AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 196, VOLUME 22, LAWS OF DELAWARE, BY EXTENDING TO THE BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS OF LEWES THE AUTHORITY TO CONSTRUCT, OPERATE, AND REGULATE A SEWAGE DISPOSAL PLANT AND AN IMPROVED SEWERAGE SYSTEM AND AUTHORIZING THE COMMISSIONERS OF LEWES TO ISSUE BONDS TO FINANCE THE PROJECT.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met (two-thirds of the Members of each Branch thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. Section 4 of Chapter 196, Volume 22, Laws of Delaware, is amended to read as follows:
4 (a). The said Board of Public Works is hereby authorized and empowered to do all things necessary for the location, erection, construction, equipment, maintenance and operation of a sewage disposal plant and an improved sanitary and storm sewerage and drainage system, or either, and to provide for the care and maintenance of the same, and to purchase machinery, equipment, and all such apparatus as may be necessary for the purpose of establishing a sewage disposal plant and an improved sanitary sewerage and storm drainage system, and, to effect this object, shall have the power to lay pipes or other apparatus under or along any public street, land or alley of said town and area served or to be served or any public roads adjacent thereto.
(b). Whenever the said Board of Public Works shall deem it necessary and expedient to acquire lands, easements or rights-of-way for any purpose connected with said sanitary or storm sewerage system or sewerage disposal plant, and such lands, easements or rights-of-way cannot be acquired by agreement between the owner or owners thereof and the said Board of Public Works, the said Board shall direct its Secretary to notify the Commissioners of Lewes, and thereupon the said Commissioners of Lewes shall take such lands for the purpose or pur
poses aforesaid in the same manner and subject to the same conditions and proceedings as are or shall be from time to time provided by law for condemning and taking lands for the purpose of laying out and opening new streets in said Town of Lewes. No petition or application of citizens shall be necessary, but the notice as aforesaid from the Secretary of the Board of Public Works shall be ample authority to the said Commissioners to proceed as herein provided.
(c). The said Board of Public Works shall have the supervision and control of all public and private storm and sanitary sewerage or drainage systems within the corporate limits of Lewes and may alter, condemn, repair, or remove the same, and may cause new drains and sewers to be made and opened. The said Board may cause such sewerage or drain pipes to be laid, in its sound discretion, anywhere within the corporate limits of Lewes in such manner and of such material as it, the said Board, may deem proper, and may supervise and control all outlets, channels and drains from any such private or public system into any of the streams, creeks, ponds, canals or other waters within the limits of the municipal corporation or into the Delaware Bay or any of its tributaries or estuaries from any property within the corporate limits of Lewes.
(d). The said Board of Public Works may adopt and impose such rules and regulations as are deemed necessary and proper in its sound discretion in the interest of public health and for the general welfare of the community, and for the protection and efficient operation of its sewerage systems or disposal plant. The said Board may make rules regulating the tapping of Public sewers by owners of abutting properties and shall provide for the granting of permits for the same and for the payment of such equitable tapping fees, sewerage rents and sewerage taxes as the said Board may deem proper, and it shall prescribe the manner of installation and the material to be used in the construction and repair of all public and private drains or sewers. The said Board of Public Works, in particular, shall regulate and control the use of public sewers by commercial or industrial users, and shall have jurisdiction and authority, acting in its sound discretion, to deny the facilities of its municipal sewerage system in cases which might unduly burden or damage
the disposal plant or overload, obstruct or damage any part of the sewerage systems. It may regulate and control the private sewerage or drainage system of any commercial or industrial plant and condemn or remove or require the improvement of any such system at the owner's expense in the interest of health and comfort of the public.
(e). Such rules and regulations as shall be adopted in conformity with the provisions of this act shall be printed and kept in the office of the Board of Public Works for distribution to persons or corporations that make application to connect with, lay or repair any public or private sewer, drain, or drain pipe, water or steam or storm pipe as aforesaid.
(f). All sewerage rents and taxes laid or imposed by the Board of Public Works for the Town of Lewes remaining unpaid and in arrears for thirty days after they become due, shall be and constitute a lien upon the premises (whether leasehold rights or fee simple title in real estate) to which the sewerage facilities were connected, and all such liens shall have preference and priority to all liens of recognizance, mortgage or judgment on such premises, created or suffered by said owner, although such other lien or liens shall be of a date prior to the time of the attaching of such lien for sewerage rents and taxes. In case of the sale under execution process of any lands and premises upon which such liens for sewerage rent and taxes shall exist, such liens shall be transferred to the fund arising from such sale in the hands of the officer making the same and the said real estate so sold shall be discharged therefrom.
(g). The lien for sewerage rents and taxes shall remain a lien for the period of five years and no longer, dating from the expiration of thirty days after the date on which said sewerage rents become due and payable.
(h). The Board of Public Works for the Town of Lewes in collecting sewerage rents and taxes out of real estate or leasehold upon which there is a lien under the provisions of this Chapter, shall proceed in the manner now by law prescribed for the collection of taxes out of real estate by Commissioners of Lewes, a municipal corporation of the State of Delaware.
(i). The Board of Public Works shall have the authority to require any or all premises within the corporate limits of Lewes, to be and to remain connected to the municipal sewerage system. In any instance in which the owner has refused or failed to make the connection within 120 days after formal notice from the Board ordering the property to be connected, the Board of Public Works shall have the authority, on a competitive bidding basis, involving at least two bidders, to cause the said connection or connections to be made and to assess all of the expense thereof upon the premises in question. All such costs for tapping fee and connection shall be and constitute a lien upon the premises, dating from the date on which the said work was completed, the lien to be and to endure in accordance with the terms of the provisions applicable to sewer rents and taxes.
Section 2. The Commissioners of Lewes, a municipal corporation created by and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, is hereby authorized and empowered to issue negotiable bonds in the name of and on the faith and credit of the Commissioners of Lewes for the purpose of financing the cost of enlarging, extending and improving the sanitary sewer system established for and serving the Town of Lewes and its inhabitants, by the construction of a sewage disposal plant and by constructing or reconstructing sewers, drains or other facilities provided for the maintenance and operation of such sanitary sewer system.
Section 3. The bonds authorized by this act may be issued at one time and in one series, or at different times and in different series, as the Commissioners of Lewes may determine. The authority to issue and sell bonds under this act shall not be deemed to be exhausted until the aggregate of the amount of bonds issued under the act shall equal $600,000.00.
Section 4. Before any series of bonds shall be issued under the provisions of this act, the issuance of the bonds shall be approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the Town of Lewes voting at a special election called for the purpose of submitting the question whether or not the bonds of such series shall be issued. Any such special election shall be called by a resolution adopted by the Commissioners of Lewes. Notice of the time when and place where such special election shall be held shall be published once a week for two successive weeks in a newspaper published or circulating in the Town of Lewes. The first of such publications shall be at least fourteen days prior to the date of such special election and the second of such publications shall be at least seven days prior to the date of such special election. Such notice shall set out in summary form the amount and purposes of the bonds of such series and shall state the hours when polls shall be open at such election.
Section 5. Commissioners of Lewes shall cause to be prepared and printed and shall have available for general distribution an ample number of ballots not less than five days prior to the date set for the special election, which said ballots shall contain the language "for the proposal to borrow" and "against the proposal to borrow" so printed that the electors may easily indicate their preference thereon. At the special election every person who had a right to vote at the last preceding annual town election shall have one vote for every dollar or fractional part of dollar of tax paid by him or her respectively during the year preceding said election, and every owner of property, whether it be an individual, a partnership, or a corporation, shall have one vote for every dollar or part of dollar of tax paid by said owner during the year preceding said election, and the said vote may be cast either in person or by proxy. The rules for holding said election, the manner of counting the votes for and against the proposal to borrow, and the manner of certifying to the returns shall be the same as the rules provided for the holding of annual elections in the Town of Lewes.
Section 6. Each series of bonds issued under this act shall be authorized by resolution adopted by the Commissioners of Lewes. The bonds of such series shall bear interest at such rate or rates and shall bear such date and shall mature at such time or times not exceeding thirty years from their date, may be payable in such medium of payment, at such place or places, may carry such registration privileges, may be subject to such terms of redemption, may be executed in such manner, may contain such terms, covenants and conditions, and may be in such form, either coupon or registered, as such resolution or subsequent resolutions may provide. Said bonds may be sold either at public or private sale. The faith and credit of the Commissioners of Lewes shall be deemed to be pledged for the due payment of the bonds and the interest thereon when issued under the provisions of this act after the same have been properly executed and delivered for value.
Section 7. Any resolution or resolutions authorizing the issuance of bonds under this act may contain covenants as to (a) the purpose or purposes to which the proceeds of sale of said bonds may be applied and the use and disposition thereof, (b) the use and disposition of the revenue of the sanitary sewer system for which said bonds are to be issued, including the creation and maintenance of reserves, (c) the issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenue of said sanitary sewer system, (d) the operation and maintenance of such sanitary sewer system, (e) the insurance to be carried thereon and the use and disposition of insurance moneys, (f) books of account and the inspection and audit thereof, and (g) the terms and conditions upon which the holders of said bonds or any proportion of them or any trustee therefor shall be entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the appropriate court, which court shall have jurisdiction in such proceedings, and which receiver may enter and take possession of said sanitary sewer system, operate and maintain the same, prescribe rates, fees, or charges, and collect, receive and apply all revenue thereafter arising therefrom in the same manner as the municipality itself might do. The provisions of this act and any such resolution or resolutions shall be a contract with the holder or holders of said bonds, and the duties of the municipality and of its governing body and officers under this act and any such resolution or resolutions shall be enforceable by any bondholder, by mandamus or other appropriate suit, action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Section 8. If bonds are issued pursuant to this act the Board of Public Works of the Town of Lewes shall prescribe and collect reasonable rates, fees or charges for the services rendered by the sanitary sewer system and shall revise such rates, fees or charges from time to time whenever necessary so that such sanitary sewer system 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 sanitary sewer system, including reserves therefor.
Section 9. Said bonds bearing the signatures of officers in office on the date of the signing thereof shall be valid and binding obligations, notwithstanding that before the delivery thereof and payment therefor any or all the persons whose signatures appear thereon shall have ceased to be officers of the municipality issuing the same. The validity of said bonds shall not be dependent on nor affected by the validity or regularity of any proceedings relating to the planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment, or extension of the sanitary sewer system for which said bonds are issued. The resolution authorizing said bonds may provide that the bonds shall contain a recital that they are issued pursuant to this act, which recital shall be conclusive evidence of their validity and of the regularity of their issuance.
Section 10. For the payment of the principal of and interest on any bonds issued by this act, as such principal and interest become due, the Commissioners of Lewes shall have power to levy taxes upon all taxable property in the Town of Lewes at such rate and in such amount as may be necessary for said purpose.