the safety of the citizens and for that purpose to prescribe the heights, thickness of walls of buildings and the mode of erecting same in said Town and to prescribe rules and regulations directed toward the prevention of fires and explosions, and make provisions for the enforcement of said regulations; to adopt municipal zoning regulations; to adopt traffic regulations, to regulate itinerant peddlers and canvassers within the Town ; to provide for the repair and maintenance of sidewalks; to regulate the sale of goods, wares and merchandise on the streets and sidewalks within the Town and fix the license fee thereof and to license the conduct of business generally within the Town, charging therefor a license fee which shall be not less than one dollar nor more than twenty dollars per annum; to regulate signs and bill boards and to provide for permits for the erection and maintenance thereof ; to provide for the measuring or weighing of coal, lime, grain or other matter sold in the said Town. They shall have the power to lay and collect fines on the owners of any horse, cow, dog, or animal which may be found at large in any of the streets, squares, lanes, alleys, aforesaid, and in general to have power to do all those matters and things for the well-being of said Town and the inhabitants thereof, which shall not be in contravention of any existing laws of this State or the Constitution thereof. Except as hereinafter provided, the Council shall not have the power to exempt any individual from the operation of any general ordinance or municipal regulation.
The Council shall have all other powers requisite to and appropriate for the government of the Town of Elsmere, its peace and order, its sanitation and beauty, and for the health, safety, convenience, comfort and well-being of its population and for the protection and preservation of public and private property.
Section 12. JUDGE OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS
The Council shall be the judge of the election and qualification of its members and for such purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses and require the production of records and, in the event that special proceedings may be necessary to determine or establish such qualifications, shall keep a record of such proceedings, which record shall be subject to review by the Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle County.
Section 13. RULES OF PROCEDURE; RECORD
The Council shall determine its own rules of procedure and order of business. It shall keep a record of its proceedings and the record shall be open to public inspection. Elections for officers shall be by a majority vote of the members elected to Council and the results shall be entered on the record of Council.
Section 14. QUORUM AND MAJORITY REQUIREMENT
A majority of the members elected to the Council shall constitute a quorum to do business but a smaller number 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. No ordinance shall be valid unless it shall have the affirmative vote of the majority of the members elected to the Council. Resolutions, orders and motions shall be valid upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Council present. No member shall be excused from voting on ordinances, resolutions, orders or motions.
In addition to such acts of the Council as are required by this Charter or by other State Law to be by ordinance, every
Section 15. ORDINANCES
act of the Council establishing a fine or other penalty shall be by ordinance. The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be "Be it ordained by the Council of the Town of Elsmere as follows".
Section 16. PROCEDURE FOR ENACTING ORDINANCES
Every ordinance shall be introduced in writing. No ordinance shall be passed unless it shall have the affirmative vote of a majority of the members elected to the Council and unless it shall have been considered at two regular stated meetings. Vote on any ordinance shall be by voice vote and shall be entered on the record of Council.
Section 17. ORGANIZATION CHANGES BY COUNCIL; VACANCIES
The enumeration of certain officials in the Charter to be appointed by the Council is not to be construed as a limitation on the power of the Council to create such new positions or offices as may be deemed essential to accomplish the objectives of the Town's government, and to provide for the selection of suitable persons to fill any positions or offices.
All vacancies in appointive offices shall be filled by a majority vote of the whole Council for the unexpired term.
Section 18. THE SECRETARY
The Secretary shall record or cause to be recorded all of the proceedings of the Council and keep a correct record of the same in a book to be provided for that 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 shall 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 Council. All records, books, papers and documents in the custody of the Secretary shall be always open for the inspection of the Council and the public under such regulations as Council may prescribe. The Secretary may be a member of the Council. He shall be elected by a ballot or voice vote at the biennial organization meeting for a period of two years or until his successor is duly elected and qualified.
Section 19. THE SOLICITOR
At the biennial organization meeting the Council shall elect by ballot or voice vote a Town Solicitor for a term of six months or until his successor shall have been duly elected and qualified. The Town Solicitor shall be a member of the Bar of the State of Delaware; it shall be his duty to give legal advice to the Council and other officers of the Town, and to perform such other legal service as may be required of him by the Council. The manner and amount of his compensation shall be as determined by the Council.
Section 20. THE MAYOR
The Mayor shall have been a resident of the Town for three years and a property owner in the Town for one year, and not less than 30 years of age at the time of his election. He shall be elected at large at the biennial Town election and shall serve for a term of two years or until his successor shall be duly elected and qualified, but the first Mayor elected under this Charter shall serve from the date of his qualification until the qualification of his successor after the election of April, 1957. Before entering upon the duties of his office he shall be sworn or affirmed by a Justice of Peace, or by a notary public, to perform the duties thereof honestly, faithfully and diligently. The Mayor shall have and exercise, within the limits of the Town, all the powers, authorities, jurisdiction and cognizance of a Justice of the Peace of and over all breaches of the peace and other offenses within the said Town, with power to arrest and hold for bail, or fine and imprison all offenders, and of and over all fines, forfeitures and penalties which may be prescribed by any law of this state or by ordinances of the Town Council regularly passed and enacted for the government of the said Town; provided that he shall have no jurisdiction in any civil matter other than to carry out the provisions of this Act and of the rules and regulations that may be adopted for the government of said Town by the persons authorized to adopt the same under this Act. The fees of said Mayor shall be the same as are allowed Justices of the Peace for similar services under the law of this State; provided that there shall be no Constables' fees. It shall be the duty of the Mayor to keep a book or docket to be called the "Mayor's Court Docket of Elsmere" to be provided by the Council, in which all his official acts shall be entered, which docket may be inspected from time to time by the Council, and he shall upon expiration of his term of office deliver over to his successor all the books, papers, etc., pertaining to his office within ten days after the election and qualification of such successor, and in default of so doing he shall forfeit and pay for the use of the Town the sum of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) to be recovered before the succeeding Mayor or any Justice of the Peace residing in said Town or in Christiana Hundred.
The Mayor shall submit to the Council at each regular meeting thereof a report of all fines and costs collected by him during the ensuing period, and shall pay over to the Council all such fines as well as costs whereupon the Council, if it be satisfied with his report, shall pay to him the amount of said costs in the same manner as other disbursements are allowed and paid. Failure by the Mayor to pay over said fines and costs or failure to make a report to the Council as aforesaid shall constitute a misdemeanor, which shall be cognizable before any Justice of the Peace resident in New Castle County and shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).
The conviction of the Mayor of any felony or of any misdemeanor relating to the conduct of his office shall result in an automatic forfeiture of his office, which shall thereupon be vacant.
Section 21. THE TREASURER
The Treasurer shall be elected at large for the same term as the Mayor, as provided in Sections 5 and 20. He shall be custodian of all funds of the Town of Elsmere and shall deposit them as received in such banking institutions as may be designated by the Council.
He shall not pay out any money except upon check or warrant countersigned by the Mayor and authorized by the Council. He shall attend all meetings of the Council.
The Treasurer shall, before entering upon the duties of his office, give bond to the Town of Elsmere with surety to be approved by the Council in the penal sum of double the amount of what may reasonably be expected to come into his hands, conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office and for the delivery to his successor in office all books, papers, etc., relating to his said office and all sums of money belonging to said Town which may remain in his hands upon the termination of his office. The cost of said bond shall be paid by the Town of Elsmere. If the Treasurer shall fail to give bond as required by this section, he shall thereby and thereupon forfeit his office and the same shall become vacant, in which case the Council shall appoint some qualified person to serve for the unexpired term. The compensation of the Treasurer shall not exceed Two Hundred and Fifty dollars ($250.00) per year, but may be paid in equal monthly payments. The salary paid to any one Treasurer shall not be decreased during his current term of office.
Section 22. THE ASSESSOR
The Assessor shall be elected at large at the biennial Town election for the same term as the Mayor, as provided in Sections 5 and 20. His duties shall consist of keeping the records of the assessed values of real property situated within the limits of the Town and re-assessing the said realty from time to time when, by reason of improvements, demolitions, depreciation, subdivision, or any other cause he shall, in the reasonable exercise of his discretion, deem that changes in the assessments of any or all of said realty are proper. The general assessment last made prior to the enactment of this Charter shall constitute and be the assessment of all real property situate within the said Town for the purpose of the Town taxes to be levied for the fiscal year 1955-56, and any change made therein shall not affect the levy of taxes for said year. Thereafter the assessment books shall be closed on the 15th day of April of each year and the taxes levied for the ensuing fiscal year shall be based on the assessments as of said date.
The Assessor may, in his discretion, be guided by the assessment of real property within the said Town by the New Castle County Board of Assessment.
The compensation of the Assessor shall not exceed Three Hundred dollars ($300.00) per year but may be paid in equal monthly payments. The salary paid to any one Assessor shall not be decreased during his current term of office.
The Council may, in its discretion, appoint one or more
persons to assist the Assessor in the performance of his duties.
Section 23. POLICE
It 'shall be the duty of the Mayor to appoint, by and with the consent of the Council, a police force consisting of a chief and such number of subordinates as the Council shall determine; and the Council shall from time to time make rules and regulations as may be necessary for the organization, government and control of the police force. The chief and members of the police force may be removed by the Council, subject to the provisions of Section 25. They 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 of Delaware; and they shall have such other duties as the Council may from time to time prescribe. They shall execute within the Town limits, criminal process issued by any Justice of the Peace of New Castle County.
Each member of the police force shall be vested with all the power and authority, within the Town limits, which are now or may hereafter be conferred upon any peace officer by the laws of the State of Delaware. In furtherance, and not by way of limitation of the foregoing powers, they may carry firearms, and in case of fresh pursuit of an offender, their power and authority shall extend to any part of the State of Delaware. They shall be authorized to transport prisoners, lawfully detained, without the limits of the Town of Elsmere, and with respect to any such prisoner or prisoners shall have all of the power and authority which they would have while transporting such prisoner or prisoners within the limits of the Town. While on duty, whether within or without the limits of the Town of Elsmere, the members of the said police force shall have the power to arrest upon view for any felony or breach of the peace. The Mayor by and with the consent of Council, may appoint special members of the police force with the same powers and duties as regular members of the police force.
Section 24. BOARD OF HEALTH
At the biennial organization meeting the Council shall appoint a Board of Health consisting of three members, one of whom shall be a practicing physician in the Town of Elsmere, if there be one available; or if not, a practicing physician in New Castle County. The Board shall serve for two years, shall have cognizance of the interests of life and health within the Town and that of the people residing within one-quarter mile of the boundaries of said Town, except where such area outside of the Town may lie within the jurisdiction of another municipality. The Board of Health shall report to the Council monthly in writing whatever is deemed by the Board to be injurious to the health of the Town, and shall also make recommendations to the Council of whatever may contribute to useful sanitary information. The Board shall also have all powers and duties enumerated by the laws of the State of Delaware for local boards of health.
Section 25. COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
The Council shall have power to fix the compensation of all officers elected by ballot at the annual organization meeting, and 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 or employee may be removed by the Council for sufficient cause; however, after five years' service removal may not be made without a public hearing.
Section 26. BONDING OF CITY OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES
The Mayor, the Town Treasurer, the Tax Collector, and such other officers and employees of the Town of Elsmere as the Town may require, shall give bonds for the faithful performance of their duties in such amounts and with such surety as may be approved by the Council or otherwise provided herein. The premiums on such bonds shall be paid by the Town of Elsmere. Failure to give such bond, with surety, shall work an automatic forfeiture of office and the vacancy created thereby shall be filled as herein provided in the case of other vacancies.
Section 27. OATH OF OFFICE
Every member of the Council, the Town Treasurer, Tax Collector, the heads of all Town departments, and such other officials or employees as Council may by ordinance require, shall, before entering upon the duties of their office, take and subscribe to the following oath or affirmation, to be filed and kept in the office of the Secretary:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Delaware, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of according to the best of my ability."
The Mayor, Members of Council, and Secretary of the Council shall have the power to administer oaths required by this Charter.
Section 28. FISCAL YEAR
The fiscal year of the Town of Elsmere shall begin on the first day of July of each year and shall end on the last day of June. Such fiscal year shall also constitute the budget and accounting year, except as otherwise provided herein.
Section 29. BUDGET
Annually each year and not later than the first Thursday in June the Council shall cause to be submitted a budget containing a financial plan for conducting the affairs of the Town for the ensuing fiscal year.
The budget shall contain the following information :
(1) A detailed estimate of the expense of conducting each department and office of the Town for the ensuing fiscal year ; provided that the Council may, if it deems fit, break down such estimate in some appropriate manner other than by departments or offices.
(2) The value of supplies and materials on hand, together with the nature and kind of any machinery or other implements and the condition thereof.
(3) The amount of the debt of the Town, together with a schedule of maturity of bond issues,
(4) A statement of the amount of interest on the bonded debt, the amount necessary to pay any bond maturing during the year, and the amount required for the sinking fund, if any.
(5) An estimate of the amount of money to be received from taxes and all other anticipated income of the Town from any source or sources.
(6) Council shall allow adequate reserve for depreciation.
At least once in any given year the Council shall designate a certified public accountant or firm of certified public accountants who shall make an independent audit of accounts and other evidence of fiscal transactions of the Town government and shall submit their report to the Council. In election years this audit shall be made as of the last day of the terms of the Mayor and Council. The said accountants shall have no personal interest direct or indirect in the fiscal affairs of the Town government or any of its officers. They shall not maintain any accounts of the Town business, but shall within specified limits approved by the Council audit the books and documents of the Treasurer or other appropriate officer or any separate or subordinate accounts kept by any other office, department or agency of the Town government. When received, the report of the auditors shall become part of the minutes of the Council, and
The budget shall be used as a guide in determining Town expenditures but shall not be a limitation upon the power of the Council to appropriate funds in excess of the amounts set forth in the budget, if in its discretion it seems advisable to do so.
Section 30. INDEPENDENT ANNUAL AUDIT
shall be available for inspection by any citizen of the Town at such reasonable times as may be determined by the Council.
Section 31. POWER TO RAISE REVENUE
The Council shall have the power to levy and collect taxes on real property within the limits of the Town, except that which is not assessable and taxable by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware; provided that the amount so collected shall not exceed Seventy-Five Thousand dollars ($75,000.00) in any one fiscal year clear of all delinquencies and expenses of collection. The Council shall have the right to grant and refuse and to charge fees for licenses or permits for traveling shows and other business of any description within the limits of the Town. The Council shall also have the power to collect franchise fees and to impose sewer rentals on sanitary sewers.
The Council may, in its discretion, exempt from Town taxation any manufacturing plant employing fifty or more employees hereafter established within the Town of Elsmere or brought within the boundaries of the Town by virtue of any annexation for a period of ten years from the time said plant is established or brought within the boundaries of the Town of Elsmere.
The Council shall have the power by ordinance to allow for discounts for early payment of taxes, to impose reasonable penalties, interest and forfeitures for tax delinquencies and to review and determine proper and appropriate properties to be exempt from taxation.
The Council shall have the power to fix the rates for general utility services operated by the Town and to collect and utilize revenues from such utility services for the benefit of the Town.
Section 32. THE TOWN MAY ENGAGE IN BUSINESS
Except as prohibited by the Constitution of the State of Delaware or by this Charter, the Town of Elsmere shall have the right to engage in any business or enterprise in which a person,
firm, or corporation may engage; and shall have the right to purchase, own and maintain within or without the corporate limits of such Town, all real estate for municipal purposes for sites and rights-of-way for public buildings, parks, sewer systems, sewerage treatment plants, water systems, water plants or other municipal purposes for the location, erection and maintenance thereon of public facilities for the uses aforesaid.
In any case where the Council may deem it to be to the best interests of the people of the Town of Elsmere to acquire properties of any privately owned sewer system, sewerage treatment plant, water system or water plants used for municipal purposes within the present or future boundaries of the Town, the question shall be submitted to a vote of the residents of the Town of Elsmere. Council may at any time, call a special election for such purposes upon thirty (30) days' notice. In acquiring said utility property, the Town of Elsmere shall in all respects adhere to the general laws of the State of Delaware insofar as they relate to the purchase of utility properties heretofore described by municipalities. The Town Council shall be authorized to negotiate the aforementioned purchase only upon the approval of a two-thirds majority of the voters of the Town of Elsmere.
Section 33. POWER TO BORROW MONEY
The Town of Elsmere may incur indebtedness by issuing either general obligation bonds or certificates of indebtedness secured by the full faith and credit of the Town of Elsmere or revenue bonds, either in whole or in part of the total amount necessary to provide funds for the erection, extension, enlargement or repair of any plant, machinery, appliances or equipment for the furnishing of water to the public, for the construction, 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 or sewage disposal equipment; or to defray the cost of the share of the Town of Elsmere in the cost of any permanent municipal improvement. If general obligation bonds are issued, the total outstanding debt secured by such bonds shall not exceed 3% of the aggregate assessed value of real property in the Town.
If revenue bonds are issued, each such bond shall recite in substance that said bond, including interest thereon, is payable from the revenue pledged to the payment thereof, and that said bond does not constitute a debt of the Town of Elsmere within the meaning of the Bonded indebtedness limitation. If revenue bonds are issued, the Council shall prescribe and collect reasonable rates, fees or charges for the service, facilities and accommodations of said undertaking and shall revise such rates, fees or charges from time to time whenever necessary so that such undertaking shall be and always remain self-supporting. The rates, fees or charges prescribed shall be such as will procure revenue at least sufficient (a) to pay when due all 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 undertaking, including reserves therefor.
Before the Town of Elsmere may incur indebtedness by the issuance of bonds as aforesaid, the borrowing of money shall have been authorized by the Council and shall have been approved in the following manner:
(1) The Council shall by resolution propose to the residents of The Town of Elsmere the purpose or purposes for which the stated amount of money shall be borrowed. 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, including data on total related debt and the debt limitations established by this Charter ; shall fix a time and place for hearing on the resolution ; and shall provide for publication of an announcement of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in New Castle County at least one week prior to the hearing date.
(2) A public hearing shall be held at which time all interested persons wishing to be heard shall be given an opportunity to express their views. Their testimony shall be considered in evidence by the Council.
(3) if Council desires to continue with the bond proceedings, it shall then, by resolution, direct that the question
be submitted to a referendum. An election shall be held not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days after the date of such resolution.
(4) The Council shall cause notice of the time and place for holding the said referendum to be printed in a newspaper of general circulation in New Castle County once each week for three successive weeks prior to the referendum.
(5) The Council shall cause to be prepared, printed, and made available for distribution a sufficient number of ballots not less than five days prior to the day of the referendum. At said referendum only qualified voters of the Town of Elsmere shall be entitled to vote. The Council shall, by resolution, make such further regulations for the conduct of the referendum as it deems appropriate.
(6) The officers 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 certificates shall be entered on the minutes of the Council, and the original shall be filed with the papers of the Council. Provided, however, that no bond issue shall be deemed approved unless two-thirds of .those voting at such referendum shall vote for such bond issue.
(7) The form of the bonds and certificates of indebtedness, the date of payment of interest, the classes, the dates of maturity, and the provisions pertaining to the registration shall be determined by the Council. The bonds shall be sold to the highest bidder after at least one month's notice published at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation in New Castle County and at least once in a publication carrying municipal bond notices and devoted primarily to financial news. The Council shall provide, in its budget, for revenues sufficient to pay the interest and principal on the said bonds or certificates of indebtedness at the maturity or maturities therefor. The faith and credit of the Town of Elsmere shall be deemed pledged for the due payment of the principal and interest of general obligation bonds issued within the prescribed debt limitation when the same have been properly executed and delivered for value.
Section 34. BORROWING, FOR CURRENT EXPENSES
Whenever the needs of the Town shall require more money than is, at the time, in the Town Treasury from current receipts, the Council shall be authorized and empowered to anticipate current revenue by borrowing such amounts as are needed. Provided, however, that the amount of such indebtedness shall not at any time exceed the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).
To exercise the power aforesaid the Council shall adopt a resolution to that effect. The indebtedness created under this provision shall be evidenced by notes of the Town, and the faith and credit of the Town shall be deemed to be pledged thereby. Such short term debt shall have a maturity of six months or less, and shall not be considered as part of the bonded debt of the Town when limitations under indebtedness as set forth elsewhere in this Charter, are computed.
Section 35. VOTER QUALIFICATIONS
Every person domiciled in the Town of Elsmere who shall have reached the required age to vote in State elections, who is a citizen of the United States and who has been domiciled in the State of Delaware for at least one year and in the Town of Elsmere for at least thirty (30) days preceding the election, and whose name is recorded in the registration books of the Town of Elsmere shall be entitled to vote at the biennial municipal elections, special elections, and referenda, except as otherwise provided in this Charter.
The registration list of the New Castle County Department of Elections for each district in the Town of Elsmere shall be copied into the registration books of the Town of Elsmere after each General Election in New Castle County.
The Council shall by ordinance provide for the supplemental registration of voters and shall prescribe procedures for the registration of voters in each of the respective districts, provided, that there shall be at least two registration days in each election year, the last of which to be not more than 30 days
prior to the election. The ordinance may provide for permanent registration lists. There need be no special registration for referenda, and special elections, but the qualifications for voting at such shall be based upon the last previous registration.
Section 36. NOMINATIONS
All nominations shall be by petition. Each nominating petition shall bear the names of ten qualified voters in the Town of Elsmere and petitions for candidates for Town Council shall each contain the signatures of ten qualified voters residing in the district from which the candidate seeks election. The nominating petition for each candidate must be filed with the Secretary at least 30 days before the municipal election is held and checked by him forthwith. The Secretary shall furnish each candidate with a voting list 15 or more days prior to said election.
Section 37. ABSENTEE VOTING
The Council may prescribe by ordinance in accordance with State Law absentee ballots for persons who may be absent from the Town during the time of an annual municipal election, special election or referendum or who because of sickness or because of physical disability cannot appear at the polling place on the day of the holding of any biennial municipal election, special election or refendum.
Section 38. ELECTIONS
A regular municipal election shall be held on the last Saturday in June, 1955 or on the first Saturday which shall be more than 60 days after the enactment of this charter, which ever is later, and on the last Saturday of April in each second year thereafter. Council shall by ordinances set the hours during which the polls shall be open. The Council shall designate the place or places of election and make all necessary rules and regulations not inconsistent with this Charter nor with the general 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.
At least ten days previous to such election, due notice thereof and of the time and place or places thereof shall be given by the Council. At all such elections the votes shall be received at each polling place by three qualified voters of said Town appointed by the Council from lists of five voters in each district supplied by each political party at any regular or special meeting thereof held in the month preceding said election. Not more than two of the election officers in any district shall be members of the same political party, and no political party shall have a majority of election officers in more than half of the election districts. One of the said persons for each polling place shall be designated as the inspector and the other two as judges of the election, and the three at each polling place shall be known as officers of election, and no such person shall be a candidate for office at any such election ; in addition to the election officers there shall be two clerks at each polling place, each of which shall represent one of the two political parties. The clerks shall be appointed by the Council from a list of three names from each district submitted by each political party. The result of the balloting at each polling place for said officers of said Town shall be ascertained by the said officers of election, who shall certify the said results under their hands to the Council. The Council may appoint clerks to assist the officers of election.
In case of referenda or special elections, the same procedure shall be followed to the extent applicable as with respect to the regular elections and the penalty for fraud and misconduct shall be the same.
Section 39. BALLOTS
For the purpose of the regular Town elections a separate form of ballot shall be provided for each district, which ballot shall contain, in addition to the names of the candidates for the Town Council running in that district, the names of the candidates for those offices which are voted upon at large. The ballots provided for the purpose of the municipal election shall bear a party designation and shall contain a list of the candidates by party under the offices to which they seek election. Official ballots shall not be used as sample ballots but shall be used only at the election. The officers of the election shall not dupply any
ballots to any person except one ballot to each voter, proper to his district, as he enters the polls to vote. In the event of spoilage of a ballot, the spoiled ballot must be returned by the voter to entitle him to a new ballot. No ballot other than those supplied by the officers of election shall be used at the municipal election and the ballots shall contain only the names of candidates duly nominated by petition as hereinbefore described. Council may by ordinance provide for the use of voting machines in municipal elections.
Section 40. CONTRACTS
All contracts of whatever character involving an expenditure above an amount determined by resolution of the Council shall be written and shall be let and made by the Council and shall be based on specifications provided by the appropriate person designated by the Council.
Pending advertisements for bids, any plans, specifications, and profiles to be used in the proposed work or contract shall remain on file in the office of the Council and shall be subject to the inspection of any interested person. All contracts and purchase above an amount determined by resolution of the Council shall be entered into and made only after advertising not less than two times in a newspaper of general circulation in New Castle County, inviting competitive bids. Each such bid shall be sealed and filed with the person designated by the Council. All bids shall be opened in the presence of the Council or a duly authorized committee of the Council and shall remain on file.
The Council shall consider all bids which have been properly filed and may enter into a contract with the party offering the lowest and/or best bid, or they may reject all bids and re-advertise for bids, or they may have the work done under the supervision of the proper department of the Town. The awarding of a contract to the successful bidder shall give no right of action or claim against the Town upon such bid or contract until the same shall be reduced to writing and duly signed by the contracting parties. The Council shall have the power to require all bidders to post bonds to secure the performance of the contract and the payment of all claims for labor and material used in the work.
Section 41. FEES
All fees and monies received by any officer or employee shall belong to the Town of Elsmere and shall be paid weekly to the Treasurer unless otherwise provided herein or by ordinance.
Section 42. ASSESSMENT APPEALS
On or before May 1 of each year the Assessor shall prepare and submit to the Council two or more copies of the assessment of all realty within the Town, showing the location of each parcel of real estate, by street and number or other suitable description. When Council approves the said assessment roll, it shall cause a full and complete transcript thereof, as prepared by the Assessor or as modified by Council to be made available within the Town on or before the second Monday in May at a place designated by the Council, there to remain for inspection by any property owner up to but not including the appeal day. Notice of the time and date for the hearing of appeals shall be advertised at least twice in a newspaper of general circulation in New Castle County. Such notice shall show the time and place where the assessment list may be viewed and the time and place of hearing appeals.
On the fourth Monday of May the Council shall hold a Court of Appeals which shall continue open from 7:00 o'clock p. m. to 10 :00 o'clock p. m., during which time the Council shall hear and determine appeals from the said assessment and shall make such corrections and additions as may be deemed necessary and proper. If the said appeal day shall fall on a holiday, the appeals shall be heard on the next business day. The decision of a majority of the Council shall be final and conclusive in respect to all appeals.
No member of Council shall sit on his own appeal, but the name shall be heard and determined by the other members of Council. After the said valuation and assessment shall be examined and adjusted by the Council, all property taxes shall be levied on real property thus assessed in just and equal proportions.
Section 43. COLLECTION OF TAXES AND SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS
At the biennial organization meeting the Council shall elect some suitable person Tax Collector of the Town to serve for the term of two years or until his successor is duly elected and qualified. On or before the first day of July of each year, the Council shall furnish the Tax Collector with a list containing the names of the owners of all real estate within the Town, and opposite the name of each description of the said real estate as the same appears on the assessment of the Town, together with the assessed valuation of each said parcel of real estate as finally determined by the Council. Said list shall also contain, with respect to each designation of property, where applicable, the amount or amounts of any special assessment or assessments levied as hereinafter provided. At the same time the Council shall furnish the Tax Collector with the rate of general taxation per One Hundred dollars ($100.00) of assessed valuation. The list shall be certified by the Town Secretary. All taxes shall be paid to the Tax Collector, subject to such discounts, penalties and interest as Council may direct.
The Tax Collector on the first day of July shall proceed to collect the taxes, based upon said list, and in collecting the same shall have the same powers as are given by law to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer of New Castle County. All taxes shall be due and payable on the first day of July of the year during which said taxes are levied. No legal proceedings shall be instituted for the collection of taxes until after the last day of February following the year after the year during which said taxes are levied ; provided that if any person or persons shall remove from said Town after the first day of August, his or their taxes shall become immediately due and payable.
The Tax Collector shall, before entering upon his duties, give bond to the Town of Elsmere with sufficient surety to be approved by the Council, in the penal sum of double the amount of what may be likely to come into his hands, conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office. The cost of said bond shall be paid by the Town. The said Tax Collector shall render an account and pay unto the Town Treasurer all money
in his hands upon the expiration of his term of office and at such other time or times as the Council may designate. The compensation of the Tax Collector shall be fixed by the Council.
In the event that any Town taxes remain unpaid after the last day of February following the year after the year during which the said taxes were levied, the Town of Elsmere may file, or cause to be filed, a Praecipe in the office of the Prothonotary of the Superior Court in New Castle County, which Praecipe shall contain the name of the person against whom the taxes or assessments sought to be collected were assessed, and a copy of the bills showing the amount of taxes or assessments due and the property against which the assessment was laid ; and the statement of the lot number or numbers of the particular section in which said property is located or the street number or numbers shall be sufficient identification and description of said property. The Prothonotary shall make a record of same on the judgment records of said Superior Court against the property mentioned or described in said Praecipe. Thereafter upon a Praecipe for Monition filed in the office of said Prothonotary by the Town of Elsmere through any person authorized on its behalf to collect taxes or assessments due to the Town of Elsmere, a Monition shall be issued by the Prothonotary aforesaid to the Sheriff of New Castle County, which Monition shall briefly state the amount of the judgment for the taxes or assessments due and the years thereof, together with a brief description of the property upon which said taxes or assessments are a lien; and a description of such property by street and number or by lot number or numbers of the particular section in which said property is located shall be a sufficient description. Said Monition shall be in substantially the following form:
To all persons having or claiming to have any title, interest or lien upon the within described premises, take warning that unless the judgment for the taxes or assessments stated herein is paid within twenty days after the date hereof, or within such period of twenty days evidence of the payment of taxes herein claimed shall be filed in the office of the Prothonotary, which evidence shall be in the form of a receipted bill or duplicate thereof, bearing date prior to the filing of the lien in the Office of the Prothonotary for New Castle County, the Town of
Elsmere may proceed to sell property herein mentioned or described for the purpose of collecting the judgment for the taxes or assessments herein stated:
Name of Person in whose Description Year or Amount of
name property is assessed of property years Judgment
Said Monition, or copy thereof, shall be posted by the Sheriff upon some prominent place or part of the property against which said judgment for the taxes or assessments is a lien. The Sheriff shall make due and proper return of his proceedings under said Monition to said Prothonotary within ten days after the posting of said copy of Monition as aforesaid. Alias or Pluries Monition may issue upon like Praecipe. The posting of said Monition shall constitute notice to the owner or owners and all persons having any interest in said property.
At any time after the expiration of twenty days following the return of the Sheriff upon such Monition, unless before the expiration of said twenty days the said judgment and costs on said judgment shall be paid or evidence of the payment of such taxes evidenced by a receipted bill or a duplicate thereof bearing date therefor prior to the filing of said lien for record in the office of the Prothonotary as aforesaid, upon Praecipe filed by the Town of Elsmere, a writ of Venditioni Exponas shall issue out of the office of the said Prothonotary directed to the Sheriff commanding the Sheriff to sell the property mentioned or described in said writ and make due return of his proceedings thereunder in the same manner as is not applicable with respect to similar writs of Venditioni Exponas issued out of the said Superior Court.
NEW CASTLE COUNTY
THE STATE OF DELAWARE
TO THE SHERIFF. OF NEW CASTLE COUNTY GREETINGS
WHEREAS, by a Monition issued out of the Superior Court, dated at Wilmington, the day of A D., 195 . . . , IT WAS COMMANDED, that you should post the said Monition or copy thereof upon the real estate therein men-
tioned and described, and make a return to the said Superior
Court within ten days after said posting. That on the
day of A D., 195..., you returned that a copy of the said Monition was posted on the real estate therein mentioned and described on the day of A. D., 195....
We therefore now command you to expose to public sale the real estate mentioned and described in said Monition as follows :
And that you should cause to be made as well a certain debt of Dollars ($ ) lawful money of the United States, which to the said Town of Elsmere, a municipal corporation of the State of Delaware, is due and owing, as also the sum of Dollars ($ ) lawful money as aforesaid, for its costs, which it has sustained by the detaining of that debt, whereof the said was convicted as it appears of record and against which said property it is a lien ;
And have you that money before the Judges of our Superior
Court at Wilmington, on Monday the day of
next, to render to the said Town of Elsmere, a
municipal corporation as aforesaid, for its debt and costs as aforesaid, and this writ ;
WITNESSETH, the Honorable
at Wilmington the day of A D., 195...
Upon the return of the proceedings under said writ of Venditioni Exponas, the Superior Court may inquire into the regularity of the Proceedings thereunder, and either approve the sale or set it aside.
Any real estate or interest therein sold under the provisions hereof shall vest in the purchaser all the right, title and interest of the person in whose name said property was assessed, and/or all right, title and interest of the person or persons who are the
owner or owners thereof, and likewise freed and discharged from any dower or curtesy or statutory right, in the nature of a dower or curtesy, whether absolute or inchoate, in or to said real estate, and from all equity of redemption and liens and encumbrance held by persons and corporations against such property.
The owner of any such real estate sold under the provisions of this Act or his legal representatives may redeem the same at any time within one year from the day said sale thereof is approved by the Court, by paying to the purchaser or his legal representatives, successors or assigns, the amount of the purchase price and fifteen per cent in addition thereto, together with all costs incurred in the cause; or if the purchaser or his legal representatives, successors or assigns shall refuse to receive the same, or do not reside or cannot be found within the Town of Elsmere, by paying said amount into said Court for the use of said purchaser, his legal representatives or assigns.
In the event that the owner of said property or his legal representatives shall fail to redeem said property as herein provided, the purchaser of said property or his legal representatives, successors or assigns may present a Petition to the Superior Court setting forth the appropriate facts in conformity with this Act and pray that the said Superior Court make an order directing the Sheriff, then in office, to execute, acknowledge and deliver a deed conveying the title to said property to the Petitioner; and thereupon the said Superior Court shall have power, after a hearing upon said Petition, to issue an order directing the Sheriff to execute, acknowledge and deliver a deed as prayed for in said Petition, and a description of said property by street number or by lot number or numbers of the particular section in which said property is located, together with a description of said property by metes and bounds.
If the owner of any real estate sold under an order of sale or his legal representative shall redeem said real estate, he may prefer to said Superior Court a petition setting forth that fact and thereupon the said Superior Court, after hearing and determining that facts set forth in said petition, shall have power to cause to be entered upon the record of the Judgment, under which said real estate was sold, a memorandum that the real
estate described in the proceeding upon which said Judgment was entered has been redeemed and thereafter the said owner shall hold such redeemed real estate subject to the same liens, and in the same order of priority as they existed at the time of the sale thereof, excepting so far as the said liens have been discharged or reduced by the application of the proceeds by the said Sheriff from the said sale.
No Monition proceedings shall be brought under this Act unless the tax or assessment sought to be collected hereunder shall at the time of the filing of said Petition in the Office of the Prothonotary be and constitute a lien on the property against which the tax or assessment was assessed or laid. All taxes for Town purposes which may hereafter be lawfully assessed on real estate in the Town of Elsmere shall constitute a prior lien thereon for a period of ten years from the first day of July succeeding the assessment of said taxes, but if the said real estate remains the property of the person to whom it is assessed, the lien shall continue until the tax is collected, and may, with all incidental costs and expenses, be collected by sale thereof as hereinbefore provided. The said tax lien and costs and reasonable counsel fees for the collection thereof shall be fully paid and satisfied before any recognizance, mortgage, judgment, debt, obligation or responsibility which the real estate may be charged with or liable to. The Town of Elsmere shall have the authority to authorize any person or persons to make a bid or bids at the sale of any real estate under the provisions of this Act and in the event that such person or persons is the highest and best bidder or bidders therefor the title thereto shall be taken in the name of the Town of Elsmere, a municipal corporation of the State of Delaware. The Town of Elsmere, by resolution duly adopted, is authorized and empowered to sell and convey any real estate purchased under the provisions of this Act.
Whenever the Superior Court is mentioned in this Statute the same shall be held to embrace the Judges or any Judge thereof, and any act required or authorized to be done under this Act may be done by the said Superior Court or any Judge thereof in vacation thereof, as well as in term time.
The fees and costs to be fixed in all Monition proceedings under this Act where not otherwise provided for, shall be as follows : .
The following fees shall be charged by the Prothonotary:
Filing Praecipe $1.10
Issuing Monition and copy 2.75
Issuing Alias or Pluries Monition and copy 2.75
Writ of Venditioni Exponas 2.25
Filing any Petition in Superior Court un-
der this Act 1.00
Cost of paying money into Superior Court 1.00
Cost of paying money out of Superior Court
for each check drawn 1.00
The following fees shall be charged by the Sheriff : Posting Monition $ .75 Posting each Alias or Pluries Monition or
Copy thereof .75
All other charges not covered by this Act shall be the same as are now provided by law.
The foregoing method for enforcing the collection of Town taxes shall not preclude the enforcement of payment thereof by appropriate civil suit against the person or persons personally liable for their payment by reason of said person or persons having been the owner of said real estate at the time when the said taxes became a lien.
Section 44. ACQUISITIONS OF PROPERTY
The Town of Elsmere is hereby authorized and empowered whenever it shall deem it necessary and expedient for any municipal purpose to obtain and acquire property either within the boundaries of said Town or outside said boundaries and to obtain legal title to said property by appropriate conveyances.
Section 45. LEVYING OF SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS
The Town of Elsmere is hereby authorized and empowered to levy and collect special assessments upon property in a limited and determinable area including such real estate as would be otherwise exempt from county and municipal assessment and taxation by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware, for
special benefits' accruing to such property as a consequence pf .any municipal public work or improvement ; and to provide for the payment of all or any part of the costs of the work, service or improvement out of the proceeds of said special assessments.
Section 46. POWER OF THE TOWN OF ELSMERE OVER STREETS
The Council shall have the power and authority to lay out, locate and open new streets and to widen or to alter existing streets or parts thereof and to vacate and abandon streets or parts thereof whenever they shall deem it for the best interests of the Town ; provided, however, that this power shall not be exercised with respect to property owned by the State of Delaware or any agency thereof without the approval of the State or State agency. In the event that condemnation of private property may be necessary in connection with the aforementioned powers of the Town with respect to streets, the manner and procedure thereof shall be as set forth in Title 10, Chapter 61, Delaware Code of 1953.
Section 47. SEWER AND WATER MAIN IMPROVEMENTS
The Council shall have the entire 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 said Town, and may pass ordinances for the construction of water mains and the opening of gutters, drains and sewers within the limits thereof, and the regulating and maintaining, cleansing, and keeping the same and the natural water courses, runs and rivulets within the said 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 way and under the same rules and procedure as hereinbefore provided in case of streets, etc., and by general regulations prescribe the mode in which they shall be altered, changed, opened, maintained, cleansed, and 'kept open and unobstructed, and shall bear the expenses thereof and may in its discretion assess the costs of sanitary sewers upon the property particularly benefited thereby, including such real estate as would be otherwise exempt from municipal assessment and taxation by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware, anything to the contrary herein notwithstanding, and prescribe the mode of collection thereof ; provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the taking of private property for public use without just compensation.
Whenever the Council of the Town of Elsmere shall determine, either on petition by a majority in numbers or in interest of the property holders abutting a proposed sanitary sewer construction, improvement, alteration, or repair or on its own initiative, that such construction, improvement, alteration, or repair° of sanitary sewers is required, it shall order the Town Engineer to proceed in accordance with law to undertake work and surveys necessary to make a report estimating cost and apportioning assessments. The Council shall then proceed as herein-before described for street improvements. The Council may perform such construction, improvement, alteration or repair by contract or municipal agency. Provided, that assessment for the construction, improvement, alteration, repair and operation of sanitary sewers may be upon the property abutting upon that portion of the street in which any sanitary sewer may be constructed under the provisions of this Charter including such real estate as would be otherwise exempt from county and municipal assessment and taxation by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware, anything to the contrary herein notwithstanding, and shall be based upon the lineal feet of such property abutting on such street, each such lineal foot being assessed alike. In the case of property situated at the corner of two such streets or otherwise so situated as to be assessed for the cost of building a sanitary sewer in one of such streets, only the front of such property shall be liable for such assessments. The Council on individual appeals according to rules established by them, shall in all cases decide what portion of the corner property shall be considered frontage and what portion side frontage. Provided that in all corner properties the side frontage shall not exceed one hundred and twenty-five (125) feet and side frontage thus determined shall be exempt from the payment of any sanitary sewer assessment, unless the owner thereof should, after the side frontage is fixed as aforesaid, decide to make such side frontage the front of said property, in which case the owner shall pay such additional assess-
ment as the Council may determine. No property shall be assessed for the cost of constructing the sanitary sewer and connecting the same with the disposal plant, unless such property shall abut and be bounded by that portion of the street in which a sanitary sewer has been built, or unless such property has the right of access to such street or desires to use such sanitary sewer and the sanitary sewer is constructed upon the street upon which the property abuts, in either of which cases such property shall be liable for the same assessment as though a sanitary sewer was constructed in the portion of the street on which such property abuts and the property shall not be liable for any further assessment for sanitary sewer purposes. Where any such assessments shall be made upon any land for the cost of constructing a sanitary sewer and connecting it with a disposal plant, the Council shall have the right to compel the owner to connect any building or structure erected as may be prescribed by the Council from time to time. The word streets shall be deemed and held to comprehend and include highways, lanes and alleys.
Section 48. SIDEWALKS
Whenever the Town of Elsmere shall have determined that any paving, of the sidewalks or any or either or all of them shall be done, it shall notify the owner or owners of land in front of whose premises the same is to be done, particularly designating the nature and character thereof, and thereupon it shall be the duty of said owner or owners to cause such paving, to be done in conformity with said notice. In the event of any owner neglecting to comply with said notice for the space of thirty days, the Council may proceed to have the same done, and when done the Treasurer of the Town of Elsmere shall as soon as convenient thereafter present to the said owner or owners of such lands, a bill showing the expense of paving. If such owner or owners be not resident in the Town of Elsmere, such bill may be presented to the occupier or tenant of said land or if there be no occupier or tenant resident in the Town of Elsmere, such bill may be sent by mail to such owner or owners, directed to him or them at the post office nearest his or their residence. If such bill be not paid by the owner or owners of such lands within thirty days after the presentation, then it shall be the duty of the Council to issue an order in the name of "Town of
Elsmere" under the hand of the Mayor, and the seal of the said corporation, directed to the Treasurer of the Town of Elsmere, commanding him to proceed to collect said delinquent assessment as levied in accordance with the authority granted under Section 43, "Collection of Taxes and Special Assessment" of this Act. The claim for paving shall be a lien on the premises in front of which the said work was done except such real estate as is exempt from county and municipal assessment and taxation by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware, and shall have the same priority and be collectable in the same manner as municipal property taxes. If any new paving is ordered by the Council as aforesaid, in front of lot or lots held or owned by a widow or widows as and for her or their dower, such expense incurred as aforesaid shall be paid by the owner or owners of the reversion in fee simple. All subsequent repairs named in this Act are to be kept up at the expense of such tenant in dower. Any notice required by this section to one co-owner, shall be notice to all; and in case no owner shall reside in the Town, notice may be served upon the occupier or tenant of said premises resident in the Town, and if there be no such occupier or tenant, it shall be sufficient to send said notice by mail to any owner of said premises, directed to him or her at the post office nearest his or her residence. The provisions hereinbefore contained in this section, shall apply to any order made by the Council in respect to any such paving, heretofore done, which the Council may deem insufficient or to need repairing. The Council in addition to the provisions of this section hereinbefore shall have power and authority to enforce by ordinance, all the requirements of this section by imposing such fines and penalties as shall be in the judgment of the Council necessary and proper.
Section 49. PAVING OF UNPAVED STREETS
Upon the written petition of eighty per cent of the property-owners on an unpaved or unopened street the Council may order the paving or opening of that street. One third of the cost shall be paid by the Town, and the remaining two-thirds of the cost shall be paid by the property owners on the street to be opened or paved except such real estate as is exempt from county or municipal assessment and taxation by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware. When the paving is complete, the Treasurer of the Town of Elsmere shall as soon as convenient thereafter present to the said owner or owners of such lands, a bill showing the expense of paving. If such owner or owners be not resident in the Town of Elsmere, such bill may be presented to the occupier or tenant of such land or if there be no occupier or tenant resident in the Town of Elsmere, such bill may be sent by mail to such owner or owners, directed to him or them at the post office nearest his or their residence. If such bill be not paid by the owner or owners of such lands within thirty days after the presentation, then it shall be the duty of the Council to issue an order in the name of "Town of Elsmere" under the hand of the Mayor, and the seal of the said corporation, directed to the Treasurer of the Town of Elsmere, commanding him to proceed to collect said delinquent assessment as levied in accordance with the authority granted under Section 43, "Collection of Taxes and Special Assessments" of this Act. The claim for paving, shall be a lien on the premises in front of which the said work was done except such real estate as is exempt from county and municipal assessment and taxation by virtue of any law of the State of Delaware, and shall have the same priority and be collectable in the same manner as municipal property taxes. If any new paving is ordered by the Council as aforesaid, in front of lot or lots held or owned by a widow or widows as and for her or their dower, such expense incurred as aforesaid shall be paid by the owner or owners of the reversion in fee simple. All subsequent repairs named in this Act are to be kept up at the expense of the Town of Elsmere. Piloperty owners shall not be assessed under this section for the repaving or repair of streets now paved. Any notice required by this section to one co-owner, shall be notice to all; and in case no owner shall reside in the Town, notice may be served upon the occupier or tenant of such premises resident in the Town, and if there be no such occupier or tenant, it shall be sufficient to send said notice by mail to any owner of said premises, directed to him or her at the post office nearest his or her residence. The provisions hereinbefore contained in this section, shall apply to any order made by the Council in respect to any such paving, heretofore done, which the Council may deem insufficient or to need repairing. The Council in addition to the provisions of this section hereinbefore shall have the power and authority to enforce by ordinance, all the requirements of this section by
imposing such fines and penalties as shall be in the judgment of the Council necessary and proper.
Section 50. PROCEEDING MAY BE ABANDONED
The Council may by resolution, abandon in whole or in part at any time during the pendency thereof or within sixty days after the final order of any court upon appeal from an award or assessment. When proceedings are abandoned by resolution of the Council, as provided by this Section, the Council may not begin new proceedings involving the same work, service, improvement, or action within six months after abandonment. If prior to the resolution of abandonment, possession of condemned property has been taken, the owner shall have a right of action to recover damages for the use and occupation with interest thereon from the date when possession was taken.
Section 51. ASSESSMENTS PAYABLE IN INSTALLMENTS
The Council may provide for the payment of special assessments, for whatever purpose levied, by installments, but assessments for permanent improvements shall be payable within ten years in annual or more frequent installments, and assessments for current service shall be payable within one year.
Section 52. ASSESSMENTS NOT TO EXCEED VALUE OF BENEFIT
The amount assessed against any property for any work or improvement shall not exceed the value of the benefits accruing to the property therefrom.
Section 53. NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND SUBDIVISIONS
Whenever it is contemplated that a new real estate development shall be undertaken, the Council shall require the developer to submit plans and supporting documents to the Council for prior approval to the actual construction and/or installation of improvements and utilities.
Whenever the installation of new facilities is contemplated in a partially developed area, the Council shall make a careful determination of the ability of the area to support the cost of the projected improvement before approving it.
Section 54. RETIREMENT PLAN
The Council may provide, by ordinance, a Retirement Plan for any or all groups of employees in the service of the Town of Elsmere.
Section 55. SEVERABILITY OF CHARTER PROVISIONS
If any provisions of this Charter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of this Charter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this Charter are declared to be severable.
Section 56. FORMER GOVERNMENT IN FORCE
All ordinances, resolutions, orders, rules or regulations in force in the Town of Elsmere at the time when this Charter takes effect, regardless of the authority under which originally enacted, shall continue in full force and effect until the Council otherwise provides by ordinance, except to the extent that any such ordinance, resolution, order, rule or regulation may be in contravention of this Charter.
Section 57. CONTINUANCE IN OFFICE
All employees of the Town of Elsmere at the time this Charter goes into effect shall continue in such employment and shall draw the same rate of compensation as during the month preceding the adoption of this Charter until removed or until the compensation is changed.
The President of the Commissioners and the Commissioners holding office on the effective date of this Charter shall continue as the Mayor and the Council until their successors are elected and qualify pursuant to the first general election provided hereunder.
Section 58. ELECTED OFFICERS CANNOT DO BUSINESS WITH THE TOWN
No elected officers of the Town shall have any direct or indirect dominant interest in any firm, partnership, association, proprietorship, or corporation which sells any goods or is paid for any services to or by the Town.
Section 59. EFFECTIVE DATE
This charter of the Town of Elsmere shall take effect upon the qualification of the Town officers elected in accordance with section 38; but the sections of this Charter governing registration, election districts, and elections shall take effect immediately. *
NOTE: This bill became a law on July 7, 1955 without the approval of the Governor and in accordance with Section 18, Article 3, of the Constitution of Delaware.
Approved July 18, 1955.