Sussex County, DE
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Council of Sussex County 6-18-1974 as Ord. No. 15. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Building construction — See Ch. 52.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 99.
Water and sewers — See Ch. 110.
Zoning — See Ch. 115.

§ 95-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
COUNTY COUNCIL
The County Council of Sussex County.
COUNTY ENGINEER
The County Engineer employed by the County Council or, in his absence, the person employed as Acting County Engineer.
DIRECTOR OF FINANCE
The Director of Finance employed by the County Council or, in his absence, the person employed as Acting Director of Finance.
SUBURBAN COMMUNITY
Any unincorporated area within Sussex County containing at least 10 dwelling and/or business structures, whose streets aggregate a minimum of 500 linear feet of roadway and which, in the opinion of the County Council, is so situated as to form a unit which is reasonably and economically capable of being improved by the installation, maintenance and operation of streetlights.
[Amended 4-28-1981 by Ord. No. 67]

§ 95-2 Preparation of petition form.

A. 
Any person who is the owner of an improvement constructed for residential or business use located on land within the proposed streetlighting district may request the County Council to direct the County Engineer to prepare a petition form for a streetlighting district. Said request must be in writing and include a description of the area, the number of residential and business structures and the approximate aggregate length of roadway to be included in the proposed streetlighting district.
B. 
If the request meets the criteria of the definition of "Suburban Community" in § 95-1, the County Council may direct the County Engineer to prepare sufficient copies of a petition form requesting the County Council to obtain estimates of costs and charges for streetlighting and submit the question of establishing a streetlighting district to an election. Said petition form shall include a written description of the area to be included in the proposed streetlighting district, and each copy of the petition form shall have attached a map, drawn to scale, showing the parcels of land, structures and roadways within the proposed district.
C. 
The County Engineer shall submit the prepared petition form described in Subsection B to the County Council for approval before it is circulated.

§ 95-3 Restrictions on voting and petitions.

Any person who is the owner of an improvement constructed for residential or business use located on land of which 50% or more of the front footage of said land abuts the roadway included in the proposed streetlighting district may petition the County Council on the form described in § 95-2 and vote in the election required in § 95-4C(1). Each structure meeting the above requirements and owned jointly, severally or by tenants in common shall entitle the owner(s) to one signature on the petition and one vote in the election.

§ 95-4 Action following receipt of petition.

A. 
Upon receipt of a valid petition, the County Council shall direct the County Engineer to prepare estimates of the costs of installation, operation and maintenance of appropriate lighting facilities and the estimated charges to the property owners.
B. 
The County Engineer shall submit the estimated costs and charges required in Subsection A to the County Council for approval.
C. 
Upon approval of the estimated costs and charges, the County Council shall, by resolution:
(1) 
Establish the date, time and place of the election, with provision for absentee voting by those unable to appear in person.
(2) 
Designate the person to act as judge of the election.
(3) 
Direct the County Engineer to notify the voters of the date, time and place of the election, including the estimated costs and charges. Such notice shall be posted in at least four public places within the proposed lighting district at least 10 days before the day of the election and either by direct mail to the voters of record 20 days before the day of the election or by advertisement in a newspaper in general circulation in the area in which the proposed lighting district is located once in each of two consecutive weeks prior to the week in which the election is to be held.

§ 95-5 Action following election.

A. 
Following the election, the judge of the election shall certify the results to the County Council.
B. 
If the certificate of the judge of the election reveals the majority of the votes cast at the election are in favor of the streetlighting district, the Council Council shall, by resolution, declare the streetlighting district established; authorize the County Engineer to acquire, install, maintain and provide power to the lighting fixtures proposed in the district; and authorize the Director of Finance to bill the owners of all assessable structures within the streetlighting district.

§ 95-6 Assessments, district limits, establishment of separate account.

A. 
The annual cost of depreciation, maintenance, electric power and other direct costs of streetlighting within the district shall be assessed equally to all residential dwelling units and business occupancies in structures on parcels of land abutting the public and community roadways within the streetlighting district. Assessment billings shall be made annually in advance for the period of July 1 through June 30. When new districts are established and lighting service is made available for less than the aforementioned annual period, the initial billing shall be for the portion of the year remaining prior to June 30. All billings will be made for one year or less in advance, shall be due and payable on the same schedule as county real estate tax bills, subject to the same penalties for the late payment, and shall be collectible by any legal process available to the Director of Finance by statute for the collection of county real estate taxes.
B. 
The limit of roadways in the streetlighting district shall be all roadways between streetlighting fixtures located or to be located in the district and extend on said roadways 125 feet beyond the last streetlighting fixture on each roadway.
C. 
Any contributions given by any person, firm or corporation to assist in defraying the costs of the streetlighting district must be made by May 1 in order to be considered in reducing the assessments in the district for the year beginning the following July 1.
D. 
The Director of Finance shall establish a separate account for all receipts and disbursements for each streetlighting district.

§ 95-7 Modifications, termination of district.

A. 
Any owner of assessable structures on property abutting roadways continuing from within or adjacent to an established streetlighting district may request the County Council, in writing, to consider extending the limits of the district.
B. 
Any owner of assessable structures in an established streetlighting district or the County Engineer may request the County Council, in writing, to consider additional lighting fixtures or other improvements or changes within the limits of the established district.
C. 
Upon receipt of requests described in Subsections A and B, the County Council may direct the County Engineer to prepare an estimate of the cost and assessments for the requested additions or changes.
D. 
The County Council may, upon review of the estimated costs and assessments for requested additions or changes, schedule a public hearing. Notice of a public hearing shall be given in the manner described in § 95-4C(3).
E. 
After consideration of statements made at the public hearing described in Subsection D, the County Council may revise the limits for lighting service within the district. Such action shall be by resolution.
F. 
In the event that part or all of an established streetlighting district becomes incorporated or is annexed by an incorporated municipality, part or all of the streetlighting district may be taken over by the incorporated municipality by written agreement between the County Council and the municipality. After execution of said agreement, the County Council shall terminate the district or revise the limits of the remaining established streetlighting district by resolution.