HOUSE BILL NO. 953
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1°
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 212, VOLUME 25, LAWS OF DELAWARE, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO INCORPORATE THE TOWN OF BETHANY BEACH AND GIVING IT AUTHORITY TO ISSUE BONDS", AS AMENDED, AND RELATING TO QUALIFICATIONS AND FILING FOR THE OFFICE OF COMMISSIONER, TO QUALIFICATIONS OF VOTERS TO ELECTION DAY, TO THE REMOVAL OF ELECTION OFFICIALS, TO THE PROCEDURE FOR CONDUCTING MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS AND TO THE PROCEDURE FOR ENACTING ORDINANCES.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all the members elected to each branch thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Sections 2, 3, 4 and 5, Chapter
215, Volume 25, Laws of Delaware, as amended, by striking said Sections 2, 3, 4 and 5, and inserting in lieu thereof the following sections:
"Sections 2. (a) The inhabitants of the Town of Bethany Beach shall be and they are hereby constituted and continued a municipal corporation and body politic in law and equity by and under the name and style of "The Town of Bethany Beach", hereinafter called the "Town". Under said name the Town shall have perpetual succession; may have and use a corporate seal which may be altered, changed or renewed at pleasure; may sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded in all Courts of law and equity in The State of Delaware, and elsewhere, by said corporate name; may hold and acquire by purchase, gift, devise, lease or by condemnation real property and personal property within or without
its boundaries, as set forth in this Act, in fee simple or for lesser estate or interest; may sell, lease, hold, manage and control such property as its interest may require; and may do all other things which a body politic and corporate may lawfully do to carry out and effect the object and purposes of this Act.
(b) In addition to the other powers and functions granted herein, the Town shall have all the powers and functions requisite to or appropriate for the government of the Town, its peace and order, its sanitation, beauty, health, safety, convenience, comfort and wellbeing of its population, and the protection and preservation of property, public and private.
() The enumeration of particular powers herein shall not be held to be exclusive or to restrict in any manner the general powers conferred herein, but in addition to the powers enumerated herein, implied hereby, or appropriate to the exercise thereof, it is intended that the Town shall have, and may exercise, all powers which, under the Constitution of The State of Delaware, it would be competent for this Act specifically to enumerate. All powers of the Town whether expressed or implied, shall be exercised as prescribed by this Act or, if not prescribed herein, by ordinance or resolution of the Commissioners.
Section 3. The government of the Town and exercise of all power conferred by this Act, except as otherwise provided herein, shall be vested in the Commissioners of The Town of Bethany Beach. The Commissioners of The Town of Bethany Beach shall consist of seven (7) members, to be chosen as hereinafter provided.
Section 4. The qualifications for the office of Commissioner shall be as follows:
shall have attained 21 years of age and shall be otherwise qualified as a voter as defined in Section 10 hereof.
(b) All of the Commissioners may be residents of the Town; however, at least four (4) of the Commissioners shall be residents of the Town on the date of the filing of notice of intention to seek office, or on the date of their appointment, as the case may be. In addition to being qualified as a Commissioner, as set forth above, the Commissioners with the titles of President (Mayor), Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer, shall also be residents of the Town as defined in this sub-section. If any of the Commissioners shall, during his or her term of office, cease to be a freeholder in the Town, he or she shall be deemed to have vacated his or her office by reason of said fact alone. If the President (Mayor), Vice President or Secreatary-Treasurer shall during his or her term of office, cease to be a resident of the Town, he or she shall be deemed to have vacated such office by reason of said fact alone, but shall not be deemed to have vacated the office of the Commissioner unless he or she shall have ceased to be a freeholder in the Town. If a "non-resident" Commissioner establishes residency in the Town during his or her term of office, he or she shall not be deemed to have vacated such "non-resident" office by reason of said fact alone. If a resident Commissioner fails to maintain residency in the Town, but remains a freeholder, he or she shall not be deemed to have vacated such "resident" office by reason of said fact alone. The Commissioners shall be the sole and final judges of the qualifications of their members. For purposes of this Act: (i) a "freeholder" shall be deemed to include any person who holds title of record to a fee simple estate or a life estate in and to real property located within the Town boundaries; (ii) a "resident" shall mean any person who has during the 12-month period immediately preceding his or her filing date of notice of intention to seek office, as provided herein or date of appointment, as the case may be, actually lived in the Town at least nine (9) months, consecutively or non-consecutively, or said preceding 12-month period.
officers appointed to serve, shall continue to serve as Commissioners and officers of the Town from and after the passage hereof until their successors are duly elected or appointed. At the annual election held on the first Saturday after Labor Day, 1976, four (4) Commissioners shall be elected for terms of two years each. Thereafter, three (3) Commissioners shall be elected in odd numbered years and four (4) in even numbered years at the annual election held on the first Saturday after Labor Day.
Section 6. (a) The seven (7) offices of Commissioner shall be elective. All other offices shall be appointive and the person or persons filing such appointive offices shall be appointed by the Commissioners.
(b) In the case of a vacancy created in any office of Commissioner, either by death, resignation, loss of residence or freeholdership, or other disqualifying event, as set forth in subsection (c) hereof, the other Commissioners shall fill such vacancy for the remainder of the whole term.
(c) If any elective officer be found guilty of any felony, he or she shall forthwith be disqualified to act as such officer and shall by that fact alone be deemed to have vacated his or her elective office, and such office shall be filled by the other Commissioner as in the case of other vacancies.
Section 7. (a) An organization meeting of the Commissioners shall be held as soon as practicable following the annual election. The Commissioners at said organization meeting shall meet at the usual place for holding regular meetings. The newly elected Commissioners shall assume the duties of their respective offices, being first duly sworn or affirmed to perform their duties with fidelity, which oath or affirmation shall be taken before a Notary Public, a Justice of the Peace, or by one of the holdover Commissioners.
(b) At the organization meeting the Commissioners shall elect one of their number as the President and Presiding Officer to serve for a term of one (1) year or until the first
regular meeting after the next succeeding election. The President shall hold the title of "Mayor". The Commissioners shall elect a Vice President and a Secretary-Treasurer to serve for a term of one (1) year or until the first regular meeting after the next succeeding election. The Commissioners may also elect and appoint such other officers and employees as may be necessary. If the Commissioners are unable to elect one of their own number to fill the aforesaid offices, then such office shall be filled by "lot" by the Commissioners.
Section 8. Each candidate for the office of Commissioner shall file his or her notice of intention to seek office in the following manner:
(a) At least 30 days before the time set for election, file with the Town Clerk a letter, or other written statement, setting forth that he or she is a candidate for the Office of Commissioner. The Commissioners shall refuse to accept for filing the name of any candidate who fails to meet the requirements of this Act.
Section 9. (a) Annual elections for Commissioners shall be held on the first Saturday after Labor Day from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., prevailing time, at such place or places as shall be determined by the Commissioners, due notice of which shall be given by posting notices thereof in five (5) public places in the Town not less than twenty (20) days before the day of such annual election; provided, however, that in the event that there is no contest for any of the several offices to be elected in any year, the polls shall not remain open after 2:00 P.M.
(b) All elections, set for Commissioner or otherwise, shall be by ballot, the form, manner and conduct of which shall be prescribed by the Commissioners by resolution.
() Every election shall be held under the supervision of an Election Board. The Election Board shall consist of one (1) Inspector of the Election and two (2) Judges of the Election. The Inspector and Judges constituting the Election Board shall be qualified voters of the Town and shall be appointed for that purpose by the Commissioners at least twenty (20) days before such election. Members of the Election Board shall be the sole and final judges of the legality of the voters offered. The Election Board shall keep a true and accurate list of all persons voting. The Election Board shall have the power to subpoena persons, and officers of the Town, and books, records and papers relative to the determination of the qualification of voters and the legality of any vote or votes offered.
(d) Upon the close of the election, the votes shall be read and counted and the persons having the highest number of votes shall be declared, by the Election Board, to be duly elected to such vacant offices as then exist, and such persons shall continue in office during the terms for which they were chosen, or until their successors are duly elected or appointed and qualified.
(e) In the event of a tie vote for any office, the Election Board shall determine such tie by lot.
(f) All ballots cast and all records of the election kept by the Election Board shall be preserved in the custody of the Election Board for a period of ten days, save and excepting those ballots offered by persons who shall not have satisfied the Election Board that he or she or they possessed the qualifications of a Town voter as prescribed herein.
(g) The Election Board shall enter in a book, to be provided for that purpose, the results of the election, containing the names of the persons elected. The members of the Election Board shall subscribe the same and shall give to the persons elected certificates of their election. The book, containing such matters, shall be preserved by the Commissioners.
Section 10. Any person shall be qualified to vote
who on the date of the election shall have attained eighteen
(18) years of age and who shall have been either (a) a freeholder in the Town, as defined herein, for a period of ninety (90) consecutive days immediately preceding the date of the election or (b) a resident of the Town for at least nine (9) months, consecutively or non-consecutively of the twelve (12) month period immediately preceding the date of the election in which he or she seeks to vote and against whose property there is no unpaid tax of the Town for any prior year.
Section 11. (a) The Commissioners shall determine their own rules of procedure and order of business. They shall keep a record of their proceedings and the record shall be open to public inspection. Every public inspection. Every ordinance shall be introduced in writing. No ordinance shall be passed unless it shall have the affirmative vote of a majority of the Commissioners elected. Vote on any ordinance may be by voice or written vote and the vote of each Commissioner on any ordinance shall be entered on the record.
(b) The Commissioners shall by ordinance or resolution fix the amount of any salaries or compensation of the employees, officers and agents of the Town, and the time and manner of payment; provided, that the salary or compensation of an employee, officer or agent shall not be increased, during the term of said office should said appointment thereto be for a designated term. No officer, employe or agent of the Town shall in any form have, take, or receive from the Town any compensation, in any form, in addition to the salary or compensation fixed by the Commissioners.
(c) The Commissioners shall cause to be kept a full and complete record of all officers appointed, and employees and agents hired by the Town, containing the names of such officers, employees and agents, the dates of their employment, any salary or compensation to be by them received and the date of the termination of their services. In the event that they shall hold their office for an indefinite term, the record shall so state."
Section 2. Amend Sections 6, 7, 8, 9, 9A, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 of Chapter 212, Volume 25, Laws of Delaware, as amended, by renumbering said Sections as Sections 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 32, respectively.
Approved July 7, 1976