CHAPTER 218

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 314

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FISCAL RELIEF TO COUNTY SEATS BY AMENDING TITLE 9, TITLE 12, AND TITLE 29 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO VARIOUS FEES AND TAXES TO BE PAID TO THE COUNTY SEATS ; BY MAKING A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION FOR SERVICES PROVIDED TO STATE OWNED PROPERTIES; AND BY MAKING A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION FOR CITY OF WILMINGTON INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fourths of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section Amend Chapter 96, Title 9 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new §9626 to read as follows:

Ҥ9626. Transfer of assessment fees.

The New Castle County Recorder of Deeds shall monthly cause to be remitted one-half of all fees which are by law payable to the New Castle County Recorder of Deeds pursuant to §103(c)(5) of Title 8 to the treasury of the City of Wilmington.”

Section Amend §3813 (a)(2), Title 12, Delaware Code, by striking the figure “$200” and substituting in lieu thereof “up to $300”.

Section Amend §3862 (1), Title 12, Delaware Code, by striking the figure “$200” and substituting in lieu thereof “up to $300”.

Section (a) Amend §2311(a), Title 29 of the Delaware Code by deleting the word “Treasury.” and inserting the following “Treasury, provided however that an amount equal to 10% beginning in fiscal year 2006 and 20% beginning in fiscal year 2007 and 30% in fiscal year 2009 and each year thereafter of all fees assessed pursuant to §9-525 of Title 6 (excepting any fees assessed pursuant to §9-525(d)(3)), and an annual amount not to exceed $1 million equal to the sum of (1) all fees and taxes collected pursuant to Chapter 69 of Title 18 required by law to be transferred to the General Fund and (2) those fees collected pursuant to § 3813(a)(2) and § 3862(1) of Title 12 , shall be remitted monthly to the treasury of the City of Wilmington. To ensure implementation of this subsection, the Insurance Commissioner shall, transfer any amounts collected subsequent to June 30, 2007, pursuant to Chapter 69 of Title 18 and required by law to be transferred to the General Fund to the Secretary of State.”

(b) The release of payments under this section to the city of Wilmington shall be contingent upon achieving the necessary approvals as per Section 6 of this Act.

Section (a) Amend §8318, Title 29 Delaware Code by striking said section in its entirety and by substituting in lieu thereof the following:

Ҥ8318 Compensatory payments for certain exempt properties owned by the State.

(a) The County Seat in each county shall appraise and assess real property taxes on all property owned by the State lying within their respective city limits. Each County Seat shall annually submit statements of these appraisals and assessments unto the Secretary of the Department of Finance, said assessments and appraisals to be in accordance with their respective procedures for appraising and assessing real property.

(b) The Secretary of Finance shall examine and inspect the aforementioned assessment and appraisals and shall have all rights to question the assessments and appeal any decisions regarding the same. If the Secretary of Finance is satisfied that the assessments and appraisals are accurate, then the Secretary shall direct payment to the County Seat according to the following schedule:

1. For those County Seats with a population between 0 – 50,000 residents, the Secretary shall direct a payment of 30.8% of the tax assessed to said County Seats.

2. For those County Seats with a population above 50,000 residents, the Secretary shall direct a payment of 100.0% of the tax assessed to said County Seats.”

(b) For the purposes of implementing subsection (a) of this section there is hereby appropriated the sum of $3,500,000 (Three Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars) in General Funds to the Department of Finance, Office of the Secretary (25-01-01).

(c) The release of payments to the city of Wilmington under this section shall be contingent upon achieving the necessary approvals as per Section 6 of this Act.

Section 6. In order to continue to access the revenues established in Sections 4 and 5 of this Act beyond FY 2006, the City of Wilmington shall provide a quantifiable list that may contain all or any of the following fiscal control efforts:

1. Budget reductions

2. Enhanced revenue collections (within existing tax and fee levels)

3. Cost avoidance achieved through cost containment measures

4. Program efficiency measures

5. Reductions in the rate of growth of projected expenditures.

This list shall be submitted to the Secretary of Finance, Budget Director and Controller General for approval by no later than April 1 of 2006 and of the next two succeeding years. The following schedule depicts the minimum triggering amounts (from fiscal control efforts noted above) for the continuing release of these revenues:

FY 2007: $500,000 (to be submitted by 4/1/06)

FY 2008: $500,000 (to be submitted by 4/1/07)

FY 2009: $1,000,000 (to be submitted by 4/1/08)

Section 7 In addition to the provisions of Section 4 of this Act, for the fiscal years 2007 – 2008 the State shall remit an additional 10% of those fees assessed pursuant to §9-525 of Title 6 (excepting any fees assessed pursuant to §9-525(d)(3) to the city of Wilmington should either of the following two criteria be met:

1. The rate of projected general fund budget growth for the ensuing fiscal year for the city of Wilmington shall be no more than the annual rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index over the previous year as measured by the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers produced by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City Metropolitan Area plus 1.5%. For the fiscal year 2008 this calculation shall be adjusted by the expiration of the grant received by New Castle County.

2. The city of Wilmington’s projected general fund revenue forecast for the ensuing fiscal year is less than 103% of the previous year’s enacted budget.

Section 8. There is hereby appropriated the sum of $3,000,000 (Three Million Dollars) in General Funds to the Department of Finance, Office of the Secretary (25-01-01) for “Wilmington Infrastructure Improvements”. These funds shall be disbursed by the Secretary of Finance to the Treasury of the city of Wilmington. The city of Wilmington shall use these funds for critical improvements to the city water and sewer infrastructure.

Section 9 If any provision of this Act, or of any rule, regulation or order thereunder, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstances, shall be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the application of such provisions of this Act or of such rule, regulation or order to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid shall not be affected thereby.

Section 10. Section 1 of this Act shall take effect on July 1, 2007, Sections 2 and 3 of this Act shall take effect on July 1, 2008, Section 4 of this Act shall take effect on April 1, 2006 and Section 5, 6,7 and 8 of this Act shall take effect upon enactment.

Approved July 29, 2005