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2201 1 of 3

NEW CASTLE COUNTY COUNCIL

Serves as the legislative body for the county by considering proposals from the administrative offices, including the budget and, in response issues directives in the form of ordinances. The council is responsible for organizing and controlling administrative offices and departments.

In May of 1965 New Castle County government was totally reorganized with all powers and duties of the Levy Court being transferred to the newly created County Council. Tax assessment responsibilities, as well as other local service functions (sewers, parks, zoning, etc.) were transferred to the new County Council, as well as all legislative powers of the County.1

The County Council consists of seven members - six elected from council districts and one elected from the county at large. All are elected for four year terms.

The president of the County Council is elected at large from New Castle County every four years. He presides over meetings of the council and has the same rights and duties as the other members.

A clerk of the County Council is appointed by the council to keep the journal of its proceedings and duties as the council directs.

The council may conduct investigations into the affairs or activities of the county as prescribed by law.

The council must meet at least twice a month and special meetings may be called by the president or a majority of the members. All meetings are public.

In 1968 the legislature amended the Delaware Code relating to the power of the County Council to create a debt. All power previously vested in Levy Court was transferred as well as power given to authorize the issuance of bonds of the county to finance any object, program or purpose they are authorized to support. Instructions are clearly given for the handling of such bonds.2

In 1970 existing legislation was again amended to “permit elected office holders to employ and set the salaries of a chief deputy in the several county offices...”3

Also, in 1972, the legislature revised the government of the county by, changing the election patterns of councilmen to better stagger the terms of members;4 revising the procedures for assessing land to allow for an expanded Board of Assessment review; and authorized the appointment of referees from members of the Delaware State Bar.5 The same General Assembly also amended the manner in which Council vacancies are to be filled.6

The General Assembly, in 1975, authorized the County Council to “vest the powers of a slum clearance and redevelopment authority and of a housing authority in county departments and to authorize county directors to execute necessary instruments.”7 In the same year the legislature further amended the Code to better clarify the powers and duties of the state police and local police officers by listing the areas over which state police have exclusive jurisdiction.8 In 1977 the General Assembly prohibited the merging of any county police unit with any other police unit without the approval of the General Assembly.9

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NEW CASTLE COUNTY COUNCIL

All legal actions of the council are issued in the form of ordinances which must be “published” and made available for public distribution. All amendments to the zoning code, as administered by the county, are made by ordinance. In 1975 legislation was enacted “relating to the application of the New Castle County zoning and sub-division regulations to lands, buildings, and other structures used or to be used for hospital purposes” whereby no regulations are to be promulgated for lands, buildings, or structures for or to be used for any non-profit organization or any hospital facilities.10

The County Council adopts the operating budget for the county and a separate budget, entitled Local Services Function Budget, which controls services not performed with-in the limits of any municipality. A separate, general operating budget with the capital budget provides for all other proper expenditures.

The Council ordains taxes that will yield sufficient revenue, with any surplus, to balance the budget.

The Council is responsible for publishing its ordinances and making them available.

Redistricting for the councilmanic districts is mandated to follow each regular decennial census.

The County Council establishes departments, offices, or agencies of the County beyond those mandated by law and prescribes their duties as long as none of the functions prescribed by law are discontinued or changed beyond changes permitted by the mandate.

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NEW CASTLE COUNTY COUNCIL

1 55 DL, ch. 85.

2 56 DL, ch. 232.

3 57 DL, ch. 519.

4 58 DL, ch. 406.

5 58 DL, ch. 559.

6 58 DL, ch. 563.

7 60 DL, ch. 34.

8 60 DL, ch. 103.

9 61 DL, ch. 10.

10 60 DL, ch. 661.

11 55 DL, ch. 85 § 1146