HOUSE BILL NO. 215
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 32, VOLUME 47, LAWS OF DELAWARE, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "AN ACT TO REINCORPORATE THE TOWN OF FREDERICA", RELATING TO ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ELECTED OFFICE, VOTER QUALIFICATIONS, ELECTIONS, DUTIES AND TERM OF THE MAYOR, AND JURISDICTION IN THE JUSTICES OF THE PEACE COURT.
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 4 of Chapter 32, Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, as amended, by deleting Section 4 in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"Section 4. Each of the members of Town Council shall be residents of said Town for at least six consecutive months prior to the date of election, shall be registered to vote as provided herein, shall be at least eighteen years of age, shall be citizens of the United States, and shall not be delinquent in the payment of any taxes or other assessments levied by the Town. The members of Town Council shall serve after their election and qualification as provided herein.
There shall be an election held at the Town Hall in said Town on the first Saturday of March, A.D. 1996, from the hour of twelve o'clock P.M. until the hour of five o'clock P.M. for the election of five members of the Council, three of said members to serve for a term of one year and two of said members to serve for a term of two years and to constitute the Town Council of the Town of Frederica. Subsequently and on the first Saturday in March, A.D. 1997, and on the first Saturday in March in every second year thereafter during the hours aforesaid and at the place aforesaid, three members shall be elected to the Town Council for the full term of two years, and subsequently and on the first Saturday in March, A.D. 1998, and on the first Saturday in March in every second year thereafter during the hours aforesaid and at the place aforesaid, two members shall be elected to the Town Council for the full term of two years. Thereafter, the term of office of a member of the Council shall be for two years, or until his successor has been duly elected and qualified. In the event that the Town Hall is not available for the holding of Town elections during any year, then Council shall designate a place within said Town for the holding of said annual election by giving at least ten days notice of such place of election posted in at least five of the most public places in said Town.
At any annual or special election within said Town, every person resident in said Town who is at least eighteen years of age, who is a citizen of the United States, who shall not be delinquent in the payment of any taxes or other assessments levied by the Town, who has resided in the said Town for at least six consecutive months prior to the date of election, and who has registered to vote with the Secretary of the Town Council at least thirty days prior to the date of election, shall be entitled to vote.
The Town Council may, by ordinance, establish a procedure for absentee voting, consistent with the provisions of Title 15, Chapter 55 of the Delaware Code.
All elections under the provisions of this charter shall be held by two persons designated by the Council of the Town of Frederica for such purpose, and it shall be the duty of such persons so designated to hold such election on the day and between the hours designated and to keep an accurate record of the vote cast and report and certify the same to the Council at its next meeting.
In the event that the first Saturday in March in any year shall fall on a holiday, then such election shall be held on the Saturday next following. Any vacancy in the Election Board shall be filled by the remaining members of said Board. In the event of a tie vote for any office, the Election Board shall determine the tie by lot. 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 ten days previous to said election, and a vote cast for any person whose candidacy has not been so filed shall not be counted.
The members of the Town Council of the Town of Frederica as now constituted shall continue in office until the first Monday of March, A.D. 1996. On the first Monday of March, A.D. 1996, and on the next Monday following the first Saturday of March of each year thereafter, the members who shall have been elected to the Town Council of the said Town of Frederica, as well as the holdover members of said Town Council, shall meet in the Town Hall, or such other place as shall be designated, for the purpose of organizing by the election of officers and such other business as may come before such meeting. Such meeting shall be known as the "Annual Meeting" of the Town Council..
In the case of any vacancy created by death, resignation, or otherwise, in the office either of Mayor or Councilman, the Council shall fill such vacancy, for the balance of the term, by appointment.
The Mayor shall preside at all meetings of Council; shall serve as the head of the town government for all ceremonial purposes and for purposes of military law; shall appoint all committees, subject to Council confirmation; and shall have general superintendent of all municipal affairs. The Mayor shall receive complaints of nuisances and all complaints of violations of laws or ordinances and present the same to Council at its first meeting thereafter for action of Council.
The Mayor shall sign all warrants on the Treasurer for the payment of any Town money and shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by resolution or ordinance of Council.
The Mayor shall have the same right as other officers and Council members to vote on all matters and may, at any time, appoint another officer or Council member to preside if he desires to make a motion, move the adoption of a resolution, second either, or debate any question from the floor and may, thereafter, immediately resume his duties as presiding officer. For purposes of establishing a majority vote, the Mayor shall be counted as a member of Council.
The Mayor shall serve a term of two years."
Section 2. Amend Section 9 of Chapter 32, Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, as amended, by deleting Section 9 in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"Section 9. The Justices of the Peace Court shall have jurisdiction and cognizance of all breaches of the peace and other offenses committed in the Town so far as to arrest and hold for bail, or fine and imprison offenders; and also of all fines, penalties and forfeitures prescribed by this charter or any law of the State or by any ordinance of the Council and also of all neglects, omissions or defaults of any member of the Town police force or other Town officer or employee, provided that in case of violation of an ordinance, no fine or penalty shall be imposed in excess of that fixed by the ordinance and no person shall be committed to prison for a longer term than thirty days in default of the payment of a fine imposed pursuant to an ordinance. The jail of Kent County may be used for imprisonment under the provisions of this Act provided that the Council shall pay for the board of persons committed for breaches of ordinances that do not constitute breaches of the general law.
Any action, suit or proceeding authorized under any of the provisions of this charter or under any ordinance of the said Town may be instituted in the name of 'The Town of Frederica."'
Section 3. Amend Chapter 32, Volume 47, Laws of Delaware, as amended, by striking each reference to the office of Alderman.
Section 4. This Act shall become effective upon its enactment into law. SYNOPSIS:
This Bill amends the Town Charter for the Town of Frederica as follows:
1. Voter qualifications and eligibility requirements for elected office are amended to include U.S. citizenship, a six-month residency requirement, a thirty-day voter registration requirement, an age requirement (at least 18 years old), and a requirement that no taxes or other assessments levied by the Town be delinquent.
2. Beginning in 1996, the date of the Town's annual election is moved from the first Monday of March to the first Saturday of March, and the hours of the election are changed from 5:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M. to 12:00 P.M. -5:00 P.M., in order to accommodate the majority of the Town's voters who work during the week. The Town is also given the authority to adopt, by ordinance, an absentee voting procedure consistent with Title 15, Chapter 55 of the Delaware Code.
3. The position of Alderman is removed, and jurisdiction which formerly resided in the Alderman is formally transferred to the Justices of the Peace Court.
The duties of the Mayor remain unchanged and are merely restated.
Approved July 10, 1995.