Cities in Delaware
Types of local government
Delaware has four types of local government: County, City, Town, and Village. State Law gives no authority for initiative or referendum of any kind to any of these local government units. Any authority for initiative and referendum comes from the local charter of a city or town.
- There are three counties in Delaware: Kent County, New Castle County, and Sussex County. There is no provision for granting charters to counties in state law.
- Municipalities all have charters granted by the State Assembly, but have little control over them. By Title 22, §802 of the Delaware State Statutes, cities and towns with a population of greater than 1,000 can amend their charters to grant Home rule powers, including initiative and referendum.
- In addition, there are 259 special districts and 19 independent school districts.
Initiative process availability
Counties do not have initiative or referendum powers. Municipalities that have a population greater than 1,000 people have the authority to amend their charters according to the State Statute cited below. Such cities and towns can amend their charters to reserve powers of initiative and referendum although not many have done so. Following is a list of the few that do have charters that mention initiative and referendum.
- Delaware City has authority and procedures in its charter for ordinance initiative and referendum. Signatures numbering 25% of last election's voters are required.
- Newport has authority and procedures in its charter for ordinance initiative and referendum. Signatures numbering 50% of last election's voters are required.
- Cheswold has authority and procedures in its charter for referendum.
- Bethanybeach has provision in its charter for a voter signature initiative for an "opinion poll", but not for a binding ballot measure initiative.
There are 51 other charter cities and towns in Delaware. The ones that have a population qualifying them to amend their charters include:
Arden, Ardencroft, Bellefonte, Elsmere, Middletown, New Castle, Nework, Odessa, Townsend, Wilmington, Bowers, Camden, Clayton, Dover, Felton, Frederica, Harrington, Houston, Kenton, Leipsic, Little Creek, Magnolia, Milford, Smyrna, Viola, Woodside, Wyoming, Bethal, Blades, Bridgeville, Dagsboro, and Delmar.
10 most populated cities
|List of Most Populated Cities in Delaware|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
|New Castle||5,320||Charter||No I&R|
Full List of Cities
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
As of the 2010 Census, there are 57 incorporated cities and towns in Delaware. Population figures below are based on the updated estimates as of July 1, 2011.
|List of Cities and Population in Delaware|
- Local Government Types and Numbers Research Spreadsheet
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- Types and Numbers for City Initiative and Referendum
- Delaware Charter Municipalities Research Sheet
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)
- US Census, "March 2011 Estimate of Delaware cities"