CHAPTER 248

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 160

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 9 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE NEW CASTLE COUNTY BOARD OF ASSESSMENT REVIEW.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend § 1317, Title 9 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 1317. Board of Assessment Review.

County Council, by ordinance, shall provide for the Board of Assessment Review. The Board of Assessment Review shall consist of 7 members. The County Council shall appoint 6 members from council districts 1 or 7, 2 or 8, 3 or 9, 4 or 10, 5 or 11, or 6 or 12 who shall be residents and freeholders of the districts from which appointed, and who shall serve for terms of 6 years, provided that the terms of the original members shall be established in such a manner that 1 shall expire each year. The County Executive, with the advice and consent of the County Council, shall appoint 1 member who shall be chairperson and who shall serve at the pleasure of the County Executive. No member shall forfeit his or her office by virtue of lack of continued residence in the district from which appointed if the potential disqualification shall arise solely from a change in the boundaries of a councilmanic district. Each member shall be entitled to compensation determined by the County Council.

The New Castle County Council, by ordinance, shall establish the Board of Assessment Review.

(1) The Board of Assessment Review consists of 9 members, as follows:

a. Eight individuals appointed by the County Council, subject to the following:

1. Each individual must be a resident and freeholder of the County.

2. Each individual appointed or reappointed after [the effective date of this Act] is appointed for a term of 4 years.

b. One individual appointed by the County Executive with the advice and consent of the County Council, who serves at the pleasure of the County Executive.

c. The member appointed under paragraph (1)b. shall be the Chair.

(2) Each member is entitled to renumeration as determined by the County Council.

Section 2. Amend § 1318, Title 9 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 1318. Functions of Board of Assessment Review.

The Board shall perform all of the following functions:

(1) Hear appeals from any property owner who alleges that the property owner's property has been improperly assessed for purposes of taxation; taxation.

(2) Following the hearing of any property owner and, in the light of the facts produced at such hearing, determine whether the assessment is correct. If the Board should find that the assessment is greater than it should be, the Board shall order the Chief Financial Officer to reduce the assessment and the Chief Financial Officer shall thereupon reduce the assessment to the adjusted amount established by the Board; Board.

(3) Review the methods by which the general manager of the Department of Land Use Finance has established the assessments and the results thereof as reflected by the assessment roll. If the Board should find that the procedures used by the general manager of the Department of Land Use Finance require improvement in order to make more equitable and effective the assessment procedure, the Board shall make such recommendations as it deems proper to the general manager of the Department of Land Use Finance and file a copy thereof with the Clerk of the County Council; Council.

(4) Prepare such rules and regulations for its operation as it deems appropriate.

Section 3. Amend § 1319, Title 9 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 1319. Appointment and duties of additional Board members and referees.

(a) The County Council may by ordinance expand the Board of Assessment Review by adding 6 additional members who shall serve for a term of 1 year. The County Council shall appoint 1 member from each of council districts not represented on the Board pursuant to § 1317 of this title who shall be residents and freeholders of the districts from which appointed. No member shall forfeit his or her office by virtue of lack of continued residence in the district from which appointed if the potential disqualification shall arise solely from a change in the boundaries of a council district.[Repealed].

(b) The County Council may by ordinance may, by ordinance, authorize appointment of referees to hear appeals of property assessments. The general manager of the Department of Land Use Finance shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the County Council, such referees as are authorized by ordinance. Referees appointed hereunder shall under this section must be members of the Bar of the State.

(c)Appeals may be heard by panels of 3 or more members of the Board or by the referees individually when the referees are so authorized pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. The panel or the referee shall submit a recommendation to the Board which shall determine whether the assessment is correct based upon the record of the appeal hearing and the recommendation of the panel or the referee.

(d) Referees shall must be paid as provided by the County Council.

Section 4. Amend § 1321, Title 9 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 1321. General provisions relating to assessment.

It is the intent of this subchapter that in New Castle County, the Department of Finance shall perform all of the functions assigned to the Board of Assessment, except for the functions specifically assigned to the Board of Assessment Review by § 1320 of this title.

Section 5. Amend § 1322, Title 9 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows:

§ 1322. Assessment of property.

(a) In the performance of the functions relating to the assessment of property, the Department of Finance shall exercise the assessment functions assigned to the Board of Assessment prior to May 26, 1965. To this end, not later than February 15 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 of Finance shall determine the form of the assessment roll and shall not be bound by provisions of law in effect prior to May 26, 1965, as to form. The County Council of New Castle County shall by ordinance establish the dates during which appeals from assessments of the Department of Land Use Finance to the Board of Assessment Review may be heard.

(b) Not later than April 30 of each year, the Department of Land Use Finance shall certify to the Chief Financial Officer a true and correct assessment roll for the year. Not later than May 31 of each year, the general manager of the Department of Land Use Finance shall certify to the County Council 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.

(c) The Department of Finance shall determine by rule, the form, number of copies 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 must be in a form which that readily permits the subdivision of property, or the reassembly of property, without loss of control thereof for purposes of assessment.

(d) Notwithstanding any provision of this title, for any fiscal year in which the County Council of New Castle County proposes to implement a general reassessment of property, the County Council may by ordinance establish appropriate and reasonable time periods for the filing of exemption applications; submission, inspection inspection, and certification of assessment rolls; notices of assessments; appeals from such assessments; and any other requirements relating to the implementation of the general reassessment. In no case, however, shall the The County Council may not extend any such period more than 30 days beyond that otherwise established in this title. This authorization shall apply applies only to the fiscal year in which the general reassessment is implemented. In each fiscal year thereafter, the procedures specified in this title shall must be followed.

Approved May 24, 2018