CHAPTER 732

AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE STATE OF DELAWARE TO BORROW MONEY TO BE USED FOR LOCAL PARK DEVELOPMENT AND PARK LAND ACQUISITION ASSISTANCE AND TO ISSUE BONDS AND NOTES THEREFOR AND APPROPRIATING THE MONEY BORROWED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL.

WHEREAS, the land area of the State of Delaware is limited and its continuing population growth now demands and will in the future increasingly demand that suitable portions of that area be set aside and preserved for public use as parks and open spaces for recreation and conservation; and

WHEREAS, the acquisition cost of such lands is likely to increase substantially in the future; and

WHEREAS, there is a need to financially assist communities in the development of existing local park and recreation areas;

NOW, THEREFORE,

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (three-fourths of all the members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. There is appropriated to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control the sum of $500,000 or so much thereof as shall be received from the sale of the bonds and notes hereinafter authorized which shall be allocated to county and local governments for local park land acquisition, park land development, and related planning to said development.

Section 2. The funds appropriated in Section 1 of this Act shall be allocated amongst the county and local governments of this State according to the population ratio and as follows:

(1) Sixteen per cent (16% ) of the appropriated funds shall be set aside for allocation to Kent County and local governments within Kent County ($80,000);

(2) Fourteen per cent (14%) of the appropriation funds shall be set aside for allocation to Sussex County and local governments within Sussex County ($70,000);

(3) Seventy per cent (70%) of the appropriated funds shall be set aside for allocation to New Castle County and local governments within New Castle County ($350,000).

Section 3. The county governments in expending any of the funds appropriated herein shall give a first preference to the acquisition and development of neighborhood and community type parks and recreational areas in unincorporated towns and communities where parks and recreational areas are nonexistent, inadequate, or in need of proper development.

Section 4. The said sum of $500,000 shall be borrowed by the issuance of bonds and bond anticipation notes upon the full faith and credit of the State of Delaware. Such bonds and notes shall be issued in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 74, Title 29, Delaware Code. For purposes of identification, the bonds issued pursuant to this Authorization Act may be known, styled or referred to as "Capital Improvement Bonds of 1970".

Section 5. There is hereby appropriated from the General Fund such sums as may be necessary for the expenses incident to the issuance of the bonds and notes herein authorized and such further sums as may be necessary to pay any interest which becomes due on such bonds and notes during the current fiscal year and such further sums as may be necessary for the repayment of the principal of any of the said bonds which become due during the current fiscal year Vouchers for the payment of the expenses incident to the issuance of bonds and notes and for the interest and repayment of said notes shall be signed by the Secretary of State by and with the approval of the Issuing Officers. Any monies received from the premium and accrued interest on the sale of said bonds shall be deposited to the credit of the General Fund.

Section 6. The Budget Appropriation Bill which shall be enacted and approved by the General Assembly for the fiscal year next following the effective date of this Act and for such subsequent fiscal year or biennium, shall contain under the debt service Item provisions for the payment of interest and principal maturities of the bonds (or notes which are not to be funded by the issuance of bonds) issued under the authority of this Act, and such of the revenues of the State of Delaware as are not prohibited by constitutional provisions or committed by preceding statutes for other purposes are hereby pledged for the redemption and cancellation of said bonds and payment of interest thereon.

Section 7. The appropriation made by Section 1 of this Act shall be employed on a matching basis in the acquisition, development, and related planning thereto of lands and waters, for use as, or in connection with, county, municipal, and local parks and open spaces for public use. Not more than 50 per cent of the total project cost shall be paid from the monies appropriated by this Act.

Section 8. The county or local government requesting monies from the appropriation authorized by Section 1 of this Act must provide evidence to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control that local funds have been earmarked and will be expended for the cost of land acquisition or development of the proposed park or open space project. Any park lands or improvements already held by a county or a local government shall not be used as part of that county's or local government's matching share. Any monies received from the State or Federal governments under any other program may be used in a program of a county or local government, along with the funds appropriated by this Act, but in no case shall the local share be less than 25% of the total project cost.

Section 9. Before any sum is encumbered for a county or a local government project, a request shall be made by the county or local unit of government to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and that Department shall report its findings and recommendations to the State Planning Office. The State Planning Office will be responsible for final review and concurrent approval or disapproval.

Section 10. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the State Planning Office shall develop procedures for the application for funds. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control shall be responsible for determining that approved projects are implemented in accordance with these procedures.

Section 11. No funds may be made available to a county or local government for park improvements which have a public-use expectancy of less than twenty (20) year duration. Documentation must be provided by the applicant that it has means in which to sufficiently operate and maintain such park improvements once completed.

Section 12. All applications for funding must be specific. The burden shall be upon the applicant to clearly define the proposed acquisition or development project(s) and should the application be approved, the burden shall be upon the recipient to complete successfully the proposed project(s).

Section 13. Any monies acquired by the county or local government, through admission charges, or facility usage related to the acquisition or development of such approved projects, shall be retained by the county or local government for operation and/ or maintenance of public park or recreational facilities.

Section 14. No land or improvements acquired in whole or in part with the use of monies appropriated by this Act may be converted to uses other than those originally intended without the approval of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the State Planning Office. The State Planning Office shall not approve the conversion of land or improvements unless the Office finds that such conversion is essential to orderly development and growth of the area involved as in accord with the applicable comprehensive plan and the Delaware Development Plan. The State Planning Office shall approve any such conversions only upon such conditions as the Office deems necessary to assure the substitution of other land or facilities of at least equal fair market value and equivalent usefulness and location.

Section 15. Any monies appropriated by this Act that are encumbered for any county or local government projects which are not liquidated within twenty-four (24) months shall be deposited in a special account known as "State Treasurer's Bond Account".

Section 16. This Act shall be in force and effect until June 30, 1973. Any funds appropriated herein that have not been encumbered on or before such date shall revert to the State Treasurer's Bond Account.

Approved July 20, 1970.