Wicomico County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted and amended as indicated in text.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Plumbing — See Ch. 183.
Taxation — See Ch. 203.
[1959 Code, sec. 512. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 421; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 421; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 512] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
A. 
Commission. For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the urban service districts created under the authority of this chapter shall be under the jurisdiction of the County Council of Wicomico County, or said County Council may, by law, establish a Commission of five persons, to be appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council. The members of the Commission shall serve without salary, but upon voucher properly certified to, shall be reimbursed by said Commission for any expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as such.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
B. 
The Commission shall elect one of its members as Chairman and another as Vice Chairman and shall appoint, discharge at pleasure and shall fix the compensation of a Secretary, Chief Engineer and such engineering, legal, clerical and other personnel and help as from time to time the Commission may deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. The Commission shall, from time to time, make such arrangements with the Director of Finance of Wicomico County with respect to salary for himself and his deputies and the expenses of hiring and collecting the funds due the Commission as will defray the cost of such services.
C. 
Funds. All moneys due and payable to the Commission from all sources whatsoever provided in this chapter shall be collected by the Director of Finance of Wicomico County, Maryland, and said Director shall deposit all moneys received from ad valorem taxes and benefit assessments or other sources which are dedicated to the payment of interest on and redemption of bonds issued by the Commission in a Joint Sinking Fund to the credit of the County and the Wicomico County Urban Services Commission, to be used solely for the payment of interest on and the redemption of said bonds. All other money collected under this chapter not dedicated to bond repayment shall be placed in such account or accounts as the Commission may from time to time determine, subject to the order of the Commission and to be used to pay the expenses of operation and maintenance of the Commission and of the operation and maintenance of all urban services instituted, purchased or otherwise acquired by the Commission. All checks issued on any account of the Commission, including the Joint Sinking Fund, shall be upon voucher, duly certified by three members thereof, which voucher shall signify the account to be charged. All moneys deposited shall be protected by a depository bond, and said County Director of Finance shall give bond to the State of Maryland in the amount of $10,000 with a good and sufficient surety to be approved by the County Executive and said Commission, with the condition “that if the above bounden shall well and faithfully execute his office and shall account to said Commission or be answerable for by law, then the said obligation to be void, otherwise to be and remain in full force and effect.” Said bond, when approved, shall be recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Wicomico County. The Commission is hereby empowered to pay the premiums on all bonds. Said Director of Finance shall annually provide said Commission, at said Commission’s expense, an audit of the aforesaid account prepared by a certified public accountant to be selected by said Commission.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
[1959 Code, sec. 513. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 422; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 422]
The members of said Commission shall be a body corporate, by the name of the "Wicomico County Urban Services Commission," referred to elsewhere in this chapter as "the Commission," with the right to use a common seal, to sue and be sued and to do any and all other corporate acts for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter. Whenever it shall be deemed necessary by said Commission to take or acquire any land, structure or buildings, or any stream bed, waterway, water rights or watershed, either in fee or as an easement, within or outside of Wicomico County, for the execution by the Commission of any power or function vested in it by this chapter, said Commission may purchase same from the owners or, failing to agree with the owner or owners thereof, may condemn same by proceedings in the Circuit Court for the county in which said land, structures or buildings, stream bed, waterway, water rights or watershed is located, as are provided for condemnation of land by public service corporations in the public general laws of Maryland now or hereafter in effect, and said Commission may likewise condemn the interest of any tenant, lessee or other person having any right or interest in said land, structures or buildings, stream bed, waterway, water rights or watershed. At any time after 10 days after the return and recordation of the verdict or award in said proceedings, the Commission may enter and take possession of the property so condemned upon first paying to the Clerk of the Court the amount of said award and all costs taxed to that date, notwithstanding any appeal or further proceedings upon the part of the defendant. At the time of said payment, however, the Commission shall give its corporate undertaking to abide by and fulfill any judgment in such appeal or further proceedings.
[1959 Code, sec. 514. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 423; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 423; 1961, ch. 282, sec. 514(a); 1963, ch. 817, sec. 514] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
A. 
Districts. Wicomico County shall constitute an urban service district for the purpose of providing each of the following services, which are hereby defined as and sometimes hereinafter referred to as "urban services": water supply, sewage disposal, storm drainage and surface water drainage, curbing and guttering, streetlighting, police protection, fire protection and garbage and trash collection and disposal. Such urban services may include provisions for water and sewage systems provided for and designated as shared facilities in Title 10, Subtitle 17, Chapter 15, of the Code of Maryland Regulations, and amendments and revisions thereof. The territorial limits of the district for each urban service shall be the county boundaries, and the district for each urban service shall be separate and distinct, except that each district shall contribute a portion of its revenue to the general expenses of the Commission.
[Amended 2-12-1988 by Bill No. 1988-5]
B. 
Areas already served. The Commission shall not institute any urban service in any area where such service is already being provided by the county, a municipality or other political subdivision of the county or state government, a public utility or a volunteer fire company, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. Where such service is being provided by the county, a municipality or other political subdivision of the state or county government, the Commission may take over and thereafter provide the service with the consent of the governmental body or agency previously providing it after acquisition from said body of the property and facilities used by said governmental body or agency in furnishing or performing such service. Where the Commission proposes to furnish fire protection in an area served by a volunteer fire company, the Commission shall negotiate the terms and conditions thereof with the volunteer fire company affected both as to the acquisition of the property and equipment of the company and the services to be provided thereafter by its members. Where such service is provided or furnished by a privately owned public utility, the Commission may acquire the property of the utility by purchase or condemnation.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
C. 
Areas not already served. The Commission may provide any urban service in an area where it is not already provided, and the establishment of a subdistrict may be initiated by the Commission, by petition of the residents and property owners of the locality or by order of the State Department of Health.
D. 
Expansion of existing services by others. Nothing in this chapter, subject to the restrictions set forth in § 97-19 hereof, shall prohibit the county, a municipality or other political subdivision of the state or county government, a public utility or a volunteer fire company from extending its existing urban service or initiating a new urban service into an area or areas not yet served by the Commission for that service.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
[1959 Code, sec. 515, 1955, ch. 243, sec. 424; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 424; 1961, ch. 282, sec. 515(a) and (b); 1963, ch. 817, sec. 515] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
A. 
By action of the Commission. Where the Commission deems it necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of an area of Wicomico County to provide any one of the urban services enumerated in this chapter, the Commission shall first determine the exact boundaries of the area requiring such service and shall then cause surveys to be made of the area and a complete engineering and financial report prepared on the proposed service which shall include the estimated assessed property valuation as fixed for county taxation within the proposed subdistrict, which estimated assessed valuation shall be furnished the Commission by the county. When such surveys and estimates are completed, the Commission shall give notice, by publication in one or more newspapers published within the county, once a week for three successive weeks, and by handbills posted and circulated in the proposed subdistrict, which notice shall specify the boundaries of the subdistrict and the urban service to be provided therein, together with the time and place of hearing to be held, at which hearing those present shall be informed of the contents of the engineering and financial surveys and the probable cost of providing the service in the subdistrict, including all fees and expenses. The Commission shall advise those present at the hearing whether, on the basis of the engineering and financial surveys, it believes the project is feasible from both engineering and financial standpoints. The finding of fact and the decision of the Commission shall be final unless within 45 days after the date of said hearing a petition signed by the owners of 20% of the assessed valuation of the land (excluding the improvements thereon) lying within the proposed service area is filed with the Commission requesting a vote on the proposal. Upon receipt of a petition signed by the owners of 20% of the assessed valuation of the land lying within the proposed subdistrict requesting a vote on the proposal, the Commission shall set a time and place for the balloting, which place shall be within the proposed subdistrict. The Commission shall give public notice of the time, place and hours of the balloting, by publication in one or more newspapers published within said county, once a week for three successive weeks, and by notices posted in public places within the proposed subdistrict. The owners (eliminating mortgagees and considering joint owners or owners in common as one person) of property lying within said proposed service area shall have the right to vote for or against the proposed service, and for the purpose of such balloting, each owner shall be entitled to cast one vote for each $500 or majority fraction thereof, of assessed valuation of this land, excepting therefrom the assessed valuation of all improvements thereon, lying within the proposed subdistrict, and further provided that each owner shall be entitled to cast at least one vote and that each separately assessed parcel shall be a unit for voting purposes. If a majority of the votes cast at such balloting are in favor of the proposed urban service in the designated area, the Commission shall take the further action necessary to provide the service. If a majority of the votes cast are against the proposed urban service in the designated area, the Commission shall take no further action.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
B. 
By petition. Whenever 20 property owners residing in any locality in Wicomico County or, if there are not 20 property owners in such locality, then 25% of the owners therein shall petition the Commission to provide a specified urban service or services within an area (the boundaries whereof shall be definitely stated in said petition), the Commission, if it approves, shall cause to be made a preliminary engineering survey of the project to determine the feasibility and probable cost of providing such area with the urban service or services requested in said petition. The Commission shall prepare without cost to the petitioners a preliminary estimate to determine the approximate cost of providing such facilities. The Commission shall also submit an estimate of the cost of making surveys and preparing a complete engineering and financial report which shall include the estimated assessed property valuation as fixed for county taxation purposes within the proposed subdistrict, which estimated assessed valuation shall be furnished to the Commission by the county. Whenever such preliminary estimates are completed, the Commission shall give notice, by publication in one or more newspapers published within the county, once a week for three successive weeks, and by handbills posted and circulated in the proposed subdistrict, which notice shall state the boundaries of the subdistrict and the urban service to be provided therein, together with the time and place of the hearing to be held, at which hearing those present shall be given the probable cost of providing such area with the urban service or services requested in said petition as shown by the preliminary survey and the probable cost of the preparation of the complete engineering and financial report incident thereto. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission shall determine whether, on the basis of the preliminary surveys and estimates of the probable cost of providing the urban service or services requested and the facts and comments presented by the residents of the area during the hearing, it should have a complete engineering and financial report made to determine the feasibility of providing the urban service or services requested. If the Commission decides that the proposed service is desirable for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the proposed subdistrict and seems feasible from both the engineering and financial standpoints, it shall proceed to have complete engineering and financial reports prepared, including the estimated assessed property valuation as fixed for county taxation within the proposed subdistrict. If the Commission decides not to proceed, its decision shall be final unless within 45 days after the date of said hearing a petition signed by the owners of 25% of the assessed valuation of the land (excluding improvements thereon) lying within the proposed subdistrict is filed with the Commission requesting a vote on the proposal. Upon receipt of a petition signed by the owners of 25% of the assessed valuation of the land lying within the proposed subdistrict requesting a vote on the proposal, the Commission shall set a time and place for the balloting, which place shall be within the proposed subdistrict. The Commission shall give public notice of the time, place and hours of the balloting, by publication in one or more newspapers published within said county, once a week for three successive weeks, and by notices posted in public places within the proposed subdistrict. The owners (eliminating mortgagees and considering joint owners or owners in common as one person) of property lying within said proposed subdistrict shall have the right to vote for or against the proposed service, and for the purposes of such balloting, each owner shall be entitled to cast one vote for each $500, or majority fraction thereof, of assessed valuation of his land, excepting therefrom the assessed valuation of all improvements thereon, lying within the proposed subdistrict, and further provided that each owner shall be entitled to cast at least one vote and that each separately assessed parcel shall be a unit for voting purposes. If a majority of the votes cast at such balloting are in favor of the proposed urban service in the designated area, the Commission shall prepare a complete engineering and financial report, including the estimated assessed property valuation as fixed for county taxation within the proposed subdistrict. Whenever complete engineering and financial reports on the service or services requested are completed, whether prepared as the result of decision of the Commission or after balloting, the Commission shall hold a second public hearing after giving due notice in the same manner as previously provided. The Commission shall advise those present at the hearing whether, on the basis of the complete engineering and financial reports, it believes the project is feasible from both engineering and financial standpoints. The finding of fact and the decision of the Commission shall be final unless within 45 days a petition meeting the same requirements as the one hereinbefore referred to is filed with the Commission requesting a vote. Notice of the time, place and hours of voting shall be given by the Commission in the same manner and a ballot conducted in the same manner as the one hereinbefore referred to shall be held. If a majority of the votes cast at such balloting are in favor of the proposed urban service, the Commission shall proceed to provide the service requested unless the necessary funds cannot be obtained on a basis permitted by law.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
C. 
By order of the State Department of Health. Whenever the Commission shall receive from the State Board of Health an order under the authority of Section 393 of Article 43 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1957 Edition),[1] or any recodification of or amendments thereto, to install a water supply or sewage disposal system in any designated area of Wicomico County or to add to or enlarge any existing or proposed systems of water supply or sewage disposal, the Commission shall proceed immediately to prepare complete engineering and financial reports covering the installation or installations ordered to be installed by the State Board of Health. When the engineering and financial reports have been completed, the Commission shall give notice, by publication in one or more newspapers published within the county, once a week for three successive weeks and by handbills posted and circulated in the proposed subdistrict, which notice shall specify the boundaries of the subdistrict and the service to be provided therein, together with the time and place of the hearing to be held, at which hearing those present shall be informed of the order of the State Board of Health and of the contents of the engineering and financial surveys and the probable cost of providing the service in the area, including all fees and expenses. Immediately following the hearing, the Commission shall, in compliance with the order of the State Board of Health, proceed to complete the installation of the water supply or sewage disposal system in the area designated and described in the order, unless the necessary funds cannot be obtained on a basis permitted by law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See now § 9-209 of the Health-Environmental Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
D. 
Funds for engineering and other services necessary in the establishment of service areas of subdistricts. For the purpose of providing funds for the preliminary expenses involved in the formation or creation of any subdistrict, including preparation of appraisals, surveys, plans and specifications and all other costs, the county shall advance to the Commission the estimated cost of such expenses, not to exceed the sum of $25,000, which shall be repaid out of the first bonds issued to pay for the installation or construction of the service for which such costs were incurred. If the service in the subdistrict requires no bonds to be issued, the sum advanced shall be repaid in accordance with terms to be agreed upon between the Commission and the county.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
[1959 Code, sec. 516. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 425; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 425; 1961, ch. 282, sec. 516(a) and (b); 1963, ch. 817, sec. 516]
A. 
Bonds. The furnishing of additional urban services may be initiated by any of the methods set forth in § 97-4 of this chapter, but in no event shall the total amount of the bonds issued by the Commission for all urban services provided by it or assumed by it upon purchases of any municipal water or sewer system exceed 10% of the assessed value of the property within Wicomico County as fixed for county taxation; provided, however, that the property in each service area shall be primarily responsible for the payment of the principal and interest on all bonds issued for the purchase, construction or installation of the services provided in said area and the combined rates of benefit assessments, ad valorem taxes or other charges imposed in the area shall be in a sum calculated to pay the entire cost of the principal and interest on said bonds, further provided, however, that nothing herein shall prevent the Commission from issuing in the same series bonds for more than one service area or for more than one service in the same or a different area.
B. 
Benefit assessments. In the determination of the rates of benefit assessments, ad valorem taxes and other charges dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on each series of bonds hereafter issued, the Commission shall set the total of such charges at a sum sufficient to provide in the Joint Sinking Fund within five years from the date of issuance of each series of bonds, a sum equal to 1 1/2 times the next annual debt service requirement for that series. The Commission shall thereafter make no reduction in the rates of benefit assessments, ad valorem taxes or other charges dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on said series of bonds which shall reduce this percentage of reserve until the year in which the last bonds of said series reach maturity or are called prior to maturity.
[1959 Code, sec. 517. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 426; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 426; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 517] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
Whenever the Commission deems that it would be desirable to extend any urban service into that part of a subdistrict for which that service has previously been authorized and it believes that such extension will be feasible from both the engineering and financial standpoints, it shall cause surveys, plans, specifications and estimates to be made of the proposed facilities and systems necessary to provide it. If, upon completion of these surveys, the Commission finds that it will be necessary to incur any bonded indebtedness to pay for the proposed extension, it shall give notice, by publication in one newspaper published in the county, for three successive weeks and by handbills posted and circulated in the localities where such extension is contemplated and shall state in said notice the area to be served by the proposed extension and the service to be provided, together with the time and place of a hearing to be held, at which hearing a complete report shall be made as to the probable cost of the facilities contemplated and the services furnished. The Commission shall state at the hearing whether it finds the installation of the contemplated service feasible from both engineering and financial standpoints, and if it so finds, whether it proposes to install the contemplated service. If a majority of the property owners are not satisfied with the decision of the Commission, they may appeal to the Board of Appeals within 30 days after said hearing requesting a review of the decision of the Commission. The Board of Appeals shall then review the Commission’s decision and decide as to the necessity and propriety of the installation of the contemplated service and whether the area can stand the cost of same; and the decision of the Board of Appeals shall be final.
[1959 Code, sec. 518. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 427; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 427; 1961, ch. 281, sec. 518; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 518] [Amended 10-14-1975 by Ord. No. 49; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
For the purpose of providing funds for the design, construction, establishment, purchase or condemnation of the facilities and systems necessary to provide the authorized urban service or services in any districts or subdistricts, said Commission, after the approval of the County Executive and County Council, is authorized and empowered to issue bonds, from time to time, upon the full faith and credit of Wicomico County, in such amounts as it may deem to be necessary to carry on its work, but at no time shall the total outstanding amount of bonds issued by the Commission exceed 10% of the total value of the property assessed for county taxation purposes within Wicomico County. Said bonds shall be serial bonds issued upon serial maturing plan and in such denominations as shall be determined by the Commission. Said bonds may be redeemable before maturity at the option of the Commission at such price and under such terms and conditions as may be fixed by the Commission prior to the issuance of said bonds, shall bear interest at such a rate as may be fixed by the County Executive and the County Council from time to time, payable semiannually, and shall mature in not more than 40 years after date of issue and shall be forever exempt from state, city and county taxation. They shall be issued under the signature and seal of the Commission and shall be guaranteed as to payment of principal and interest by the county, which guaranty shall be endorsed on each of said bonds in the following language: “The payment of interest when due and the principal at maturity is guaranteed by Wicomico County, Maryland.” Such endorsement shall be signed on each of said bonds by the County Executive and President or Vice President of said County Council within 10 days after the bonds are presented by the Commission to them for endorsement. The issuance of such bonds shall not be subject to any limitations or conditions contained in any other law, and the Commission may sell such bonds in such manner, either at public or at private sale, and for such price, as it may determine to be for the best interests of the Commission and the area or subdistrict to be served thereby. At the time of the issuance of any bonds, the county shall be repaid any sum or sums advanced to the Commission for its use in connection with the improvements for which such bonds were issued.
[1959 Code, sec. 519. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 428; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 428; 1961, ch. 281, sec. 519(a), 1963, ch. 817, sec. 519] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
A. 
Benefit assessments. For the purpose of paying the interest and principal of the bonds issued by the Commission, as provided in this chapter, to pay for water supply, sewerage or stormwater drainage systems or curbs and gutters, the Commission is hereby authorized and directed to fix an annual assessment on all properties, improved or unimproved, which are directly benefited by the installation. For water, sewer and curb and gutter, the annual assessment shall be made upon the front-foot basis; for stormwater drainage, the annual assessment shall be made upon the square footage of the property benefited; and the first payment shall be collected during the year in which the construction is completed, or in which the system is purchased or acquired, except as provided in § 97-10 of this chapter.
B. 
General ad valorem taxes. As a further method of paying the interest and principal of the bonds issued by or the payment of which has been assumed by the Commission, as provided in this chapter, to pay for all or a part of the cost of any urban service installed, initiated or purchased by the Commission, the Commission shall cause to be levied, against all the assessable property within the districts or subdistricts for whose benefit said bonds were issued, annually so long as any of said bonds are outstanding and not paid, a tax sufficient to provide such sum as the Commission shall deem sufficient and necessary, in conjunction with any amounts the Commission may collect from benefit assessments or from any other funds available for the purpose, to meet the interest on the bonds as it becomes due and to pay the principal of each series as the bonds mature, and said tax shall be determined, levied, collected and paid over in the manner following: at least 60 days before the tax-levying period of each year, the county shall certify to the Commission the whole valuation of the assessable property within each district or subdistrict for whose benefit outstanding bonds were issued and in which payment of all or part of the principal and interest thereof is to be paid by ad valorem taxes. The Commission shall then determine in the manner above described the amounts which it deems necessary to be raised from each district or subdistrict for the payment of interest and the principal of all serial bonds maturing in said year; and after deducting all amounts in hand or in contemplation (less reserves) applicable to payment of interest and principal on said bonds as hereinbefore and hereinafter in the chapter provided, it shall determine the number of cents per $100 necessary from each district or subdistrict to raise the amount required and shall certify same to the county. The county in its next annual levy shall levy said tax in the amount certified for each district or subdistrict on all land and improvements and all other property assessed for county tax purposes within each said district or subdistrict, which shall be levied, billed and collected with and have the same priority rights, bear the same interest and penalties and in every respect be treated the same as county taxes. The tax so levied for the ensuing year shall be collected by the Director of Finance and placed in the Joint Sinking Fund of the county and the Commission as provided in § 97-1 hereof. From the money so received, together with the amount in hand to the credit of each bond fund, the county and the Commission shall first pay all interest and principal of that series of bonds as it becomes due, and the residue of the money credited to each series shall be retained in said account for further payments of principal and interest on that series. The Commission is authorized to pay the interest on any bonds it may issue out of the proceeds of the bonds, but not more than one year’s interest may be so expended.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
C. 
Special ad valorem taxes. Whenever any part of any existing facilities provided by the Commission shall need to be enlarged, rebuilt or reequipped, whether due to increased use, obsolescence, exhaustion or otherwise, and no new assessable front-foot benefits arise therefrom, or such as may arise do not represent all the benefits of such new reequipment or enlargement since it serves in whole or in part territories already assessed on a front-foot basis for the service to which such new reequipment or enlargement is an improvement, then if the depreciation and other reserves applicable to this plant improvement plus any newly assessable front-foot benefits, if any, are not sufficient to construct or finance such reequipment or enlargement, the Commission may certify to the County the deficiency, the assessable value of the district or subdistricts to be served by such reequipment or enlargement and an ad valorem tax not to exceed $0.10 per $100 of assessable value, and the County may levy such tax on the assessable property within the district or subdistricts.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
D. 
Countywide ad valorem taxes. Should receipts from benefit assessments, ad valorem taxes or other sources be inadequate to pay the year’s sinking fund increment on any series of bonds issued by the Commission by reason of default or otherwise, such deficiency may be added to and collected in the next year’s tax or the county may levy against all taxable property in Wicomico County a sum sufficient to make up the deficiency.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
E. 
Misuse of funds. In order that the prompt payment of interest and the proper provision for the payment of principal of all bonds issued by the Commission shall be assured, the prompt and proper performance of the respective acts and duties heretofore defined is specifically required, and any failure upon the part of any person, persons, body corporate or agent to perform the necessary acts and duties hereafter set forth, to pay over the funds as required or to use said funds or any part thereof for any other purposes than for the payment of the principal and interest on said bonds is hereby declared a misdemeanor and punishable as other misdemeanors are punishable by § 97-26 of this chapter.
[1959 Code, sec. 520. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 429; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 429; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 520]
Whenever the plans and specifications for the facilities and systems necessary to provide the authorized urban service or services for any district or subdistrict shall have been completed and the Commission shall have decided after holding the necessary hearing or hearings and taking all other steps required by this chapter to proceed with the construction thereof, it shall advertise, by notice in one newspaper published in said county and such newspapers and technical press as it may deem proper, for bids for the construction of said facilities, in part or as a whole, as in its judgment may appear advisable. The contract shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder, or the Commission may reject any or all bids, and if in its discretion the prices quoted are unreasonable or unbalanced, it may readvertise the work or any part of it or may do any part or all of the work by day labor, provided that at any time the Commission may, in its discretion, expend by day labor for construction work an amount not exceeding $5,000 without advertising or receiving bids. All such contracts shall be protected by such bonds, penalties and conditions as the Commission may require, all of which shall be enforced in any court having jurisdiction.
[1959 Code, sec. 521. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 430; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 430; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 521; 1963, ch. 825, sec. 25[1]]
A. 
When imposed. The annual benefit charge shall be first imposed and collected during the year in which construction of the necessary installations is completed, purchased or acquired, provided that if such completion, purchase or acquisition occurs after the beginning of the 11th month of said year, the Commission may waive it or may add the sum due to the bill or charge for the full ensuing year. Whenever the construction, purchase or acquisition is completed before the end of the third month of the year, the Commission shall fix and levy a benefit charge as of the first day of the year, in accordance with the classification or subdivision thereof.
B. 
Classifications. All property subject to benefit assessments for water or sewers shall be divided into four classes: agricultural, small acreage, industrial or business, and subdivision or residential property. The Commission may subdivide each of said classes in such manner as it may deem to be in the public interest. The Commission shall, in writing, notify all owners of said properties into which class and subdivision thereof their respective properties fall and the charge determined upon, naming also in said notice a time and place when and at which time said owner will be heard. Such notice may be mailed to the last known address of the owner or served in person upon any adult occupying the premises or, in case of a vacant or unimproved property, posted upon the premises. The classification of and the benefit assessed against any property as made by the Commission shall be final, subject only to revision at said hearing. The Commission may change the classification of property from time to time as said properties change in the uses to which they are put. Benefit charges shall be as nearly uniform as is reasonably practical for each class or subclass of property throughout each urban service subdistrict for any one year, and no benefit charge, once levied, shall be increased; provided, however, that whenever the Commission acquires an existing system and said system is acquired by the Commission at less than the full value thereof, as determined by the Commission, the Commission may, in its discretion, levy a benefit charge against the properties served by said existing system which is less than the benefit charge made against other properties in the remainder of the area in which said system is located, and further provided that the Commission may require the owner or owners of property seeking an extension of an existing system in an area already generally served to pay all or part of the cost of such extension and may, in its discretion, make such lesser benefit charge against the properties served by said extension as in its discretion may seem reasonable and just.
C. 
Methods of fixing benefit charges. Benefit charges for water supply and sewerage construction shall be based for each class of property upon the number of front feet abutting upon the street, lane, road, alley or right-of-way in which the water pipe or sewer is placed; provided, however, that in the case of any irregularly shaped lot abutting upon a road, street, lane, alley or right-of-way in which there is or is being constructed a water main or sewer at any point, said lot shall be assessed for such frontage as the Commission may determine to be reasonable and fair, and provided further that no lot in a subdivision property shall be assessed on more than one side, unless said lot abuts upon two parallel streets, that corner lots may be averaged or assessed upon such frontage as the Commission may deem reasonable and fair and that all lots in this class shall be assessed even though a water main or sewer may not extend along the full length of any boundary, and provided further that land so qualified as agricultural by this Commission shall be assessed a front-foot benefit on the first 150 feet at a rate set by the Commission. The assessment for the next 150 feet shall be set by the Commission at a lower rate than the first 150 feet, and a frontage in excess of 300 feet shall be assessed at a rate not to exceed 25% of the rate set for the first 150 feet when said agricultural land has constructed through it or in front of it a sewer or water main, until such time as the water and sewer connection is made, and when so made and for every connection such land shall become liable to a front-foot assessment as may be determined by said Commission for agricultural land. Benefit charges for curbs and gutters shall be based on the number of feet abutting the street or streets on which it is installed and there shall be no difference in rate because of classification. Benefit charges for stormwater drainage shall be based on the number of square feet of property drained by the system. All property drained by it shall be classified either as primary drainage or secondary drainage, and the Commission may, in its discretion, impose a higher annual assessment against property classified as primary drainage than it does against that classified as secondary drainage.
D. 
Duration and reduction. The annual amount of any benefit charge may be reduced from time to time by the Commission, in its discretion, if costs and conditions are deemed by it to justify such reduction; subject, nevertheless, to the provisions of § 97-5 of this chapter. Said benefit charges shall be paid annually by all properties against which a benefit has been assessed as long as any of the bonds remain outstanding for payment of which the benefit charge was originally imposed. The Commission shall at any time permit a connection with a water main or sewer by the property owner whose property does not abut on said water main or sewer and who had not previously thereto paid a benefit charge for the construction of said water main or sewer, provided that said Commission shall classify said property and determine a front charge to be paid by said property owner as though his or her property abutted upon said water main or sewer; and in the event of such connection being made, said property owner and said property as to all charges, rates and benefits shall stand in every respect in the same position as if the said property abutted upon a water main or sewer.
E. 
Collection and liens of benefit charges. All benefit assessments shall be payable in the office of the Director of Finance immediately upon being levied and shall be overdue and in default after 60 days from that date at which time the Director may proceed to enforce payment thereof, and said benefit charge and any judgment or decree obtained as a result of defaults in payment thereof shall bear interest at the rate of 1/2 of 1% per month from and after the time said benefit assessment or other charges are in default. Annual benefit assessments or charges shall be a first lien upon the property against which they are assessed until paid, any statute of limitations to the contrary notwithstanding, subject only to prior state and county taxes; and if any property is sold for state and/or county taxes or both by the Director of Finance of said county and if after sale there is a surplus after all costs and expenses incident to such sale shall have been paid, then the Director shall credit any balance from said surplus to the extent of the accrued benefit charges and interest thereon to the Joint Sinking Fund of the county and said Commission as provided in § 97-14 thereof. For the purpose of giving notice to the general public as to existing liens and charges against every property in any urban service district or subdistrict, the Director of Finance shall keep a public record of all names of owners of property, locations of said property, lot numbers when of record and the amount of such benefit charges, service charges, ad valorem taxes or such other charges as may become liens from time to time. Such records shall be legal notice of all existing liens within any urban service district or subdistrict. In addition to such record, the Commission shall keep on file in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Wicomico County in a plat book indexed “Wicomico County Urban Services Commission” an up-to-date plat of each urban service district or subdistrict in the county showing the boundaries of the district or subdistrict and the location of the installation for payment of the cost of which any benefit charges may be levied and the portion or portions of such district or subdistricts subject to benefit charges. If any liens, benefit assessments or other charges remain unpaid for 60 days after becoming due, they may be collected by an action of assumpsit or by a bill in equity to enforce such liens, and any judgment or decree obtained, where the defendants have been served by subpoena or in any other manner provided by law, shall have the force and effect of a judgment in personam; and the Director of Finance on behalf of the Commission may sue or file in equity to enforce said liens against the owner of record at the time said suit is filed or any owner of record between said dates, and publication thereon shall be notice to all persons having any interest in said property. Any judgment or decree obtained by the Director of Finance shall have the same priority as the charge or assessment on which it was obtained. In addition to any other methods of collection herein provided, the Director of Finance shall have the right to enforce collection of any benefit assessments or ad valorem taxes in the same method and manner and by the same procedure provided for the collection of state and county taxes.
[Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
[1]
This section was revised by ch. 817 of 1963. Subsequently, a portion of the section as it had existed prior to the revision in ch. 817 was amended by ch. 825 of 1963, the Fiscal Year Bill. Since the section was completely changed by ch. 817, that version is codified here; the changes made by ch. 825 were no longer effective or applicable after the revision in ch. 817.
[1959 Code, sec. 522. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 431; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 431; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 522] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
The Commission shall provide, for each and every property abutting upon a street or right-of-way in which, under this chapter, a water main or sewer is laid, a water service pipe or sewer connection, which shall be extended as required, from the water main or sewer to the property line of the abutting lot, said service pipe or connection with the sewer shall be constructed by and at the sole expense of the Commission but subject to a reasonable charge for said connection as provided in § 97-13 of this chapter, which charge shall be paid by all property owners at the office of the Director of Finance before the actual connection with any pipe on private property is made. Said money connected by the Director of Finance for this purpose shall be placed in either the water or sewer account subject to the order of the Commission as provided in § 97-1 hereof. When any water main or sewer is declared by said Commission complete and ready for the delivery of water or the reception of sewage, every abutting property owner, after due notice, shall make a connection of all spigots or hydrants, toilets and waste drains with said water main or sewer within the time prescribed by the Commission. Where the aforesaid fixtures do not exist or are of a nature which, in the judgment of the Commission, is improper or inadequate, satisfactory equipment shall be installed by the owner on the premises consisting of at least one water closet and one sink or washbasin, both of which shall be properly connected to sewers provided by the Commission. All cesspools, sink drains and privies located on properties connected to sewers provided by the Commission shall be abandoned, closed and left in a sanitary condition so that no odor or nuisance shall arise therefrom. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 97-26 of this chapter.
[1959 Code, sec. 523. 1955, ch. 24a, sec. 432; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 432] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
A. 
Required. Before any plumbing, waterworks or sewer construction is done in any building or upon any private property within any district, the person, firm or corporation doing same shall first obtain a permit from the Commission and pay therefor such reasonable sum to the Director of Finance as the Commission may prescribe. Such work shall be done under and pursuant to such rules, regulations and requirements as the Commission may from time to time formulate and subject to such inspection as it may deem necessary. No connection of any kind shall be made with any water main or sewer constructed or maintained by the Commission without a permit and under such conditions as the Commission may authorize. In order to prevent waste of water, the Commission or its agent or employees shall have the right of entry at reasonable hours to all buildings or premises connected with the water supply or sewerage systems under its jurisdiction and may, upon presenting proper credentials from the Commission, order and require such changes in all plumbing, waterworks or water or sewer connection as it may deem necessary to eliminate leakage, loss of water or unnecessary or improper use of sewers.
B. 
Control of water. Said Commission shall exercise control of the water supply at all times, and in case of a shortage of water or if, for any other reason, the Commission, in the exercise of its discretion, should determine that the water supply should be conserved, the consumers, upon notice from said Commission, its agents or employees or upon notice published in one newspaper published in said county for one insertion, shall comply with any order passed by said Commission to conserve the water supply. Any violation of said order shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 97-26 of this chapter, and in addition to the penalty prescribed, the Commission may turn off said water supply of any person violating said order at any time without further notice. No private or semipublic water supply or sewerage installation intended for use of two or more buildings or premises shall be constructed in any district without the person, firm or corporation doing the work having first obtained a permit from the Commission and paid a reasonable charge therefor, and such plant shall then be installed, maintained and operated under such rules and regulations as the Commission may require or devise. The Commission shall have full and complete jurisdiction over all fire hydrants connected with its water system, and no person, firm or corporation shall operate, use or make connection with same without the written authority of the Commission, except that no restrictions shall apply to any bona fide fire department in the discharge of its duties. No person, firm or corporation shall tamper with, deface, damage or obstruct any fire hydrant. Any violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 97-26 of this chapter.
[1959 Code, sec. 524. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 433; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 433; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 524]
The Commission shall make such charge as it shall determine to be reasonable for every water and sewer connection as provided in this chapter, based upon the width and surfacing of the street, road, alley or right-of-way in which the connection is made; provided, however, that the connection charge on either side of the street, road, alley or right-of-way shall be uniform. All of the revenue above actual cost derived from such charges shall be deposited in either the water or sewer account and credited to the Commission as a fund for repairs, replacements or any extraordinary expense in the maintenance and operation of the water supply or sewerage systems under its control or may be deposited in the Joint Sinking Fund when required by the Commission.
[1959 Code, sec. 525. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 434; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 434; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 525] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
All sums collected by the Director of Finance from sources which have been dedicated by the Commission to the payment of interest and principal on bonds issued by or payment of which has been assumed by the Commission shall be set aside and deposited in a fund to be known and designated as the “Joint Sinking Fund.” All benefits levied against property shall be used for interest and principal payments on bonds which were issued to pay the cost on the system which produced the benefit. If the benefits levied in any district or subdistricts shall not be sufficient to pay the interest and principal payments on any bonds issued to pay the cost of the system which produced the benefit, or if there are no benefits accruing in districts or subdistricts where bonds issued or assumed by the Commission are outstanding, the Commission shall designate another source or sources of funds for payment of said interest and principal and, where the source is ad valorem taxes, shall certify the amount to the county for collection by taxation as provided in § 97-8.
[1959 Code, sec. 526. 1955, ch. 243, sec., 435; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 435; 1961, ch. 280; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 526] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
For the purpose of providing funds for maintenance, repair and operation of any urban service, which shall include operating expenses, other expenses, proper depreciation allowance and for interest on and the retirement of bonds as specified in this chapter, the Commission is hereby empowered to make service charges against all properties receiving any urban services for the services received by those properties. The rate for any service shall be uniform for that service throughout each subdistrict, subject to such changes from time to time as may be necessary. Any charges for the upkeep of urban service installations shall be reasonable and shall be collected annually in the same manner as benefit assessments are collected and shall be a first lien against all properties in the service area in which they are imposed. Charges for water and sewer service may be based either on a meter or on a flat rate in the discretion of the Commission, provided that where water meters are installed, they shall be placed on each water connection at the sole expense of the Commission. The Commission shall establish a rate for each subdistrict based either on a metered flow or a flat rate with a minimum charge for each property connection regardless of the amount of flow of the number of facilities on the property using the water or sewer. The rate for each subdistrict shall be uniform, except that the Commission may maintain both a metered charge and a flat rate charge in the same area where circumstances so require. Bills for the amount of all service charges shall be sent quarterly or semiannually by the Director of Finance, as the Commission may determine, to each property served and shall be thereon payable at the office of the Director of Finance; and if any service bill remains unpaid after 45 days from date of sending, it shall be subject to a five-percent delinquent charge; and after 60 days, interest shall also be charged at the rate of 1/2% per month; and if the bill is for water service, the Commission shall give written notice, left upon the premises or mailed to the last known address of the owner, that the water or sewer service will be terminated in five days and not reinstituted until said bill and delinquent charge have been paid, together with a turnoff charge of $3. Upkeep and service charges shall be collectible in the same manner as other debts are collectible in the county and shall be a first lien against the property against which they are imposed.
[1959 Code, sec. 527. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 436; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 436]
Said Commission shall have full power and authority to enter into any contract for the connection of its water supply or sewerage systems with those of any municipality or adjoining county or state or any other governmental agency for the purpose of water supply and for the disposal of sewage and other drainage from any district and to enter into any other agreement concerning any other matter deemed by the Commission to be necessary, advisable or expedient for the proper construction, maintenance and operation of the water supply or sewerage systems under its control or those under the control of any municipality or county or other governmental agency.
[1959 Code, sec. 528. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 437; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 437; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 528]
The Commission is authorized and empowered to purchase or acquire by gift any existing water or sewerage systems in Wicomico County, or any other water or sewerage systems only partially in said county, which in its judgment are desirable or necessary for the purpose of providing adequate water or sewerage service, or both, for the residents of said county. The Commission is further authorized to purchase or acquire by gift any installations or equipment necessary or useful in the maintenance or operation of any existing urban service operating in said county.
[1959 Code, sec. 529. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 438; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 438; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 529]
A. 
Purchase. Whenever the Commission deems that the acquisition of any existing water or sewer system or other urban service installation would serve the best interests of the residents and property owners of any area in Wicomico County, either by improving the existing service or facilitating the expansion of the system to serve adjacent areas without adequate service, it may purchase the same upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed upon with the owner, whether a municipality or private person or corporation. If the purchase is made by negotiation, the Commission shall take such steps as it deems necessary to acquire the property or system free and clear of all debts, liens and encumbrances, except those specifically assumed as part of the purchase agreement. In the event of failure to agree to the purchase price or conditions of purchase of any privately owned water or sewerage system or other urban service installation, said Commission may acquire same by condemnation in the same manner as it is authorized to acquire land by this chapter. In the condemnation of privately owned water or sewerage systems, the jury shall take into consideration as part of their award any payment, contribution or tax upon the respective lot owners or purchasers toward the construction of said system, and where said system or systems have been built in connection with or for the purpose of developing home sites, subdivisions or villages or by any individuals, firm or corporations and such system or systems have been offered as an inducement for the purchase of lot or land therein, the jury shall deduct from the determined value of the plant or system such sum as it may reasonably determine was added to the purchase price of said land or lots in the sale thereof for the purpose of constructing said systems. Privately owned systems shall be taken under said condemnation by the Commission free and clear of all debts and liens, but said Commission shall make a party defendant any person, firm or corporation having any recorded lien or encumbrance against the same, and the Circuit Court is hereby empowered and authorized to determine the respective amounts due the defendants and from and after payment into court or to the proper parties the Commission shall be authorized to take possession of, maintain and operate said system as part of its general system, and from the date of such payment all properties along the line of any water main or sewer of the system acquired shall stand in the same relation, bear the same benefit assessment and be subject to the same regulations and penalties as though the system so acquired had been constructed and put into operation by the Commission under the provisions of this chapter; provided, however, that no building or premises actually connected in an adequate manner with the said acquired system at the time of its purchase shall be required to pay any connection charge. As part of the terms of purchase of any municipally owned water or sewerage system and where it forms part of the consideration paid for the system, the Commission may, notwithstanding any provision in this chapter apparently to the contrary, agree that a lower service charge or ad valorem tax shall be charged or imposed against properties located within the then boundaries of the municipality owning said system than shall be charged or imposed against properties not located within its then existing boundaries but then or thereafter connected to the system, provided that such lower charge shall continue in effect for a period no longer than 15 years.
B. 
Extensions. Whenever there is in existence a privately owned water supply or sewerage system which, in the judgment of the Commission, is unfit, as a whole or in part, for incorporation with the Commission's system, the Commission may disregard the existence of said system or unfit part thereof and extend its system to serve the area tributary to the existing system or unfit part thereof, and all the provisions of this chapter relating to systems constructed by the Commission shall apply to said extension. Any municipality whose system is acquired by the Commission is hereby authorized to use the amount paid to it for said system for the purchase or redemption of any bonds or debt which may be outstanding against same, or the Commission may, as part of the purchase price of said system, assume the payment of any such bonds. The Commission shall not purchase any existing water mains, sewers or systems, in whole or in part, which are improperly constructed or are not of sufficient capacity or were constructed without proper authority from the State Department of Health since the passage of the Act requiring the same.
C. 
Joint ownership or construction. Whenever the Commission deems that it would serve the best interests of any area in which the Commission operates a water or sewerage system to join with any municipality operating a water or sewerage system in an adjacent or nearby area in the construction or operation of any water production, collection, storage or transmission system or the construction of any sewerage, collection, transmission or treatment system, the Commission may, subject to the approval of the County Executive and the County Council, enter into an agreement with such municipality for the joint ownership of any property and the joint construction and/or operation of any of the above systems; and the Commission may, also subject to the approval of the county, issue bonds or other evidences of indebtedness to provide funds for the purchase and/or construction of any such systems, which bonds will be issued in the same manner and under the same conditions and under the same guaranty by the county as provided in § 97-7 of this chapter.
[Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
[1959 Code, sec. 530. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 439; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 439; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 530] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
Whenever a municipality or the property owners or residents of any locality shall hereafter desire a water supply or sewerage system, or part thereof, to be first constructed in that municipality or locality, a petition for such service shall be first filed with the Commission. If the Commission should deny said petition, such municipality or persons may build and operate said system at its own expense, but said system shall be constructed in accordance with plans and specifications prepared under the direction of the Commission but at the cost of the proposed owner, and the construction thereof shall be done under the supervision of said Commission, and its maintenance and operation shall be under the supervision of said Commission, and its maintenance and operation shall be under the general control of the Commission; and no such system or part thereof, or no water main, sewer, water purification or sewage treatment plant, or no connection with any of them, shall be constructed or installed except as in this section provided, and any violation of the provision shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 97-26 of this chapter. All construction and operating records, including cost records, shall be filed with the Commission, which shall be empowered at any time to take over said system or part thereof or said water main, sewer, water or sewage treatment plant or connect with any of them in the same manner as provided under § 97-18. The Commission shall be empowered to extend any water supply or sewerage system into any area outside but contiguous to or in the vicinity of any existing system operated by it or any municipality, where one or more of the property owners served by the extension shall pay the cost thereof without the necessity of giving notice of such extension or holding a public hearing thereon, but no charge or assessment whatsoever shall be made against any property until said property is connected with the system, at which time the owner of said property may be required to pay his pro rata cost thereof prior to connection, and the Commission may, in its discretion, refund all or a part thereof to the person or persons originally paying for said extension. Where any extension of any existing sewerage or water system is requested by all of the property owners to be served by said extension and all the said property owners agree to pay the cost thereof, together with interest thereon, in no more than nine annual installments, the Commission may, in its discretion, extend its system to serve said property owners and shall be authorized, subject to the approval of the County Executive and the County Council of Wicomico County, to borrow upon notes or other evidences of indebtedness the cost thereof, including engineering fees and other expenses not to exceed the sum of $50,000; and the Commission may, out of surplus and unallocated funds, extend any existing water or sewerage system into an adjacent area where, in the opinion of the Commission, such extension is required by the industrial development of the area, but no charge or assessment whatsoever shall be made against any property served by such extension until said property is actually connected with the system, at which time the Commission may require the owner of the said property to pay such sum as the Commission may deem fair under the circumstances.
[1959 Code, sec. 531. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 440; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 440; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 531] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
Any property owner who shall, within 90 days after the first assessment of any benefit charge against his property, for the purpose of paying the interest on and the retirement of bonds pay to the Commission his proportionate part of the bonded indebtedness chargeable against the property shall be allowed to do so, and the Commission in the computation of his proportionate share shall be allowed to take into account any differences between the interest payable on guaranteed time deposits and the rate of interest payable upon the bonds for payment of which the benefit charge was imposed, and the Commission’s determination of the proportionate share payable by the applicant shall be final. Upon payment of such proportionate share, his property shall be exempt from the payment of any further benefit charge imposed for payment of said bonds, but shall not be exempt from any ad valorem taxes imposed for the payment thereof either by the Commission or by the county.
[1959 Code, sec. 532. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 441; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 441; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 532] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
Should any part of a district established under this chapter be annexed by the City of Salisbury, the Commission may enter into a contract with the Mayor and Council of Salisbury for the sale of all or part of the urban services facilities lying within said annexed area, the terms of which shall be subject to the approval of the county.
[1959 Code, sec. 533. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 442; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 442]
The Commission may enter upon and excavate any state, county or municipal street, road or alley or any other public highway for the purpose of installing, maintaining and operating the urban services facilities provided for under this chapter, and it may construct in any such street, road, alley or public highway any such facilities or any appurtenance thereof without the receipt of a permit or the payment of a charge, provided that whenever any state, county or municipal highway is to be disturbed, the public authority having control thereof shall be duly notified, and provided further that said highway shall be repaired and left by the Commission in the same condition as, or in a condition not inferior to, that existing before said highway was torn up, and that all costs incident thereto shall be borne by the Commission.
[1959 Code, sec. 534. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 443; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 443]
Any employee or agent of the Commission shall have the right of entry at all reasonable hours upon any private premises and into any building in such district while in pursuit of his official duties, upon first presenting proper credentials from the Commission, and any restraint or hindrance offered to such entry by any owner or tenant, or agent of said owner or tenant, or any other person shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 97-26 of this chapter.
[1959 Code, sec. 535. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 444; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 444]
All individuals, firms or corporations having buildings, conduits, pipes, tanks, poles or other structures or obstructions in, on, over, under or through any public road, street or alley of any district, or any portion of Wicomico County outside of any district, which shall block or impede the construction and establishment of the Commission's urban services facilities or other works shall, upon reasonable notice from the Commission, promptly so shift, adjust, accommodate or remove such structures or obstructions as to fully meet the exigencies occasioning such action; provided, however, that the cost of such changes shall be borne and paid for by the Commission. Every public service corporation, company or individual, before it or they shall begin any excavation or construction in any street, road, alley or public highway within any district, shall file with the Commission plans of such work and construction showing the location and depth in such street, road, alley or public highway of the proposed main, conduit, pole, pipe or other structure, and such construction or work shall not be begun until said plan shall have been approved by the Commission, nor shall any change be made in said approved plan or in the work or construction as shown upon said plan, except on further approval of the Commission. Whenever any main, conduit, pole, pipe or other structure is put in without the filing of plans with the Commission and the approval thereof by it or when any change is made in the location of such main, conduit, pipe, pole or other structure as shown upon the plans approved by the Commission, or any approved change therein, the Commission may, if and when such conduit, main, pipe or pole or other structure interferes with the construction of or operation of its urban services facilities or other works, remove such conduit, main, pipe, pole or other structure or change the location thereof at the cost and expense of the party so putting them in, or their heirs, assigns or successors, and without any liability upon the part of the Commission for damages that might be done to same by reason of the Commission's operations in constructing or maintaining its systems or works. Any violation of the provisions of this section shall be a misdemeanor punishable under § 97-26 of this chapter.
[1959 Code, sec. 536. 1959, ch. 282, sec. 445; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 536]
In order to provide the necessary funds to operate and maintain any urban service districts other than water or sewerage ones where no benefit assessments are imposed, the Commission shall make such charge or charges as it shall determine to be reasonable and may make such charges on an area or front-footage basis or on the basis of assessed value; and said charges shall be collected and enforced in the same manner and be a lien on all property so served in said district as fully as set forth in § 97-10E of this chapter.
[1959 Code, sec. 537. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 445; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 446] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6]
Every act or omission designated as a misdemeanor in this chapter, unless otherwise provided, shall be punishable by any Trial Magistrate or the Circuit Court of the county within which such offense is committed, and the offender shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine not exceeding $100 or to confinement of not more than 30 days in the county jail, or both, in the discretion of the Magistrate or Circuit Court. Where such act or omission is of a continuing nature and is persisted in, in violation of the provisions of this chapter or of any rule or regulation formulated thereunder, a conviction for one offense shall not be a bar to the conviction for a continuation of such offense subsequent to the first or any succeeding conviction.
[1959 Code, sec. 538. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 446; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 447]
Any land owned by a church and constituting the premises occupied by such or its parsonage and used exclusively for public worship or for other religious or customary purposes of a church or parsonage and not for investment gain or other secular purposes shall be exempt from the benefit assessments provided for by this chapter in respect of a frontage not exceeding 150 feet. The Commission may, in its discretion, exercise in each individual case, grant or withhold a further exemption of the land so owned and used in respect of any frontage thereof in excess of 150 feet hereinbefore provided for.
[1959 Code, sec. 539. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 447; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 448] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
The Commission each year shall file its budget with the county, and after the Commission has been allowed a hearing on said budget, the County Council shall have the power to amend, alter or reduce said budget, in its discretion.
[1959 Code, sec. 540. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 448; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 449; 1963, ch. 817, sec. 540] [Amended 2-15-1978 by Bill No. 1978-6; 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
The Commission shall be, and it is hereby authorized to prescribe all needful rules and regulations for the administration and enforcement of this chapter and shall specifically be authorized to adopt and enforce any rules and regulations necessary to protect the maintenance, operation and use of its water and sewerage system or other urban services provided by it not inconsistent with the ordinances of the County Council or any municipality forming all or a part of any urban service area.
[1959 Code, sec. 541. 1955, ch. 243, sec. 449; 1959, ch. 282, sec. 449A]
All Acts and parts of Acts inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed to the extent of their inconsistency, provided that nothing herein contained shall be taken as restricting any control which the State Board of Health of Maryland and the Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources are empowered to exercise within any districts.