Chapter 1.07
ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

Sections:

1.07.010    Purpose.

1.07.020    Applicability.

1.07.030    Definitions.

1.07.040    Processing agency.

1.07.050    First offense warning.

1.07.060    Administrative citation.

1.07.070    Amount of fines.

1.07.080    Notice.

1.07.090    Payment of the fine.

1.07.100    Hearing request.

1.07.110    Deposit waiver.

1.07.120    Hearing procedure.

1.07.130    Hearing officer’s decision.

1.07.140    Recovery of administrative citation fines and costs.

1.07.150    Right to judicial review.

1.07.010 Purpose.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to Cal. Gov’t Code § 53069.4 authorizing local agencies, by ordinance, to make violation of any ordinance of the agency subject to administrative fine or penalty.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide alternative remedies to address acts or omissions set forth in the DMC. Violations may be corrected or addressed in a number of ways and it is the intent of this chapter to provide the City with an administrative process for correcting violations, to penalize violators for failure to comply with City codes and ordinances, and to empower the City to abate violations that the responsible parties have failed to abate themselves. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.020 Applicability.

A. This chapter provides for administrative citations which are in addition to all other legal and equitable remedies and provides an alternative to any criminal prosecutions which may be pursued by the City to address any violation of the DMC or of any regulations adopted under the authority of the DMC.

B. Use of the remedies and procedures of this chapter shall be at the sole discretion of the enforcement officer authorized to proceed under this chapter and shall not limit or preclude the use of criminal or civil injunctive code enforcement proceedings. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.030 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this section:

“Enforcement officer” means any City employee or agent of the City with the authority to enforce any provision of the DMC to which this chapter is applicable.

“Hearing officer” means the individual appointed by the City Manager or his or her designee to hear administrative appeals.

“Processing agency” means an agency contracted with the City to administer the duties prescribed by this chapter.

“Responsible party” means the owner, agent, manager, lessee, tenant or any other person having control or possession of the property.

“Schedule of fines” means a master list of all City administrative citation fines established by ordinance or resolution of the City Council, as may be amended from time to time. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.040 Processing agency.

The City may contract with a processing agency for the processing of citations, notices of violations, and notices of delinquent violations. In the event the City enters a contract with a processing agency, it shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter in fulfilling its duties. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.050 First offense warning.

Whenever an enforcement officer determines that a violation of any section of the DMC has occurred, the enforcement officer, in his or her sole discretion, may issue a first offense warning to any person responsible for the violation. The first offense warning shall serve as a written warning of responsibility. The first offense warning requires immediate action by the person responsible for the violation to correct or cease the violation. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.060 Administrative citation.

A. Whenever an enforcement officer charged with the enforcement of a provision of the DMC (including those uniform codes adopted herein by reference) determines that a violation of that provision has occurred, the enforcement officer shall have the authority to issue an administrative citation to the person or entity responsible for the violation.

B. Each administrative citation shall contain the following information:

1. The date of the violation;

2. The address or a definite description of the location where the violation occurred;

3. The code section violated and a description of the violation;

4. The amount of the fine for the code violation;

5. A description of the fine payment process, including a description of the time within which and the place to which the fine must be paid;

6. An order prohibiting the continuation or repeated occurrence of the ordinance violation described in the administrative citation;

7. A description of the administrative citation review process, including the time within which the administrative citation may be contested and the place from which a request for hearing form may be obtained;

8. The name and signature of the citing enforcement officer and the date the administrative citation is issued;

9. A description of the deposit waiver process, including the time within which a request for deposit waiver may be made and the place from which the request for hearing form may be obtained. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.070 Amount of fines.

A. The amounts of the fines for each code violation shall be as set forth in a schedule of fines established by resolution of the City Council.

B. In the event that the amount of an administrative citation fine has not been established for a specific code violation, the amount of the fine imposed shall not exceed:

1. Schedule 1. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first violation;

2. Schedule 2. Two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a second violation of the same code section within one (1) year;

3. Schedule 3. Five hundred dollars ($500.00) for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one (1) year.

C. The schedule of fines may specify any increased fines for repeat violations of the same code provision by the same person within thirty-six (36) months from the date of a prior administrative citation.

D. The schedule of fines shall specify the amount of any late payment charge imposed for the payment of a fine after its due date. If no late payment charge is specified in the schedule of fines, a default late payment charge shall apply in the following amounts:

1. Fifty dollars ($50.00) for a Schedule 1 fine.

2. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a Schedule 2 fine.

3. Two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for a Schedule 3 fine. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.080 Notice.

A. An administrative citation may be served by personal delivery on any person determined to be responsible for the violation, or by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, addressed to a location reasonably calculated to give notice to the responsible party of the administrative citation, or posted in a conspicuous location on or in the vicinity of the property related to the violation.

B. All notices required by this chapter to be served subsequent to service of an administrative citation may be served either by personal delivery or by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested, and shall be deemed effective on the date of personal delivery or when the certified mail is either delivered or delivery attempted. If the certified mail receipt is returned unsigned, then service may instead be effected by regular first class mail, postage prepaid; provided, that the notice sent by regular mail is not returned by the postal service as undeliverable, and shall be deemed effective three (3) calendar days following deposit of the notice in the mail.

C. Where a violation concerning the condition of real property is involved, an administrative citation authorized by this chapter or DMC Title 9 may be served by certified mail at the address shown on the last equalized county assessment roll.

D. Failure to actually receive any notice in this chapter shall not affect the validity of proceedings conducted hereunder. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.090 Payment of the fine.

A. The fine shall be paid to the City of Dixon within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of the administrative citation. If a hearing is requested pursuant to DMC 1.07.100, the administrative penalty shall be deposited with the City Clerk or designee or a notice shall be filed with the same that an advance hardship waiver has been requested as required in DMC 1.07.110.

B. Any administrative citation fine paid pursuant to subsection A of this section shall be refunded in accordance with DMC 1.07.130(D) if it is determined, after a hearing, that the person charged in the administrative citation either was not responsible for the violation or that there was no violation as charged in the administrative citation. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.100 Hearing request.

A. Any recipient of an administrative citation may contest, either or both, that there was a violation as stated in the administrative citation or that he or she is the responsible party. The applicant shall submit a request for hearing form and return it to the City Clerk within thirty (30) business days from the date of the administrative citation and an advance deposit of the fine, or request for deposit waiver, pursuant to DMC 1.07.110.

B. A request for hearing form may be obtained from the City Clerk.

C. The written appeal request shall, at a minimum, contain:

1. A brief statement setting forth the interest the appealing party has in the matter relating to the imposition of the penalty;

2. A brief statement, in ordinary and concise language, of the material facts which the appellant claims support his/her/its contention that no administrative penalty should be imposed or that an administrative penalty of a different amount is warranted; and

3. An address at which the appellant agrees notice of any additional proceeding or an order relating to the imposition of the administrative penalty may be received by first class mail.

D. Failure to file a request for hearing and advance deposit or request for deposit waiver within thirty (30) business days of the administrative citation shall constitute an admission of the violation by the recipient and an admission that the amount of the administrative penalty is appropriate and may constitute a failure to exhaust administrative remedies barring judicial review. [Ord. 18-002 § 1; Ord. 19-017 § 1.]

1.07.110 Deposit waiver.

A. Any person who is financially unable to make the advance deposit of the fine as required in DMC 1.07.100(A) may file a request for deposit waiver. The request shall be filed with the Finance Director on a deposit waiver application form, available from the City Clerk, together with the request for hearing form.

B. The Finance Director shall issue the deposit waiver if the cited party submits to the Finance Director a sworn affidavit, or declaration under penalty of perjury, together with any supporting documents or materials, demonstrating to the satisfaction of the Finance Director the person’s actual financial inability to deposit the full amount of the fine in advance of the hearing.

C. The Finance Director shall issue a written determination listing the reasons for his or her determination to issue or not issue the deposit waiver within fifteen (15) business days. The written determination of the Finance Director shall be final and shall be served upon the person who applied for the deposit waiver, the enforcement officer and the City Clerk. Failure to serve does not affect the validity of the determination.

D. If the Finance Director determines that the deposit waiver is not warranted, the person shall remit the full amount of the fine as a deposit within ten (10) business days of mailing of the determination. Failure to deposit the full amount of the fine within the ten (10) business day period shall constitute an admission of the violation by the recipient and an admission that the amount of the administrative penalty is appropriate and may constitute a failure to exhaust administrative remedies barring judicial review. [Ord. 18-002 § 1; Ord. 19-017 § 2.]

1.07.120 Hearing procedure.

A. The City Clerk shall set a hearing date upon receipt of a complete request for hearing form and advance deposit or an approved deposit waiver. No hearing to contest an administrative citation shall be set unless the fine has been deposited in advance in accordance with DMC 1.07.100(A) or a deposit waiver has been approved in accordance with DMC 1.07.110.

B. The person requesting the hearing shall be notified by the City Clerk of the time and place set for the hearing at least ten (10) business days prior to the date of the hearing.

C. The party contesting the administrative citation may request a continuance, in writing, no less than twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the scheduled hearing. The deferred hearing shall not be deferred more than ninety (90) business days after the request for hearing was made.

D. Prehearing discovery is not authorized, but subpoena of witnesses and documents shall be permitted as authorized by law. The hearing officer may conduct the hearing informally, both as to rules of procedure and admission of evidence, in any manner which will provide a fair hearing.

E. The City shall bear the burden of proof, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the violation occurred as charged and that the person to whom an administrative citation was issued is responsible for the violation. The City may be represented by the enforcement officer or be represented by counsel.

F. The party contesting the administrative citation may cross-examine the enforcement officer or any other witness against him or her and may present such evidence as he or she may have. The recipient of the administrative citation may be represented by counsel.

G. The formal rules of evidence shall not apply. The hearing officer may rely upon such evidence as he or she believes reasonable persons would rely upon in the conduct of their affairs. Any witnesses, including the enforcement officer and the recipient of the administrative citation, shall testify under oath.

H. The administrative citation and any additional report submitted by the enforcement officer shall constitute prima facie evidence of the respective facts contained on those documents.

I. If the enforcement officer submits an additional written report concerning the administrative citation to the hearing officer for consideration at the hearing, then a copy of this report also shall be served on the person requesting the hearing at least five (5) business days prior to the date of the hearing.

J. The hearing officer may continue the hearing and request additional information from the enforcement officer or the recipient of the administrative citation prior to issuing a written decision. The hearing officer shall ensure an adequate record of the hearing is made.

K. The failure of any recipient of an administrative citation to appear at the administrative citation hearing may be deemed an admission of the violation by the recipient and an admission that the amount of the administrative penalty is appropriate and may constitute a failure to exhaust administrative remedies barring judicial review. [Ord. 18-002 § 1; Ord. 19-017 § 3.]

1.07.130 Hearing officer’s decision.

A. After considering all the testimony and evidence submitted at the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue a written decision to uphold or cancel the administrative citation and shall list in the decision the reasons for that decision. The decision shall be issued within fifteen (15) business days. The decision is final subject only to judicial review as allowed by law.

B. If the hearing officer determines from a preponderance of the evidence that the contestant committed the violation charged in the administrative citation, the amount assessed by the hearing officer shall become debt to the City collectable through the process provided herein. The amount deposited with the City, pursuant to DMC 1.07.100(A), shall be applied to the amount assessed by the hearing officer. Any excess shall be refunded.

C. If the hearing officer determines that the administrative citation should be upheld and the fine has not been deposited pursuant to an advance deposit hardship waiver, the hearing officer shall set forth in the decision a payment schedule for the fine.

D. If the hearing officer determines that the administrative citation should be canceled or reduced and the fine was deposited with the City, then within thirty (30) business days of the date the decision is issued, the City shall refund the amount of the deposited fine or excess, together with interest at the average rate earned on the City’s investment portfolio for the period of time that the fine amount was held by the City.

E. The contestant shall be served with a copy of the hearing officer’s written decision within ten (10) business days following its issuance. [Ord. 18-002 § 1; Ord. 19-017 § 4.]

1.07.140 Recovery of administrative citation fines and costs.

The City may collect any past due administrative citation fine or late payment penalty and interest by use of all available legal means. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, all such fines or late payments shall constitute civil debts and may be recovered in an action at law, or, where the violation relates to or occurred upon real property owned by the person to whom an administrative citation was issued, a lien or special assessment may be filed by the City against such real property. [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]

1.07.150 Right to judicial review.

A. The failure of the party contesting the administrative citation to appear at the administrative citation hearing shall result in a forfeiture of the fine and shall constitute a failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

B. Subject to the provisions of subsection A of this section, any person aggrieved by an administrative decision of a hearing officer on an administrative citation may obtain review of the administrative decision by filing an appeal in a court of competent jurisdiction within twenty (20) days after service of the decision in accordance with the provisions of Cal. Gov’t Code § 53069.4(b). [Ord. 18-002 § 1.]