COURT ROUSE OF NEW CASTLE COUNTY.
AN ACT for the Removal of the Seat of Justice of New Castle County from the City of New Castle to the City of Wilmington.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, in General Assembly met:
SECTION 1. The Levy Court of New Castle County is hereby authorized and directed to select and acquire, by purchase or condemnation, as hereinafter provided, a 'lot or lots of land in the city of Wilmington, in said county, for the purpose of erecting thereon a court house and other county buildings.
SECTION 2. For the purpose of acquiring said land, and erecting said building or buildings, the said Levy Court is authorized and directed to borrow upon the credit of said county such sum or sums of money as may be necessary, not exceeding in the aggregate seventy thousand dollars, and for such purpose may issue certificates of indebtedness, of such denominations, Certificates in such form, payable at such time, and bearing such rate of interest not exceeding five percent., as said Levy Court may deem expedient: Provided, That it shall not be lawful for the said Levy Court to expend for the acquisition of said land a sum exceeding one hundred dollars: And provided further, That it shall not be lawful for said Levy Court to expend, for the acquisition of said lands, and the erection of said building or buildings, a sum exceeding seventy thousand dollars.
SECTION 3. Upon the selection and acquisition of said lot or lots of land, the said Levy Court shall erect thereon a building or buildings for the use of said county, which shall contain a court room or rooms, and suitable offices for the Prothonotary, Clerk of the Peace, Register of Wills, Clerk of the Orphans' Court and Register in Chancery, Recorder of Deeds and Sheriff; jury, rooms and such other rooms and offices as may be necessary Jury rooms for the use of the courts and their officers, and also a jail for the temporary detention of prisoners. The work and materials for said building or buildings shall be furnished by contract or contracts; and it shall be the duty of said Levy Court to advertise for proposals, and to let the same to the lowest and best bidder or bidders, subject to the approval of' said Levy Court, who shall have power to reject any or all bids.
SECTION 4. That when the said building or buildings shall be erected, completed and ready for use, the said Levy Court shall make and certify an allotment of the portions of said building or buildings to be used and occupied by the Courts, and for the several offices and uses designated in the third section of this act, and such certificate shall be recorded in the Recorder's office for said county, and shall be conclusive as to the matters therein contained.
SECTION 5. Upon the recording of said certificate, the said Levy Court shall forthwith cause to be removed the books, papers, records and other property belonging to, or in anywise connected with, the county offices enumerated in the third section of this act, or with the courts of said county, from the city of New Castle to said building or buildings so erected and built in the city of Wilmington, whereof public notice shall be immediately given in such manner as said Levy Court shall direct; and from and after such removal the respective courts now held in Occupation the city of New Castle shall be held in said building or building in the city of Wilmington ; and the said public offices mentioned in the third section of this act, shall be kept in said building or buildings in the city of Wilmington, and the said building or buildings shall be deemed and taken to be and used as Seat of and for the court house and seat of justice of New Castle County; and all the processes of the respective courts of said county shall be tested at, and be returnable to, the said court house in the city of Wilmington ; and in all cases whereby any law of this State, any act, ministerial, judicial, or otherwise, having relation to the general administration of justice, is directed to be done in the said city of New Castle, such act shall thenceforth be done in the said city of Wilmington; and all laws of this State having reference to the general administration of justice in said county of New Castle, shall be read and construed accordingly.
SECTION 6. The portion or portions of said building or buildings which shall be designated as aforesaid for the use of the county as a jail for the temporary detention of prisoners, shall be in charge of the sheriff of said county,, who shall keep the same securely, either personally or by keeper, to be by him appointed, and the county jail now in use at New Castle shall continue to be used as and for the jail of said county until otherwise provided by law.
SECTION 7. That in case the said Levy Court shall require said lands and premises by purchase, the same shall be conveyed in fee-simple, to Thomas F. Bayard, Daniel M. Bates, J. Wilkins Cooch, Nathaniel Williams and George Z. Tybout, their heirs and assigns forever, in trust for the only proper use and behoof of the said county of New Castle; and in case either, or any of the persons so named as trustees, shall die before such conveyance, or shall refuse to except said trust, it shall be the duty of the Chancellor, upon the application of the said Levy Court, to appoint some other suitable person or persons, in lieu of him or them so dying or refusing to accept said trust.
SECTION 8. That in case the said Levy Court shall for any cause be unable to agree with the owner or owners, for the purchase of such lot or lots of land as may be selected as aforesaid, for the purpose aforesaid, the Associate Judge of the Superior Court, resident in said county, upon application of the said Levy Court, shall issue a commission under his hand, directed to five impartial freeholders of said county, commanding them to view the premises and assess the damages which said owner or owners, will sustain by reason of the taking of said land for the purposes of this act, taking into consideration all the circumstances of benefit and detriment to result to such owner or owners, and to make return in writing of their proceedings to said judge at a time in said commission appointed. The said freeholders, before entering on the premises, shall be sworn or affirmed, faithfully and impartially to perform the duty assigned them, and shall give not less than five days' notice in writing to the owner, occupier or agent in charge of said premises, and to the President of said Levy Court, of the time when they will meet on said premises for the purposes aforesaid, and they, or a majority of them, shall assess the damages as aforesaid, and make return of their proceedings as directed by said commission.
Upon application of said Levy Court, or any owner or owners of such land, to said judge at any time within ten days after making of said return as aforesaid, said judge shall issue a commission of review, directed to five other freeholders as aforesaid, with like instructions, powers and duties as herein provided as to the first commission and the freeholders therein named. The said judge shall have the right to confirm either of said returns as he may deem proper, and upon the confirmation of such return, and the payment of the damages thereby assessed, the said land shall become the property of New Castle County; and in case the owner or owners of said land shall be incapable, unwilling, or neglect, or refuse to receive said damages, said Levy Court may deposit the same to the credit of such owner or owners in the Farmers' Bank at Wilmington, and such deposit shall operate as a payment of said damages. And upon the confirmation of said return and the payment or deposit of said damages as aforesaid, the said judge shall, cause.to be recorded in the Recorder's office at New Castle, the application commission and return under which said land may be condemned as aforesaid, together with the receipts and certificates for the payment of said damages.
SECTION 9. The Mayor and Council of Wilmington is hereby lands by council or authorized and empowered to donate the land which may be selected as aforesaid, for the purpose of erecting thereon said building or buildings ; and for this purpose said corporation, shall have full power and authority to grant and convey said land for the use and behalf of New Castle County as hereinbefore provided.
Passed at Dover, March 20, 1879.