AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE CITY OF DELAWARE CITY.
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. The inhabitants of the said City of Delaware City are hereby constituted and continued a corporation or body politic under the name and style of "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" with power to govern themselves by such ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations for municipal purposes as they may deem proper, not to conflict with this act, nor with the constitution and laws of the State or of the United States. The said Corporation shall be vested with all the powers, rights, privileges, franchises and immunities heretofore belonging to "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" as a municipal corporation, and shall have all the privileges and franchises incident to a corporation or body politic. The City shall have and exercise all express and implied powers and authority of local self-government and home-rule, which, under the Delaware Constitution, it would be competent for the General Assembly to grant to the City by specific enumeration and which are not denied by general statute. Any enumeration of particular powers in this Charter shall not be deemed to be exclusive. All laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations for municipal purposes now in force within said City, not inconsistent with, nor modified or repealed by the provision of this act, shall continue in force until repealed, rescinded or changed by proper authority.
Section 2. The City of Delaware City shall be bounded as follows: BEGINNING at low water mark in the Delaware River, at the entrance of the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal; thence along the Southeast side of said Canal to the main drain passing under said Canal; thence with the Northeast side of said drain to the Dragon Creek; thence with the said Northeast side of said Dragon Creek to the South side of the Road leading from Delaware City to St. Georges; thence along said South side of said Road to the intersection of said South side of said road with the Southeast side of Clinton Street, extended; thence along the said Southeast side of said Clinton Street, extended, Northeasterly to a point Two Hundred feet Southwesterly from the intersection of the Southeasterly side of Clinton Street with the Southwesterly side of Fifth Street; thence along a line a right angles to said Southeast side of Clinton Street, extended, to the Southeast side of the North drain; thence with the Southeast side of said North drain to the bridge on the public road leading from Delaware City to Clark's Corner; thence by and with the Northeast side of said Public Road, to its intersection with the Northwest boundary of the land of William D. Clarke's estate; thence with the Northwest boundary of said land to low water mark in the Delaware River; and thence by and with the low water mark in said River to the place of BEGINNING.
PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that the jurisdiction of said City shall extend over all wharves, docks, piers and other constructions in the Delaware River adjoining the limits of said City and for One Hundred yards in the same river beyond such wharves, docks, piers and other construction.
Section. 3. The said corporation shall have the power to annex any additional contiguous territory upon the petition of three-fourths of the freeholders owning said territory, each such freeholder being entitled to one vote irrespective of the number of parcels owned or the acreage contained therein; and said corporation may extend and apply to such additional territory all laws, ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations in force within said City, so far as they may be locally applicable. Before any additional territory shall be annexed to said City, the Council shall pass a resolution describing and defining accurately the territory proposed to be annexed, and shall give notice that the petition for such annexation has been presented by causing copies of said resolution to be posted in at least five public places in said City; and within sixty days thereafter, if sufficient cause to the contrary be not shown to the Council, it may by ordinance, four-fifths of all the members concurring therein, annex to said City the territory described and defined in said resolution, and such territory shall thereupon become a part of said City.
Section 4. The said corporation shall also have power: To make and use a corporate seal and to change, alter and renew the same at pleasure;
To sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, answer and be answered, defend and be defended, in all courts of law and equity, or in any other place whatsoever;
To have, take, purchase, possess, enjoy and retain, by lawful means, to it and its successors, within said City or beyond the limits thereof, lands, tenements, hereditaments, goods, chattels and effects of what kind, nature and quality soever, necessary for municipal purposes and the same to sell, grant, demise, alien or dispose of at pleasure; except that before any real property with a total market value of $10,000 or more including the fixtures and appurtenances thereon shall be sold, granted, demised, alienated, or disposed of, or before any such property shall be franchised, leased or rented, the approval of the majority of the votes cast in a referendum held in the manner provided hereinafter in Section 14 shall be required;
To receive devises, bequests, gifts and donations of all kinds of property within said City and beyond the limits thereof for its own use and benefit, or in trust for charitable, benevolent, educational or other public purposes, and do all that is necessary to carry out the purposes of such devises, bequests, gifts and donations;
To acquire or erect and maintain public buildings for municipal purposes and to regulate and control the management of the same;
To lay out, establish, maintain or vacate public parks and squares; to lay out, open, grade, extend, widen, improve or vacate streets and alleys, crossings, and other highways; to construct, maintain or vacate sewers, drains, gutters and other works for the disposition of sewerage and the drainage of said City; the jurisdiction and control over the squares, streets and alleys, sidewalks, crossings and other highways, to extend from building line to building line;
To provide for supplying said City and its inhabitants as well as persons or companies or corporations in adjacent but not necessarily contiguous areas with water, and for the protection of the water to be used from contamination; to provide for the acquisition or erection and maintenance of such works as may be necessary or convenient for supplying water and to fix, alter, regulate and control the price and use of water so supplied;
To provide for lighting the streets and all public places in said City, and for supplying the inhabitants thereof with light; to provide for the acquisition or erection and maintenance of such works as may be necessary or convenient for supplying such light, and to fix, alter, regulate and control the price and use of light so supplied;
To fix, alter, establish and determine the lines beyond which no wharf, dock, or pier or other construction shall be placed, constructed or maintained in the river fronting on said City;
To grant to persons or corporations, in such manner and upon such terms and conditions as it may prescribe, franchises and privileges to locate, construct, extend and operate any enterprise in, upon or through any public park, square, street or other highway; provided that such grant shall be subject to the right to repeal and revoke the same for the abuse, misuse or non-use of the franchises and privileges granted; and provide further that no ordinance granting any such franchise or privilege shall be passed unless it shall receive the affirmative votes of two-thirds of all the members of the Council;
To regulate and control the storage, within said City, of gunpowder, or any other dangerously combustible matter and any explosive oils or compounds; to grant licenses or permits for any lawful purpose and to define the purposes for which said licenses or permits shall be required;
To make and enforce sanitary regulations; to define, abate and remove nuisances injurious to the public health or dangerous to the inhabitants of said City; and to prevent the introduction of infectious or contagious diseases; for which purposes its jurisdiction shall extend to any distance within one mile of the limits of said City;
To regulate and control the erection of buildings within said City and to require licenses or permits to be taken out before erection or repair of any buildings, including the establishment of zoning ordinances;
To prohibit the going at large of any horse, cow or other animal, except under regulations prescribed by it; to lay and collect fines on the owner or harborer of any horse, cow or other animal found going at large in violation of such regulations; and to provide for the registration of dogs in said City;
To make and enforce within said City such fire, police and other regulations as are deemed expedient to protect persons and property, maintain the public peace, prevent crimes and promote the public morals;
To destroy or cause to be removed dwelling houses or other structures deemed by the Mayor and Council to be unsafe for public or private use or habitation due to fire hazard, structural weakness, or conditions dangerous to public health; the cost thereof to be entered in the regular tax book of said City against the name of the owner or owners of said property as soon as determined and to become a lien against the land on which said dwelling or structure was erected from the date of entry, and shall be collected in the same manner as hereinafter provided for the collection of taxes within the City;
To make general assessments of property in said City and assess and collect taxes and other rates and charges thereon for municipal uses and purposes; to make and collect special assessment on said property for the cost of any local or general improvement; and to enforce the payment of such taxes and other rates and charges and special assessments;
To borrow money for municipal purposes on the credit of the corporation and to issue bonds therefor in the manner and under the restrictions hereinafter provided, except that the Mayor and Council may borrow up to $10,000.00 of total outstanding debt on the credit of the corporation without referendum;
To provide for the payment of legitimate expenses of the corporation, and for the annual payment, through the medium of a sinking fund or otherwise, of a portion of its bonded indebtedness, now existing or hereafter to be created;
To prescribe the extent of steps, porches, cellar doors and other outlets to buildings; to regulate the construction and repair of chimneys; and to regulate party walls;
To provide for the submission of questions relating to the corporation to the qualified voters of said City as hereinafter provided;
To make the violation of its ordinances as misdemeanor in all proper cases, and to prescribe the punishment therefor by fine or imprisonment; provided that such fine shall not exceed One Hundred Dollars and such imprisonment a term of thirty days, excepting cases involving the violation of the motor vehicle code in the City, where the Council of the Mayor and Council may enact ordinances providing penalties to those provided under State Law;
To exercise all municipal powers necessary to the proper administration of the municipal government; and for the well-being of the inhabitants of said City, whether such powers be expressly enumerated herein or not.
Section 5. There shall be one executive officer, called the Mayor, five members of the Council, one Assessor, one Treasurer, and such other officers as the Council, by ordinance, may create and appoint. The Treasurer shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval of four members of Council, at the first regular meeting of the Council following the Annual Election in April of each year, and before entering upon the duties of his office shall give bond to the Corporation in such amount as shall be determined by the Council, and with surety, to be approved by the Mayor, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of his offices, and with a warrant of attorney for the confession of judgment thereto annexed. The Treasurer shall prepare such reports as the Council may require of him. The Council may, by ordinance, require such other officers or employees of the City to give bond in such manner and with such conditions as it may deem proper.
No resident may be elected or continue to serve in any pub-lice office of the City who has been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. The above provision does not apply to temporary employees. If any public officer shall be so convicted while in office, the Council of the Mayor and Council shall declare that office vacant and appoint a qualified resident of the City to serve in that office until the next municipal election as provided in Section 8.
Section 6. No person shall be eligible to office who is not, at his election, a citizen of the State, and a resident of the City for at least one year. The Mayor must have resided in the City two years next before his election and be a non-delinquent taxpayer.
A member of Council must have resided in the City two years next before his election and be a non-delinquent taxpayer.
Every officer of said City, before he enters upon the duties of his office, shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Delaware, and that he will perform the duties of the office to which he has been appointed or elected, with fidelity.
Section 7. The salaries, fees or compensation of the officers and members of Council shall be established by ordinance; but no salary, fee or emolument of any officer shall be increased or reduced, for and during the period of service for which he may have been elected or appointed. No ordinance establishing the salaries, fees, or emoluments of any elective office shall take effect previous to the general municipal election then next ensuing, and unless notice thereof shall be posted, at least two weeks before said election, in at least five public places in said City.
Section 8. In case of death, removal from the City, resignation, or refusal to act, of any elective officer of said City, or in case any person elected or appointed to any office in said City, shall be ineligible to the same, or shall fail to give bond for the faithful performance of the duties of such office (when such bond is required by law or ordinance) before the time fixed for entering upon the duties of his office, such office shall thereupon be vacant, and the Council shall make temporary appointments to supply such vacancy until the same can be filled at the next general municipal election. An officer elected to fill a vacancy shall hold for the residue of the term of the officer whose place he supplies.
Section 9. The Mayor and Council of said City shall continue to hold office during the respective terms for which they were elected or until their successors have been duly chosen and qualified. On the first Tuesday in April, A.D., 1945, and on the first Tuesday in April every two years thereafter, the Mayor and two members of Council shall be elected to hold office for the term of two years or until their successors have been duly chosen and qualified. On the first Tuesday in April, A.D., 1946, and on the first Tuesday in April every two years thereafter, three members of Council shall be elected to hold office for the term of two years or until their successors have been duly chosen and qualified.
Section 10. The general municipal election shall be held in the City Hall or some suitable building in said City designated by the Mayor and Council on the first Tuesday in April of each and every year from one o'clock until eight o'clock in the evening. All persons desiring to be candidates at any municipal election shall file with the Secretary of the Council a written statement of their candidacy, at least fifteen days prior to said election, and a vote cast for any person whose candidacy has not been filed, shall not be counted. The Secretary of the Council is authorized to accept a withdrawal notice signed by the candidate up until five days before the said municipal election. The Mayor shall, at least twenty days before any general election, give notice of such election, together with the officers to be elected thereat, by posting notices in five or more public places in said City. There shall be an inspector and two judges, which judges shall also act as clerks at such election, elected by the Council. At such election every citizen of said City, who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years and shall have resided in said City for six months next preceding the day of election shall have the right to vote. The inspector and judges of the election shall decide on the legality of the votes offered. Immediately after the election is closed, the votes shall be counted in public, and the persons having the highest number of votes shall be declared duly elected and shall continue in office during the term for which they were chosen, or until their successors are duly chosen and qualified. Immediately after such election, the persons under whose superintendence the election is held, shall enter in a book to be provided for that purpose, a minute of such election, containing the names of the persons chosen Mayor and Members of Council, and shall subscribe the same and give the persons so elected, certificates of their election. The book containing such minutes shall be kept and preserved by the Council. All elections shall be by voting machine and a plurality of votes cast shall make a choice. A failure to hold an election, or the omission to execute any authority conferred by this act, shall not dissolve the corporation, but the authority of each officer shall continue until their successors are chosen. Any qualified voter under this Charter can bring an action in any competent court in the State of Delaware to compel the Mayor and Council to cause such an election to be held, at which election the Mayor and all Members of Council shall be elected; those receiving the highest number of votes receiving the longer terms and those receiving a lesser number of votes receiving the shorter term, until all offices are filled.
In the event an election is not contested, it shall and may be lawful to open the polls at one o'clock P.M. and close them at two o'clock P.M.
Section 11. (a) It shall be the duty of the Mayor to preside at all meetings of Council and to see that the laws and ordinances of the said City are faithfully executed. He shall have the custody of the seal of the Corporation and the right of affixing the same. He shall approve, or veto, all ordinances, acts or resolutions of the Council. If approved, shall write "approved"; if not approved, shall write "not approved", and shall sign the same; at the same time, in writing, he shall state his objections; whereupon the Council may reconsider its vote, and if four-fifths of all the member elected to Council favor such ordinance, act or resolutions, such ordinance, act or resolution shall become a part of the ordinances, acts and resolutions of said City.
He shall countersign all drafts on the Treasurer, with approval or non-approval, if not approved, the Treasurer must not pay such drafts. The Mayor shall also have power to administer oath and affirmation.
(b) The Mayor is hereby constituted a conservator of the peace, within the City, and is authorized and empowered to exercise, within said City, all the authority which a Justice of the Peace may exercise under the laws of this State, with power to commit persons guilty of a breach of the peace to the New Castle County Workhouse, or to such place as may, for that purpose, be provided by said City. He make take recognizance for keeping the peace, for being of good behavior or for appearance, or otherwise. The Mayor shall have jurisdiction for all offenses which shall be committed within said City against any of the laws of the State, laws, ordinances, regulations or constitution of said City which are or may hereinafter be prescribed. Provided, he shall not impose any fine exceeding One Hundred Dollars, and/or imprisonment of thirty days, nor have jurisdiction in any civil matter other than to carry out the provisions of this Act or the rules and regulations adopted for the government of said City by proper authority, excepting cases involving the violation of the Motor Vehicle Code in the City, where the Mayor is empowered to impose the same fines and penalties exercised by a Justice of the Peace in accordance with the laws of the State of Delaware. It shall be the duty of the Mayor to keep a book of record or docket in which all judicial proceedings before him shall be entered, and he shall upon the expiration of his term of office deliver over to his successor such book of record or docket within ten days after the election and qualification of such successor. Prosecution before the Mayor shall be by information without indictment by Grand Jury or trial by Petit Jury. Process issued by the Mayor may be directed to any County constable or to the sheriff of any County who shall execute the same in like manner, and be subject to the same penalties as in other cases. Appeals of any verdict by the Mayor must be directed to the Superior Court of the State of Delaware.
If the Mayor elects not to serve in the capacity of Justice of the Peace, he may appoint an Alderman, or Aldermen, to serve in this capacity, subject to approval of four members of Council. Said Alderman, or Aldermen, may be removed from office by the Mayor subject to approval of four members of Council. Any Magistrate or Justice of the Peace serving the State of Delaware may be designated to also serve as Alderman for the City, with appeal of any verdict directed only to the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. Before appointment of any person to the position of Alderman, his ability and qualifications to act in this capacity must be approved by the Resident Judge of the Superior Court for New Castle County. All costs associated with this certification shall be paid to the Resident Judge out of City funds. Likewise, no Mayor may serve in the capacity of justice of the Peace until his ability to serve is likewise certified. In the event that the Mayor or an Alderman cannot be so certified, the members of the Delaware City Police Department are directed to take all violators to the nearest available magistrate who is authorized to serve in the capacity of Alderman until the Mayor and Council appoint a qualified person. All costs for serving in the capacity of Alderman shall revert to the personal account of the Alderman and these costs shall be the same as for any magistrate or Justice of the Peace of the State of Delaware.
The Mayor shall have sole jurisdiction and authority over the neglects, omissions, or defaults of the City Police, including the authority to appoint persons to positions as members of the Police Department subject to the approval of four members of the Council. Any person convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude may not be appointed to or continue to serve as a member of the Police Department.
The Mayor, members of Council, and members of the Police Department may pursue beyond the limits of said City, with or without warrants, any violators of the laws of the State of Delaware and/or the ordinances of said City, and arrest any such persons, and bring them back to said City for trial, or take them before any Magistrate or Justice of the Peace, that they may be dealt with according to law. In case of necessity, he may command the aid of any citizen or citizens.
(c) At the time of employment of any new permanent employee, the Mayor and Council shall adopt a resolution establishing the period of service required for that employee to gain tenure in his position of employment. Employees of the City at the enactment of this Charter shall be deemed to have such tenure. Upon the completion of such period of service, the employee shall have tenure and shall not be dismissed except upon the approval of the Mayor and four members of Council, or upon approval of five members of Council without the Mayor, after a hearing at any regular or special meeting of the Mayor and Council, at which meeting the employee may be present and be represented by counsel. However, the authority to suspend any employee pending this hearing before Council shall exist. The Mayor shall have authority of suspension over all employees appointed by him, the Councilmen appointed to head the various City departments shall have such authority over the employees of their Departments, and the Treasurer shall have such authority over all clerical employees. The official having the authority to suspend employees as heretofore set out shall have the power to make such suspension with or without pay at their discretion, but if the employee is not dismissed after the hearing as above provided he shall receive any back-pay he might have been denied during a period of suspension.
(d) In addition to the authority as heretofore provided, the Mayor shall also have authority to appoint an Assessor at the first meeting in January of each year, subject to the approval of four members of Council, who shall be a legally qualified voter of said City, and who shall before entering upon the duties of his office be duly qualified by oath or affirmation to perform the duties of his office to the best of his knowledge, and without favor or partiality. The said assessor shall on or before the second Tuesday in May make a true, just and impartial valuation and assessment of all the real estate within said City, locating each parcel of real property by the street and square, and also an assessment of all the residents in said City above the age of twenty-one years, as well those owning as those not owning real property within said City. The said assessor shall on the second Tuesday in May deliver to the Council a typewritten copy containing the names of all persons assessed and the amount of their assessments, distinguishing the real and personal assessment of each, and shall upon the said second Tuesday in May hang a typewritten duplicate of such assessment in the post office, or such other place as the Council, shall, by ordinance, designate, there to remain for the space of two weeks for public information. And the said Council shall on the fourth Tuesday in May hold a court of appeals which shall continue open from seven o'clock P.M. until nine o'clock, P.M., when it shall hear and determine appeals from said assessment. Notice of the hanging up of the assessment list and also of the time and place of hearing appeals shall be given by notices posted by the assessor in at least five public places in said city. The decision of the Council upon any appeal shall be final and conclusive. No member of Council shall sit upon his or her own appeal, but the same shall be heard and determined by the others. After the valuation and assessment shall be examined and adjusted by said Council, all taxes shall be levied, assessed and raised on the real estate, and persons thus valued and assessed, in just and reasonable proportions and rates.
Section 12. (a) The regular meetings of the Council shall be held on the second Monday of each month. At the first regular meeting in April the Council shall choose a Secretary who may be removed at any time for any cause deemed sufficient by a majority of said Council. It shall be the duty of the said Secretary to record all the proceedings of Council and keep a correct journal of the same in a book or books, to be provided for that purpose and also the papers relative and belonging to said City, all of which are to be carefully preserved and delivered to his successor in office. His compensation shall be fixed by the Council. No ordinance, except in cases of emergency, shall be passed by the Council except at a regular meeting and unless such ordinance has been introduced at some previous regular meeting and copies of the proposed ordinance posted in three public places in said City at least ten days before final action of the Council thereon.
(b) The said Council after having ascertained the sum necessary to be raised and having apportioned the same on the assessment and valuation aforesaid, shall on the first day of July of each year, furnish the Treasurer of said City, who shall be the collector of taxes for said City with a duplicate containing the names of the taxables, as well as the owners of real estate, as those not owning real estate, distinguishing between them, and also the tax levied on each person and also the tax on the whole valuation and assessment at the rate per hundred dollars. The said duplicate shall have a warrant annexed thereto and shall be signed by the Mayor and a majority of the members of the Council.
All taxes shall be paid at the Town Hall during the regular business hours. On all taxes paid before the first day of October, there shall be an abatement of five per centum; on all taxes paid after the first day of October and before the first day of January, there shall be no abatement; and on all taxes paid after the first day of January, there shall be added interest at the rate of one per cent per month until payment is made. The Treasurer shall apply all monies received by him on account of taxes in payment of the oldest taxes due.
The salary of the said Treasurer shall be established by resolution of the Mayor and Council.
If any person is taxed for several parcels of real estate, or for capitation and real estate in the same tax, the whole of such person's taxes may be collected either out of the real estate, or any part thereof; provided that no land alienated shall be sold, if the person taxed has other sufficient property.
(c) The Treasurer may recover the amount of tax in an action of debt against the person taxed, before an Alderman appointed under this Charter, any Justice of the Peace in New Castle County, or before the Court of Common Pleas or Superior Court of New Castle County; and it shall be sufficient to set forth that the action is to recover a specified sum of money, being a tax or taxes assessed against the defendant, and the time of assessing the same. The right of appeal shall be the same as in other civil action.
If judgment be rendered in favor of the Treasurer, the Mayor and Council shall have an allowance for the additional expense in attending to the suit, including counsel fees, and the amount of taxes plus accrued interest, to be taxed by the Court in the costs, and execution shall issue against the real estate of the defendant; provided no execution against the real estate shall issue except out of the Superior Court of New Castle County. Where such judgment is recovered before an Alderman, Justice of the Peace, or Court of Common Pleas, and it is the desire of the Treasurer to proceed against the real estate of the defendant, the said Treasurer shall take a transcript of the judgment from the Alderman, Justice of the Peace, or Court of Common Pleas and cause the same to be entered on the dockets of the Superior Court. When such transcripts are entered the subsequent proceedings shall be the same as upon other judgments. The lien of the judgment as aforesaid shall be deemed to relate back and take effect from the date of the Treasurer's duplicate as aforesaid.
(d) That in addition to all existing methods and authority for the collection of taxes or special assessments due to "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", the following methods and authority are hereby established:
"The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" may file, or cause to be filed a Praecipe in the office of the Prothonotary of the Superior Court, in and for New Castle County, which 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 assessment 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 shall be sufficient identification and description of the said property. The Prothonotary shall make a record of the 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 the said Prothonotary by "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" through any person authorized on its behalf to collect taxes and assessments due "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", 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 year or years thereof, together with a brief description of the property upon which said taxes or assessments are a lien, a description of such property by street and number or by number or numbers of the particular section in which said property is located shall be sufficient description. Said Monition shall be substantially in 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 and 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 or assessments herein claimed shall be filed in the Office of the Prothonotary which evidence shall be in the form of a receipted tax bill or duplicate thereof, bearing date prior to the filing of the lien in the office of the Prothonotary of New Castle County, "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" may proceed to sell the property herein mentioned or described for the purpose of collecting the judgment for the taxes or assessments herein stated:
Name of the person in whose name property is assessed.
Description of property.
Year or Years.
Said Monition, or a copy thereof, shall be posted by the Sheriff upon some common place or part of the property against which said judgment for the taxes or assessments is a lien, and a copy of said Monition shall be left, in the presence of an adult person, at the usual place of abode within New Castle County of the person in whose name the property is assessed. If the person in whose name the property is assessed is a corporation, a copy of said Monition shall be left, in the presence of an adult person, at its principal place of business in New Castle County. If the said person does not reside in New Castle County, or if said corporation has no place of business in New Castle County, a copy of said Monition shall be mailed in a sealed postpaid envelope directed to the last known address or place of business of the said person or corporation. The Sheriff shall make due and proper return of his proceedings under said Monition to said Prothonotary within ten days after leaving of said copy of Monition as aforesaid or the mailing of said copy of Monition as aforesaid.
Alias or pluries Monition may issue upon like Praecipe. The posting of said Monition and the leaving or mailing of said copy as herein required 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 next 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 tax 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 application in writing by "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", through its Attorney, or any other person authorized in its behalf to collect taxes or assessments due to the "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", 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 now applicable with respect to similar writ of Venditioni Exponas issued out of the Superior Court.
Said writ shall be substantially in the following form:
New Castle County. }
State of Delaware. SS.
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. 19____, IT WAS COMMANDED, that chapter ou should post the said Monition or copy thereof upon the real estate therein mentioned and described, and make a return to the said Superior Court within ten days after service of a copy of said monition as hereafter stated. That on the _____day of ___ A.D. 19___, 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. 19 ____, and that a copy of the said Monition was left, in the presence of an adult person, at the usual place of abode within New Castle County of the person in whose name the property is assessed, on the day of ____ A.D. 19____ , (Or that a copy of said Monition was left, in the presence of an adult person, at the principal place of business in New Castle County of the corporation in whose name the property is assessed, on the _____ day of _______ A.D. 19 ___ , or that since said person or corporation does not reside in New Castle County or has no place of business in New Castle County, a copy of said Monition was mailed in a sealed postpaid envelope directed to the last known address or place of business of the said person or corporation, on the ______ day of _____, A.D. 19____ )
WE, therefore, now command you to expose to public sale the real estate mentioned and described in said Monition as follow:
and that you cause to be made as well a certain debt of ____________ Dollars ($_______) lawful money of the United States, which to the said "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", 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 appear 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 "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", 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. 19 _____
(e) 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 the, 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 courtesy or statutory right, in the nature of a dower or courtesy., whether absolute or inchoate, in or to said real estate, and from all equity of redemption and liens and encumbrances held by persons and corporations against said property.
(f) 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 of the sale thereof, by paying to the purchaser or his legal representatives, successors or assigns, the amount of the purchase price and fifteen per cent in addition thereof, 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 City of Delaware City, by paying said amount into said Court for the use of said purchasers, 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 and number or by lot number or numbers of the particular section in which said property is located, together with a description of said property made from a map of the assessed property of the City of Delaware City in the office of the Assessor of the City of Delaware City shall be sufficient description in any such deed.
If the owner of any real estate sold under an order of sale or his legal representatives 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 the 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 proceedings upon which said judgment was entered had 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.
(g) 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.
(h) 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 Praecipe in the Office of the Prothonotary, be and constitute a lien upon the property against which the tax or assessment was assessed or laid. All taxes for City purposes which may hereafter be lawfully assessed on real estate in the City of Delaware City 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, then the lien shall continue until the tax is collected, and may, with all incidental costs and expenses, be levied 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 become charged with or liable to. "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" 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 bidder or bidders therefor, the title thereto shall be taken in the name of "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", a Municipal Corporation of the State of Delaware. "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", by resolution duly adopted, are authorized and empowered to sell and convey any real estate purchased under the provisions of this Act.
(i) Wherever 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 of said Superior Court, as well as in term time.
(j) The fees and costs to be taxes 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 under this Act 1.00
Costs of paying money into Superior Court 1.00
Costs of paying money out of Superior Court for
Each check drawn 1.00
The following fees shall be charged by the Sheriff:
Posting Monition or copy thereof .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.
(k) In addition to the foregoing procedure for the collection of delinquent taxes, "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City" shall have the authority to employ or cause to be employed such procedure for the collection of delinquent taxes due "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", as set forth in Chapter 135, 1155 Section 11, of Volume 40, Laws of Delaware, so far as the same refers to the attachment of personal property.
(1) The Treasurer shall supervise the collection of all taxes due and unpaid on the first day of February of each year under the Provisions of this Section, and see that the same are promptly deposited to the account of the Mayor and Council of Delaware City.
(m) The said Treasurer shall discharge himself of all moneys in his hands by drafts drawn on him by order of the Council which drafts shall be signed by three members of the Council and countersigned by the Mayor. The said Treasurer shall receive a reasonable compensation for his services to be determined by the Council.
Section 13. (a) The Council shall appoint at the regular meeting in May of each year, five substantial citizens, at least one of whom shall be a practicing physician, if available, who shall constitute a Board of Health for said City and who shall serve for one year. The said Board of Health shall take cognizance of the interests of health among the people of said City and shall report to the Council in writing whatever in its judgment is injurious to health. The said Board shall have all powers now or hereafter vested by the laws of this State in boards of health generally, and also such additional powers as may be conferred by ordinances adopted by the Council. The members of said Board shall organize by the election of a President and a Secretary within ten days after notice of their appointment, and said Board shall keep a record of its proceedings. The Board of Health, at a regular meeting may authorize any of its members to make an inspection of private property through proper official identification if they believe that violation of the sanitary code exists on such property and provided that the owner is advised three days in advance of such inspection, and that the inspection is made at a reasonable hour.
(b) The Council shall appoint at the regular meeting in May of each year, five substantial citizens who shall constitute a Bureau of Fire for said City, and who shall serve for one year. The said Bureau of Fire shall have full authority to enforce the fire prevention code of the City. The said Bureau shall also have powers now or hereafter vested by the laws of this State in Fire Marshals generally, and such additional powers as may be conferred by ordinances adopted by the Council. The members of said Bureau shall organize by the election of a President and a Secretary within ten days after notice of their appointment, and said Bureau shall keep a record of its proceedings. The said Bureau may authorize any of its members to inspect private property provided the owner is notified three days in advance and the inspection is made at a reasonable hour.
(c) If any person or persons, firm or corporation shall hereafter erect or set up a plant for the purpose of manufacturing therein, within the limits of said City, the Council shall have power to remit taxes to the amount of $1,000 annually for ten years and to remit all taxes provided a referendum is held and a majority of the voters approve such remission of taxes.
(d) The Council shall have the power upon the application of five or more citizens of said City, being seized of estates of freehold situate in said City, by petition to it for that purpose, to locate, lay out, or open any street or alley which said five or more freeholders of said City may desire to be located, laid out and opened, allowing to the persons, respectively, through or over whose ground such street or alley may run, such compensations or damages therefor as it shall deem reasonable and just under all the circumstances, which compensation, if any be allowed, shall be paid by the Treasurer of said City, out of the monies of said City on warrants drawn on him by the proper authority.
Whenever the Council shall have proceeded to locate and lay out any street or alley and shall have fixed the compensation therefor, it shall be its duty immediately after the survey and location of said street or alley to notify in writing the owner or owners of the real estate, through or over which such street or alley may run, of its determination to open the same, and to furnish a general description of the location thereof, and also the amount of such damages or compensation allowed to each.
And if such owner or owners do not reside within the said City, to notify the holder of said real estate. If any owner or owners be dissatisfied with the amount of damages or compensation, he or they may, within ten days after receiving notice from the Council as aforesaid, appeal from the said decision or assessment by serving a written notice to that effect on the said Council, or any member of said Council. In order to prosecute said appeal, it shall be the duty of said Council to make application to the Resident Judge of New Castle County, who shall appoint five impartial freeholders of said County. The said freeholders shall view the grounds to be so taken or occupied, and taking into consideration the advantages, as well as the disadvantages which may arise to the property, they or a majority of them, shall assess the damage which might be done to the said property, and return the same, under oath or affirmation, to the Council, which shall cause such return to be entered on its journal and upon the payment or tender of the said assessed damages to the owner or owners of the property, the said property may be taken or occupied. The award of said freeholders shall be made within fifteen days after their appointment by the said Resident Judge. The said freeholders shall, severally, receive and be allowed for each day's actual service the sum of ten dollars. Any freeholder so summoned, neglecting or refusing to serve, shall be subject to a penalty of twenty-five dollars, collectible as a common debt. In case of sickness, or unavoidable detention of any freeholder or freeholders, the said Resident Judge shall appoint forthwith impartial freeholders to fill the vacancy so occasioned.
(e) No circus, menagerie, theatrical or minstrel company or any such exhibition of any kind shall be exhibited or bills posted therefor or parade thereof on any of the streets, alleys or lanes of said City; nor shall any person, firm, company or corporation open, set up, or attempt to open or set up any pool or billiard room or any other room for the purpose of amusement for which a charge for profit is made, direct or indirect; or any place of business for the purpose of selling or offering for sale, by auction or otherwise, any goods, wares, merchandise or articles of any kind on any of the streets, lanes and alleys, within the limits of said City, without having first obtained permission of the Council which shall hereby have power to grant licenses for that purpose, the charge for the same to be at its discretion. Provided, that the foregoing provisions shall not apply to theatricals or other entertainments gotten up by the citizens of said City, or to any farmer, trucker or fisherman selling such farm produce or fish as is of his own growing or catch, or any salesman taking orders from or selling to any licensed merchant. Any person, firm, company or corporation violating any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty of misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof before the Mayor or any Justice of the Peace shall be fined in a sum not exceeding twenty-five dollars for each and every offense. Each day's violation of the provisions of this Act shall constitute a separate offense.
(f) The several posts and mark-stones, now set and fixed in the earth, in the middle, on the sides, or near the sides of the streets of said City, as well as such other posts and mark-stones, as shall, from time, to time, be set and fixed in the earth by the City surveyor or regulators, shall, in all cases and in all courts of law, within this State, be deemed, taken and allowed as landmarks. And if any person shall willfully pluck up, or remove, any of said posts or mark-stones, such person shall, for every such offense, forfeit and pay a fine of One Hundred Dollars, and the Council may reward the informer of such offense, by allowing him a portion of said penalty, not exceeding a moiety thereof.
(g) The Mayor and Council of Delaware City shall also have power and authority to levy and collect reasonable taxes upon all telephone, telegraph, electric light, electric power and trolley poles and other erections and equipment of like character erected within the City of Delaware City, and may by ordinance prescribe the mode of levying and collecting the same. In case of any of the owners or lessees of any such poles or erections within said City shall refuse or neglect to pay the taxes that may be levied upon such poles or erections, the Council shall have authority to cause the same to be removed, and may cause to be instituted by the collector, suit to recover the amount of taxes so levied and the expenses incident thereto and the expenses incident to the removal of such poles or erections.
(h) The Council is hereby empowered, upon the written petition of five or more freeholders of said City who live within 300 feet of the owner or owners, to notify in writing, the owner or owners of any house and/or lot in said City, before or in front of which the said Council may deem proper that a pavement should be laid, to lay a pavement of brick, concrete or any other material, which may be approved by said Council. The length and width of such pavement may be prescribed by said Council, but no person shall be obliged to pave any sidewalk or footway to a greater width than four feet in front of any vacant lot or lots not near or adjoining any dwelling house. In like manner upon like petition, the Council is empowered where any pavement be deemed insufficient to notify, in writing, the owner or owners of the house and/or lot before or in front of which such pavement is or has been laid, to repair the same. In like manner and upon like petition, the Council is empowered to notify in writing, the owner or owners of any house or lot in said City to cover the sidewalk before or in front of such house and/or lot with gravel, sand or other suitable material in case the said Council deems such sidewalk not proper to be paved. If such owner or owners shall neglect or refuse, for the space of twenty days after being notified as aforesaid, to lay such pavement or repair the same, or to cover the sidewalk, as above-stated, it shall and may be lawful for the Mayor and Council of Delaware City to cause the said specified work to be done and to charge the cost of the same against the owner or owners of the premises in question, said charge to constitute a lien against said premises, from the date of the beginning of the work until paid. It shall be the duty of the Mayor and Council of Delaware City, by Warrant signed by the Mayor and Secretary of said Council, with the Seal affixed thereto, and directed to the Assessor, in which shall be stated the name of the owner or owners, if known; otherwise, it shall be sufficient to list the owner or owners as unknown, the date of the commencement of the work, the nature of the work done and the amount, directing the Assessor to prepare a special assessment list with said information included, which shall be attached to and be a part of his assessment of real estate and personal assessment within said City for the ensuing year. The right of appeal from said assessment together with the time of payment and date from which interest shall run at the rate of one-half per centum per month on said assessment and the method of collection, shall be the same in all respects as though it were a claim for real estate taxes, as set out in Section 12 of this Act, excepting that no discount shall be allowed, as is allowed in the case of the payment of taxes.
(i) The Council shall also have power, and it is hereby authorized to order and direct the owner or owners of any house or lot, situated on any street where there is or may hereafter be a water main or a sewer main, to tap the water main or the sewer main in said street, and to connect said sewer main or said water main, by pipe, with the property so situated on said street aforesaid; and if such owner or owners neglect or refuse so to do for the space of twenty days, the said Mayor and Council of Delaware City shall cause the same to be done and recover the cost of the same in the same manner as prescribed for the recovery of cost where new pavements, etc., have been laid.
If there be more than one owner of the premises affected by the paving, repaving or tapping of water or sewer main, notice to one shall be deemed sufficient, and if there be no owner of said premises resident in the City of Delaware City, notice to the occupier thereof shall be deemed sufficient, and if there be no occupier, then the posting of said notice upon the premises shall be deemed sufficient.
Section 14. The Mayor and Council of Delaware City, under the restrictions hereinafter provided, may borrow for municipal purposes on the credit of said City such sum or sums of money, at such time or times, as they may deem proper, not to exceed eight per centum of the assessed value of the real estate of said City and issue bonds for the payment of the same; provided, however, that the total indebtedness, of every kind, shall not exceed eight per centum of the assessed value of said real estate; and provided further, that the said eight per centum may be exceeded for the purpose of borrowing any sum or sums of money to refund or pay off any bond issue or issues of said City.
The Mayor and Council of Delaware City, for the purpose of carrying into effect the above provisions, may issue bonds of such denomination as they may deem best, bearing interest at a rate not exceeding five per centum per annum, payable semiannually. The principal of each issue of said bonds shall be made payable in not more than thirty years from the date of the issue thereof, and the said Mayor and Council of Delaware City may agree to retain the power and authority of redeeming said bonds or any part of them at the expiration of ten years or more from the date of issue of the same. The said bonds shall be signed by the Mayor and countersigned by the Treasurer, and shall be sealed with the corporate seal, and be exempt from all State, County and Municipal taxation.
The said Council is authorized, empowered and directed to levy, assess and collect annually in the same manner as provided by law for assessing and collecting other taxes for municipal purposes, a special tax, except that revenue from other sources is adequate, for the purpose of establishing a fund adequate to the redemption at or before maturity of all bonds of any issue; provided that the amount to be raised for the purpose of establishing said sinking fund shall not exceed the sum of five per centum of the amount of such issue.
Before any sum or sums of money shall be borrowed, the question of borrowing such sum or sums shall be submitted to the voters of said City, and be approved by a majority of the votes cast at a special election, and at every such election each person within said City, being a resident thereof, shall have the right to cast one vote for every dollar and fractional part of a dollar of tax assessed against him or her respectively; and that every male or female shall have the right to vote provided that he or she shall have paid all taxes heretofore levied and assessed against him or her and shall produce a tax receipt for the same when demanded by any person entitled to vote at said election. Notice of such election and the purpose thereof shall be posted in at least ten public places in said City, at least twenty days before time of such election. No election shall be necessary where the purpose of the new bond issue is to pay off an existing bonded indebtedness in like or less amount at a like or less rate of interest. Also, no election shall be necessary for the Mayor and Council to borrow, on the credit of the corporation, for the ordinary and necessary expenses of the corporation provided that the total outstanding debt so borrowed without any election shall not exceed $10,000 at any time.
Section 15. Whenever at least one hundred legally qualified voters of said City shall petition the Council requesting a vote upon any ordinance or any matter which may be the subject of an ordinance for an election thereon, the Council shall appoint a day for such election and shall choose an inspector and judges therefor, and give the same notice of such election as is required to be given at a general municipal election. If two-thirds of the votes cast at such election shall be against such ordinance, such ordinance shall be repealed as though repealed by the action of Council; or, if two-thirds of the votes cast at such election shall favor any such matter which may be the subject matter of an ordinance, such matter shall be an ordinance as though passed by the Council in the manner prescribed in this Act, and the action of such an election can only be voided by an additional referendum or referendums. The subject matter of any such Petition may also be the question of any municipal improvement.
The Council may also submit any questions which it may deem proper to the referendum vote of the legally qualified voters of said City.
Whenever the Council shall receive a petition for an election as prescribed in Section 15 of this Act, it shall provide for an election to be held not more than sixty days from the time such petition is received.
Section 16. If any part of this Act shall be held unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, such holding shall not in anywise invalidate the remaining provisions of the Act.
Section 177. All Acts and doings of "The Mayor and Council of Delaware City", or of any officer of said City lawfully done or performed under the provisions of any Law of this State, or of any ordinance of said City are hereby ratified and confirmed and shall continue in force. All debts, fines or penalties and forfeitures due to said City, and all debts due from said City to any person or persons or to any corporation are declared to be unaffected and unimpaired by this repeal, and all the Laws of the State for the collection and enforcement thereof shall continue in full force until the same shall be lawfully paid. All the powers now conferred by law upon the Collector for the collection and enforcement of all taxes in said City, heretofore assessed and uncollected shall continue in full force and effect until all said taxes shall be fully collected and paid. The official bond of said collector shall be unaffected and unimpaired by this repeal, and he and his sureties thereon shall continue liable for any breaches of any of the conditions of said bond, and all proceedings heretofore commenced for the collection of any penalty, fine, forfeiture or debt, due to, said City under any Law or ordinance shall not be affected or impaired by this repeal, but the same may be prosecuted to judgment and, execution until the same be fully paid, liquidated and discharged.
Section 18. This Charter shall become effective thirty days after its enactment into law.
Approved July 7, 1969.