The House has passed Senate Bill 286 by a vote of 37-2-2. The emerging House “Always No” Caucus of Rich Collins and Chuck Postles was responsible for the no votes. It now goes to the Governor.
The bill would allow the New Castle County Government to create Neighborhood Improvement Districts (NIDs), which would be nonprofit corporations capable of collecting fees from homeowners to pay for a variety of services that benefit local residents.
These districts could be used in communities in New Castle County where the homeowners associations or maintenance corporations have fallen into disuse will have a new tool for providing trash collection, snow removal, street cleaning, graffiti removal, open space management or other common-interest services.
Under SB 286, the residents and property owners in a given subdivision or a member of County Council would be empowered to petition New Castle County Council to establish a NID. If accepted, the county would be required to provide all property owners and renters in the proposed district with a preliminary NID plan that spells out the specific fees and services being recommended, as well as 30-days advance notice of a hearing where public comment will be considered.
Unless more than 50% of property owners who would be assessed a fee object to the preliminary NID plan, a proposed final NID plan would be distributed to the community with any revisions from the preliminary plan clearly identified, followed by a second public hearing and another period within which objections can be lodged. Unless more than 50% of property owners object to the Final NID plan, the County would consider an ordinance to establish the NID. Amendments to the Final NID plan can be made only with the consent of at least 51% of affected property owners.
Once an NID is approved, the county would be required to designate a nonprofit management association to collect fees and contract for common-interest services. The board of each management association would be required to include at least one affected property owner as a voting member and one county representative as a non-voting member. District advisory boards made up of affected property owners and residents also could be established.
NID management associations would be required to provide reports detailing the financial and programmatic activities of the prior year, along with a summary of annual audits required under SB 286. Every NID created by New Castle County Government would sunset after five years unless extended by a vote of County Council. Senate Bill 286 has been assigned to the Senate Elections & Government Affairs Committee.
|Senate Bill 286 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Hansen, Walsh, McBride, Gay, Sokola||Senate Passes 18-0-3. Brown Ennis Gay Hansen Paradee Pinkney Poore S.McBride Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Bonini Hocker Lopez Pettyjohn Richardson Wilson||Absent: Lawson, Lockman, Mantzavinos|
|Heffernan, Osienski, Baumbach, Hensley||House Passed 37-2-2. Baumbach Bennett Bentz Bolden Friel Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Heffernan K.Johnson K.Williams Kowalko Lambert Longhurst Lynn Matthews Minor-Brown Mitchell Morrison Osienski S.Moore Schwartzkopf Wilson-Anton Briggs King Collins D.Short Dukes Gray Hensley M.Smith Morris Postles Ramone Shupe Smyk Spiegelman Vanderwende Yearick||Collins, Postles|
Absent: Moore, Minor-Brown
|Current Status:||Sent to the Governor.|
Bill Sponsor Senator Hansen: “Throughout New Castle County, we have seen time and time again how HOAs that were thriving when a development was first built have withered with time and become defunct or completely unresponsive.
No neighborhood should be held hostage by a legal entity that has effectively ceased to exist but still holds the rights and responsibilities necessary to maintain a functioning community.”