HOUSE BILL NO. 423
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 59, VOLUME 63, LAWS OF DELAWARE, AS AMENDED, ENTITLED "ENUMERATION OF POWERS" TO ADD TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 23 (13) THE POWER AND AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT REFERENDUM SPECIAL ELECTIONS ON CERTAIN ORDINANCES ADOPTED BY TOWN COMMISSIONERS OF THE TOWN OF DEWEY BEACH, TO AMEND SECTION 5(b) BY DESIGNATING NOT LESS THAN TWO (2) OF THE TOWN COMMISSIONERS AS RESIDENT COMMISSIONERS, TO AMEND SECTION 22(a) BY DESIGNATING THE TOWN'S FISCAL YEAR AS APRIL 1 THROUGH MARCH 31, AND BY ADDING A NEW SECTION 33 TO PROHIBIT GAMBLING WITHIN THE TOWN LIMITS.
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 5(b), Volume 63, Chapter 59, Laws of Delaware, as amended, Town Charter of Dewey Beach by deleting “Section 5(b)” in its entirety and replacing same with a new “Section 5(b)” to read as follows:
“Section 5(b) Not less than two (2) of the Commissioners shall be designated Resident Commissioners. A Resident Commissioner shall have the following qualifications: 1) shall be a bona fide resident and domiciliary of the Town; and 2) shall own real estate within the Town or be resident trustees of the property which is owed in trust, or be a leaseholder of real estate in the Town under a lease of a term of five (5) years or more.”.
Section 2. Amend Section 22(a), Volume 63, Chapter 59, Laws of Delaware, as amended, Town Charter of Dewey Beach by deleting the phrase “January 1, and end December 31” and substituting in lieu thereof the following: “April 1, and end March 31”.
Section 3. Amend Section 23(13), Volume 63, Chapter 59, Laws of Delaware, as amended, Town Charter of Dewey Beach by inserting new subsections “a” through “o” to the existing Section 23 (13) to read as follows:
“a. Qualified voters of the Town of Dewey Beach, as more specifically defined in Section 10(b) of this Charter, shall have the power to petition to require reconsideration by the Commissions of Dewey Beach (hereinafter ‘the Commissioners’) of any adopted Ordinance and to approve or reject it at a referendum election as provided herein: provided, however, that such power of petition and referendum shall not extend to the budget or capital program or any emergency ordinance or any ordinance relating to the appropriation of money.
b. A Referendum Petition, signed by persons eligible to vote in the annual municipal election as prescribed in this Chapter equal in number to at least thirty-three and one third percent (33⅓%) of the total number of voters who voted in the annual municipal election immediately preceding the execution of the Referendum Petition with the local address of the person so signing, or three hundred (300) such persons as aforesaid, whichever is greater, and authenticated in accordance with subsection c, below, shall be presented to the Commissioners of Dewey Beach at the next regular meeting of the Commissioners following the date of adoption of the ordinance sought to be reconsidered, or the Petition shall fail and 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 Commissioners, the Petition for Referendum shall be presented at the first regular meeting 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. 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 original Referendum Petition shall have attached to it, when filed, a sworn, validly notarized affidavit executed by the circulator of the petition stating that he or she personally circulated the petition, the number of signatures thereon, that all signatures were affixed in his or her presence, that he or she believes them to be the genuine signatures of the persons whose names they purport to be, that each such 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. In addition, if the circulator of the petition sends the petition to a qualified signer to sign not in the presence of the circulator, the qualified signer signature shall be notarized.
d. Within twenty (20) days after the petition is filed with the Commissioners at a regular meeting, the Town Manager shall complete a certificate certifying its sufficiency or specifying any insufficiency, and shall promptly send a copy of the certificate to the circulator of such petition or the acknowledged representative of the Petitioners 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 Town Manager within two (2) days after receiving a copy of the 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 a supplemental petition is filed, the Town Manager shall complete a certificate as to the sufficiency of the supplemental 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.
e. 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 Commissioners. The Commissioners 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 Commissioners as to the sufficiency of the petition shall be final.
f. Any person or persons, jointly or severally, aggrieved by the decision of the Commissioners 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 Commissions as to the insufficiency of such petition. Upon presentation of the petition, the Court may allow a Writ of Certiorari directed to the Commissioners to review such decision of the Commissioners and shall prescribe therein the time within which a return thereto must be made and served upon the petitioner or their 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.
g. Upon the filing of the Petition for a Referendum with the Town Manager, the ordinance sought to be reconsidered shall not be stayed or suspended from taking effect, and such Petition for a Referendum 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 circulators thereof or sufficient copies thereof are withdrawn so that there are insufficient numbers of signatures as required by this Section; or
(3) The Commissioners repeal the ordinance; or
(4) Thirty (30) days have elapsed after a vote by the voters on the ordinance; or
(5) There is a final determination by the Superior Court.
h. The Commissioners 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 Commissioners determine not to repeal the referred ordinance, the referred ordinance shall be submitted to the voters of the Town of Dewey Beach at an election.
i. The vote of the eligible voters on a referred ordinance shall be held not less than thirty (30) days and no later than sixty (60) days from the date the Commissioners determined not to repeal the referred ordinance. 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 Commissioners shall provide for a special election. If the Commissioners fail 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 Commissioners determined not to repeal the referred ordinance and such ordinance shall not be passed in the same form for a period of one (1) year from the effective date of repeal.
j. 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 Town of Dewey Beach within thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date of the Special Election.
k. In all electoral proceedings, the Special Election shall be conducted in the manner of the annual election and the Election Judge and Election Board, as specified in Section 10 of this Charter and in Chapter 48 of the Code of Dewey Beach, shall oversee the proceedings of the election and have the authority and power to conduct the election.
l. Immediately after the closing of the polling place or places, the Election Board shall count the ballots for and against the proposition as presented, and shall announce the results thereof. The Election Board 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 Commissioners. The said certificate shall be filed with the Office of the Town Manager.
m. The form of the ballot of the said Special Election shall be as follows:
( ) For the Referred Ordinance
( ) Against the Referred Ordinance
(Check your preference)
Voting machines or paper ballots may be used in any Special Election on a referral of an ordinance. The Commissioners 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.
n. If the majority of the 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 Election Board. No ordinance which has been repealed as the result of a referendum shall be passed again in the same form by the Commissioners of the Town of Dewey Beach for a period of one (1) year from the date of the referendum.
o. The Commissioners may, in their sole discretion, elect to adopt an ordinance, except for an ordinance specified not to be the subject of a referendum proceeding in subsection a, hereinabove, subject to a referendum. In such event, the Commissioners shall, at the same time such ordinance is adopted, include in the language of said ordinance that such ordinance shall be the subject of a referendum. Upon the passage of the ordinance adopted subject to a referendum, such ordinance shall be suspended from taking effect until thirty (30) days after the results of the referendum, such referendum are returned indicating that the ordinance is approved by referendum. The vote of the eligible voters 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 Commissioners adopt the referred ordinance. If the Annual Municipal Election is to be held within the period prescribed in this subsection, such referendum shall be considered as part of that election. If the Annual Municipal Election is not held within the period prescribed in this Section, the Commissioners shall provide for a Special Election. If the Commissioners fail to hold a referendum within the time specified in this subsection, 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 Commissioners adopted the referred ordinance, and shall not be passed in the same form for a period of one (1) year from the effective date of repeal.
If a majority of the residents and property owners voting on the referred ordinance vote against such ordinance, it shall be considered repealed upon the certification by the Election Board. No ordinance that has been repealed as the result of a referendum shall be passed again in the same form by the Commissioners within a period of one (1) year from the date of the referendum. Nothing contained herein shall operate so as to require the Commissioners to exercise their discretion to submit any ordinance to a referendum; and nothing contained herein shall operate to restrict the right of the eligible voters of the Town of Dewey Beach to initiate a referendum pursuant this Section. However, the decision of the Commissioners to submit an ordinance to a referendum shall, in the case of such ordinance, constitute the only referendum to which such ordinance shall be subjected; and there shall be no right to subject such ordinance to an additional referendum.”.
Section 4. Amend Volume 63, Chapter 59, Laws of Delaware, as amended, Town Charter of Dewey Beach, by adding a new “Section 33. Prohibition on gambling.” to read as follows:
“Section 33. Prohibition on gambling.
Except for lotteries as conducted by the State and nonprofit charitable gaming as permitted by State Law, gambling shall be prohibited within the Town limits.”
Approved June 30, 2008