TITLE 9

Counties

Kent County

CHAPTER 41. GOVERNMENT OF KENT COUNTY

Subchapter II. Powers and Duties


(a) In addition to the powers specifically enumerated by statutes in this title and elsewhere, the government of Kent County shall assume and have all powers which under the Constitution of the State it would be competent for the General Assembly to grant by specific enumeration, and which are not denied by statute, including, but not limited to, any powers conferred prior to July 3, 1985, the General Assembly upon Kent County, or upon the Levy Court of Kent County, or upon the Levy Court Commissioners of Kent County, or upon the officers or employees of Kent County, or upon counties generally, or upon Levy Court Commissioners generally or upon the Levy Court generally.

(b) This grant of power includes the power to:

(1) Fix a tax rate upon the assessed valuation of all real property in Kent County, subject to assessment by the County;

(2) Fix an additional tax rate upon the assessed valuation of all real property, subject to assessment, located in unincorporated areas in Kent County for the limited purpose of providing financial support for public safety services to be provided by the County, or its agents to unincorporated areas of Kent County; and

(3) Add surcharges on any application for a building permit issued by the county:

a. In an amount not to exceed .5% of the construction value applicable to said building permit application to provide funding for volunteer fire companies; and

b. In an amount not to exceed 1.25% of the construction value applicable to said building permit application to provide funding for the local share of any school capital construction program having received a Certification of Necessity from the Secretary of Education of the Department of Education pursuant to § 7510 of Title 29, as amended; provided however, this surcharge shall not be applicable to an application for a building permit having a construction value of $30,000 or less and such application is made after the issuance of the original certificate of occupancy.

(c) This grant of power does not include the power to enact private or civil law concerning civil relationships, except as incident to the exercise of an expressly granted power, and does not include the power to define and provide for the punishment of felonies.

(d) This grant of power does not repeal or modify the doctrine of sovereign immunity as it now exists so as to broaden or increase the limitations of legal actions against Kent County.

(e) This grant of power includes the right of the Levy Court to receive moneys or grants from this State or the United States; and the Levy Court may enter into agreements or contracts with this State or the United States relating to such moneys or grants. The Levy Court may enact resolutions providing for programs and services for purposes for which the federal or state funds are granted to the County and to spend out of County funds any share required as a condition of the grants.

(f) The powers of Kent County shall be construed liberally in favor of the County, and specific mention of particular powers in this title shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general powers stated herein.

(g)(1) The county government shall meet regularly. The place and dates of such meetings shall be established by the county government as a part of the rules of procedure adopted for the conduct of its meetings. Special meetings may be held on the call of the President of the county government or of a majority of the members of the county government in accordance with rules adopted as a part of the rules of procedure of the county government.

(2) The county government shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping a journal of its proceedings which shall be a public record.

(3) Voting, except on procedural motions, shall be on roll call and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal. A majority of all members of the county government shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner and subject to the penalties prescribed by the rules of the county government. No action of the county government, except as otherwise provided in this title, shall be valid or binding unless adopted with the concurrence of a majority of all of the members of the county government.

(h) All actions of the county government which shall have the force of law shall be by ordinance.

(i)(1) Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing and in the form required for final adoption. No ordinance, except those relating to the budget or appropriation of funds and those relating to the adoption or revisions of the County Code, shall contain more than 1 subject which shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be "The County of Kent hereby ordains." Any ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or part of the County Code shall set out in full that part of the ordinance, sections or subsections to be repealed or amended, and shall indicate the matter to be omitted by enclosing it in brackets and shall indicate new matter by underscoring or by italics.

(2) An ordinance may be introduced by any member at any regular or special meeting of the county government. Upon introduction of any ordinance, the Clerk of the county government shall distribute a copy to each elected official of the county governing body and to the County Administrator; shall file a reasonable number of copies in the office of the Clerk of the county government and such other public places as the county government may designate; shall, in 1 newspaper in general circulation in the county, publish in bold type the ordinance or the title thereof together with a notice setting out the time and place for a public hearing thereon by the county government; and shall produce a sufficient number of copies thereof to meet reasonable demands therefor by interested citizens and others who may be affected by such ordinance. The public hearing shall follow the publication by at least 7 days, may be held separately or in connection with a regular or special county government meeting and may be adjourned from time to time, and all persons interested shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard. The county government may make rules governing the holding of public hearings. After the public hearing, the county government may adopt the ordinance with or without amendment or reject it, but if it is amended as to any matter of substance which is not embraced within the title of the ordinance, the county government may not adopt it until the ordinance or its amended sections have been subjected to all of the procedures hereinbefore required in the case of a newly-introduced ordinance. As soon as practicable after adoption of any ordinance, the Clerk of the county government shall number the ordinance and have it, or its title, published again, 1 time in a newspaper of general circulation in the County, together with a notice of its adoption.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in this title, every adopted ordinance shall become effective immediately unless the ordinance itself stipulates a different date.

(j) To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the county government may adopt emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes, grant, review or extend a franchise, or authorize the borrowing of money except to issue emergency notes as provided by law. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting at which it is introduced. After its adoption, the ordinance shall be published and printed as prescribed for other adopted ordinances. It shall become effective immediately upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify. An emergency ordinance may be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.

(k) The Clerk of the county government shall authenticate by his or her signature and record in full, in a properly indexed book kept for that purpose, all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the county government.

(l) The surcharges otherwise added by paragraph (b)(3) of this section shall not be added to building permits applied for by an organization exempt from tax under § 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code [26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3)] which provides owner-occupied housing to low and moderate income households by rehabilitating residential properties and reselling said properties without profit, nor to the Delaware State Housing Authority nor to any applicant funded by the Delaware State Housing Authority.

65 Del. Laws, c. 101, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 450, § 3; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 92, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 408, §§ 1, 2, 4.;

(a) The Levy Court shall exercise all powers of Kent County in connection with the creation of debt, and shall have the power to authorize the issuance of bonds and notes of Kent County to finance the cost of any object, program or purpose for which Kent County, or any officer, department, board or agency thereof, is, by this title or by any other law, authorized to raise, appropriate or expend money, or for the implementation and performance of functions, programs and purposes specified in this title or in any other law applicable to Kent County; provided, however, that the Levy Court shall not have authority to create or to authorize the creating of any bonded indebtedness for any of the following purposes: The payment of any operating expenses; the payment of any judgment resulting from the failure of the County to pay any item of operating expense; or the payment for any equipment or any public improvements of a normal life of less than 3 years. The foregoing limitations shall not apply should the Levy Court unanimously declare the existence of an emergency due to public calamity.

(b) The powers conferred by this subchapter shall be in addition to and not in substitution for or in limitation of the powers conferred by any other law. Bonds and notes may be issued under this subchapter for any object or purpose for which Kent County is by this chapter or any other law authorized to raise or appropriate or expend money notwithstanding that any other law may provide for the issuance of bonds or notes for the same or like purposes and without regard to the requirements, restrictions or other provisions contained in any other law. Bonds and notes may be issued under this subchapter notwithstanding any debt or other limitation prescribed by any other law, and the mode and manner of procedure for the issuance of bonds and notes and the adoption of the ordinance authorizing issuance of the bonds or notes under this chapter need not conform to the provisions of any other law or any other provision of this chapter.

(c) Bonds and notes issued pursuant to this subchapter shall be authorized by ordinance of the Levy Court approved by not less than 5/7 of all of the members thereof. Each such ordinance shall state in brief and general terms the objects or purposes for which the debt is to be incurred and the maximum aggregate principal amount of debt to be incurred for each such object or purpose. Such ordinance, or a subsequent resolution of the Levy Court, shall specify, or may delegate authority to the County Administrator to determine, with respect to any bonds and notes; their date or dates; their maturity; the security therefor, if any, including a pledge of the County's full faith and credit, federal or state grants or other revenues or property; provisions for either serial or term bonds; sinking fund or other reserve fund requirements, if any; provisions for redemption prior to maturity, if any, with or without premium; the interest rate or rates and any limitations with respect thereto or the manner of their determination; the times and place or places within or without this State for the payment of principal and interest; the method of execution; the form; provisions for the consolidation of debt authorized for several objects and purposes pursuant to 1 or more ordinances into 1 consolidated issue; provisions for the receipt and deposit or investment of any good faith deposit; provisions for the public or private sale of the debt instruments; and such other terms and conditions as the Levy Court may determine to be in the best interest of the County. Debt incurred by the County pursuant to this subchapter may be represented by uncertificated obligations of the County which may be applicable to bonds and notes which are permitted to be issued under this subchapter, and the Levy Court by resolution may determine, or it may delegate authority to the County Administrator to determine, all procedures appropriate to the establishment of a system of issuing uncertificated debt.

(d) The Levy Court may pledge the full faith and credit of the County to secure the payment of the principal, interest and premium, if any, on any debt incurred pursuant to this subchapter and/or may pledge any other security therefor. With respect to any debt to which the County's full faith and credit is pledged, the authorizing ordinance and the debt instruments issued shall contain the declaration that the principal, interest and premium, if any, are to be paid by ad valorem taxes on all real property subject to taxation by the County without limitation as to rate or amount and that the full faith and credit of the County are pledged for payment. The Levy Court shall annually levy and collect a tax ad valorem upon all property taxable by the County sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on each bond or note secured by the County's pledge of its full faith and credit as such principal and interest become due; provided, however, such tax may be reduced by the amount of other moneys appropriated and actually available for such purpose or provided for by local or special assessments or local service taxes.

(e) The outstanding general obligation bonded indebtedness of Kent County secured by the full faith and credit of the County may not exceed 12 percent of the assessed valuation of all real property subject to taxation within the County. The outstanding bonded indebtedness of the County not secured by the County's full faith and credit is without limitation as to amount.

(f) The proceeds from the sale of bonds and notes issued under this subchapter shall be used only for the object or purpose or objects or purposes specified in the ordinance authorizing such bonds or notes for the payment of the principal of and interest on temporary loans made in anticipation of the sale of such bonds or notes. If for any reason any part of such proceeds are not applied to or are not necessary for such purposes, such unexpended part of such proceeds shall be applied to the payment of the principal of or interest on such bonds or notes no later than the earliest date on which such bonds or notes may be called for redemption without premium.

(g) All bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued pursuant to this subchapter shall recite that they are issued for a purpose or purposes as specified in the authorizing ordinance or resolution and that they are issued pursuant to the terms of the Constitution and laws of this State and the County. Upon the sale and delivery of any such bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness against payment, such recitals shall be conclusive as to the right, power and authority of the County to issue the same and of the legality, validity and enforceability of the obligation of the County to pay principal of and interest on the same. In case any County official whose signature or a facsimile thereof shall appear on any such bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness shall cease to be such officer before the delivery of such obligation, or in case the seal of the County which appears on any such obligation shall change before the delivery of such obligation, such signature, seal or facsimile thereof shall nevertheless be valid and sufficient for all purposes as if such officer had remained in office and as if such seal had not changed. The legality, validity and enforceability of such bonds, notes or other evidences of indebtedness shall never be questioned in any court of law or equity by the County or any person after the issuance, execution and delivery against payment for the same. All such bonds, notes and other evidences of indebtedness are hereby declared to have all the qualities and incidents of negotiable instruments under the Commercial Code of this State.

(h) Notwithstanding any limitations herein to the contrary, the Levy Court may borrow in the anticipation of the collection of taxes or other revenues budgeted for any purposes for which taxes are levied.

43 Del. Laws, c. 106, § 1; 47 Del. Laws, c. 252, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 4111; 49 Del. Laws, c. 340; 54 Del. Laws, c. 53; 55 Del. Laws, c. 123; 56 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 297, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 101, § 2.;

The county government may authorize any county officer to employ a chief deputy and such clerical assistance as may, in the judgment of the county government, be necessary, and may fix their compensation. The compensation shall be paid by warrants according to the form to be prescribed by the county government, and drawn on the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer.

31 Del. Laws, c. 13, § 16; 32 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 1; Code 1935, § 1191; 44 Del. Laws, c. 100, § 2; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 4112; 51 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 1.;

The county government may pay mileage, as provided in § 9121 of this title, to county officers, including deputies and clerks, for travel in the necessary conduct of county business as well as expenses actually incurred in the carrying out of such county business. This section shall not be construed to allow the payment of mileage to officials, deputies or clerical assistants to or from their home and their place of employment.

Code 1935, § 1191; 44 Del. Laws, c. 100, § 2; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 4113.;

The county government may employ and fix the compensation of a janitor or janitors for the proper care of the County Courthouse.

31 Del. Laws, c. 13, § 16; 32 Del. Laws, c. 67, § 1; Code 1935, § 1231; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 4114.;

(a) The county government may remove from office any person appointed by it, for sufficient cause shown, and after due hearing.

(b) Any person so removed may appeal from the decision of the county government to the Superior Court, which shall, upon such appeal, either affirm or overrule the decision of the county government. If the decision be overruled, the person appealing shall be remitted to that person's office or employment and shall be entitled to all arrears of compensation.

31 Del. Laws, c. 13, § 17; Code 1935, § 1234; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 4115; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The county government may create a sinking fund for public buildings, public improvements, and public works generally, and for such purposes may open a special bank account in the name of the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer of the County and may deposit therein such sums at such times as the county government deems advisable. The money in such fund shall be paid out upon warrants as other county moneys are paid out according to law, at such times and in such amounts and for the above stated purposes or for any of such purposes, as the county government shall determine.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 4116; 56 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 1.;

(a) The county government may appoint a County Engineer for such term, and at such compensation as it deems proper. The County Engineer shall be responsible for and have general supervision over all public engineering work in the County including, but not limited to, the construction of sanitary sewers, trunk lines, sewerage disposal plants, sanitary sewer systems in general and maintenance thereof, drainage, construction, lighting service and other projects of a public nature.

(b) The county government may employ, for such periods and for such compensation as it deems proper, such draftsmen, rodmen, and assistants as, in its opinion, are necessary to carry on such public work.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 4117; 56 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 2.;

The county government may regulate or prohibit the dumping of garbage, rubbish, ashes or other waste material in or upon land within the County outside of any incorporated municipality and, for that purpose, enact and from time to time amend or rescind, suitable ordinances, rules or regulations.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 4118; 56 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 3.;

(a) In case the county government, upon the advice of the County Engineer, deems it advisable to widen, straighten or alter the course of any part of any small run, river or creek in the County; the county government and the County Engineer may enter upon any land for the purpose of surveying and locating the changes necessary to widen, straighten or alter the course of any part of such river, run or creek.

(b) Any person owning land which it will be necessary to procure for such purpose may dedicate the same for such purpose, and the county government may enter into negotiations with the owner or owners for that purpose, and may secure the necessary conveyance or dedication of the land. The county government may also purchase the land from the owner or owners thereof upon such terms as the county government deems advisable. All conveyances and dedications shall be to the State, for the use of Kent County, and all conveyances, dedications and other papers relating to the acquirement of such land for such purpose shall be and remain a part of the records of the office of the County Engineer.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 4119; 56 Del. Laws, c. 103, § 4.;

The county government may establish and maintain an emergency dispatch center to be used in connection with fire, ambulance, rescue services, and other emergencies which occur throughout the County.

9 Del. C. 1953, § 4120; 58 Del. Laws, c. 488.;

The Kent County government may receive money or grants from the State or the United States of America and may enter into agreements or contracts with the State or the United States relating to such money or grants. The Kent County government is authorized to enact resolutions providing for programs and services for the purposes for which said federal funds are granted to the Kent County government and to spend out of county funds any share required as a condition of said grants.

59 Del. Laws, c. 287, § 1.;

The county government by its Levy Court may authorize and order the investment of idle funds kept as surplus by the Receiver of Taxes not reasonably required to be maintained on a demand basis in such manner as recommended by the County Comptroller. Investment of county funds shall be in accordance with general state law and the ordinances of the county government governing such investments. All interest or investments and moneys so earned from these idle or surplus funds shall accrue only to the benefit of the County of Kent.

62 Del. Laws, c. 152, § 1.;

(a) Department of Finance, general. — There shall be a Department of Finance under the direction of the County Administrator which shall be responsible for the administration of the budgeting, accounting, purchasing, treasury, and other financial affairs of Kent County.

(b) Director of Finance. — The Director of Finance shall be the head of the Department of Finance. The Levy Court shall appoint the Director of Finance and fix the Director's compensation.

77 Del. Laws, c. 247, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Functions. — The Department of Finance shall perform all of the functions heretofore assigned to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer under this title.

(b) Assessment of property. — The Department of Finance shall assess all property subject to taxation by the County and maintain appropriate records. In the performance of its functions relating to the assessment of property, the Department of Finance shall exercise the assessment functions heretofore assigned to the Board of Assessment. To this end, not later than April 1 of each year, the Department of Finance shall prepare and present to the Board of Assessment Review a copy of the assessment roll for the year. The Department shall determine the form of the assessment roll and shall not be bound by provisions of law heretofore in effect as to form. The Board of Assessment Review or its representatives shall sit in its offices during each secular day from April 1 through April 15 of each year to hear appeals and make additions, alterations or corrections to the assessment that may be necessary. After the closing of the hearings, the settlement of all appeals, and the adjustment of the assessment lists, the Board of Assessment Review shall certify to the Department of Finance a true and correct assessment roll for the year. Not later than May 1 of each year, the Director of Finance shall certify to the county government the total value of all property in the County and the total value of all property which has been assessed and is subject to taxation.

The Department of Finance shall determine by rule, the form, number of copies, and other details concerning the keeping of records relating to assessment of real property and improvements thereupon. The Department of Finance shall develop a suitable system for the identification of all real property within the County, both that which is subject to taxation and that which is exempt from taxation. Such system shall be in a form which readily permits the subdivision of property or the reassembly of property without loss of control thereof for purposes of assessment.

(c) Collection of taxes. — The Department of Finance shall be responsible for the collection of all taxes, whether current or delinquent, and to that end shall perform all of the responsibilities with respect to collection and enforcement of collection vested prior to April 27, 2010, in the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer. To this end, the Department of Finance shall be entitled to the use of and shall be responsible for the application of all processes of law available prior to April 27, 2010, to the Receiver of Taxes and County Treasurer, provided that the Department shall not be required to make any routine reports to the Levy Court concerning the collection of taxes other than a monthly statement in appropriate summary form and the annual report.

(d) Records of tax delinquencies. — The Department of Finance shall maintain a suitable record of the payment or nonpayment of taxes with respect to each parcel of real property in the County. Not later than 60 days after the close of each fiscal year, the Department shall prepare a summary of the outstanding taxes which have been levied and not collected for each of the preceding 2 years or for such longer period as the Levy Court shall prescribe. Such summary shall be fully supported by detailed records of delinquent taxes.

(e) Collection of taxes other than those upon real estate. — The Department of Finance shall perform all responsibilities heretofore assigned to any office, department, or board of Kent County in the assessment and collection and enforcement of capitation taxes and any other taxes heretofore levied in Kent County.

77 Del. Laws, c. 247, § 3; 78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 3.;

(a) Levy Court, by ordinance, shall establish a Board of Assessment Review. The Board of Assessment Review shall consist of 7 members. The Levy Court shall appoint one member from each of the Levy Court Districts. The term and residency requirements of each member shall be determined by Levy Court. Levy Court shall provide compensation in the amount not to exceed $100 per meeting for members and $125 per meeting for the chairperson. Furthermore, Levy Court shall provide for the filling of vacancies on the Board of Assessment Review.

(b) The Board of Assessment Review shall perform all functions as established by Levy Court through ordinance and as otherwise provided in this title.

78 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 2.;