§ 6501 Establishment of sanitary sewer or water district.
(a) Whenever contiguous territory containing 1 or more centers of population, whether incorporated or not, shall be so situated that the construction of interceptor sewers, outfall sewers and sewage treatment plants will be conducive to the preservation of the public health, the territory shall be established by the government of Sussex County as a sanitary sewer district.
(b) Whenever contiguous territory containing 1 or more centers of population, whether incorporated or not, shall be so situated that the construction of water mains, pipes and distribution facilities is economically feasible and conducive to the preservation of health, the territory shall be established by the county government as a water district. The county government may employ expert assistance in making a determination of economic feasibility and effect on health, but the determination of the county government as to economic feasibility and effect on health shall be conclusive and binding.
§ 6502 Establishment or revision of sanitary or water districts without election.
(a) Where the county government has already constructed sewers or water mains to which 50 or more houses have been connected, the county government may establish, upon request of the County Engineer, a new district, or revise the boundaries of an established district by posting at 4 public places in the district, notices describing the new or revised boundaries, and, in the case of the establishment of a new district, the same cost and assessment data required for districts established by vote of electors.
(b) Within 90 days after the posting of the notices of the establishment of the district in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the county government shall pass a formal resolution establishing the district, which shall:
(1) Contain a description of the boundaries of the district;
(2) Direct the County Engineer and the attorney of the county government to procure the necessary land and rights-of-way by purchase, agreement, or condemnation in accordance with existing statutes; and
(3) Authorize the County Engineer to prepare maps, plans, specifications, and estimates, let contracts for and supervise the construction and maintenance of, or enlarging and remodeling of, any or all structures required to provide for the safe disposal of the sewage or furnishing of water in the sanitary or water district.
§ 6503 Establishment of sanitary or water district upon petition of voters.
Fifty or more legal voters of a proposed sanitary sewer or water district, may petition the county government to submit the question of organizing a sanitary sewer or water district to a vote of electors in that district. The petition shall contain a description of the proposed district and shall be accompanied by a map drawn to scale showing the boundaries of the proposed district together with the limits of any incorporated areas which may be included in the district. The execution of the petition by an elector shall be acknowledged by that elector or it may be proved by the oath of a witness who shall swear that the witness knows the elector and that the petition was signed by the elector in the presence of the witness.
§ 6504 Public hearing; notice.
Upon receipt of a petition submitted pursuant to § 6503 of this title, or upon its own motion without petition, the county government shall set a date for a public hearing on the question of organizing a sanitary sewer or water district. The hearing shall be held at the time fixed by the county government and shall be previously advertised by posting a notice, in 4 of the most public places within the proposed district, at least 10 days prior thereto and by publishing a notice in a newspaper published within the County and having a general circulation therein once in each of 2 weeks immediately preceding the week in which the hearing is to be held. All interested persons, officials, residents, voters, taxpayers, property owners or other persons or corporations in any way affected by the granting of the petition shall be heard on any question dealing with the location of the boundaries of the district. Such notice shall contain a description of the boundaries of the proposed sanitary or water district and if the public hearing be ordered as a result of the filing of a petition, such boundaries shall be those described in the petition.
§ 6505 Action of county government following hearing.
(a) After the public hearing referred to in § 6504 of this title shall have been closed, the county government shall, by resolution, determine whether or not it is in the public interest to establish the district and, if it deems it to be in the public interest to establish the district, the county government shall, by such resolution, determine the boundaries of the district. Such boundaries may be those set forth in the petition or may be boundaries which will include in the district only the property and property owners that will be benefited by the establishment of the district and the construction of sewage disposal or water facilities therein.
(b) After establishing the boundaries of the district, the county government shall also cause to be prepared by the County Engineer or consulting engineers, an estimate of the cost of proposed immediate construction and also an approximate estimate of the assessment necessary to take care of interest amortization and costs of construction and financing. The construction cost estimates and assessment estimates shall be advertised in the same manner as provided in § 6504 of this title for advertising the public hearing.
§ 6506 Election on question of establishment of district.
(a) Whenever the determination on the question of establishing the district, as required by § 6505 of this title, is in the affirmative, and after the other requirements of § 6505 of this title have been complied with, the county government then shall cause an election to be held within 6 months following the date of the hearing, at which the question shall be submitted to the voters of the sanitary sewer district as fixed by the county government as to whether the district shall be established or not. Notice of the election shall be advertised in the same manner as provided in § 6504 of this title for advertising the public hearing. The cost of the election shall be borne by the county government, which shall be reimbursed for such cost by the district, if established by the election.
(b) The proposition shall be submitted to the voters substantially in the following form:
FOR THE SANITARY SEWER DISTRICT
AGAINST THE SANITARY SEWER DISTRICT
(c) The majority of votes cast shall decide the matter.
(d) The election shall be managed and the votes canvassed in such manner as may be prescribed by the county government. All persons who are "voters" as defined in § 6519 of this title shall be eligible to vote in the election.
§ 6507 Action of county government following election favoring establishment of district.
(a) If the majority of the voters are in favor of establishing the sanitary sewer district, the county government shall within 30 days following the election, issue a determination to that effect which shall contain a description of the district. The county government shall file a certified copy of the determination with the Clerk of the county government.
(b) Within 12 months after the election, the county government shall authorize the County Engineer and the county government attorney to procure the necessary land and rights-of-way by purchase, agreement, or by condemnation in accordance with existing laws, and shall authorize the County Engineer to prepare maps, plans, specifications and estimates for any or all structures required to provide for the installation of sewers or water systems, and to let contracts for, supervise the construction and maintenance of, or the enlarging or remodeling of such systems, and to carry on such other activities as may be required by this chapter or considered necessary to perform the duties prescribed in this chapter.
§ 6508 Construction of system adequate for future connections.
The county government may construct and maintain main sewers or water mains and sewage or water treatment works in order to provide a satisfactory outlet for any subdivision which may at any future time connect submain or lateral sewers to it.
§ 6509 Construction or maintenance of sewers or water systems for municipalities.
The county government may construct or maintain submains or laterals as agent for municipalities when officially requested so to act and when the cost of such work is to be borne by local assessments against the property benefited or by assessment by the county government in the same manner as for unincorporated areas.
§ 6510 Adjustment of assessment for cost of existing sewers included in a district.
In the case where a sanitary sewer or water district shall include areas wherein sanitary sewers or water systems have been constructed under the authority of the county government, or by municipalities, corporations or individuals, the necessary adjustments shall be made with each property owner for those costs already incurred by the property owner when those sewers or water systems were constructed. Such excess costs shall be credited to future assessments levied by the district.
§ 6511 Power to issue bonds; terms; borrowing in anticipation of issuance of bonds.
(a) The county government may issue bonds of Sussex County to finance the cost of constructing sewage disposal or water facilities in any sanitary sewer or water district, respectively. Bonds issued to finance such facilities may be issued to fund interest on such bonds for a period not to exceed 6 months during the period of construction of the facilities being financed. The moneys raised by the issuance of such bonds shall be held in a separate account and shall be expended only for the construction of sewage disposal or water facilities in the sanitary sewer or water district for which the bonds are issued.
(b) The bonds shall bear interest at a rate or rates per annum determined by the county government. Interest on the bonds shall be exempt from taxation by the State or any political subdivision thereof for any purpose. Each issue of bonds shall be payable within 40 years after the date of their issue. The interest coupons and face amount of the bonds shall be payable at a state or national bank designated by the county government. The reasonable expenses of issuing such bonds shall be deemed a part of the cost of constructing the sewer or water facilities. The full faith and credit of Sussex County may be pledged to the payment of such bonds and the interest thereon.
(c) In anticipation of issuance of bonds, the county government may, by resolution, borrow money in such amounts as it may find necessary and authorize the issuance of negotiable notes therefor.
9 Del. C. 1953, § 6511; 55 Del. Laws, c. 262; 57 Del. Laws, c. 762, § 8A; 59 Del. Laws, c. 583, § 1; 60 Del. Laws, c. 601, § 1; 63 Del. Laws, c. 142, § 24; 64 Del. Laws, c. 68, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 320, § 1.;
§ 6512 Sale of bonds.
(a) Any bonds issued pursuant to this chapter shall be sold at either public or private sale, upon such terms, conditions and regulations as the county government may prescribe; provided, that the county government may authorize the County Administrator to sell such bonds at public or private sale upon such terms, conditions and regulations as it may provide.
(b) If the county government determines to sell such bonds at public sale, then the county government shall advertise the bonds for sale at least once, 10 or more days before the date of sale, in at least 1 newspaper of general circulation published in the County, and in a newspaper of general circulation published in the City of New York, inviting bids for the bonds. The advertisements shall state the total amount of the proposed issue, the denominations of the bonds, the place of payment of the bonds and interest, the place and date of opening bids, the conditions under which the bonds are to be sold and such other matters as the county government may determine. The county government may give notice of the sale of the bonds in such other manner as it may decide.
(c) The county government may require each bid for the bonds to be accompanied by a certified check in the amount of the bid. After the bonds are awarded or sold to the successful bidder or bidders therefor, the county government shall return to the unsuccessful bidder or bidders the certified check or checks submitted with the bid or bids.
(d) The county government may reject any and all bids, but in awarding the sale of the bonds, or any of them, they shall be sold to the purchaser or purchasers which, in the judgment of the county government, offers the most advantageous terms.
(e) The county government shall direct and effect the preparation and printing of the bonds authorized by this chapter, shall determine whether such bonds shall be registered or bearer with coupons convertible into fully registered bonds, and shall prescribe the form of the bonds and, in the case of bearer bonds with coupons, the form of the coupons for the payment of interest thereto attached. The bonds shall state the conditions under which they are issued, the face amount of the bonds and, in the case of bearer bonds with coupons, the coupons thereto attached shall be payable at such place or places as may be designated by the county government. The bonds shall be executed, sealed and delivered as prescribed by the county government.
§ 6513 Procedure for annual assessment.
(a) The county government each year, at a time to be fixed by it, shall, after a public hearing, establish an annual assessment roll for the sanitary sewer or water district which shall be known as the "Sanitary Sewer District Assessment," or "Water District Assessment."
(b) The total amount assessed for each year shall be sufficient to provide funds required to reimburse the County for sums to be expended for retiring the bonds which have been issued, for the payment of the interest due on the bonds, for maintaining or improving the sewerage or water system and for paying the necessary general expenses of the sanitary sewer or water district.
(c) Notice of the public hearing shall state that the assessment roll has been completed and filed, and that at the time and place fixed for the public hearing the county government will meet and hear and consider any objections which may be made to the assessment roll. Notice of the public hearing shall be published in a newspaper published within Sussex County, and having a general circulation in the County, once in each of the 2 weeks immediately preceding the week in which the public hearing is to be held.
(d) After holding the public hearing, the county government may change or amend the assessment roll as it deems necessary or just, and may confirm and adopt the assessment roll as originally proposed or as amended or changed.
§ 6514 Collection of assessments.
The annual assessments, shall be collected by the county government as are other county taxes. The properties against which such assessments are levied shall be liable for the payment of the assessments in the same manner as they are liable for other county taxes. Such assessment charges shall, as near the county government deems practicable and equitable, be uniform throughout the area served by the sanitary sewer district, and may be based or computed either on the consumption of water or in connection with the real property, making due allowances for commercial use of water, or on the number and kind of water outlets on or in connection with the real property, or on the number and kind of plumbing fixtures or facilities on or in connection with the real property, or on the number of persons residing or working on or otherwise connected or identified with the real property, or on a front footage basis, or on other factors determining the type, class and amount of use or service of the sanitary sewer system, or on any combination of such factors. No assessment shall be made against any property which is not subject to taxation and assessment for county and municipal purposes.
§ 6515 Rules and regulations governing use of sewage disposal and water facilities.
The county government may promulgate from time to time, and enforce such rules and regulations, as may be necessary, governing the use of the whole or any parts of such sewerage or water systems or sewage treatment plants constructed under their control, either within or without the district.
§ 6516 Grants or loans from federal, state or interstate agencies.
The county government may accept grants or loans of money, labor, materials, equipment or technical assistance from agencies of the federal or state government or from interstate agencies to accomplish the purposes of this chapter. The county government may issue bonds to evidence loans made by an agency of the federal government, at private sale, providing those bonds bear interest at no more than 5% per annum and are issued for a term not exceeding 40 years from the date of the bonds. The county government may pledge its taxing power to the payment of the bonds without limitation as to rate or amount and the bonds may be payable at a place approved by the agency making the loan. Bonds issued pursuant to this section shall not be subject to § 6102 of this title, as amended.
§ 6517 Order to connect to sanitary sewer; enforcement.
(a) The county government may, where it deems it necessary to the preservation of public health, order the owner of any lot or parcel of land within a sanitary or water district which abuts upon a street or other public way containing a sanitary sewer or water main, which is part of or which is served, or may be served, by the county sewerage or water system, and upon which lot or parcel of land a building shall have been constructed for residential, commercial or industrial use, to connect such building with such sanitary sewer or water main.
(b) If any owner shall fail to comply within 60 days with the order to connect with a sanitary sewer or water main, the county government shall forthwith institute action in a Justice of the Peace Court in Sussex County or in the Court of Chancery to compel compliance with the order.
§ 6518 Exception to limitation on borrowing power.
Bonds issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be subject to any debt limit imposed by the laws of the State.
§ 6519 Definitions; voters.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this title, for the purposes of this chapter the terms "voter," "voters," "legal voters," and "elector" shall be deemed to include all the following persons:
(1) Persons whose principal place of abode has been within the proposed sanitary and water district for at least 6 months immediately preceding the date of the election or the date of the petition, whichever is applicable;
(2) Persons who own real estate in the proposed sanitary and water district on the date of the election or the date of the petition, whichever is applicable, regardless of where they reside, unless such real estate is subject to a lease described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section;
(3) Corporations which own real estate in the proposed sanitary and water district on the date of the election or the date of the petition, whichever is applicable, unless such real estate is subject to a lease described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section; and
(4) Each leaseholder holding land under a valid lease in which the original term is specified at not less than 10 years and whose lease is recorded in the office of Recorder of Deeds in and for Sussex County and who has erected upon his or her leasehold an improvement having an assessed valuation of at least $1,000 on the date of the election or the date of the petition, whichever is applicable, but in no case shall there be more than 1 vote per lease.
(b) No person or corporation shall be entitled to more than 1 vote in any election.
(c) Jointly or severally owned real estate shall be entitled to only 1 vote.
(d) The president or vice-president of a corporation shall exercise the vote on behalf of the corporation, provided that such president or vice-president exhibits a notarized resolution of the corporation authorizing him or her to cast such vote.
§ 6520 County Engineer; appointment and duties; assistants.
(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 limiting the generality of the foregoing, the construction of water production and distribution facilities and 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 the public work specified in subsection (a) of this section.
§ 6521 Location of sewage treatment plants and other sewage disposal facilities.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, sewage treatment plants and other sewage or water facilities may be located outside, in part or in whole, the sewer or water district which they intended to serve.
(b) It shall be permissible to transfer sewage or water from 1 sewer or water district to another sewer or water district for the purposes of treatment and disposal of the sewage, or for providing water.