SENATE BILL NO. 335
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 216, VOLUME 27, LAWS OF DELAWARE RELATING TO "AN ACT AMENDING, REVISING AND CONSOLIDATING THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF NEW CASTLE."
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. Amend Section 19, Chapter 216, Volume 27, Laws of Delaware, by striking the second sentence of said section, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"In making such assessment, the Council may adopt by ordinance the rules and exemptions, in whole or in part, applicable by law to the making of the county assessment of persons and properties whenever the Council deems that such county rules and exemptions would best promote the public welfare of the City of New Castle, The Council may adopt by ordinance other rules and exemptions not applicable by law to the making of the county assessment whenever the Council deems that such other rules and exemptions will promote the public welfare of the City of New Castle."
Section 2. Amend Section 19, Chapter 216, Volume 27, Laws of Delaware (as amended by Section 1, Chapter 240, Volume 47, Laws of Delaware), by striking the word "male" as the same appears in the second to the last sentence of the first paragraph.
Section 3. Amend Section Chapter 216, Volume 27, Laws of Delaware by adding thereto a new section, designated as Section 19-A, which new section shall rend as follows:
(a) In addition to the annual assessment provided for by this Charter, the Council of the City of New Castle may, at its option, cause the City Assessor to prepare quarterly supplemental assessment rolls for the purpose of adding property not included on the last annual assessment roll; or increasing the assessed value of property included on the assssment roll, or for otherwise correcting errors on the prior assessment rolls. In the event that the Council shall have prepared and promulgated such a quarterly supplemental assessment roll, or in the event that the City Council of the City of New Castle shall have adopted the assessments and valuations made by the County Assessment Board of New Castle County for all real estate situated within the City of New Castle, and such County Assessment Board shall have prepared and promulgated a quarterly supplemental assessment roll which includes any taxable real estate situated within the City of New Castle, the Council of the City of New Castle shall he available for presentation of appeals as provided herein, but in no event earlier than the County Board :night meet.
(b) On the date of certification of a supplemental tax roll to the Council: (1) the property owners listed thereon shall be liable to pay taxes equal to the assessed value of the property, multiplied by the tax rates for the then current fiscal year appliable to the property, reduced by 25% where the property is listed on the second supplemental assessment roll; by 50% where the property is listed on the the third supplemental assessment roll; and by 75% where the property is listed on the fourth supplemental assessment roll; and (2) the amount of such tax shall be and remain a lien on such property, together with any penalties which might thereafter accrue, until such taxes and penalties are paid in full. Such tax rates shall include, without limitation, the tvx rate imposed by any school boards for districts in which the property is located.
(c) In no ease shall the supplemental assessment procedure be employed to impose taxes retroactively.
(d) Whenever the tax assessor places it property on a supplemental assessment roll, that person shill deposit notice thereof in the regular mail addressed to the owner of the property affected thereby at the address shown on the assessment rolls, or if the address of such owner does not appear on the assessment roll, then to the person occupying the property, or if there is no apparent occupant such notice shall be posted on the land. Such notice shall he given no later than the date on which the supplemental assessment roll on which the property appears Is certified to the council,
(e) The Council shall publish notice of the place where Die supplemental assessment roll :Tilly be inspected together with n notice of the time and place of the sittings to hear appeals. The notices published by the Council shall also state the time and place for filing written notices of appeal with the Council. Such notice shall appear at least once a week for two weeks in at least two newspapers in New Castle County. Such publication shall begin not later than the date on which the supplemental assessment roll was certified.
(f) Within thirty days from the date on which notice of supplemental assessment is sent by the tax assessor, the owner may appeal the supplemental assessment to the Council. The appeal shall be scheduled and heard by the Council prior to the time the tax imposed by the supplemental assessment is due, but after said appeal may be heard by the County if such an appeal is taken. Pending determination of such appeal, the owner nay: (1) pay the tax imposed by the supplemental assessment, and if on appeal the assessment is reduced he shall he entitled to a refund of the taxes which he has overpaid plus interest thereon at the rate of I% per month; or (2) not pay the tax imposed by the supplemental assessment, in which ease penalties shall accrue at the rate of 1% per month on the amount of taxes computed in accordance with the determination of the appeal, and no action to collect the tax shall be taken until the appeal is determined. Such interest and penalties shall begin to accrue upon the expiration of three months from the date on which the unpaid tax became due and payable."
Section 4. Amend Chapter 216, Volume 27, Laws of Delaware by adding thereto a new section, designated as Section 19-B, which new section shall read as follows:
(a) In order to provide for the payment of its debt and expenses the Council of the City, in addition to the powers now conferred upon it, shall have power and authority by ordinance or ordinances to issue licenses to and to require and receive a license fee from the owner or owners of any vehicle, business, avocation, profession, pursuit, or calling, in addition to any traveling show or business operated, carried on, or engaged in within the corporate limits of the City, including business occupations, animals and things not now exempted by law from tax in this State; provided however, that no license shall be required from the owner of any vehicle who is not a resident of the City nor shall anything in this Chapter apply to or affect any ease wherein under existing laws a gross sum is paid to the State in lieu of all taxes under any and all laws of this State not to any railroad company engaged in operating any railroad in this State under a lease or stock ownership thereof authorized by existing law. And provided further, that this section shall not be construed as authorizing the said Council to levy any license fee which shall bring or may have the effect of bringing into operation any retaliatory or reciprocal tax or license laws of any other state or country as against corporations organized under the laws of the State.
(b) The Council of the City, in addition to the powers now conferred upon it, shall have the power and authority by ordinance or ordinances to levy, assess collect or provide for the levying, assessment and collection of such taxes as it shall determine to be paid by the transferor and/or transferee as determined by it upon the transfer of real property or of any interest in real property, situate within the corporate limits of the City regardless of where the instruments making the transfers occur; provided, however, no tax levied under this section shall exceed two percent (276) of the sales price (including the value of assumed mortgages) or fair market value of the real property and providing further that no tax shall be levied on an organization exempted from ad valorem real estate taxes."
Section 5. Amend Section 20, Chapter 216, Volume 27, Laws of Delaware (as amended by Section 1, Chapter 173, Volume 47, Laws of Delaware), by striking the last paragraph of said section, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"(d) The Collector of Taxes shall allow whatever abatement or discount upon any tax required to be collected by him as may be authorized by ordinance of City Council. City Council may by ordinance establish the interest to be paid on taxes unpaid after September 30 of each year."
Section 6. Amend Section 20, Chapter 216, Volume 27, Laws of Delaware, by striking the fourth paragraph of said section, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"In addition to all existing methods and authority for collection of taxes due to the City, the City may file or cause to be filed a praeeipe in the Office of the Prothonotary of the Superior Court in and for New Castle County.
The praeeipe shall contain the name of the person against whom the taxes sought to be collected were assessed, a copy of the bill or bills showing the amount of taxes due, and the property against which the taxes were assessed. The description of the property, as the same appears upon the assessment rolls of the City, shall be sufficient identificaton and description of the property. The City shall also cause notice to be given to the person against whom the taxes sought to be collected were assessed by mailing certified mail (return receipt requested) to the said person at the best available address for such person n copy of the praeeipe with instructions that, unless payment is made or an appearance otherwise entered on behalf of said person within thirty (30) days of mailing, judgment shall be entered against the property. When a copy of the praceipe with instructions has been so mailed, the City shall file or cause to be filed an affidavit of mailing in the Office of the Prothonotary. The mailing of the praecipe with instructions and the filing of the affidavit shall be deemed to be a complete discharge of the City's duty to give notice to the person against whom taxes are sought to be collected, whether or not the receipt of the registered mailing is returned. If no payment or appearance is thereafter made within thirty (30) days of mailing, the Prothonotary shall make a record of the same on a special judgment docket of the Superior Court, against the property mentioned or described in the praecipe, which record shall consist of the following:
(1) The name of the person in whose name the assessment was made;
(2) The description of the property as the same shall appear upon the assessment rolls;
(3) The year or years for which the taxes are due and payable;
(4) The date of the filing of such praecipe; and
(5) The amount of the judgment, the same being the amount set forth in the praecipe.
Such judgment shall be indexed In the appropriate judgment docket.
Thereafter upon a praecipe for monition filed in the Office of the Prothonotary by the City, a monition shall be issued by the Prothonotary to the Sheriff of New Castle County, which monition shall briefly state the amount of the judgment for the taxes due and the years thereof, together with a brief description of the property upon which the taxes are a lien. A description of such property as same shall appear upon the assessment rolls so prepared shall be a sufficient description.
The monition shall be in substantially 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 or assessment stated herein is paid within twenty (20) days after the date hereof, or within such period of twenty (20) days evidence of the payment of taxes herein claimed is 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 for New Castle County, the City of New Castle 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 person Description Years Amount
in whose name of or of
property is Property Years Judgment
The monition, or a copy thereof, shall be posted by the Sheriff upon some prominent place or part of the property against which the judgment for the taxes or assessment is a lien, and the Sheriff shall make due and proper return of his proceedings under the monition to the Prothonotary, within ten (10) days after the posting of the monition.
Alias or pluries monition may issue upon like praecipe. The posting of the notice as herein required shall constitute notice to the owner or owners and all persons having any interest in the property.
At any time after the expiration of twenty (20) days next following the return of the Sheriff upon the monition, unless the judgment together with costs has been paid prior to the expiration of the twenty days, evidence of the payment of such taxes evidenced by a reccipted tax bill or a duplicate thereof bearing date therefor prior to the filing of the lien for record in the Office of the Prothonotary, then upon application in writing by the City of New Castle, a writ of venditioni exponas shall issue out of the Office of the Prothonotary directed to the Sheriff commanding the Sheriff to sell the property mentioned or described in the writ and make due return of his proceedings thereunder in the same manner as is now applicable with respect to similar writs of venditioni e ones issued out of the Superior Court. The property shall be described In the writ under theeser p ion thereof as it appears on the assessment rolls and by metes and bounds where obtainable, but nothing herein contained shall be construed to invalidate a writ or a sale pursuant thereto containing only the description as it appears on the assessment rolls or a writ bearing only a description by metes and bounds. The writ shall be substantially in the following form:
NEW CASTLE COUNTY, SS
The State of Delaware
CO THE SHERIFF OF NEW CASTLE COUNTY,
WHEREAS, by a Monition issued out of the Superior Court dated at Wilmington the
day of , A.D. 19_, IT WAS COMMANDED, that you should post thud
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 said posting.
That on the day of , A.D. 19_, you returned that a copy of the said Monition
was posted oT-CtNe real estate therein mentioned and described 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 follows:
....and that you should cause to be made as well a certain debt of Dollars ($
lawful money of the United States, which to the said City of New Crtstile s 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 appears of record and against which said property it is a lien;
And have you that money before the Judges of our Superior Court at Wilminton, on Monday the
day of next, to render to the said City of New Castle as aforesaid, for its debt and aforesaid, and this writ:.
WITNESSETH, the Honorable , at Wilmington day of A.D., 19
Any real estate or interest therein sold under the provisions of this Charter shall vest in the purchaser all the right, title and interest of persons M whose name the property was assessed, and/or all right, title and interest of the person or persons who are the owners thereof, and likewise freed and discharged from any liens and encumbrances dower or curtesy or statutory right, In the nature of a dower or curtesy, whether absolute or inchoate, in or to the real estate.
If the owner of the property and/or his legal representatives fail to redeem the property as provided in this Charter, the purchaser of the 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 Charter and pray that the Superior Court make an order directing the Sheriff, then in office, to execute, acknowledge and deliver a deed conveying the title to the property to the petitioner; and thereupon the Superior Court shall have the power, after a hearing upon the petition, to issue an order directing the Sheriff to execute, acknowledge and deliver a deed as prayed for in the petition. A description of the property as the same shall appear upon the assessment rolls, or a description by metes and bounds where obtainable shall be a sufficient description in any such deed.
The owner of any such real estate sold under this Charter or his legal representatives may redeem the same at any time within sixty (60) days from the day the sale thereof is approved by the Court, by paying to the purchaser or his legal representatives, successors or assigns, the amount of the purchase price and fifteen percent (15%) in addition thereto, together with all costs Incurred in the cause, or if the purchaser or his legal representatives, successors or assigns, refuse to receive the same, or do not reside or cannot be found within the City of New Castle, by paying the amount into the Court for the use of the purchaser, his legal representatives or assigns.
If the owner of any real estate sold under an order of sale or his legal representative redeems the real estate, he may present to the Superior Court a petition setting forth that fact and thereupon the Superior Court, after hearing and determining the facts set forth in the petition, shall have power to cause to be entered upon the record of the judgment, under which the real estate was sold, a memorandum that the real estate described in the proceedings upon which the judgment was entered has been redeemed. Thereafter the 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, except insofar as the Hens have been discharged or reduced by the application of the proceeds by the Sheriff from the sale.
Upon the return of the proceedings under a writ of venditioni exponas the Superior court may inquire into the regularity of the proceedings thereunder anderfirove e sale or set it aside.
No monition proceedings shall be brought under this Charter unless the tax or assessment sought to be collected hereunder shall at the time of the filing of the praccipe in the Office of the Prothonotary be and constitute a lien upon the property against which the tax or assessment was assessed or laid.
Whenever the Superior Court is mentioned in this Charter, the same shall be held to embrace the Judges or any Judge thereof, and any Act required or authorized to be done under this Charter may be done by the Superior Court or any Judge thereof in vacation thereof, us well as in term time.
The fees and costs to be taxed M all proceedings under this Section, where not otherwise provided for, shall be set by the Council by ordinance."
Section 7. (a) The qualified voters of the City of New Castle may by referendum approve or reject this Act, or any section or provision of this Act it
(1) a petition, requesting that a referendum be held, is delivered to the City Council or to the City Clerk or other officer of the City on behalf of the Council, within 30 days from the time this Act becomes law; and
(2) The petition indicates, with reasonable clarity, those provisions or amendments which are to be presented to the voters for their approval or rejection; and
(3) The petition contains the signatures of 500 or more persons who are qualified to vote for members of the City Council.
(b) The legal effectiveness of any Charter section, provision or amendment which is the subject of a petition delivered to the City Council, or delivered to any person on its behalf, shall be suspended upon such delivery and the said section, provision or amendment shall not again become effective unless it receives the approval of a majority of those participating in the referendum vote. The City Council shall designate a time, date and place for the referendum, which shall be held not more than sixty days following delivery of the petition. Notice of the referendum shall contain the affected section, provision, or amendment; and shall contain the time, date and place of the election.
(c) During the 60-day period, notice of the referendum shall be published in three separate issues of the New Castle Gazette or its successor; and shall be published in a daily newspaper of general circulation at least three times. The last publication of each newspaper shall be within the week immediately prior to the referendum. The choice for voters In the referendum shall be "approve" or "reject". Any section, provision or amendment rejected by the voters shall be deemed to have become null and viod at the close of the polls. When a section, provision or amendment has been rejected, the Council shall prepare and forward to the Legislative Council of Delaware a Notice of Rejection which shall set forth the full text of the rejected section, provision or amendment. The Director of Research shall cause such Notice of Rejection to be printed in the Laws of Delaware, unless instructed otherwise by the Legislative Council.
Approved July 7, 1981.