The Delaware General Assembly incorporated the Board of Public Works of the City of Lewes (the “BPW”) in 1901 when it, separate from the Charter adopted for the City of Lewes, enacted the Charter of the BPW and empowered it to establish, control, and regulate the utility system for the City of Lewes. The BPW is a public body under the Delaware Freedom of Information Act and is subject to the obligations and requirements of a public body under Delaware’s Sunshine Laws. The BPW reviews and approves budgets, contracts, and utility policies, including concerning rates, in meetings that are open to the public. The BPW Directors are directly accountable to the ratepayers who elect them to handle matters concerning utility policy. This Act seeks to address the City’s concern that it have a codified role in the extension of the Lewes utility system to property located outside of the City of Lewes municipal limits by amending the Charter of the BPW to specifically require going forward the Mayor and City Council’s prior consent for the BPW to expand utility service to any territory outside of the City of Lewes municipal limits. Through this change, the Mayor and City Council will have an important role in any future expansion of the utility system, while still preserving, consistent with the Charter of the BPW, the BPW Directors’ responsibility over utility policy concerning said utility system for the benefit of the ratepayers. This Act also resolves uncertainty created by a recent Delaware Superior Court decision concluding that the BPW may only sue and be sued where specifically noted within the Charter of the BPW. The Superior Court’s recent decision, for example, creates a cloud of uncertainty over whether the BPW can sue and be sued under contracts it lawfully executes in its own corporate name. This Act removes this uncertainty by expressly giving the BPW the general power to sue and be sued. To promote collaboration and dialogue between the BPW Board of Directors and the City of Lewes Mayor and City Council, this Act also prohibits each incorporated entity from suing the other entity for a period of five years.
Passed By House. Votes: 41 YES
Reported Out of Committee (Elections & Government Affairs) in Senate with 2 Favorable, 2 On Its Merits
Amendment SA 1 to SB 194 - Introduced and Placed With Bill
Passed By Senate. Votes: 21 YES
Amendment SA 1 to SB 194 - Passed By Senate. Votes: 21 YES
Introduced in Senate
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|SA 1 to SB 194||HTML PDF|
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