CHAPTER 362

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 541

AN ACT TO AMEND AN ACT, BEING CHAPTER 170, VOLUME 57, OF THE LAWS OF DELAWARE, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE CITY OF LEWES" TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE FOR REFERENDUM.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (two-thirds of all Members elected to each House thereof concurring therein).

Section 1, Chapter 170, Volume 57 of the Laws of Delaware, as amended, is hereby further amended by adding a new section following Section 29 to be designated as Section 29A to read as follows:

PROCEDURE FOR REFERENDUM

Section 41A-a. Qualified residents and property owners of the City of Lewes shall have the power to require reconsideration by the City Council of the City of Lewes of any adopted ordinance and to approve or reject it at an election as provided herein, provided, however, that such power of referendum shall not extend to the budget or capital program, any emergency ordinance, any zoning ordinance, any ordinance relating to the appropriation of money, nor to any ordinance relating to the levy of taxes.

b. A Referendum Petition signed by residents and property owners of the City of Lewes entitled to register and vote in the Annual Municipal Election if such Annual Municipal Election were held on the day that the Referendum Petition was signed by such resident or property owner, whether or not such resident or property owner is a registered voter, equal in number in at least forty percent (40%) of the total number of voters who voted in the Annual Municipal Election next preceding the execution of the Referendum Petition with the local address of the person so signing, or three hundred (300) residents and property owners, qualified as aforesaid, which ever is greater, shall be presented to the City Council of the City of Lewes at the next regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Lewes following adoption of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered. Each copy of such petition shall contain and have attached thereto throughout its circulation the,full text of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.

c. Each copy of the petition shall have attached to it, when filed, an affidavit executed by the signer thereof stating that he personally circulated the petition, the number of signatures thereon, that all signatures were affixed in his presence, that he believes them to be the genuine

signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be, that each person who signed it is qualified to sign the petition and that each signer had an opportunity before signing to read the full text of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered.

d. A Petition for Referendum shall be filed at the next regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Lewes following adoption by the City Council of the City of Lewes of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered or it shall not be the subject of a referendum. If there are less than twenty-eight (28) days from the date of the adoption of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered until the next regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Lewes, the Petition for Referendum shall be presented at the first regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Lewes following the expiration of the said twenty-eight (28) day period or the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall not be the subject of a referendum.

e. Within twenty (20) days after the petition is filed with the City Council of the City of Lewes at a regular meeting, the City Manager shall complete a certificate as to its sufficiency, specifying, that if it is insufficient, the particulars wherein it is defective, shall promptly send a copy of the certificate to the circulator of such petition by certified mail with return receipt requested. A petition certified insufficient for lack of the required number of valid signatures may be amended one (1) time if the circulator files a Notice of Intention to Amend with the City Manager within two (2) days after receiving a copy of his certificate and files a Supplementary Petition upon additional papers within five (5) days after receiving the copy of such certificate. Such Supplementary Petition shall comply with the requirements of this Section concerning form, content and the affidavit of the circulator. Within five (5) days after it is filed, the City Manager shall complete a certificate as to the sufficiency of the petition, as amended, and shall promptly send a copy of such certificate to the circulator by certified mail with return receipt requested, as in the case of the original petition. If the petition, or amended petition is certified sufficient, or if the petition or amended petition is certified insufficient and the circulator does not elect to amend or request a review of the sufficiency of the certificate by the City Council of the City of Lewes within the time required, the City Manager shall promptly present his certificate to the City Council of the City of Lewes at the next regular meeting and the certificate shall be a form of determination as to the sufficiency of the petition.

f. If a petition has been certified to be insufficient and the circulator has not filed Notice of Intention to Amend, or if an amended petition has been certified insufficient, the circulator may, within two (2) days after receiving the copy of such certificate, file a request that it be reviewed by the City Council of the City of Lewes. The City Council of the City of Lewes shall review the certificate at the next regular meeting following the filing of such request and approve or disapprove it, and the determination of the City Council of the City of Lewes shall be a final determination as to the sufficiency of the petition.

g. Any person or persons, jointly or severely, aggrieved by the decision of the City Council of the City of Lewes may present to the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, a petition, duly verified, setting forth that such decision is invalid, in whole or in part, specifying the grounds of such invalidity. Such petition shall be presented to the Court within thirty (30) days following the determination by the City Council of the City of Lewes as to the insufficiency of such petition. Upon presentation of the petition, the Court may allow a Writ of Certiorari directed to the City Council of the City of Lewes to review such decision of the City Council of the City of Lewes and shall prescribe therein the time in which a return thereto must be made and served upon the petitioner or his attorney, which shall not be less than ten (10) days and may be extended by the Court. The allowance of the Writ shall stay proceedings upon the decision or determination appealed from. The Court may reverse, or affirm, wholly or partly, or may modify the determination brought up for review.

a. Upon the filing of the Petition for a Referendum for the City Manager, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall be suspended from taking effect. Such suspension shall terminate upon the happening of any of the following events:

(1) There is a final determination of insufficiency of the Petition; or

(2) The Petition is withdrawn by the circulator or circulators thereof or sufficient copies thereof are withdrawn so that there are insufficient number of signatures as required by this Section; or

(3) The City Council of the City of Lewes repeals the ordinance; or

(4) Thirty (30) days have elasped after a vote by the voters on the ordinance; or

(5) There is a final determination by the Superior Court.

i. The City Council of the City of Lewes shall reconsider the referred ordinance at the first regular meeting after the Petition for a Referendum has been finally determined to be sufficient. If the City Council of the City of Lewes fails to repeal the referred ordinance, the referred ordinance shall be submitted to the voters of the City of Lewes at an election.

j. The vote of residents and property owners of the City of Lewes on a referred ordinance shall be held not less than thirty (30) days and not later than sixty (60' days from the date that the petition is determined to be sufficient. If the Annual Municipal Election is to be held within the period prescribed in this Section, such referendum shall be considered as part of that Election. If the Annual Municipal Election is not to be held within the period prescribed in this Section, the City Council of the City of Lewes shall provide for a special election. If the City Council of the City of Lewes fails to hold a referendum within the time specified in this Section, the ordinance for which the petition was filed shall be deemed to be repealed at the expiration of sixty (60) days from the date that the petition was considered to be sufficient, and shall not be passed in the same form for a period of six (6) months from the effective date or repeal.

k. The said election at which the ordinance sought to be repealed is to be reconsidered, every person, male or female, who shall be registered on the "Books of Registered Voters" of the City of Lewes as prescribed in this Charter shall have one (1) vote. Any person who shall register on the "Books of Registered Voters" shall be entitled to vote in the election provided for by this Section. A person may register at the Office of the City Manager during the regular office hours on any day in order to vote in the election at which the ordinance is to be reconsidered until the close of business on the second Friday prior to the date of the said election. Any person registered to vote in any Annual Municipal Election shall not be required to register in order to vote in any Special Election to be held pursuant to this Section. The "Books of Registered Voters" shall be conclusive evidence of the right of any person to vote at any election at which the ordinance sought to be repealed is to be considered.

1. The notice of the time and place of holding the said Special Election shall be printed in at least two (2) issues of a newspaper having a general circulation in the City of Lewes within thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date of the Special Election.

m. The Mayor of the City of Lewes shall appoint three persons to act as a Board of Special Election, if a Special Election is required. The polling place or places shall be open from 12 o'clock noon, prevailing time, until 6 o'clock in the evening, prevailing time, on the date set for the Special Election. Persons in the polling place at 6 o'clock in the evening, prevailing time, shall be entitled to vote even though such votes may be cast after 6 o'clock in the evening, prevailing time.

n. Immediately after the closing of the polling place or places, the Board of Special Election, or the Board of Election if the referendum is held on the day of the Annual Municipal Election, as the case may be, shall count the ballots for and against the proposition as presented and shall announce the results thereof. The Board of Special Election or the Board of Election, as the case may be, shall make a certificate under their hands of the number of votes cast for and against the proposed ordinance and the number of void votes and shall deliver the same to the City Council of the City of Lewes. The said certificate shall be filed with the papers of the CitY Council of the City of Lewes.

o. The form of the ballot of the said Election, whether the same be considered at the Annual Municipal Election or at a Special Election shall be as follows:

For the Referred Ordinance. Against the Referred Ordinance. (Check your preference.)

Paper ballots may be used in any Special Election on a referral of an ordinance. The City Council shall cause to be prepared and printed a sufficient number of ballots not less than five (5) days prior to the date of the Special Election. Voting machines shall be used if the referendum is held on the day of the Annual Municipal Election if voting machines are required for the Annual Municipal Election.

a. If the majority of the registered voters voting on a referred ordinance vote against such ordinance, it shall be considered repealed upon the certification of the result of the election by the Board of Special Election in the case of a Special Election or upon the certification of the Board of Election in the case of such referendum being held on the day of the Annual Municipal Election. No ordinance which has been repealed as the result of a referendum shall be passed again in the same form by the City Council of the City of Lewes for a period of six (6) months from the date of the referendum.

Approved June 27, 1978.