AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE LEVY COURT OF SUSSEX COUNTY TO CONSTRUCT AND OPERATE SYSTEMS FOR THE COLLECTION AND TREATMENT OF SEWAGE AND THE COLLECTION, TREATMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OF WATER, TO BORROW MONEY FOR THE COST THEREOF PLEDGING THE REVENUES OF THE SYSTEMS AND THE GENERAL CREDIT OF SUSSEX COUNTY, TO MAKE CHARGES FOR THE USE OF THE SYSTEMS, TO PLACE LIENS FOR UNPAID CHARGES, AND TO CAUSE INSPECTIONS OF WATER AND SEWER FACILITIES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware:
Section 1. Title 9, Delaware Code, is hereby amended by adding thereto a new Chapter 64, as follows:
CHAPTER 64. SEWERS AND WATER
§ 6401. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears form the context—
"County" means Sussex County ;
"Revenue bonds" means bonds to the payment of which all or any part of the revenues derived from the operation of any water or sewerage system are pledged in accordance with this chapter ;
"Service charges" means rents, rates, fee or other charges charged or collected under section 6409 of this title;
"Sewerage system" means the plants, structures and other real and personal property acquired, constructed or operated or to be acquired, constructed or operated by the County for the collection, treatment, purification of disposal in a sanitary
manner of any sewage, liquid or solid wastes, night soil or industrial wastes, garbage and storm water, including sewers, conduits, pipelines, mains, pumping and ventilating stations, sewage treatment or disposal system, plants and works, connections and outfalls, and other plants, structures, boats, conveyances, and other real and personal property, and rights therein, appurtenances necessary or useful and convenient for such purposes.
"Water system" means all real and personal property necessary or useful in the collection, acquisition, treatment, purification, and distribution of water, together with any principal or ancillary rights appurtenant thereto.
§ 6402. Powers of County
In addition to the other powers which it has, the County may, under this chapter—
(1) Plan, construct, acquire by gift, purchase, or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, reconstruct, improve, better or extend any sewerage or water system, and acquire by gift, purchase, or exercise of the right of eminent domain, lands or rights in land in connection therewith;
(2) Operate and maintain any water or sewerage system and furnish the services and facilities rendered or afforded thereby;
(3) Enter into and perform contracts, whether long term or short term, with any industrial establishment, municipality or agency of the State or Federal Government for the provision and operation by the County of the sewerage system to abate or reduce the pollution of waters caused by discharges of industrial wastes by such industrial establishment, municipality or agency of the State or Federal Government and the payment periodically by the industrial establishment, municipality or agency of the State or Federal Government to the County of amounts at least sufficient, in the judgment of the Levy Court, to compensate the County for the cost of providing (including payment of principal and interest charges, if any), and of operating and maintaining, the sewerage system or part thereof serving such industrial establishment, municipality or agency of the State or Federal Government;
(4) Issue its negotiable or non-negotiable bonds to finance, either in whole or in part, the cost of the planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any sewerage or water system, pledging the full faith and credit of the County to the punctual payment of the bonds and the interest thereon;
(5) Pledge to the punctual payment of the bonds and the interest thereon an amount of the revenues derived from the operation of such sewerage or water system (including the revenues of the existing facilities, if any, comprising a sewerage or water system which is being improved, bettered, extended or acquired, and the revenues to be derived from any improvements, betterments, extensions thereafter constructed or acquired), or of any part of any such sewerage or water system, sufficient to pay, on either equal or priority basis, the bonds and interest as the same become due and create and maintain reasonable reserves therefor, which amount may consist of all or any part or portion of such revenues ;
(6) Accept from any authorized agency of the State or Federal Government, or from person, firms, or corporations, grants, or contributions for the planning, construction, acquisition, lease, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any sewerage or water system and enter into agreements with such agency respecting such loans and grants;
(7) Enter into a contract or contracts with any city or town situated within the County providing for the disposal of sewage collected by any sewerage system either for a specified or an unlimited time and for the charge to be made for such service by or to any such city or town ;
(8) Enter into and perform contract with any person for the sale of effluent products ; and
(9) Enter into and perform a contract or contracts with any person, municipality, or agency of the State or Federal Government for the sale, purchase, treatment, purification, transmission, or distribution of water.
§ 6403. Sewerage and water system within city or town
No sewerage or water system, or any part thereof, shall be constructed or maintained within the boundaries of any city or town situated in the County without the consent of such city or town, except that transmission lines or mains may be constructed or maintained without consent. The consent shall be given only by an ordinance adopted by the council or other governing body of the city or town in question, but once given shall be irrevocable.
§ 6404. Bonds; authorization; amount; terms; sale and interest rate
(a) The planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any sewerage or water system may be authorized under this chapter and bonds may be authorized to be issued under this chapter to provide funds for such purposes by resolution of the Levy Court.
(b) The Levy Court, in determining the cost of acquiring or constructing any sewerage or water system, may include all costs and estimated costs of the issuance of the bonds, all planning, engineering, inspection, fiscal and legal expenses, and interest which it is estimated will accrue during the construction period and for six months thereafter on money borrowed or which it is estimated will be borrowed pursuant to this chapter.
() The bonds shall bear interest at such rates, may be in one or more series, may bear such dates, may mature at such times not exceeding forty years from their respective dates, 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, convenants and conditions, and may be in such form, either coupon or registered, as the resolution or subsequent resolutions provide.
() (1) Any bonds issued pursuant to this chapter shall be sold at public sale and the Levy Court shall advertise that
they will receive bids at such place or places as may be named in said advertisement for such bonds as may be determined by the Levy Court.
(2) Sufficient notice of sale of said bonds shall be deemed to have been given if said notice shall have been published at least once 10 or more days before the date of sale, in at least one newspaper published in the County and in a financial journal published in the city of New York, and no other publication of such notice of sale shall be necessary, and said bonds may be sold upon such terms and conditions as may be set forth in such notice of sale, provided that the purchase price shall be not less than par and accrued interest.
(3) In the event that the bonds so offered for sale are not bid for, or if no legally acceptable bid is received for the bonds, they may be sold under the direction of the Levy Court at private sale upon the best terms they can obtain for the same, provided that they shall not be sold at private sale for less than par and accrued interest and at a rate which shall not exceed 6% per annum.
(4) Without limiting the power granted the Levy Court as to the terms and condition which they may set forth in a notice of sale, the Levy Court may request bids and award the bonds upon any of the following conditions :
(i) Bidders may be invited to name a single rate of interest for the issue or issues contained in the notice of sale, in which event the bonds can be awarded to the bidder offering to take all of the bonds at the lowest rate of interest, and as between bidders naming the same lowest rate of interest, the amount of premium will determine the award ; or
(ii) Bidders may be invited, with respect to a single issue, a combined issue or several other issues of bonds included in one notice of sale, to name one rate of interest for part of the bonds (having the earliest maturities) and another rate or rates for the balance of the bonds, and may permit a different interest rate for each maturity, or may limit the number of rates which may be proposed. If proposals are so invited, the bonds should be awarded to the bidder offering to purchase the
bonds at the lowest net interest cost to the County the net interest cost to be determined by computing the aggregate amount of interest payable on the bonds from their date to their respective maturities and by deducting from such aggregate amount the premium offered, if any.
(e) Pending the preparation of the definitive bonds, interim receipts or certificates in such form and with such provisions as the Levy Court determines may be issued to the purchasers of bonds sold pursuant to this act.
(f) The rate of interest may be determined in advance of sale, or the bonds may be offered for the sale at a rate of interest to be fixed by the purchases of such bonds.
§ 6405. Authorized signatures on bonds; validity of issuance
(a) 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 of the persons whose signatures appear thereon have ceased to be officers of the County.
(b) The validity of the 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 sewerage or water system for which the bonds are issued. The resolution authorizing the bonds may provide that the bonds shall contain a recital that they are issued pursuant to this chapter, which recital shall be conclusive evidence of their validity and of the regularity of their issuance.
§ 6406. Payment of bonds, faith and credit of County; tax levy
The full faith and credit of the County is pledged to the payment of any bonds issued by the County under this chapter. The Levy Court of the County shall, annually appropriate to the payment of such bonds and the interest thereon the amounts required to pay such bonds and interest as the same become due and payable. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law the Levy Court may levy an ad valorem tax, without limitations as to rate or amount, upon all property taxable by the County to raise the moneys necessary to meet any such appropriation. Title 9, Delaware Code, Section 6111 is hereby repealed to the extent said section is inconsistent with this Chapter.
§ 6407. Authorization of covenants in bonds
(a) In the event that the County issues bonds, the resolutions authorizing the issuance of such bonds may contain covenants as to—
(1) The purpose to which the proceeds of sale of the bonds may be applied and the use and disposition thereof;
(2) The use and disposition of the revenue of the sewerage or water systems, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such bonds, including the creation and maintenance of reserves;
(3) The issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenues of such sewerage or water systems;
(4) The operation and maintenance of such sewerage or water systems;
(5) The insurance to be carried thereon and the use and disposition of insurance moneys;
(6) Books of account and the inspection and audit thereof ;
(7) The terms and conditions upon which the holders of the 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 the sewerage or water systems, operate and maintain them, prescribe service charges therefor, and collect, receive and apply all revenue thereafter arising therefrom in the same manner as the County itself might do; and
(b) The provisions of this chapter and any such resolution or resolutions shall be a contract with the holders of the bonds, and the duties of the County and of the Levy Court and officers under this chapter and any such resolutions shall
be enforceable by any bondholder, by mandamue or other appropriate suit, action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction.
§ 6408. Service charges; amount and application
(a) If the County issues bonds under this chapter, the Levy Court shall prescribe and collect reasonable service charges for the services and facilities rendered or afforded by the sewerage or water systems, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such bonds, and shall revise such service charges from time to time whenever necessary.
() The service charges prescribed shall be such as will procure revenue at least sufficient (1) 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 (2) to provide for all expenses of operation and maintenance of such sewerage or water systems, including reserves therefor.
(a) The service charges when collected shall be applied to the payment of the bonds and interest and to the expenses of such operation and maintenance in accordance with resolution authorizing the bonds.
§ 6409. Power to make charges; liability of users; computation of rates
(a) The Levy Court may charge and collect rents, rates, fees or other charges (in this chapter sometimes referred to as "service charges") for direct or indirect connection with, or the use or services of, any sewerage or water system. Such service charges may be charged to and collected from any person contracting for such connection or use or service or from the owner or occupant, or both of them, of any real property which directly or indirectly is or has been connected with a sewerage or water system, or from or on which originates or has originated sewage which directly or indirectly has entered or may enter into a sewerage system, or into which water from a water system may enter directly or indirectly, and the owner or occupant, or both of them, of any such real property shall be liable for and shall pay such service charges to the County at the time, when and place where the Levy Court, by ordinance, rule or regulation, determines that such charges are due and payable.
(b) Each service charges shall, as near as the Levy Court deems practicable and equitable, be uniform throughout the area served by the sewerage or water system, and may be based or computed either on the consumption of water on or in connection with the real property, making due allowance for commercial use of water, or on the number and kind of water outlets on or in connection with the real property, or on the number and kind of plumbing or sewerage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with the real property, or on the number of persons residing or working on or otherwise connected or identified with the real property or on a front footage basis, or on other factors determining the type, class and amount of use or service of the sewerage or water system, or on any combination of any such factors.
§ 6410. Penalties for failure to pay charges
(a) In the event that a service charge with regard to any parcel of real property is not paid as and when due, interest shall accrue and be due to the County on the unpaid balance at the rate of one per centum per month until the service charge, and the interest thereon, shall be fully paid to the County.
(b) In the event that any service charge with respect to any parcel of real property is not paid as and when due, the Levy Court of the County may, in its discretion, enter upon such parcel and cause the connection thereof leading directly or indirectly to the sewerage or water system to be cut and shut off until the service charge and any subsequent service charges with regard to such parcel and all interest accrued thereon is fully paid.
§ 6411. Lien of service charges on real estate
(a) In the event that any service charge is not paid as and when due, the unpaid balance thereof and any interest accrued thereon shall be a lien on the parcel of real property with
regard to which the service charge was made. The lien shall be superior and paramount to the interest in such parcel of any owner, lessee, tenant, mortgagee or other person, except the lien of taxes.
(b) If any service charge or any part of a service charge remains unpaid at the end of five years after the due date, the Levy Court of the County shall cause to be brought proper proceedings for the enforcement of the lien and levy the service charge as an assessment with interest thereon accrued, and all costs thereon, upon the grounds and buildings with regard to which a service charge was made. Such grounds and buildings, or any part thereof, shall be sold by the Sheriff of the County, after like notice given by the Sheriff, as is provided by law in cases of other sales of real estate by the Sheriff, and a deed from the Sheriff shall convey to the purchaser of such grounds and buildings as full and complete a title to the premises, in fee simple or otherwise, as if the same were executed by the owner thereof.
(c) The Sheriff shall, out of the purchase money of the premises so sold, pay all costs arising from the process and sale to the parties entitled thereto respectively, and shall pay the amount of the service charge with accrued interest thereon to the Levy Court. The residue of the purchase money shall be immediately deposited in the Farmers Bank, Georgetown, Delaware, to the credit of the owner or owners of the property so sold.
§ 6412. Sewer and water lien docket
The Prothonotary shall, under the supervision and direction of the Levy Court, prepare a docket to be known as "The Sussex County Sewer and Water Lien Docket" in which shall be recorded the liens for service charges. The docket shall be prepared at the expense of the Levy Court in substantially the same form as the judgment docket for Sussex County, and contain in the back thereof an index according to the name of the owner against which such lien has been assessed. No sewer lien shall be valid unless duly recorded as provided in this section. All sewer liens duly recorded in the docket shall continue in full force and effect until the liens have been satisfied by payment, and when such liens are satisfied by payment the Prothonotary, acting under the supervision and direction of the Levy Court, shall satisfy the record by entering thereon the date of final payment and the words "satisfied in full". The Prothonotary, for the use of the Levy Court, shall receive a fee of fifty cents for each satisfaction so entered.
§ 6413. Water consumption statement and other information for Levy Court or its designated agent
(a) Each municipality or public corporation, or other person, owning or operating any system of water distribution serving three or more parcels of real property in the County shall, from time to time after request therefor by the Levy Court or its designated agent, deliver to the Levy Court or its designated agent a statement showing the amount of water supplied to every such parcel of real property as shown by the records of the municipality or public corporation or other person. The statements shall be delivered to the Levy Court or its designated agent within ten days after request is made for them, and the Levy Court or its designated agent shall pay the reasonable cost of preparation and delivery of such statements.
(b) The occupant of every parcel of property the sewage from which is disposed of or treated by any sewerage system of the County, of the water for which is supplied by any water system of the County, shall, upon request therefor by the Levy Court or its designated agent, furnish to the Levy Court or its designated agent information as to the amount of water consumed by such occupant or in connection with such parcel and the number and kind of water outlets, and plumbing or sewerage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with such parcel and the number of persons working or residing therein.
§ 6414. Discontinuance of water supply for failure to pay service charge
Each city or town or other public corporation owning or operating any water distribution system serving three or more parcels of real property in the County, and every other person owning or operating any such system may enter into and perform a contract with the County that it will, upon request by the Levy Court of the County specifying a parcel of real property in the County charged with any unpaid service charge under section 6409 of this title, cause the supply of water from its system to such parcel of real property to be stopped or restricted, as the Levy Court may request, until the service charge and any subsequent service charge charged to such parcel and the interest accrued thereon is fully paid or until the Levy Court directs otherwise. No such city or town or other public corporation or other person shall be liable for any loss, damage or other claim based on or arising out of the stopping or restricting of such supply, and the Levy Court shall pay the reasonable cost of so stopping or restricting such supply and of restoring the same and may agree to indemnify such city or town or public corporation or other person from loss or damage by reason of such stopping or restriction, including loss of profits.
§ 6415. Contract with municipality for disposal or treatment of sewage or the filtering, purifying or supplying of water
(a) The Levy Court may contract with any municipality within the territorial limits of the County for the disposal or treatment by means of any sewerage system of the County or municipality the sewage originating in such city or town or elsewhere. Any such contract may be authorized by resolution duly adopted by the Levy Court and may be made with or without consideration and may contain provisions obligating the County or municipality to dispose of and treat all or any part of the sewage originating in such city or town or elsewhere and obligating such city or town to permit the County to dispose of or treat such sewage, either for a specific period of time or for an unlimited time. Any such contract may contain other and different provisions relative to the kind and character of sewage to be disposed of and treated and the compensation, if any, to be paid for such services.
(b) The Levy Court may contract with any municipality within the territorial limits of the County to buy, sell, process, filter, treat or purify water. Such filtration, treatment, processing or purification may be done in any plant or facility of the County or the municipality for such time, on such terms, and in such volume as the Levy Court may, by resolution, determine.
§ 6416. Connection of property with sewer or water mains
Permits for connecting any property by a drain or pipe with any County sewer or water main shall be obtained from the Levy Court and shall be issued only to plumbers licensed to do business in the State of Delaware. No Permit will be granted for connecting any property by a drain or pipe with any sewer or water main unless application is made therefor to the Levy Court in writing upon blanks furnished by the Levy Court. The application shall state the full name of the owner, the size and kind of drain or pipe to be used and a full description of the premises, its location, the number and size of each building located thereon to be drained, the area of each floor thereof, including the floor of the cellar or basement, all of the purposes for which the drain or pipe is to be used, the time when the connection is to be made and other particulars for a full understanding of the subject and that the owner will be subject to all the rules and regulations prescribed by the Levy Court. The application shall be signed by the owner of the property to be drained or supplied with water and by a plumber licensed to do business in the State of Delaware. The owner shall also execute a release to the Levy Court releasing the Levy Court, its officers and agents and the County from all liability or damage which may in any manner result to the premises by reason of such connection. No permit shall be deemed to authorize anything not therein specifically stated.
§ 6417. Licensed plumber to connect property with sewers or mains
All necessary plumbing work to be done in connecting any property with a County sewer or water main shall be done by a plumber licensed to do business in this State in a good and workmanlike manner and with good and proper materials, and shall be subject to the approval of the Levy Court or its designated agent.
§ 6418. Misrepresentations in application and unauthorized connections with sewer or water main; penalty
Whoever wilfully makes any misrepresentation in any application or makes or maintains any connection with any sewer or water main contrary to the authority granted by permits issued therefor by the Levy Court, or without a permit therefor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, shall be fined not less than $5 nor more than $500.
§ 6419. Surveys and inspections by Levy Court; penalty for refusal to permit
(a) The Levy Court or its designated representatives may go upon the land for the purpose of making surveys for sewers, sewer systems, sewage disposal plants, water mains, water systems, water treatment plants, or pumping plants or for right-of-way or other property right required for the sewerage or water systems.
(b) The Levy Court or its designated representatives may inspect, at reasonable hours, any premises, dwellings or other buildings in the vicinity of a County sewer to determine if it is connected to the County sewer or water main, or to determine if the sewer or water main connection has been made or is being maintained in accordance with the regulations of the Levy Court.
(c) Whoever refuses to permit inspections and surveys at reasonable hours shall be fined not less than $10 for every such refusal.
§ 6420. Construction of chapter with other laws
The powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition to and not in substitution for the powers conferred by any other general, special or local law. The powers conferred by this chapter may be exercised notwithstanding that any other general, special or local law may confer such powers, and without regard to the requirements, restrictions, limitations or other provisions contained in such other general, special or local law.
§ 6421. Annexation
Any annexation by any municipality of any previously unincorporated area shall not confer upon the annexing municipality any right, title or interest in any part of any water or sewer system constructed, acquired, extended or improved pursuant to this chapter, except as a resolution of the Levy Court may so provide. No such resolution shall be adopted by the Levy Court unless the annexing municipality shall have deposited a fund sufficient to pay when due any outstanding bonds issued hereunder for the purchase, construction, acquisition, extension or improvement of all systems wholly or partly within the annexed area, with interest to the date of call or redemption and any redemption or call premium applicable thereto.
Approved December 21, 1965.