AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 9, DELAWARE CODE PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PARK DISTRICTS FOR THE DEVELOPING, EQUIPPING, IMPROVING AND MAINTAINING OF PARKS AND OTHER RECREATIONAL FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES; AND TO CARRY ON RECREATIONAL PROGRAMS; AUTHORIZING AND REGULATING THE ISSUING OF DISTRICT BONDS TO FINANCE SUCH PROJECTS AND PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH BONDS AND THE RIGHTS OF THE HOLDERS THEREOF.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Title 9, Delaware Code is amended by inserting after Chapter 6 thereof a new chapter designated Chapter 7, as follows:
CHAPTER 7, PARK DISTRICTS SUBCHAPTER I, GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 701. Purpose
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a procedure whereby any territory so lying as to form one connected area (no portion of which shall be already included in an incorporated park district established under the provisions of this chapter) may be incorporated as a park district to establish and maintain parks and other recreational facilities and pay for the same through district bonds the interest and principal of such bonds to be collected by taxation of the district benefited.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply only to that portion of New Castle County which is north of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, and shall not apply to the remainder of the State of Delaware.
§ 702. Definitions As used in this chapter--
"Clerk of the Levy Court" means Clerk of the Peace of the county in which the park district, or the greater portion thereof, is located.
"Commission" means the Park Commission of a Park District established by an election under the provisions of this chapter.
"Legal Voter" means every citizen resident in a proposed or existing park district, who would be entitled at the time of holding an election hereunder to register and vote in any election district of which a proposed or existing park district is a part at a general election, if such general election were to be held at the time of any election under this chapter whether or not he is at that time a registered voter.
"Levy Court" means the Levy Court of the county in which the park district, or the greater portion thereof is situated.
"Park or recreation area" means any area of real estate located within the park district suitable for the promotion of the health and recreation of the residents of the park district.
§ 703. Tax exemption of parks and recreation areas
All land and property which shall be held, laid out and used for any park or recreation area or which shall be purchased or acquired for such use or purpose under the provisions of this chapter shall be forever free from State, County and Municipal taxation so long as used for such purposes.
SUBCHAPTER II, ORGANIZATION; ELECTIONS
§ 710. Petition to Form District
In organizing any park district under this chapter not less than one hundred (100) legal voters resident within the limits of such proposed park district may petition the Levy Court of the county in which such territory lies, to cause the question to be submitted to the legal voters of such proposed park district whether they will organize as a park district. Such petition shall clearly describe the territory intended to be embraced in such district and the name of such proposed district.
§ 711. Filing of Petition
Such organization petition should be filed in the office of the Levy Court of the county in which such proposed district is situated.
§ 712. Calling Election--Appointment of Election Officials
Upon the filing of such organization petition said Levy Court shall order an election to be held in such proposed district, and in such order fix the time, not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days after the date of filing of the petition at which an election may be held to determine such question and to elect seven commissioners as hereinafter provided. The Levy Court shall fix as many polling places within the boundaries of such proposed district as would be provided, in a primary election and shall name the persons to act as judges and clerks at such election. Thereupon the Clerk of the Levy Court shall give 20 days' notice of said election by publishing, one notice of the same in at least one newspaper, if any be published in said proposed district, or if none be published in said proposed district, then in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the proposed district, or if there be no newspaper of general circulation in said proposed district, then by causing said notice to be posted in 5 public places within such proposed district.
§ 713. Form of Ballot
The question for establishment of a park district and for election of park commissioners shall be presented in the following form:
The question shall be stated as follows:
(Insert name of district) Park District
In accordance with the provisions of Chapter 7, Title 9, of the Delaware Code a petition has been filed to submit to the voters of the proposed (Insert name of district) Park District the following question,
"Shall the (Insert name of district) Park District be established?"
The park commissioners shall be voted upon as follows: If the territory of the proposed park district includes no more than one Hundred or more than seven Hundreds then all commissioners shall be voted upon at large and the seven candidates with the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected.
If the proposed park district includes part or all of the territory of two Hundreds but no more than two, then three of the commissioners shall be elected from among nominees from each Hundred and one shall be elected from among nominees for commissioner at large.
If the proposed Park District includes territory of three Hundreds then two commissioners shall be elected from each Hundred and one at large.
If the District includes territory of four, five, six, or seven Hundreds, then one commissioner shall be elected from each Hundred and the remainder if any, three, two, one, or none respectively shall be elected at large.
All voters may vote for seven candidates, whether or not the voter is a resident of the Hundred or Hundreds from which the candidates have been nominated but a voter may vote for only as many candidates from each Hundred or at large as there are Commissioners to be elected from each Hundred or at large. Where one, two, or three commissioners are to be elected from nominees from a particular Hundred or at large then the person or two or three persons respectively with the highest number of votes from among the nominees from that Hundred or at large shall be declared elected. The voting for commissioners shall be set up about as follows:
For Park Commissioner (s) From (Insert Name) Hundred
Vote for (Insert number)
_____________ (Here insert names of nominees if any, in the order
_____________ in which the nominating petitions are received. No
_____________ party symbols, slogans or other identification may
_____________ be used.)
(Provide five additional blank lines for voters to write in names if desired.)
For Park Commissioner (s) At-Large
Vote for (Insert number)
_____________ (Here insert names of nominees, if any, in the
_____________ order in which the nominating petitions are received.
_____________ No party symbols, slogans, or other identification
_____________ may be used.)
(Provide five additional blank lines for voters to write in names if desired.)
Said ballot shall be authenticated by facsimile signature of the clerk of said Levy Court upon the reverse side thereof.
§ 714. Canvass of Returns
The judges at such organization election shall make return thereof to the said Levy Court. The said Levy Court shall canvass such returns and shall enter a resolution upon the records of the Levy Court determining and declaring the results of the election.
§ 715. When District Organized
In case a majority of the votes cast upon the question so submitted shall be in favor of the establishment of such district, said district shall then be deemed organized.
§ 716. First Election Nominations
Candidates for park commissioner elected at the election to determine whether or not a Park District shall be formed shall be nominated in the same manner and form as prescribed in Section 718 hereof with the following exceptions: (1) The nominating petition shall be filed with the Clerk of the Levy Court; (2) Signatures of 200 legal voters upon said nominating petition shall be sufficient; (3) Said nominating petition shall be filed not less than fifteen (15) days prior to the date of said election.
§ 717. Fixing Terms of Commissioners
Except as otherwise provided herein, within thirty (30) days after declaration of the result of the election to organize a district, the seven persons elected as commissioners shall meet and decide by lot, the term for which each shall hold office. Three shall serve for six years; two shall serve for four years; and two shall serve for two years, respectively, from the date in the next even year an election would otherwise be held, as specified in Section 719 or until their successors shall be duly elected and qualified. It is the purpose of this section that the first members of such board shall serve until the date an election would otherwise be held in the next even year, in addition to their six, four and two-year terms.
§ 718. Succeeding Elections--Nominations--Ballot
Nominations of candidates for the office of park commissioners in any Park District at all succeeding elections shall be made by petition signed in the aggregate for each candidate by legal voters of such districts, equal in number to not less than one per cent of the number who voted at the last preceding election for commissioners in such district, but in no case by less than twenty-five of such voters. Such petition shall be filed with the secretary of such district not less than thirty days nor more than sixty days before the date fixed for the election of such candidate. No statement of candidacy shall be required. The petition shall state whether the nomination is for a commissioner-at-large or a commissioner from a particular Hundred.
Such petition shall consist of sheets of uniform size and heading. Such petitions shall be signed by legal voters of the district only, and opposite the signature of each signer, his or her residence address shall be written. At the bottom of each sheet shall be added a statement, signed by an adult resident of the park district stating his residence address, certifying on oath or affirmation that the signatures on that sheet of said petition were signed in his presence and are genuine, and that to the best of his knowledge and belief the persons so signing were qualified to do so.
Such sheets, before being filed, shall be fastened together at the upper edge, and numbered consecutively. Any candidate may withdraw by filing with the secretary of such district a notice of withdrawal not later than the last day upon which petitions for nominations may be filed.
In all Park Districts the secretary of such district, shall, within five days after the expiration of the time for filing the nominating petitions of the candidates, certify to the board of such district the name or names of the candidate or candidates so nominated. Such certification shall contain the order of the time in which such petitions were filed with him, which shall be the order in which the names of candidates shall appear upon the ballot for election; the park commissioners shall cause the ballots to be printed and furnished for such election, and the authenticity of ballots shall be certified by the facsimile signature of the secretary printed thereon.
Names of such candidates shall be printed upon the election ballot in capital letters not less than one-eighth nor more than one-fourth of an inch in height; and at the beginning of each line in which a name of a candidate is printed a square shall be printed, the sides of which shall not be less than one-fourth of an inch in length, and immediately above the names suitable words printed designating the number of candidates to be voted for such office. Such ballot shall be printed upon plain, substantial white paper but shall have no political party name, platform or principle thereon designated, nor shall any circle be printed upon the ballot.
§ 719. Terms--Election Date--Notice of Election
The commissioners shall be elected for six-year terms in all districts now or hereafter organized with the exception provided in Section 717 as to those first elected.
In all Park Districts commissioners shall be elected biennially in even years to take the place of those whose terms expires. Such elections shall take place on the first Tuesday in November of even years.
Commissioners shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified.
Notice of the time and place or places of holding such elections shall be given by the commissioners of such park district by publishing the same once in one or more newspapers, if there be any published in the district, at least ten days prior to the election; if none be published in said district, then in one
or more newspapers of general circulation in the district; if there be no newspaper of general circulation in the district, then by causing said notice to be posted in five (5) public places within the district.
§ 720. Conduct of Elections
The Park Board shall conduct the election, establish precincts and polling places therein, and appoint the judges and clerks of election and fix their compensation; provided that if any other election, is held at the same time, the Park Board may appoint the same judges and clerks of election as are appointed for such other election, and such judges and clerks of election shall also be paid for their services by such district in such amount as the Board shall determine. Separate ballot boxes shall be used to receive the ballots cast for Park Commissioners, and separate returns of the votes cast with such ballots shall be made to the board of commissioners and said board shall within five days after such election, canvass said returns and declare the result of said election and enter a record of such canvass and declaration upon its records.
§ 721. Vacancies--Method of Filling
Whenever any member of the governing board of any park district shall (1) die, (2) resign, (3) become insane, (4) cease to be a legal voter in said district, (5) be convicted of any infamous crime, (6) refuse or neglect to take his oath of office, or (7) neglect to attend the duties of his office or attend meetings of the board for such length of time as such board shall by ordinance fix, said office may be declared vacant. Vacancies shall be declared, and may be filled by appointment, by a majority of the remaining members of the board, and any person so appointed shall hold his office until the next regular election for members of the board when a successor for the unexpired term shall be elected.
SUBCHAPTER III, OFFICERS: ELECTIONS: POWERS AND DUTIES
§ 740. Governing Board--Oath
Each member of the governing board of any park district
before entering upon the duties of his office shall take and subscribe an oath to well and faithfully discharge his duties, which oath shall be filed with the secretary of said board. The members of such governing board shall constitute the corporate authority for such district and a majority of such members shall constitute a quorum for said board and any meeting thereof. The members of such governing board shall act as such without compensation, and each member of the board shall be a legal voter of and reside within such district.
§ 741. Interest in Contracts
No such member shall be directly or indirectly in any way pecuniarily interested in any contract or work of any kind, whatever, connected with his park district.
§ 742. Records and Ordinances
Governing boards of all park districts shall keep a regular book of records of all ordinances or other proceedings of said board which records shall be open to public inspection at all reasonable and proper times.
§ 743. Proof of Ordinances
All ordinances, orders and resolutions of the governing board of any park district and the date of the publication thereof may be proved by the certificate of its secretary under the seal of the district; when printed in book or pamphlet form purporting to be published by the governing board such book or pamphlet shall be received as evidence of the passage and legal publication of such ordinances, orders, and resolutions as of the dates mentioned in such publication in all courts or places without further proof.
§ 744. Appropriation Ordinances
The Board of each park district shall, within the last quarter of each fiscal year, but not later than the last Tuesday in April, pass an ordinance in which the Board may appropriate such sums of money as may be deemed necessary to defray all necessary expenses and liabilities of such district for the succeeding fiscal year and in such ordinance shall specify the objects and purposes for which such appropriations are made, and the amount appropriated to each. After the first six months of any fiscal year have elapsed the board may by two-thirds vote transfer from any appropriation item its anticipated unexpended funds to any other item of appropriation theretofore made, and the item to which said transfer is made may be increased to the extent of the amount so transferred.
§ 745. Publication of Appropriation Ordinance
All ordinances of any park district making appropriations shall within ten (10) days after their passage, be published at least once in one or more newspapers published in the park district, or if no newspaper is published therein, then in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the Park District; and no such ordinance shall take effect until ten (10) days after it is so published.
§ 746. Creation of Debt
No member of the board of any park district, nor any person, whether in the employ of said board or otherwise, shall have power to create any debt, obligation, claim or liability, for or on account of said park district, or the monies or property of the same, except with the express authority of said Board conferred at a meeting thereof and duly recorded in a record of its proceedings.
§ 747. Employees
The Board of any park district may employ such engineers, attorneys, clerks and other employees as may be required, and may define and prescribe their respective duties and compensation. The members of the Board and all officers appointed by them shall be conservators of the peace within and upon such parks, boulevards, driveways, and property controlled by such park district, and shall have power to make arrests on view of the offense, or upon warrants for violation of any of the penal ordinances of such park districts, or for any breach of the peace, in the same manner as the police in cities organized and existing under the general laws of the state.
§ 748. Duties and Election of Officers
The Board of each park district shall elect from their number a president and a vice-president, who shall hold their respective offices for one year, or until their successors shall be elected. The Board shall prescribe their powers and duties not inconsistent with the provisions of this Code.
The Board shall also appoint a secretary and a treasurer, prescribe their duties, and term of office and require such bonds as the Board deems necessary. The secretary and treasurer need not be members of the Board, in which case the Board may fix their compensation; and both offices may be held by the same person. The secretary shall have power to administer oaths and affirmations.
§ 749. Duties of President
The president of any park district shall preside at all meetings of the Board, and shall call special meetings thereof on his own motion or on request of two or more of the members, and in case of a special meeting shall cause a notice to be given to all members as provided by the rule of said Board. He shall have the right to vote upon all questions coming before the Board and shall be a member thereof.
SUBCHAPTER IV, TAXING POWERS
§ 750. General Taxes--Levy
Each Park District shall have the power to levy and collect taxes on all the taxable property in said district for all corporate purposes.
All taxes proposed by said board to be levied upon the taxable property within said district shall be levied by ordinance passed not less than ten (10) days after publication of its appropriation ordinance. A certified copy of such levy ordinance shall be filed with the Receiver of Taxes of the county in which the same is to be collected not later than the second Tuesday in May in each year. Thereupon, the Receiver of Taxes shall extend said tax; provided, the aggregate amount of taxes levied for any one year inclusive of the amount levied for the payment of the principal and interest on bonded indebtedness of said district shall not exceed the rate five cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
SUBCHAPTER V, BONDS; POWERS TO ISSUE; TERMS
§ 760. Bonds--Limitation
For the payment of land purchased for parks or boulevards, for the building, maintaining, improving and protecting of the same and for the payment of the expenses incident thereto, or for the acquisition of real estate and lands to be used as a site for recreation centers, any park district is authorized to issue the bonds of such park district and pledge its property and credit therefor to an amount including existing indebtedness of such district so that the aggregate indebtedness of such district shall not exceed two and one-half (2-1/2) per centum of the value of the taxable property therein, to be ascertained by the last assessment for county taxes previous to the issue from time to time of such bonds.
§ 761. Issuance of Bonds--Use Authorized
The issue of bonds by any park district shall be authorized by ordinance, and a copy of the same properly certified by the secretary shall be filed in the office of the Receiver of Taxes in each of the counties wherein such district lies.
§ 762. Attestation of Bonds--Interest--Maturity--Sale
Such bonds of a park district shall be issued when authorized under Sections 760, and 761 hereof in the name of the district, signed by the president and secretary, and countersigned by the treasurer, with the seal of said district affixed; they shall bear interest at not exceeding five per cent per annum payable semi-annually, and the principal shall be payable at such time and place as may be determined by the board, not exceeding twenty years from their date. The board of such district may sell said bonds in any manner it deems for the best interests of the district, at not less than par, and the proceeds thereof shall be used exclusively for the purpose in this chapter authorized.
§ 763. Tax for Interest and Principal
All park districts, at or before the time of issuance of bonds, shall provide for the levy of taxes, in addition to all other taxes, sufficient to pay the principal of and interest upon said bonds as the same becomes due, and shall file a certified copy of the ordinance or ordinances providing for the levy of said taxes with the Receiver of Taxes of the county in which the district is located.
§ 764. Issuance of Bonds--Bond Anticipation Notes
Whenever the Commission shall have authorized the issuance of bonds by an ordinance duly adopted pursuant to lawful authority, the Commission may borrow money in anticipation of the issuance of such bonds so authorized and, for such purpose, may issue, and from time to time, renew negotiable bond anticipation notes of the Commission of an aggregate principal amount not exceeding the principal amount of such bonds authorized by such ordinance. The Commission shall authorize such notes by a resolution or resolutions which shall determine the date on Which such notes are to be payable, the maximum principal amount thereof and the rate or maximum rate of interest to be borne thereby and the manner of their signing. The faith and credit of the Commission are hereby pledged to the payment of the principal of and interest on any notes issued pursuant to this section.
§ 765. Use of Funds
Moneys raised by the issuance of notes in anticipation of the issuance of bonds shall be used only to finance the purpose or purposes for which the proceeds of the bonds may be used and such proceeds shall be applied, to the extent necessary, to pay and retire such notes.
§ 770. General Corporate Powers
Every park district shall, from the time of its organization, be a body corporate and politic by such name as set forth in the petition for its organization and shall have and exercise the following powers:
(c) To adopt a corporate seal and alter the same at pleasure; to sue and be sued.; to contract in furtherance of any of its corporate purposes;
(d) To acquire by gift, devise, grant or purchase, any and all real estate, or rights therein necessary for building, laying out, extending, adorning and maintaining any such parks, boulevards and driveways, or for effecting any of the powers or purposes granted under this code as its Board may deem proper, whether such lands be located within or without such district;
(e) To acquire by gift, bequest or purchase any personal property necessary for its corporate purposes;
(f) To pass all necessary ordinances, rules and regulations for the proper management and conduct of the business of the board and district and to establish by ordinance all needful rules and regulations for the government and protection of parks, boulevards, and driveways and other property under its jurisdiction, and to effect the objects for which such districts are formed.
(g) To rent or lease park property for income producing purposes consistent with the operation of park and recreation activities.
(h) To establish and collect fees for the use of park facilities.
(i) To prescribe such fines and penalties for the violation of ordinances as it shall deem proper not exceeding $200 for any one offence, which fines and penalties may be recovered by suit in the name of such district before the Superior Court in the county in which such violation occurred. All fines when collected shall be paid into the treasury of such district.
() . To enter into agreements with other agencies, organizations or individuals for the rental or lease of lands or facilities owned by such agencies, organizations or individuals.
(a) To manage and control all officers and property of such districts.
§ 771. Deposit of Funds
Any park district, when so requested by its treasurer, shall designate a bank or banks or other depository in which the funds of the district may be deposited. When a bank has been designated as a depository it shall continue as such until ten days have elapsed after a new depository is designated and has qualified by furnishing the statements of resources and liabilities required by this section. When a new depository is designated, the district shall notify the sureties of its treasurer of that fact, in writing, at least five (5) days before the transfer of funds. Such treasurer shall be discharged from responsibility for all such funds and moneys deposited in a bank or depository, so designated, while such funds and moneys are so deposited.
No bank shall be qualified to receive such funds or moneys until it has furnished the district with copies of the last two sworn statements of resources and liabilities which such bank is required to furnish to the State Bank Commissioner. Each bank designated as a depository for moneys or funds shall, while acting as such depository, furnish the district with a copy of all statements of resources and liabilities which it is required to furnish to the State Bank Commissioner: Provided, that if such funds or moneys are deposited in a bank, the amount of such deposits shall not exceed seventy-five per cent of the capital stock and surplus of such bank, and such treasurer shall not be discharged from responsibility for any funds or moneys deposited in excess of such limitation.
§ 772. Recreational Programs and other Special Powers
All park districts shall have power to plan, establish and maintain recreational programs, provide musical concerts, to construct, equip and maintain field houses, gymnasiums, assembly rooms, comfort stations, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, wading pools, bathing beaches, bath houses, locker rooms, boating basins, boat houses, lagoons, skating rinks, piers, conservatories for the propagation of flowers, shrubs, and other plants, animal and bird houses and enclosures, athletic fields with seating stands, golf, tennis, and other courses, courts, and grounds, and the power to make and enforce reasonable rules, regulations, and charges therefor. The express enumeration of each of the foregoing recreational facilities and equipment which park districts are herein given the power to provide shall not be construed as a limitation upon said park districts, nor prohibit any park district from providing any other facilities or equipment which may be appropriate for park purposes in any park of said district, nor shall the same in any way be held to limit the power and authority conferred upon park districts under other sections of this chapter.
§ 773. Approval of the General Assembly
When land has been acquired under the provisions of this chapter, it is to be considered as a public trust and may not be sold or otherwise disposed of without prior approval by an act of the General Assembly.
Approved May 20, 1959.