About Us

Founded in 1962, the Civic League For New Castle County is an organization comprised of community civic associations, umbrella civic groups, good government groups, businesses, and interested individuals. The League provides a forum for education about, discussion of, and action on issues relating to the impact of government on the quality of life in New Castle County

Thursday, June 26, 2014


The CLNCC June 2014 Elections results!



Charles C Stirk Jr

Vice President

Mark Blake

Vice President

Jordyn Pusey


Scot Sauer


Christine Whitehead


More details on HB 418 from Vic Singer -

<> WHAT HB 418 PROPOSES TO DO: HB 418 proposes a new tax consisting of a fee of $1 per barrel upon any entity engaged in commercial lightering within Delaware's territorial jurisdiction.
<> WHO ARE THE SPONSORS? HB 418 was filed by Rep. Edward Osienski (D, 24th District). Joint sponsors and/or cosponsors are Senator Karen Peterson (D, 9th District), Michael Barbieri (D, 18th District), Rep. Earl Jaques (D, 27th District) and Rep. John Kowalko (D, 27th District).
<> WHAT IS "LIGHTERING?" "Lightering" is off-loading cargo from deep draft ocean vessels to shallower draft vessels able to reach port facilities up the Delaware or other rivers. The two vessels must be kept close enough together for the petroleum to be transferred by heavy hoses stretched or draped across the gap that separates them. After enough cargo is off-loaded from the deep draft tanker to reduce its draft to what the channel depth will accommodate, the deep draft tanker can also go upstream to the delivery target.
<> WHY IS LIGHTERING IMPORTANT TO DELAWARE? Big Stone Anchorage is a Natural Resource entirely within Delaware's boundaries; the DE/NJ state line is a mile or more east of the Anchorage. The Anchorage is part of a 55 ft minimum depth (low tide) trench in the bottom of Delaware Bay that stretches from 7 to 17 miles northwest of Cape Henlopen. It is easily reached by deep draft tankers, and has been used for lightering petroleum for more than a half century.It is reputedly the only deep draft accessible sheltered inland bay between Maine and Texas.
<> CAN LIGHTERING BE DONE AT SEA? Lightering can be done at sea, but inland bays are preferred because sheltering from heavy seas and storms make the activity safer and less susceptible to demurrage fees incurred due to high seas and stormy weather.
<> WHAT IS A DEMURRAGE FEE? A demurrage fee is the charge that the user of seagoing vessel pays to the owner when the time required for loading, transporting and unloading the cargo exceeds what was provided for in the terms of the contract. It is analogous to the per day charge for renting a car.
<> IS BIG STONE ANCHORAGE COVERED BY DELAWARE'S COASTAL ZONE ACT? The Anchorage is subject to all of Delaware's laws, including the Coastal Zone Act. The CZA forbids bulk product transfers of materials delivered by sea. But one company that has been lightering continuously at the Anchorage since before the CZA was enacted is "grandfathered" to continue its non-conforming activity, though all expansions and extensions are subject to CZA conditions.
<> HOW MUCH PETROLEUM IS BEING LIGHTERED AT BIG STONE? DNREC reports that over 58 million barrels of crude were lightered at the Anchorage in CY 2013. But little or none went to the Delaware City Refinery because the refinery's Coastal Zone permit enables receiving more crude by rail than the refinery can use - - hence its planned exports to a sister refinery outside Delaware. The petroleum lightered at Big Stone goes to refineries in NJ, PA and other states on the eastern seaboard.
<> HOW MUCH GASOLINE DOES A BARREL PRODUCE? A barrel of crude produces as much as 29 gallons of gasoline plus higher molecular weight hydrocarbons and residual oil (separately marketable products).
<> UNDER THE HB 418 PROPOSAL, WHO PAYS? The "buck a barrel" proposal amounts to a tax less than 3.5 cents per gallon of gasoline derived from the lightered crude, but much less per gallon of the total amount shipped up river. All the lightered crude is sold to non-Delaware refineries, and only a fraction of it finds its way back to Delaware..
<> IS IT FAIR TO IMPOSE DELAWARE'S REVENUE NEEDS ON NON-DELAWAREANS? Fair or not, taxes imposed on businesses with revenues mostly from sales outside the State of Delaware account for more than $1 Billion - - more than 30% - - of Delaware's State budget. HB 418 represents only a small addition to our historic practice. And it is analogous to the separation charge imposed by most oil and Cnatural gas producing states on their resources sold for use by Delawareans.
<> IS THE PROPOSAL AN INTERFERENCE WITH INTERSTATE COMMERCE? Lightering at Big Stone Anchorage is a service started, performed and completed entirely within Delaware's boundaries. It is no more interstate commerce than the tax on a hotel room imposed on whoever rents it, or the toll on I-95 at the DE/MD State Line, or at the Delaware Memorial Bridges. Nor is it an interference with Maritime law, since the Anchorage is seven or more miles upstream from the mouth of the Delaware River.

Rep. Osienski & Sen. Peterson
Reps. Barbieri, Jaques, Kowalko

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1.  Amend §2901, Title 30 of the Delaware Code by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows and redesignating accordingly:
(11) “Lightering” means the commercial transfer from one vessel to another vessel of any material in bulk quantities exceeding 40 barrels occurring upon waters within the territorial jurisdiction of this State and for the purpose of reducing the channel depth required for passage of either vessel.
Section 2.  Amend Chapter 29, Title 30 of the Delaware Code by adding a new “§ 2913” thereto by making deletions as shown by strike through and insertions as shown by underline as follows and redesignating accordingly:
§ 2913.  Petroleum product lightering service providers; license requirement; additional fee per unit lightered.
 (a)  Any person engaged in lightering of petroleum products shall first obtain a license from the Department of Finance and pay therefor a license fee of $75.  Such license shall be valid until January 1, at which time it may be renewed for a full year and every year thereafter, provided that the person makes application therefor and payment of $75 for renewal.
(b)  In addition to the license fee required by subsection (a) of this section, any person engaged in lightering of petroleum products shall pay a fee at the rate of $1 per barrel of petroleum product transferred, which fee shall be payable monthly on or before the twentieth day of each month with respect to the aggregate amount of petroleum products lightered during the immediately preceding month. The monthly returns shall be accompanied by a certified statement on such forms as the Department of Finance shall require in computing the fee due.
(c) The fees assessed pursuant to this section shall be remitted to the Department of Finance on forms issued by the Department, subject to such regulations and requirements prescribed by the Secretary of Finance.
(d) The Department of Finance shall pay over all fees received pursuant to this section to the Department of Transportation to the credit of the Transportation Trust Fund pursuant to Chapter 14 of Title 2.  Said fees shall be used to finance the costs of roads, highways and other transportation facilities and not to defray the expenses and obligations of the general government of the State.
Section 3.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2015.


This bill imposes a license requirement and fee of $1 per barrel upon any entity engaged in the commercial lightering of petroleum products on waters within the territorial jurisdiction of this State.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Buck-A-Barrel Oil Lightering Bill Back In The General Assembly!

(Audubon's Dave Carter presenting Vic Singer with his own personal Soap Box)

Vic Singer has been on this soap box for nearly a decade.....
WHEREAS: Governor Minner has proposed a 5 cent per gallon additional tax on gasoline sold in Delaware, starting on September 1, 2007; and
WHEREAS: The Controller General's Office has projected estimated revenues from such a tax at $23.4 million in FY 2008 and $28.6 million in FY 2009; and
WHEREAS: The Great Stone Anchorage in the Delaware Bay is reputedly the only sheltered east coast port between Maine and Texas capable of accommodating oil tankers with drafts as large as 55 feet; and
WHEREAS: Lightering of such tankers - - transfer of bulk product to barges or tankers of lesser draft to deliver product to refineries on the Delaware River and elsewhere on the eastern seaboard - - has been ongoing at the Great Stone Anchorage since before the June 28, 1971 effective date of Delaware's Coastal Zone Act (CZA); and
WHEREAS: Corporate entities involved in such lightering have never been granted CZA permits, and only one such entity (Maritrans) has been granted an Air Quality permit covering the activity; and
WHEREAS: In 2005, Maritrans requested an increase in the maximum amount of lightering permissible under its Air Quality permit(1) beyond the 100 million barrel ceiling (12 month rolling average basis) then permissible; and
WHEREAS: Imposing a $1 per barrel tax on oil lightered at Great Stone Anchorage would produce revenues in the neighborhood of $100 million per year; and
WHEREAS: Since a barrel of crude oil produces about 26 gallons of gasoline (along with other hydrocarbons), a $1 per barrel tax on lightered oil would have an impact on the price of gasoline no larger than 4 cents per gallon; and
WHEREAS: Because the revenues from such a tax would be spread over more than just Delaware, a tax of $1 per barrel of oil (less than 4 cents/gallon on gasoline) would produce more than three times as much Delaware revenue as the 5 cent per gallon additional tax proposed by Governor Minner.
A tax no smaller than $1 per barrel of oil lightered at Great Stone Anchorage in the Delaware Bay be imposed with an effective date no later than September 1, 2007 and that the first $1 per barrel of such revenue be earmarked for Delaware's Transportation Trust Fund.
ADOPTED (in concept) without dissent
General Membership Meeting of May 15, 2007
Attest: _________________
...the oil lightering proposal had now been introduced for the third time....
HB 418 - AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 30 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO STATE TAXES AND VESSEL-TO-VESSEL TRANSFERS OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS - This bill imposes a license requirement and fee of $1 per barrel upon any entity engaged in the commercial lightering of petroleum products on waters within the territorial jurisdiction of this State.
 So far HB 418 - the lightering bill filed yesterday - is MIA in  mainstream news. But word is out about a road revenue "compromise". WDEL AP and (News Journal) Jonathan Starkey are breaking the news of the Deal to raise weekend Del. 1 tolls
Members of Gov. Jack Markell's administration and lawmakers have reached a compromise to raise weekend tolls on Del. 1 from $2 to $3 and authorize $20 million in new debt to pay for road maintenance projects.  The agreement replaces a more ambitious effort by Markell to raise Delaware's per-gallon gasoline tax by 10 cents and authorize new debt to fund $100 million in new projects annually. The higher tolls will raise about $10 million annually, with the majority of that money restoring proposed cuts to Community Transportation Fund accounts that lawmakers use to fund hometown road projects. Lawmakers fiercely protect the accounts to fix roads and curry favor in their districts. The $20 million in debt, far lower than what the administration pushed for, will pay for paving projects. "We need more revenue," Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt told lawmakers. "You can't solve this problem with borrowing alone."
........The capital budget committee voted 11-1 to approve the higher tolls and new debt. Only Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover South, dissented. "I'm not thrilled about raising tolls," Bonini said. The committee's vote was a formality, as Bhatt had the authority to raise tolls without agreement of the General Assembly. But administration officials did not want to take the step to raise tolls unilaterally and lawmakers agreed to provide support. "It's our understanding as a department that there is no legislative vote that is necessary," Bhatt told lawmakers. "However we didn't want to just come in on July 1 and say we have this avenue, we wanted to take it. It's something we wanted to have full transparency on."
See related story Prospects bleak for Markell's revenue proposals

Monday, June 16, 2014

Candidate Forum For Recorder Of Deeds, State Treasurer And State Auditor And Civic League Elections - 7PM Tomorrow Night In New Castle


Bill Dunn, President
Candidate Forum for
Recorder of Deeds, State Treasurer 
and State Auditor
Civic League Elections

June 17, 2014
at 7:00 PM

at the Paul J. Sweeney
Public Safety Building

3601 N. DuPont Hwy
(Route 13)
New Castle, DE


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Maintenance Corporation Work-Shop 1PM June 11th And New AG Homeowner Organization Ombudsman Position In The Works

New Castle County Executive Office
Maintenance Corporation Work-Shop
Please take notice that the New Castle County Executive Office will hold a work-shop onWednesday, June 11, 2014, 1:00 pm (SHARP) at the Gilliam Building Multipurpose Room.

Introduction: Inform the roles and responsibilities of Maintenance Corporations in New Castle County. 
Transferring Control of the Maintenance Corporation to the Homeowners 
Transferring title of the open space 
Governing Documents 
Assessments (Maintenance dues) 
Legal Transfer 

Tax Status 
Members’ Rights 
Corporate Resolutions 
Liability for Acts or Omissions of the Governing Body 
Governing Body: Power and Duties; Authority 

Open Space 
Maintenance Responsibilities 
Storm water Management Facilities 
Community Maintenance Responsibilities 
Organization Annual Registration 

If there are any questions regarding this agenda, please contact Steve Burg Executive Office at 395-5057.

Also, Melanie George Smith's HB 308 (House Bill # 308 w/HA 1, HA 2, HA 3, HA 4) is fast-tracking itself through the General Assembly without much attention. It sailed through two House committees and drew a floor vote before the break and is scheduled to be heard in tomorrow's Senate Community/County Affairs Committee hearing at 1:30PM. 

Meanwhile, Paul Baumbach sent this along ~ 
To: Members of the House Housing and Community Affairs Committee
From: Mark J. Cutrona, Deputy Director of the Division of Research
Date: May 14, 2014
Re: Definition of Common Interest Community 
1. Is there a uniform definition of a common interest community?
2. What qualifies as a common interest community? 
The definition of the term “common interest community” contained within House Bill
308 is taken from the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (DUCIOA). In
DUCIOA, “common interest community” is defined as follows:
“real estate described in a declaration with respect to which a person, by virtue of
that person's ownership of a unit, is obligated to pay for a share of real estate
taxes, insurance premiums, maintenance, or improvement of or services or other
expenses related to common elements, other units or other real estate described in
that declaration. Common interest community does not include a campground
which is subject to Chapter 28 of Title 6 or those arrangements described in § 81-
224 of this title. „Ownership of a unit‟ does not include holding a leasehold
interest in a unit of a stated term of less than 20 years in a unit, including renewal
The definition is all encompassing and is intended to apply to any real estate referenced in a
declaration2 and for which the owner has to pay their share of real estate taxes, insurance
premiums, maintenance, or other expenses related to common elements, including open space,
pools, and storm water management systems, described in a declaration.
1 § 81-103(11), Title 25 of the Delaware Code.
2 A declaration is defined by § 81-103(17), Title 25 of the Delaware Code. Essentially, it is a contractual document that creates a common interest community by referencing the real estate subject to the declaration and setting out that owners are required to pay for common elements.
This definition creates uniformity by including all entities that are (1) created by declaration and (2) obligate an owner to pay for expenses related to common elements referenced within the declaration. Furthermore, this definition allows for a concept that can be applied statewide, despite other names given to these entities by county or municipal governments or the terms of the declaration itself.
As a result, this definition includes condominiums,3 maintenance corporations, and home owners associations provided that these entities are (1) created by declaration and (2) obligate an owner to pay for expenses related to common elements referenced within the declaration. This definition would not include a civic organization, as civic organizations are generally not created by declarations and intended to obligate owners of property to pay for common elements. 
In conclusion, the term “common interest community” in House Bill 308 is connected to a definition in DUCIOA. This term uniformly applies to those entities, however named, that are (1) created by declaration and (2) obligate an owner to pay for expenses related to common elements referenced within the declaration.
3 Condominiums are specifically defined as a common interest community by § 81-103(12), Title 25 of the Delaware Code.