Ordinance No. BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ARLINGTON, TEXAS: 1.

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1 Ordinance No. An ordinance amending the "Municipal Court" Chapter of the Code of the City of Arlington, Texas, 1987, through the amendment of Article VI, Administration of the Court, Section 6.03, Authority to Issue Citations; through the addition of Article IX, Administrative Adjudication, regarding civil adjudication authority and processing; providing for a fine of up to $2,000 for each offense in violation of the ordinance; providing this ordinance be cumulative; providing for severability, governmental immunity, injunctions, publication and becoming effective ten days after first publication BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ARLINGTON, TEXAS: 1. That the Municipal Court Chapter of the Code of the City of Arlington, Texas, 1987, is hereby amended through the amendment of Article VI, Administration of the Court, Section 6.03, Authority to Issue Citations, so that said section shall be and read as follows: Section 6.03 Authority to Issue Citations A. A director of any City department, or his authorized representative, shall have the power to issue one (1) or more citations for violations of City ordinances to any person to appear in the court, if the director or representative has probable cause to believe that the person is criminally responsible for any offense within the jurisdiction of the court. B. A director of any City department, or his authorized representative, shall have the power to issue one (1) or more administrative or civil notices of violation, summonses, or citations for violations of City ordinances to any person to appear as directed, if the director or representative has reason to believe that the person is liable for any offense, which is subject to civil or administrative adjudication under this Code of Ordinances, and is within the jurisdiction of the court. Further, the Municipal Court Chapter is hereby amended by the addition of Article IX, Administrative Adjudication, so that hereafter said article shall be and read as follows: ARTICLE IX ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATION

2 Section 9.01 Definitions The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this article, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning. Building shall mean any structure which is built for the support, shelter, or enclosure or partial enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, or movable property of any kind including pools. City shall mean the City of Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas. Director shall mean the director of the City department charged with the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this Article. Hearing shall mean an administrative adjudication hearing for a violation under this Article, and may also include an appeal hearing at the municipal court. Hearing Officer shall mean the Presiding Municipal Court Judge or Director or their designees appointed to conduct hearings in accordance with this Article. Issuing Officer shall mean the person who issued the citation. The term includes a peace officer, or other enforcement agent as authorized by the Director. Municipal Court shall mean the municipal court of the City of Arlington, Tarrant County, Texas. Owner shall mean any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property; or recorded in the official records of the state, county or municipality as holding title to the property; or otherwise having control of the property, including the guardian of the estate of any such person, and the executor or administrator of the estate of such person if ordered to take possession of real property by a court. Person shall extend and be applied to associations, corporations, firms, partnerships, bodies politic, corporate as well as to individuals. Premises or Property shall mean a lot, plot or parcel of land, easement or public way, including any structures thereon. Structure shall mean fence, shed, awning, retaining wall, or partial building. Section 9.02 Administrative Adjudication, Intent, Findings and Purpose A. Administrative Adjudication. Every violation of an ordinance described by Section or Section (a)(1) of the Texas Local Government Code or adopted under Subchapter E, Chapter 683 of the Texas Transportation Code, or in (2)

3 accordance with other provisions as amended or otherwise allowed by law, may be enforced as an administrative offense using the alternative administrative adjudication procedure set forth in this Article. The adoption or use of this alternative administrative adjudication procedure does not preclude the City from enforcing a violation of an ordinance through criminal penalties and procedures. B. Intent. This section shall be construed to secure its expressed intent, which is to ensure public health, safety and welfare insofar as they are affected by the continued occupancy and maintenance of structures and premises and vehicle offenses. Nothing in this Article shall be construed to cancel, modify or set aside any other provision of the City s Code of Ordinances. C. Findings. 1. The City Council finds that it may enforce each rule, ordinance, or police regulation of the City and may punish a violation of a rule, ordinance or police regulation in accordance with the Texas Local Government Code and home rule authority 2. The City Council finds and determines that alternative civil adjudication is a means to promote and verify property ordinance code compliance, certain parking, stopping, standing, junked vehicle and intersection offenses, and other compliance areas while providing efficient, fair, and impartial hearings with respect for the rule of law. 3. Debts and accounts receivable such as unpaid penalties, fines, fees, and court costs ordered paid by a court or hearing officer may be processed for collection after sixty days overdue with a collection contactor or a City department as authorized by law. D. Purpose. This article provides an alternative procedure for administrative hearing for ordinances: 1. for the preservation of public safety, relating to the materials or methods used to construct a building or improvement, including the foundation, structural elements, electrical wiring or apparatus, plumbing and fixtures, entrances, or exits; 2. relating to the fire safety of a building or improvement, including provisions relating to materials, types of construction or design, warning devices, sprinklers or other fire suppression devices, availability of water supply for extinguishing fires, or location, design, or width of entrances or exits; 3. relating to dangerously damaged or deteriorated buildings or improvements; (3)

4 4. relating to conditions caused by accumulations of refuse, vegetation, or other matter that creates breeding and living places for insects and rodents; 5. relating to a building code or to the condition, use, or appearance of property in a municipality; 6. relating to animal care and control; 7. relating to water conservation measures, including water restrictions; 8. relating to the vacation, relocation of occupants, securing, repair, removal, or demolition of a building that is: a. dilapidated, substandard, or unfit for human habitation and a hazard to the public health, safety, and welfare; b. regardless of its structural condition, unoccupied by its owners, lessees, or other invitees and is unsecured from unauthorized entry to the extent that it could be entered or used by vagrants or other uninvited persons as a place of harborage or could be entered or used by children; or c. boarded up, fenced, or otherwise secured in any manner if: (1) the building constitutes a danger to the public even though secured from entry; or (2) the means used to secure the building are inadequate to prevent unauthorized entry or use of the building in the manner described by Subdivision (b). 9. relating to junked vehicles visible from a public place or the public rightof-way; and 10. authorized by state law for administrative adjudication. E. Administrative Penalty. A fine or penalty for the violation of an ordinance adjudicated under this Article may not exceed $500. However, a fine or penalty for the violation of an ordinance adjudicated under this Article that governs fire safety, zoning, or public health and sanitation, including dumping of refuse, may not exceed $2,000. F. Costs and Fees. 1. Costs and fees are hereby authorized to be imposed and collected for offenses adjudicated under this Article. A person found liable for a violation under this Article shall pay any required fees and costs in an amount set by resolution of the City Council. (4)

5 2. In addition to other costs and fees created and imposed under this Article, there shall be an appeal fee and late payment fee in an amount set by resolution of the City Council. 3. All persons found liable for an offense adjudicated under this Article shall be required to pay a technology fee in an amount set by resolution of the City Council. The technology fee shall be collected by the municipal court clerk and paid to the official who discharges the duties of municipal treasurer for deposit in the court technology fund. 4. All persons found liable for an offense adjudicated under this Article shall be required to pay a security fee in an amount set by resolution of the City Council. The security fee shall be collected by the municipal court clerk and paid to the official who discharges the duties of municipal treasurer for deposit in the building security fund. Section 9.03 Enforcement; Procedures; Citation A. An administrative citation issued under this Article must contain: 1. the date, location, and description of the violation alleged; 2. a notice that the person charged with violating the ordinance has the right to a hearing and information as to how to request a hearing; and 3. the number of days that the person has in which to pay the civil penalty or contest the penalty. B. An administrative citation serves as the summons or citation referenced in Chapter 54 of the Texas Local Government Code. C. A copy of the citation must be kept as a record in the ordinary course of business of the City by the Director, and is rebuttable proof of the facts it states. D. Service of a Citation. 1. An attempt must be made to personally serve an administrative citation by handing it to the person charged if the person is present at the time of service or by leaving the citation at the person s usual place of residence with any person residing at such residence who is of suitable age and discretion and informing that person of the citation s contents. 2. If an attempt to personally serve the citation fails, the citation may be served to the person by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, at an address indicated by the appraisal district records of the appraisal district in which the property is located, secretary of state (5)

6 records, or any tax or utility record. If service is made in this manner and mail is returned unclaimed or refused, the validity of the citation is not affected, and the citation is considered as delivered. 3. If an attempt to personally serve the citation fails, the citation must then be served upon the person charged by posting the citation on either: E. Answering a Citation. a. the front door of the premises or property; or b. a placard staked to the yard of the premises or property in a location visible from a public street or alley. 1. A person who has been issued a citation shall answer to the charge of the violation as directed on the administrative citation. A person who fails to answer the citation as directed is considered to have admitted liability for the violation charged. 2. An answer to the administrative citation may be made by: a. returning the administrative citation, on or before the 30th calendar day after issuance of the citation, with the applicable administrative penalty, which action constitutes an admission of liability; or b. making an appearance as directed on the administrative citation on or before the 30th calendar day after issuance of the citation and requesting a hearing. F. Failure to Appear at an Administrative Hearing. A person issued a citation who fails to appear at any hearing under this Article is considered to have admitted liability for the violation charged. The hearing officer shall issue, in writing, an administrative order of liability and assess against the person charged with the violation an appropriate amount of administrative penalties, fees, and costs. Section 9.04 Hearing Officers; Qualifications, Powers, Duties, and Functions A. Hearing officers shall be Municipal Court Judges or appointed by the City Manager to administratively adjudicate violations of ordinances described by this Article or in accordance with other provisions as amended or allowed by law. B. A hearing officer must meet all of the following qualifications: 1. Be familiar with state and local laws regarding substandard structures, junked vehicles, City health and safety ordinances, and all areas subject to (6)

7 administrative adjudication listed in this Article or otherwise allowed by state law. 2. Be a citizen of the United States. 3. Be a licensed attorney in good standing. 4. Have two or more years of experience in the practice of law in the State of Texas. C. A hearing officer shall have the following powers, duties, and functions: 1. To administer oaths. 2. To accept admissions to, and to hear and determine contests of, premises and property violations. 3. To issue orders compelling the attendance of witnesses and the production of documents, which orders may be enforced by a municipal court. 4. To make findings of liability or no liability to violations, and in the event of a liable finding, to assess administrative penalties, fees, and costs. 5. To question witnesses and examine evidence offered. Section 9.05 Administrative Adjudication Hearing and Appeal A. Every hearing for the adjudication of an administrative citation under this section must be held before a hearing officer. B. At a hearing under this section, the administrative citation is rebuttable proof of the facts that it contains. The formal rules of evidence do not apply to the hearing, and any relevant evidence will be admitted if the hearing officer finds it competent and reliable, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule to the contrary. The hearing officer shall make a decision based upon a preponderance of the evidence presented at the hearing, after giving due weight to all rebuttable proof established by this Article or other applicable law. C. Each party shall have the right to call and examine witnesses, to introduce exhibits, to cross-examine opposing witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues, and to rebut evidence. A person charged with a civil offense under this Article may request in writing no later than five days before the hearing that the Issuing Officer appear at the hearing; except that, if the person charged fails to make a timely, written request to have the Issuing Officer present at the hearing, the person charged will be deemed to have waived the right to call and examine the Issuing Officer. (7)

8 D. The hearing officer may examine any witness and may consider any evidence offered by a witness or person charged with a violation, giving due weight to all testimony and evidence offered. E. The proceedings of the administrative hearing will be recorded electronically. The person charged may, at his expense, have a court reporter present in the hearing room during the proceedings. F. After hearing all the evidence, the hearing officer shall render an order either: 1. finding the person charged liable for the violation, notifying the person of the right of appeal, and assessing the applicable civil penalty or penalties, fees, and costs to the extent allowed and authorized by ordinance or resolution of the Arlington City Council, such resolution being automatically incorporated herein for all purposes; or 2. finding the person charged not liable for the violation. G. The administrative order of the hearing officer must be filed with the municipal court. H. Appeal. 1. A person found liable for a violation by a hearing officer at an administrative adjudication hearing may appeal the determination to the municipal court. If the initial hearing officer was a municipal court judge, then the appeal is to the municipal court chief judge or his designee. 2. To perfect an appeal, the person shall not later than the 31st calendar day after the hearing officer s order is issued: a. file a written appeal request in municipal court; b. post a cash deposit or bond acceptable to the City in the amount of the penalties, fees, and costs assessed at the hearing; and c. pay an appeal fee. 3. If a person found liable for a violation does not timely appeal the hearing officer s administrative order, the order will become a final judgment. A perfected appeal stays enforcement and collection of the penalty, fees, and costs imposed against the person. If the administrative penalties, fees, and costs assessed in the final judgment are not paid within 31 calendar days after the date of the hearing officer s order, the administrative penalties, fees, and costs may be referred to a collection agency and the cost to the city for the collection services will be assessed as costs, at the rate agreed to between the city and the collection agency, and added to the judgment or as otherwise allowed by law. (8)

9 4. The municipal court shall set an appeal hearing within 90 days of the request for a hearing and send notice of the appeal hearing to the person requesting an appeal. An appeal shall be determined by the municipal court by hearing de novo. Upon receipt of an appeal, the municipal court shall schedule an appeal hearing and notify the person and the City Attorney s Office of the date, time, and location of the hearing. 5. At the appeal hearing, the municipal judge shall: a. affirm the administrative order of the hearing officer finding the appellant liable; or b. reverse the hearing officer s order and find the appellant not liable. 6. At the appeal hearing, upon an order by the municipal judge of: a. Liable, affirming the administrative order of the hearing officer, the cash deposit or bond shall be applied and forfeited; and b. Not Liable, reversing the administrative order of the hearing officer, the cash deposit or bond shall be refunded to the person, but under no circumstances shall the appeal fee be refunded. 7. The municipal judge s ruling is a final judgment. If the municipal judge affirms the hearing officer s order, any administrative penalties, fees, or costs assessed must be paid within 30 calendar days after the municipal judge s ruling. If the municipal judge reverses the hearing officer s order, any administrative penalties, fees, or costs originally assessed are discharged. I. Increasing Penalties for Subsequent Offenses. 1. Upon a finding of Liable for an offense at an administrative adjudication hearing or an appeal hearing under this Article, the municipal judge or hearing officer may: a. Assess a penalty in an amount that is two times more than the penalty that would otherwise be assessed, not to exceed the maximum allowed by law, exclusive of costs and fees, if the person has been previously found liable one time for the same offense. b. Assess a penalty in an amount that is three times more than the penalty that would otherwise be assessed, not to exceed the maximum allowed by law, exclusive of costs and fees, if the person has been previously found liable two or more times for the same offense. (9)

10 2. If the municipal judge increases the penalty at an appeal hearing under this Section, the cash deposit or bond shall be forfeited and the person shall pay the additional penalty assessed within 30 calendar days after the municipal judge s ruling. J. If a person does not timely pay the applicable penalties, fees, and costs assessed ordered to be paid by a municipal judge or hearing officer under this Section, a late payment fee shall be assessed. Section 9.06 Effect of Liability; Exclusion of Civil Remedy; Enforcement A. The imposition of a civil penalty under this Article is not a criminal conviction, except that a finding of liable may be considered a conviction for purposes of abatement procedures, permit or certificate of occupancy revocation procedures, or any other procedures outlined under the Arlington Code of Ordinances. B. A civil penalty may not be imposed upon a person for an offense under this Article if the person was arrested or was issued a criminal citation and notice to appear by a peace officer for a violation of state law or city ordinance, for the same specific incidence as the civil offense. C. The City may enforce the hearing officer s administrative order by filing a civil suit for collection of the administrative penalties, fees, and costs and by obtaining an injunction to prohibit specific conduct that violates the ordinance or administrative order or to require specific conduct necessary for compliance with the ordinance or administrative order. Section 9.07 Notices to Certain Property Owners A. A governmental entity that is required by statute, rule, regulation, or ordinance to send a notice to an owner of real property for the purpose of enforcing a municipal ordinance may include the following statement in the notice: "According to the real property records of County, you own the real property described in this notice. If you no longer own the property, you must execute an affidavit stating that you no longer own the property and stating the name and last known address of the person who acquired the property from you. The affidavit must be delivered in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to this office not later than the 20th day after the date you receive this notice. If you do not send the affidavit, it will be presumed that you own the property described in this notice, even if you do not." The notice must be delivered in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested. B. If a governmental entity sends a notice to the owner of the property to which the notice relates, as shown on or after the 10th day before the date notice is sent by the real property records of the county in which the property is located, and the (10)

11 record owner no longer owns the property, the record owner shall execute an affidavit provided with the notice by the governmental entity stating: 1. that the record owner no longer owns the property; and 2. the name and last known address of the person who acquired the property from the record owner. C. The record owner shall deliver the affidavit in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the governmental entity not later than the 20th day after the date the record owner receives the notice. D. If the governmental entity receives an affidavit under Subsection (C), the governmental entity shall send the appropriate notice to the person named in the affidavit as having acquired the property. A notice sent under this subsection must include the statement authorized by Subsection (A). E. A governmental entity that receives an affidavit under Subsection (C) shall: 1. maintain the affidavit on file for at least two years after the date the entity receives the affidavit; and 2. deliver a copy of the affidavit to the chief appraiser of the appraisal district in which the property is located. F. A governmental entity is considered to have provided notice to a property owner if the entity complies with the statute, rule, regulation, or ordinance under which the notice is sent and if it: 1. complies with Subsection (A) and does not receive an affidavit from the record owner; or 2. complies with Subsection (D) and does not receive an affidavit from the person to whom the notice was sent under Subsection (D). G. If a governmental entity complies with this section and does not receive an affidavit under Subsection (C), the record owner is presumed to be the owner of the property for all purposes to which the notice relates. H. For purposes of this section, "real property" does not include a mineral interest or royalty interest. Section 9.08 Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund A. Upon payment of the penalty assessed after a finding of Liable in the adjudication of an offense under this Article, twenty-five dollars ($25) of the penalty shall be designated for the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund. (11)

12 B. The Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund shall be used for the sole purpose of rehabilitating and repairing properties and premises in the City for persons who: 1. are found financially unable to comply with an administrative order of a hearing officer or a judge under this Article; and 2. do not otherwise qualify for other home repair or rehabilitation assistance available through the City; or 3. at the discretion of the Director. C. Administration of the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund. 1. The city manager shall appoint an administrator of the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund. The administrator shall adopt policies and procedures consistent with this article for the administration of the fund. 2. To be eligible to receive funds from the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund, a person must: a. have been found liable for an offense adjudicated under this Article; b. not qualify for other home repair or rehabilitation assistance available through the City subject to the discretion of the Director; and c. file a request with the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund administrator for the purpose of rehabilitating or repairing the person s substandard property or premises until it complies with city ordinances. 3. A person who makes a request to the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund administrator is voluntarily requesting that the administrator use the fund to rehabilitate or repair the person s property or premises for the sole purpose of bringing the property or premises into compliance with city ordinances. 4. The administrator is responsible for ensuring that the property or premises is inspected and that a detailed, written project plan is prepared that includes the work proposed, the amount of time the work will take, and the cost of the work. 5. A person who files a request with the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund administrator does so voluntarily and agrees to indemnify the city against any liability resulting from the project, any damages that may (12)

13 occur related to the project, and any damages resulting from any early termination of the project. 6. If the project is terminated prior to completion for any reason, the administrator may disburse money from the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund to pay the contractor for completion of work approved by the administrator. 7. The project may be inspected by the City for the sole purpose of determining whether the property or premises complies with city ordinances. 8. No project plan may be initiated by the administrator unless the project cost is less than or equal to the amount in the Arlington Building Rehabilitation Fund at any one time. If the fund is temporarily out of money, the administrator may not initiate a project plan until such time as there are additional funds equal to or exceeding the amount of the project s cost. 2. Any person, firm, corporation, agent or employee thereof who violates any of the provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined an amount not to exceed Two Thousand and No/100 Dollars ($2000) for each offense. Each day that a violation is permitted to exist shall constitute a separate offense. 3. This ordinance shall be and is hereby declared to be cumulative of all other ordinances of the City of Arlington, and this ordinance shall not operate to repeal or affect any of such other ordinances except insofar as the provisions thereof might be inconsistent or in conflict with the provisions of this ordinance, in which event such conflicting provisions, if any, in such other ordinance or ordinances are hereby repealed. 4. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance. 5. All of the regulations provided in this ordinance are hereby declared to be governmental and for the health, safety and welfare of the general public. Any member of the City Council or any City official or employee charged with the enforcement of this ordinance, acting for the City of Arlington in the discharge of his/her duties, shall not (13)

14 thereby render himself/herself personally liable; and he/she is hereby relieved from all personal liability for any damage that might accrue to persons or property as a result of any act required or permitted in the discharge of his/her said duties. 6. Any violation of this ordinance can be enjoined by a suit filed in the name of the City of Arlington in a court of competent jurisdiction, and this remedy shall be in addition to any penal provision in this ordinance or in the Code of the City of Arlington. 7. The caption and penalty clause of this ordinance shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Arlington, in compliance with the provisions of Article VII, Section 15, of the City Charter. Further, this ordinance may be published in pamphlet form and shall be admissible in such form in any court, as provided by law. 8. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after first publication as described above. PRESENTED AND GIVEN FIRST READING on the day of, 2013, at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Arlington, Texas; and GIVEN SECOND READING, passed and approved on the day of, 2013, by a vote of ayes and nays at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Arlington, Texas. ATTEST: ROBERT N. CLUCK, Mayor MARY W. SUPINO, City Secretary APPROVED AS TO FORM: JAY DOEGEY, City Attorney (14)

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