§ 6701 Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context:
(1) "County" means Sussex County.
(2) "Revenue bonds" means bonds to the payment of which all or any part of the revenues derived from the operation of any water or sewerage system are pledged in accordance with this chapter.
(3) "Service charges" means rents, rates, fees or other charges charged or collected under § 6709 of this title.
(4) "Sewerage system" means the plants, structures and other real and personal property acquired, constructed or operated or to be acquired, constructed or operated by the County for the collection, treatment, purification or disposal in a sanitary manner of any sewage, liquid or solid wastes, night soil or industrial wastes, garbage and storm water, including sewers, conduits, pipelines, mains, pumping and ventilating stations, sewage treatment or disposal system, plants and works, connections and outfalls, and other plants, structures, boats, conveyances, and other real and personal property, and rights therein, appurtenances necessary or useful and convenient for such purposes.
(5) "Water system" means all real and personal property necessary or useful in the collection, acquisition, treatment, purification, and distribution of water, together with any principal or ancillary rights appurtenant thereto.
9 Del. C. 1953, § 6701; 55 Del. Laws, c. 263.;
§ 6702 Powers of County.
In addition to the other powers which it has, the County may, under this chapter:
(1) Plan, construct, acquire by gift, purchase, or the exercise of the right of eminent domain, reconstruct, improve, better or extend any sewerage or water system, and acquire by gift, purchase, or exercise of the right of eminent domain, lands or rights in land in connection therewith;
(2) Operate and maintain any water or sewerage system and furnish the services and facilities rendered or afforded thereby;
(3) Enter into and perform contracts, whether long term or short term, with any industrial establishment, municipality, county or agency of this State or any other state or federal government, for the provision and operation by the County of the sewerage system to abate or reduce the pollution of waters caused by discharges of industrial wastes by such industrial establishment, municipality, county or agency of this State or any other state or federal government, and the payment periodically by the industrial establishment, municipality, county or agency of this State or any other state or federal government to the County, of amounts at least sufficient, in the judgment of the county government, to compensate the County for the cost of providing (including payment of principal and interest charges, if any), and of operating and maintaining, the sewerage system or part thereof serving such industrial establishment, municipality, county or agency of this State or any other state or federal government;
(4) Issue its negotiable or nonnegotiable bonds to finance, either in whole or in part, the cost of the planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any sewerage or water system, and, if the county government so determines, pledging the full faith and credit of the County to the punctual payment of the bonds and the interest thereon;
(5) Pledge to the punctual payment of the bonds and the interest thereon an amount of the revenues derived from the operation of such sewerage or water system (including the revenues of the existing facilities, if any, comprising a sewerage or water system which is being improved, bettered, extended or acquired, and the revenues to be derived from any improvements, betterments, extensions thereafter constructed or acquired), or of any part of any such sewerage or water system, sufficient to pay, on either equal or priority basis, the bonds and interest as the same become due and create and maintain reasonable reserves therefor, which amount may consist of all or any part or portion of such revenues;
(6) Accept from any authorized agency of the state or federal government, or from persons, firms, or corporations, grants, or contributions for the planning, construction, acquisition, lease, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension or operation and maintenance of any sewerage or water system and enter into agreements with such agency respecting such loans and grants;
(7) Enter into a contract or contracts with any city or town situated within the County providing for the disposal of sewage collected by any sewerage system either for a specified or an unlimited time and for the charge to be made for such service by or to any such city or town;
(8) Enter into and perform contracts with any person for the sale of effluent products;
(9) Enter into and perform a contract or contracts with any person, municipality, county or agency of this State or any other state or federal government for the sale, purchase, treatment, purification, transmission, or distribution of water; and
(10) Enter into and perform contracts, whether long term or short term, with any person, organization, association or other entity, public or private, profit or nonprofit, for the study, design, construction, operation or maintenance of a sanitary sewerage system, which may be in or outside of a sanitary sewer district.
§ 6703 Sewerage and water system within city or town.
No sewerage or water system, or any part thereof, shall be constructed or maintained within the boundaries of any city or town situated in the County without the consent of such city or town, except that transmission lines or mains may be constructed or maintained without consent. The consent shall be given only by an ordinance adopted by the council or other governing body of the city or town in question, but once given shall be irrevocable.
9 Del. C. 1953, § 6703; 55 Del. Laws, c. 263.;
§ 6704 Authorization of bonds; terms; sale and interest rate; borrowing in anticipation of issuance of bonds.
(a) The planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment or extension of any sewerage or water system may be authorized under this chapter, and bonds may be authorized to be issued under this chapter to provide funds for such purpose by ordinance or resolution of the county government.
(b) The county government, in determining the cost of acquiring or constructing any sewerage or water system, may include all costs and estimated costs of the issuance of the bonds, all planning, engineering, inspection, fiscal and legal expenses, and interest which it is estimated will accrue during the construction period and for 6 months thereafter on money borrowed or which it is estimated will be borrowed pursuant to this chapter.
(c) The bonds shall bear interest at such rates, may be in 1 or more series, may bear such dates, may mature at such times not exceeding 40 years from their respective dates, may be payable in such medium of payment, at such place or places, may carry such registration privileges, may be subject to such terms of redemption, may be executed in such manner, may contain such terms, covenants and conditions and may be in such form, either coupon or registered as the ordinance or resolution provides. The reasonable expense of issuing such bonds shall be deemed part of the cost of constructing the sewer or water facilities.
(d) Bonds issued pursuant to this chapter may 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.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.
(g) 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.
(h) 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.
(i) Pending the preparation of the definitive bonds, interim receipts or certificates in such form and with such provisions as the county government determines may be issued to the purchasers of bonds sold pursuant to this chapter.
(j) 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.
§ 6705 Authorized signatures on bonds; validity of issuance.
(a) Bonds bearing the signatures of officers in office on the date of the signing thereof shall be valid and binding obligations notwithstanding that before the delivery thereof and payment therefor any or all of the persons whose signatures appear thereon have ceased to be officers of the County.
(b) The validity of the bonds shall not be dependent on nor affected by the validity or regularity of any proceedings relating to the planning, acquisition, purchase, construction, reconstruction, improvement, betterment, or extension of the sewerage or water system for which the bonds are issued. The ordinance or resolution authorizing the bonds may provide that the bonds shall contain a recital that they are issued pursuant to this chapter, which recital shall be conclusive evidence of their validity and of the regularity of their issuance.
§ 6706 Payment of bonds, faith and credit of County; tax levy.
The full faith and credit of the County may be pledged to the payment of any bonds issued by the County under this chapter. The county government may annually appropriate to the payment of bonds issued under this chapter and the interest thereon the amounts required to pay such bonds and interest as the same becomes due and payable. Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, the county government may levy an ad valorem tax, without limitations as to rate or amount, upon all property taxable by the County to raise the moneys necessary to meet any such appropriation. Section 6111 of this title is hereby repealed to the extent said section is inconsistent with this chapter.
§ 6707 Authorization of covenants in bonds.
(a) In the event that the County issues revenue bonds, the ordinance or resolution authorizing the issuance of such bonds may contain covenants as to:
(1) The purpose to which the proceeds of sale of the bonds may be applied and the use and disposition thereof;
(2) The use and disposition of the revenue of the sewerage or water systems, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such bonds, including the creation and maintenance of reserves;
(3) The issuance of other or additional bonds payable from the revenues of such sewerage or water systems;
(4) The operation and maintenance of such sewerage or water systems;
(5) The insurance to be carried thereon and the use and disposition of insurance moneys;
(6) Books of account and the inspection and audit thereof; and
(7) The terms and conditions upon which the holders of the bonds, or any proportion of them, or any trustee therefor, shall be entitled to the appointment of a receiver by the appropriate court, which court shall have jurisdiction in such proceedings, and which receiver may enter and take possession of the sewerage or water systems, operate and maintain them, prescribe service charges therefor, and collect, receive and apply all revenue thereafter arising therefrom in the same manner as the County itself might do.
(b) The provisions of this chapter and any such ordinances or resolutions shall be a contract with the holder of the bonds, and the duties of the County and of the county government and officers under this chapter, and any such ordinances or resolutions shall be enforceable by any bondholder by mandamus or other appropriate suit, action or proceeding in any court of competent jurisdiction.
§ 6708 Service charges; amount and application; repayment for borrowed funds.
(a) If the County issues bonds under this chapter, the county government shall prescribe and collect reasonable service charges for the services and facilities rendered or afforded by the sewerage or water systems, the revenues of which are pledged to the payment of such bonds, and shall revise such service charges from time to time whenever necessary.
(b) The service charges prescribed shall be such as will procure revenue at least sufficient to:
(1) Pay when due all bonds and interest thereon, for the payment of which such revenue is or shall have been pledged, charged or otherwise encumbered, including reserves therefor; and
(2) Provide for all expenses of operation and maintenance of such sewerage or water systems, including reserves therefor.
(c) The service charges when collected shall be applied to the payment of the bonds and interest and to the expenses of such operation and maintenance in accordance with the ordinance or resolution authorizing the bonds.
(d) The County may borrow funds up to $1,000,000 to pay as due the necessary expenses of the operation and maintenance of any sewer or water system to be repaid from sums received for service charges of each respective sewer or water district. Section 6102 of this title is not applicable to this chapter.
§ 6709 Power to make charges; liability of users; computation of rates.
(a) The county government may charge and collect rents, rates, fees or other charges (in this chapter sometimes referred to as "service charges") for direct or indirect connection with, or the use or services of, any sewerage or water system. Such service charges may be charged to and collected from any person contracting for such connection or use or service, or from the owner or occupant, or both of them, of any real property which directly or indirectly is or has been connected with a sewerage or water system, or from or on which originates or has originated sewerage which directly or indirectly has entered or may enter into a sewerage system, or into which water from a water system may enter directly or indirectly, and the owner or occupant, or both of them, of any such real property shall be liable for and shall pay such service charges to the County at the time when, and place where, the county government by ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation determines that such charges are due and payable.
(b) Such service charges shall, as near as the county government deems practicable and equitable, be uniform throughout the area served by the sewerage or water system, and may be based or computed either on the consumption of water on or in connection with the real property, making due allowance 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 or sewerage 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 sewerage or water system, or on any combination of any such factors.
§ 6710 Penalties for failure to pay charges.
(a) In the event that a service charge with regard to any parcel of real property is not paid as and when due, interest shall accrue and be due to the County on the unpaid balance at the rate of 1 percent per month until the service charge, and the interest thereon, shall be fully paid to the County.
(b) In the event that any service charge with respect to any parcel of real property is not paid as and when due, the county government may, in its discretion, enter upon such parcel and cause the connection thereof leading directly or indirectly to the sewerage or water system to be cut and shut off until the service charge and any subsequent service charges with regard to such parcel and all interest accrued thereon are fully paid.
§ 6711 Lien of service charges on real estate.
(a) In the event that any service charge is not paid when due, the unpaid balance and any interest accrued shall be a lien on the parcel of real property with regard to which the service charge was made. The lien shall be superior and paramount to the interest in such parcel of any owner, lessee, tenant, mortgagee or other person, except the lien of taxes.
(b) If any service charge or any part of a service charge remains unpaid at the end of 2 years after the due date, the county government shall institute proper proceedings for the enforcement of the lien, levy the service charge as an assessment with interest thereon accrued, and all costs thereon, upon the grounds and buildings with regard to which a service charge was made. The properties against which such service charges remain unpaid shall be liable for the payment of said service charge in the same manner as they are liable for other county taxes and are subject to the collection procedures set forth in Chapter 87 of this title.
(c) The Sheriff shall, out of the purchase money of the premises so sold, pay all costs arising from the process and sale to the parties entitled thereto respectively, and shall pay the amount of the service charge with accrued interest thereon to the county government. The residue of the purchase money shall be immediately deposited in a state or national bank designated by Sussex County, to the credit of the owner or owners of the property so sold.
§ 6712 Sewer and water lien docket.
The Prothonotary shall, under the supervision and direction of the county government, prepare a docket to be known as "The Sussex County Sewer and Water Lien Docket" in which shall be recorded the liens for service charges. The Docket shall be prepared at the expense of the county government in substantially the same form as the judgment docket for Sussex County, and contain in the back thereof an index according to the name of the owner against which such lien has been assessed. No sewer lien shall be valid unless duly recorded as provided in this section. All sewer liens duly recorded in the Docket shall continue in full force and effect until the liens have been satisfied by payment, and when such liens are satisfied by payment the Prothonotary, acting under the supervision and direction of the county government, shall satisfy the record by entering thereon the date of final payment and the words "satisfied in full." The Prothonotary, for the use of the county government, shall receive a fee of 50 cents for each satisfaction so entered.
§ 6713 Water consumption statement and other information for county government or its designated agent.
(a) Each municipality or public corporation, or other person, owning or operating any system of water distribution serving 3 or more parcels of real property in the County shall, from time to time after request therefor by the county government or its designated agent, deliver to the county government or its designated agent a statement showing the amount of water supplied to every such parcel of real property as shown by the records of the municipality or public corporation or other person. The statements shall be delivered to the county government or its designated agent within 10 days after request is made for them, and the county government or its designated agent shall pay the reasonable cost of preparation and delivery of such statements.
(b) The occupant of every parcel of property, the sewage from which is disposed of or treated by any sewerage system of the County, of the water for which is supplied by any water system of the County, shall, upon request therefor by the county government or its designated agent, furnish to the county government or its designated agent information as to the amount of water consumed by such occupant or in connection with such parcel and the number and kind of water outlets, and plumbing or sewerage fixtures or facilities on or in connection with such parcel and the number of persons working or residing therein.
§ 6714 Discontinuance of water supply for failure to pay service charge.
Each city or town or other public corporation owning or operating any water distribution system serving 3 or more parcels of real property in the County, and every other person owning or operating any such system may enter into and perform a contract with the County that it will, upon request by the county government specifying a parcel of real property in the County charged with any unpaid service charge under § 6709 of this title, cause the supply of water from its system to such parcel of real property to be stopped or restricted, as the county government may request, until the service charge and any subsequent service charge charged to such parcel and the interest accrued thereon is fully paid or until the county government directs otherwise. No such city or town or other public corporation or other person shall be liable for any loss, damage or other claim based on or arising out of the stopping or restricting of such supply, and the county government shall pay the reasonable cost of so stopping or restricting such supply and of restoring the same and may agree to indemnify such city or town or public corporation or other person from loss or damage by reason of such stopping or restriction, including loss of profits.
§ 6715 Contract with municipality for disposal or treatment of sewage or the filtering, purifying or supplying of water.
(a) The county government may contract with any municipality within the territorial limits of the County for the disposal or treatment by means of any sewerage system of the County or municipality the sewage originating in such city or town or elsewhere. Any such contract may be authorized by resolution duly adopted by the county government and may be made with or without consideration and may contain provisions obligating the County or municipality to dispose of and treat all or any part of the sewage originating in such city or town or elsewhere and obligating such city or town to permit the County to dispose of or treat such sewage, either for a specific period of time or for an unlimited time. Any such contract may contain other and different provisions relative to the kind and character of sewage to be disposed of and treated and the compensation, if any, to be paid for such services.
(b) The county government may contract with any municipality within the territorial limits of the County to buy, sell, process, filter, treat or purify water. Such filtration, treatment, processing or purification may be done in any plant or facility of the County or the municipality for such time, on such terms, and in such volume as the county government may, by resolution, determine.
§ 6716 Connection of property with sewer or water mains.
Permits for connecting any property by a drain or pipe with any county sewer or water main shall be obtained from the county government and shall be issued only to plumbers licensed to do business in this State. No permit will be granted for connecting any property by a drain or pipe with any sewer or water main unless application is made therefor to the county government in writing upon blanks furnished by the county government. The application shall state the full name of the owner, the size and kind of drain or pipe to be used, and a full description of the premises, its location, the number and size of each building located thereon to be drained, the area of each floor thereof, including the floor of the cellar or basement, all of the purposes for which the drain or pipe is to be used, the time when the connection is to be made and other particulars for a full understanding of the subject and that the owner will be subject to all the rules and regulations prescribed by the county government. The application shall be signed by the owner of the property to be drained or supplied with water and by a plumber licensed to do business in this State. The owner shall also execute a release to the county government releasing the county government, its officers and agents and the County from all liability or damage which may in any manner result to the premises by reason of such connection. No permit shall be deemed to authorize anything not therein specifically stated.
§ 6717 Licensed plumber to connect property with sewers or mains.
All necessary plumbing work to be done in connecting any property with a county sewer or water main shall be done by a plumber licensed to do business in this State, in a good and workmanlike manner, and with good and proper materials, and shall be subject to the approval of the county government or its designated agent.
§ 6718 Misrepresentations in application and unauthorized connections with sewer or water main; penalty.
Whoever wilfully makes any misrepresentation in any application or makes or maintains any connection with any sewer or water main contrary to the authority granted by permits issued therefor by the county government, or without a permit therefor in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, shall be fined not less than $5.00 nor more than $500.
9 Del. C. 1953, § 6718; 55 Del. Laws, c. 263.;
§ 6719 Surveys and inspections by county government; penalty for refusal to permit.
(a) The county government or its designated representatives may go upon the land for the purpose of making surveys for sewers, sewer systems, sewage disposal plants, water mains, water systems, water treatment plants, pumping plants, or for right-of-way or other property right required for the sewerage or water systems.
(b) The county government or its designated representatives may inspect, at reasonable hours, any premises, dwellings or other buildings in the vicinity of a county sewer to determine if it is connected to the county sewer or water main, or to determine if the sewer or water main connection has been made or is being maintained in accordance with the regulations of the county government.
(c) Whoever refuses to permit inspections and surveys at reasonable hours shall be fined not less than $10 for every such refusal.
§ 6720 Construction of chapter with other laws.
The powers conferred by this chapter shall be in addition to, and not in substitution for, the powers conferred by any other general, special or local law. The powers conferred by this chapter may be exercised notwithstanding that any other general, special or local law may confer such powers, and without regard to the requirements, restrictions, limitations or other provisions contained in such other general, special or local law.
9 Del. C. 1953, § 6720; 55 Del. Laws, c. 263.;
§ 6721 Annexation.
Any annexation by any municipality of any previously unincorporated area shall not confer upon the annexing municipality any right, title or interest in any part of any water or sewer system constructed, acquired, extended or improved pursuant to this chapter, except as a resolution of the county government may so provide. No such resolution shall be adopted by the county government unless the annexing municipality shall have deposited a fund sufficient to pay when due any outstanding bonds issued hereunder for the purchase, construction, acquisition, extension or improvement of all systems wholly or partly within the annexed area, with interest to the date of call or redemption and any redemption or call premium applicable thereto.
9 Del. C. 1953, § 6721; 55 Del. Laws, c. 263.;