Kent County, DE Policy Manual
 
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 25-1 Public access to records.

[Adopted 1-14-1997 (P-61)[1]]
A. 
Purpose. This Policy establishes guidelines for public access to public records maintained by Kent County, and provides for fees to be charged for reproducing same.
B. 
Applicability. This Policy shall govern all issues relating to public access to public records maintained by Kent County and the fees to be charged for reproducing public records for dissemination to the public; provided, however, that in the event and to whatever extent this Policy conflicts with any other applicable ordinance, policy, or directive of Kent County, as adopted or amended from time to time, any applicable federal or state statute, any applicable rule of any federal or state court, or any other governing rule of law, then and in such event, such other ordinance, policy, directive, statute, court rule, or rule of law shall govern and be determinative. In particular, but without limitation, this Policy shall not apply to fees established by any court of law or equity of the State of Delaware for services provided or to be provided by the Office of the Kent County Register in Chancery, the Office of the Kent County Register of Wills, the Office of the Kent County Sheriff, the Office of the Kent County Recorder of Deeds, the Office of the Kent County Receiver of Taxes, or the Office of the Kent County Comptroller; nor shall this Policy apply to the examination and copying of any documents (or the indices thereto) which are filed, recorded, indexed, and maintained as public records by the Office of the Kent County Prothonotary, the Office of the Kent County Register in Chancery, the Office of the Kent County Register of Wills, or the Office of the Kent County Recorder of Deeds.
C. 
Definitions.
(1) 
For purposes of this Policy, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings prescribed below:
COUNTY
Kent County, Delaware.
LEVY COURT
The Kent County Levy Court, the governing body of Kent County, Delaware.
PUBLIC RECORD
Shall have the same meaning as prescribed by 29 Del. C. § 10002(d), which is incorporated herein by this reference, as amended from time to time.
(2) 
To the extent not inconsistent herewith, all other words and phrases defined by 29 Del. C. § 10002, as amended from time to time, shall have the meanings prescribed thereby. Words and phrases not defined by 29 Del. C. § 10002, as amended from time to time, shall have the meanings ordinarily accorded to such words and phrases in common usage.
D. 
Examination of public records. The protection, preservation, and security of the originals of public records maintained by Kent County is of paramount importance. The custodians of public records maintained by Kent County shall therefore take every reasonable precaution to ensure that the originals of said public records are not removed from the possession of Kent County, or altered in any unauthorized manner.
(1) 
All requests to examine the originals of any public records maintained by Kent County must be delivered in writing, using the "Request for Information" form,[2] to the applicable department manager, row officer, or other custodian of said public records, stating with specificity the public records for which examination is requested. The applicable department manager, row officer, or other custodian of said public records shall make and maintain, for a period no less than 180 days from the date of request, a record of each examination of any public records maintained by Kent County, including the name and signature of the individual examining said public records and the date and time of each examination. This record may be appended to the document file or kept separately by the applicable department manager, row officer, or other custodian of said public records.
[2]
Editor's Note: The Request for Information Form is available in the County offices.
(2) 
Examination of the originals of public records maintained by Kent County shall in all instances be supervised by the applicable department manager, row officer, or other custodian of said public records, or his or her designee. If examination supervision is impossible or impractical, then copies of said public records shall be provided at the expense of the party seeking to examine same.
(3) 
The originals of public records maintained by Kent County shall be open to examination only during regular business hours of the department, row office, or other County office with the custodial responsibility for maintaining said public records.
(4) 
Reasonable access to public records shall not be denied. If a public record is in active use or in storage at the time of any request for examination of same, the party seeking to examine the public record shall be so informed and an opportunity to examine said public record, once available, shall be scheduled as promptly as possible.
E. 
Fees for copying public records are set by ordinance and subject to change. Terms of payment of reproduction fees. Full payment of the applicable fee(s) for reproduction of any public records maintained by Kent County must be received from the requesting party, prior to delivery of any public records which have been reproduced, unless other billing arrangements have been approved in advance by the applicable department manager, row officer, or other custodian of said public records.
F. 
Authority. This Policy is adopted pursuant to the powers conferred upon the Levy Court of Kent County, Delaware by 9 Del. C. § 4110.
[1]
Editor's Note: This Policy hereby specifically repeals and supersedes previous documentation entitled "Guideline for Public Access to Public Records/Reproduction Fees," which had been effective since 10-1-1991, as well as previous Policy No. P-32, entitled "Restrictions and Fees for Access to Kent County's Computerized Data Bases," which had been effective since 4-11-1989.

§ 25-2 Records management.

[Adopted 6-22-2004 (P-92)]
This Policy establishes a procedure for public access and the proper disposition of public records created and maintained by the government of Kent County, Delaware.
A. 
All Kent County departments and offices shall maintain records in compliance with the Delaware Public Record Law. Said records are the property of the Kent County Levy Court.
B. 
The County Administrator shall be responsible for maintaining County records within the statute's required retention schedule through an Archive Office and established rules of procedure.
C. 
Original documents regularly used by the public, such as deeds, wills and meeting minutes, shall be maintained accessible during normal business hours. Additional hours of access and conditions or fees for such access may be established as determined by the Levy Court.
D. 
At least one duplicate copy of any original recorded or registered property deed, mortgage, will, or estate document or official meeting minutes shall be created and stored off site within one year of creation, recording or receipt.
E. 
Easily accessible and widely available microfilmed or other imaged County documents, which are an exact replica of the original, may be made available to the public in lieu of the original document(s) at such time as determined by the County Administrator, subject to 30 days' notice to the Levy Court Commissioners. Upon request of any one Levy Court Commissioner, such item shall be referred to Levy Court for final determination.
F. 
Employees violating this Policy shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
G. 
Elected officials and deputies violating this Policy shall be subject to censure or other public action as deemed appropriate by Levy Court at a public meeting.

§ 25-3 Audio/video recordings of meetings in levy court chamber.

[Adopted 10-25-2005]
This Policy establishes guidelines for the digital video and/or audio recording of all official business meetings of the Kent County Levy Court and various appointed boards and commissions held in the Levy Court Chamber to enhance accountability and the dissemination of information to the public.
A. 
All business meetings of the Kent County Levy Court and various appointed boards and commissions held in the Levy Court Chamber shall be video and/or audio recorded and maintained in an unedited format in compliance with the Delaware Public Records Law.
B. 
Upon request, video and/or audio records shall be made available for public review in compliance with the Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and County policy, and a copy or copies shall be made available to the public within 30 days (archived records may require additional time) upon payment of such fees as determined reasonable by the Kent County Levy Court by ordinance.
C. 
One copy of each digital video and/or audio recording will be made available upon request to local television, cable television, or radio stations. Such recordings shall be provided in either clearly marked "unedited" or "edited" formats. The edited recording may be altered by County staff only to the extent necessary to eliminate gaps due to lengthy pauses or meeting recesses. Staff may enhance the edited recording by adding assistive graphics such as speaker names, maps, exhibits, etc. When editing recordings, staff shall not remove any statements or reactions made by or exhibited by meeting participants.
D. 
All business meetings of the Kent County Levy Court and various appointed boards and commissions held in the Levy Court Chamber may, as determined by Levy Court, be simultaneously broadcast to the Worldwide Web via the Internet.
E. 
Video recording shall only be required when such equipment is in good working order and knowledgeable staff is available to operate the system, as determined by the County Administrator.
F. 
Any employee violating this Policy shall be subject to disciplinary action per Kent County Code.
G. 
This Policy shall become effective upon notification to Levy Court by the County Administrator that the video recording equipment is operational.

§ 25-4 Non-photo identification cards.

[Adopted 4-14-2009]
This Policy establishes procedures for the issuance of personal verification cards to residents of Kent County with personal convictions that prohibit the face from being photographed and who are therefore ineligible for an identification card issued by the State of Delaware.
A. 
Residents of Kent County with personal convictions prohibiting facial photographs may request a County government issued personal verification card from the Personnel Office by submitting an approved application form, supporting documents as required by this Policy, and the applicable fee, which must be paid upon initial application and upon any such reissuance of the card.
B. 
At a minimum, the verification card shall include the individual's full name, complete address, date of birth, gender, height, weight, hair color, eye color, thumbprint, and other distinguishing characteristics. In addition, a date of issuance and expiration date shall be indicated on the card. The expiration date of the verification card shall be five years after issuance.
C. 
Each application form shall be completed fully and duly executed by the applicant. In addition, the applicant shall provide the County with evidence of his or her identity such as a birth certificate, or certification by a qualified representative of a faith-based organization which attests to the identity of the bearer of the form and the information contained thereon.
D. 
Kent County Levy Court and the Personnel Office reserve the right to refuse to issue a verification card to any individual submitting an incomplete application or failing to submit credible documentation sufficient to verify the identity of the applicant. In addition, the issuance of such verification cards can be limited to certain days, hours of operation, and/or locations.
E. 
If a person is denied a verification card for any reason, a new or revised application may be submitted at a later date with the required documentation attached thereto or the person may file a written appeal and present himself in person with supporting documents to the Levy Court for a final determination of eligibility for such card.
F. 
Kent County Levy Court or its employees assume no liability or responsibility for the information contained upon or not contained upon the card or the usage of such card by the lawful bearer or any other such person.
G. 
This policy shall become effective immediately upon adoption by Levy Court.

§ 25-5 Recordation of easement documents with electronic signatures.

[Adopted 9-25-2012 (P12-03)]
This Policy authorizes the acceptance and recordation of property easement documents in the Office of the Kent County Recorder of Deeds that bear the electronic signature of the grantor or grantors, and the electronic signature and seal of the notary public witnessing the signature of the grantor or grantors with electronic signature.
A. 
Property easement documents may be submitted to and accepted for recordation by the Kent County Recorder of Deeds if the signatures on the easement documents are electronic signatures, as defined in 25 Del. C. § 181, of the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act, provided that a notary public duly witnesses and dates the electronic signature and sets forth on the easement document the personal identification documentation of the grantor provided to the notary used to verify the identity of the grantor or grantors such as driver's license and driver's license number and state of issuance.
B. 
Any property easement document submitted to the Office of the Kent County Recorder of Deeds for recordation that bears an electronic signature shall incorporate the following notation thereon:
"This document has been signed by the Grantor or Grantors, dated and notarized electronically in accordance with the provisions of 25 Del. C. § 180 et seq., known as the 'Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act' and 6 Del. C. § 12A-107."
C. 
Property easement documents bearing original handwritten signatures of the grantor or grantors and original signature and seal of notaries public shall continue to be accepted for recordation in the Office of the Kent County Recorder of Deeds and this Policy supplements and does not supersede such practice.
D. 
This Policy is intended to facilitate electronic transactions consistent with other applicable laws of the State of Delaware pertaining to the electronic filing of legal documents and to be consistent with reasonable practices concerning electronic transactions and the continued expansions of those practices.