§ 2101 Lighting streets and highways in unincorporated communities and villages; petition.
(a) Upon the petition of a majority of the property owners of any unincorporated community or village in New Castle County, the County Council may enter into a contract with any electric, gas or other lighting companies to light and illuminate the streets or highways running through, bounding and within the community or village, with electric light, gas light, or other illuminant. The petition of the property owners shall set forth the boundary lines of the community to be lighted. Street lights shall be of such candle power, electric or its equivalent in other illuminating mediums, as shall be determined by the County Council. The County Council may enter into contracts for additional lights or may change the location of any lights theretofore located and may levy and collect additional tax for the payment of the same.
(b) For purposes of this chapter, the term “property owner” shall mean a person or entity who owns a fee simple interest in land situated in any unincorporated community or village in New Castle County entitling the owner to sign a petition filed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and cast 1 vote in favor of or against illuminating streets or highways covered by such petition. In the event that a property is owned by more than 1 person or entity, either as joint tenants with right of survivorship, tenants in common or tenants by the entirety, each such party shall be entitled to cast a proportional vote equal to such party’s proportional interest in and to the jointly-held property, as set forth in the deed of conveyance or other evidence of ownership. If the deed or other evidence of ownership does not set forth each owner’s proportionate interest, each owner’s interest shall be presumed to be equal for purposes hereof. It is the intent of this section that each property shall have no more than 1 vote, and each property owner shall have a vote equal to such property owner’s proportional interest in such property.
38 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; Code 1935, § 1180; 48 Del. Laws, c. 77, § 1; 9 Del. C. 1953, § 2101; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 13A; 68 Del. Laws, c. 238, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 435, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 401, § 15.;
§ 2102 Levy and collection of light tax; penalty for late payment.
(a) The County Council, for the purpose of providing street and highway lighting pursuant to § 2101 of this title, shall levy for the installation and maintenance of such lights an annual tax based on the full annual cost of such lighting, plus up to but not exceeding 10% thereof to cover the actual direct and indirect costs of administration and billing. Such tax shall be levied against all properties within the boundary lines of the communities that have submitted petitions under § 2101 of this title. The County Council shall establish the method by which such tax shall be computed and shall adopt and levy annual light tax rates that will yield sufficient revenue to cover the full annual cost of all lighting services, plus up to but not exceeding 10% for the actual cost of administration and billing. No such taxes shall be levied against farm land.
(b) Such taxes shall be collected by the same collector, at the same time and in the same manner as other county taxes. If such taxes are not paid by the date set for the payment of other taxes, penalty shall accrue thereon in the manner and at the rate specified in § 8604(a) of this title.
(c) If the County Council receives a petition for street lighting from any community and the contract for such street lighting is entered after the commencement of the county’s fiscal year, the Department of Finance may, at the same times established for supplemental assessments in § 8339 of this title, levy and bill a supplemental light tax to the property owners within such community, computed in the same manner as all other light tax bills, reduced at the rates specified in § 8340 of this title.
(d) All taxes levied under this chapter shall be considered real property taxes and, as provided in § 2901(a) of Title 25, shall constitute and remain a statutory lien on such property, together with any penalties that may accrue thereon, until such taxes and penalties are paid in full. Such lien shall enjoy the priority established for governmental liens by § 2901 of Title 25.
§ 2103 Light tax; administration of fund; surplus.
The Department of Finance of New Castle County shall receive all light taxes collected, shall keep them in a separate account, and shall pay them out only upon orders signed by the County Executive and approved by the Department. The Department shall receive or charge no compensation for the performance of any duty required of it or New Castle County under this chapter, beyond that expressly authorized by § 2102 of this title. If, after payment of all contracts entered into pursuant to this chapter, there remains a surplus in the light account, the surplus shall be applied to reduce the light tax rate for the succeeding taxable year.
§ 2104 Removal of lights.
Lights installed under the provisions of this chapter shall be removed only by ordinance of County Council or upon its direction after receipt of a petition, signed by a majority of the property owners within the bounds of any lighted community or village, requesting such removal. No such ordinance or petition shall be considered by County Council at any time within 3 years after the date of the first light tax billing issued after the installation of such lights. After the removal of such lights, no light tax shall be levied against properties within the bounds of the community or village identified in the ordinance or petition. In the event that such lights are removed, County Council shall not refund any light tax that has been levied for the fiscal year during which the lights are removed.