Village of Coal City, IL
Grundy County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Coal City 6-28-2010 by Ord. No. 10-20. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
General penalty — See Ch. 10, § 10-99.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide for a fair and efficient system of enforcement of Village ordinances as may be allowed by law and directed by ordinance, through the administrative adjudication of violations of such Village ordinances and by establishing a schedule of fines and penalties, and authority and procedures for collection of unpaid fines and penalties.
For the purpose of this chapter, the words described below shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein unless the context in which such terms are used requires otherwise:
CODE
Any municipal ordinance, law, rule, regulation or code set forth in Titles V, VII, IX, XIII, and XV of the Village Code, inclusive, except such ordinances for which the potential penalty described therein includes a period of incarceration or wherein the violation is a moving violation under the Illinois Traffic Code that is a reportable offense to the Illinois Secretary of State.
HEARING OFFICER
A person appointed by the Village President, with the advice and consent of the Village Board, to preside over administrative hearings, as set forth in this chapter.
A. 
"Owner" means:
(1) 
For the purpose of a violation relating to real property, the person to whom the County Collector sent the last ascertainable tax bill; and
(2) 
For the purpose of a violation relating to motor vehicles, the person to whom the motor vehicle is registered, as provided by the records of the Secretary of State of Illinois.
B. 
Any person so described herein may present clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that such person is the owner of the property and/or motor vehicle for which the person received a notice of violation.
The provisions of this chapter shall not preclude the Village from using other methods or proceedings to enforce the Village Code, including, but not limited to, the institution of any action in the Circuit Court of the county where the violation occurs, or any administrative proceeding.
There is hereby created within the Village of Coal City a Code Hearing Department, which is authorized to provide for and operate a "system of administrative adjudication," as more fully described herein, which shall have jurisdiction over the adjudication and enforcement of any violation of the Village Code as set forth herein, including but not limited to parking and vehicle registration violations, housing, building and zoning code violations, and engineering and health safety violations.
The Code Hearing Department shall be comprised of a Hearing Officer, a Code Administrator, the Chief of Police, or his or her designee, and any other duly appointed person or persons deemed necessary for the efficient administration of the Code Hearing Department, with the following powers and authority:
A. 
Hearing Officer.
(1) 
All adjudicatory hearings shall be presided over by a Hearing Officer. Prior to conducting administrative adjudication hearings, the Hearing Officer shall have successfully completed a formal training program which includes the following:
(a) 
Instruction on the rules of procedure of the administrative adjudication hearings that they will conduct and preside over;
(b) 
Orientation to each subject area of the code for which they may adjudicate a violation;
(c) 
Observation of administrative adjudication hearings; and
(d) 
Participation in hypothetical cases, including ruling on evidence and issuing final orders.
(2) 
In addition, a Hearing Officer must be an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois for at least three years. A Hearing Officer may not be an inspector or law enforcement officer employed by the Village.
(3) 
Hearing Officers are hereby authorized, empowered and directed to:
(a) 
Hear testimony and accept evidence that is relevant to the existence of an ordinance violation;
(b) 
Issue subpoenas directing witnesses to appear and give relevant testimony or tangible items at an administrative adjudication hearing, upon the request of the parties or their representatives;
(c) 
Preserve and authenticate the record of the administrative adjudication hearings, including all exhibits and evidence introduced at the hearing;
(d) 
Issue a determination, based on the evidence presented at the administrative adjudication hearing, of whether a code violation occurred or exists. The Hearing Officer's determination shall be in writing and shall include written findings of fact and law, a decision, and an order including the fine, penalty or other action with which the defendant must comply; and
(e) 
Impose penalties consistent with the applicable code and assess costs upon finding a party liable for the charged violation; except, however, that in no event shall the Hearing Officer have authority to:
[1] 
Impose a penalty of incarceration; or
[2] 
Impose a fine in excess of the penalties set forth in § 10-99. The maximum monetary fine under this Subsection A(3)(e) shall be exclusive of costs of enforcement or costs incurred by the Village to secure compliance with the Code and shall not be applicable to cases to enforce the collection of any tax imposed and collected by the Village.
[Amended 7-27-2016 by Ord. No. 16-16]
B. 
Code Administrator. The Code Administrator shall be an employee of the Village designated by the Village Administrator to perform such duties as enumerated herein.
(1) 
The Code Administrator is hereby authorized, empowered and directed to:
(a) 
Operate and manage the system of administrative adjudication of all code violations as may be permitted by law and directed by ordinance;
(b) 
Adopt, distribute and process all notices as may be required under this chapter or as may reasonably be required to carry out the purpose of this chapter;
(c) 
Collect moneys paid as fines and/or penalties assessed after a final determination of liability or to coordinate with the Village Treasurer for such purpose;
(d) 
Certify copies of final determinations of all code violations adjudicated pursuant to this chapter, and any factual reports verifying the final determination of any violation which were issued in accordance with this chapter or the laws of the State of Illinois, including ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 11-208.3 (standing, parking or conditions of vehicles), as from time to time amended;
(e) 
Certify reports to the Secretary of State concerning initiation of suspension of driving privileges in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and those of ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 6-306.5 (failure to pay fine - suspension);
(f) 
Promulgate rules and regulations reasonably necessary for the efficient operation and maintenance of the system of administrative adjudication hereby established; and
(g) 
Collect unpaid fines and penalties through private collection agencies that may be retained by the Village or by requesting the Village Attorney, after consultation with the Village Board, to act on behalf of the Village in filing complaints in the Grundy or Will County Circuit Court, seeking judgments for unpaid fines or penalties and pursuing all post-judgment remedies available under current law.
(2) 
Automation. The Code Administrator is hereby further authorized, empowered and directed to operate and maintain a computer program for the system of administrative adjudication hereby established, on a day-to-day basis, including, but not limited to:
(a) 
Inputting of violation notice information;
(b) 
Establishing hearing dates and notice dates;
(c) 
Recording fine and penalty assessment and payments;
(d) 
Issuing payment receipts;
(e) 
Issuing succeeding notices of hearing dates and/or final determinations of liability, issuing notices of impending immobilization, issuing notices of impoundment, and issuing notices of impending driver's license suspension as may be required, in accordance with the Illinois Vehicle Code. Nothing in this section is intended to preclude the Code Administrator from including one or more of the above notices in the same notice report; and
(f) 
Keeping accurate records of appearances and nonappearances at administrative adjudication hearings, pleas entered and fines and other penalties assessed and paid.
C. 
Police personnel. The Chief of Police shall appoint and/or designate a police officer or officers who may be available to provide security for the administrative adjudication hearings, and such officers are hereby authorized and directed to:
(1) 
Maintain hearing room decorum;
(2) 
Execute authority as granted to courtroom deputies of the Circuit Court; and
(3) 
Perform such other duties or acts as may be reasonably required and as directed by the Hearing Officer or the Code Administrator.
A. 
Filing of complaints.
(1) 
A proceeding before a Hearing Officer shall be instituted upon the filing with the Code Administrator of a written sworn pleading, complaint or citation by any authorized official of the Village, including police officers, code enforcement officers, and such other employees as authorized.
(2) 
In the event a complaint causing the initiation of a hearing is filed by a tenant or occupant of a dwelling who is not also the owner thereof, no action for eviction, abatement of a nuisance, forcible entry and detainer or other similar proceeding, whether it be civil or criminal, shall be threatened or instituted against such tenant or occupant solely because such tenant or occupant files such complaint or agrees to testify or present tangible evidence at an administrative adjudication hearing. The foregoing sentence shall not apply if the owner proves by a preponderance of the evidence that such tenant or occupant is the proximate cause of the violation for which the hearing is commenced.
B. 
Service of notice.
(1) 
Defendants shall be served with a copy of the written sworn pleading, complaint or citation along with a notice of hearing in a manner reasonably calculated to give them actual notice of the proceeding instituted against them, by one of the following means:
(a) 
Personal service upon a party or its authorized agent;
(b) 
Service by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the party's last known address;
(c) 
Service by first class mail, postage prepaid, at the party's last known address; or
(d) 
If the party's last known address cannot be ascertained after a diligent search, by posting a copy of the sworn pleading, complaint or citation in a conspicuous place upon the property or motor vehicle where the violation is found when the party is the owner of the property or motor vehicle.
(2) 
Any notice presented by first class or certified mail, or by posting, shall be deemed served three days after the deposit of such notice in the U.S. Mail or the posting of such notice.
C. 
Notices of hearing shall include:
(1) 
The type and nature of the ordinance violation to be adjudicated, including a reference to the appropriate section of the code, and the potential fines which may result from a finding of liability. And, with respect to code violations related to the standing, parking, condition of a vehicle or a size and/or weight violation, a summary of the information contained on the citation as set forth in § 41-10B;
(2) 
With respect to code violations related to the standing, parking, condition of a vehicle or a size and/or weight violation, the means by which the respondent may waive the right to a hearing and pay the applicable fine for the alleged violation, and that payment of the indicated fine, and of any applicable penalty for late payment, shall operate as a final disposition of the violation;
(3) 
The date and times available for an administrative adjudication hearing;
(4) 
The legal authority and jurisdiction under which the hearing is to be held;
(5) 
The penalties for a failure to appear at the hearing; in addition, with respect to code violations related to the standing, parking or condition of a vehicle and weight violations, the notices shall state that vehicle immobilization and driver's license suspension may be imposed if fines and penalties are not paid in full; and
(6) 
Any witnesses or complainants who may be called to testify for the Village who are not employees or officers thereof.
D. 
Administrative adjudication hearings shall be scheduled and docketed by the Code Administrator no less than 30 days and no more than 40 days after the notice of hearing is served on the defendant.
[Amended 9-13-2010 by Ord. No. 10-26]
A. 
Parties shall be provided with an opportunity for a hearing before or during which they may exercise any or all of the following rights:
(1) 
Be represented by counsel, at their own expense. Defendants shall not be entitled to have an attorney appointed to represent them;
(2) 
Present and cross-examine witnesses;
(3) 
Request the Hearing Officer to issue subpoenas to direct the attendance and testimony of relevant witnesses or the production of relevant tangible evidence.
B. 
Rules of evidence shall not govern. The formal and technical rules of evidence shall not apply in an administrative adjudication hearing authorized under this chapter. Evidence, including hearsay, may be admitted only if it is the type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs.
C. 
Standard of proof. Administrative adjudication hearings are civil in nature. The Village shall bear the standard of proof to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the occurrence or existence of a violation of the code. A sworn, written pleading, complaint or citation shall constitute prima facie evidence of the violation.
D. 
Defenses. It shall be a defense to a code violation charged under this chapter if the owner, his or her attorney, or any other agent or representative proves by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(1) 
The code violation alleged in the notice did not in fact exist at the time of the citation, pleading or complaint;
(2) 
The code violation has been caused by the current property occupants and that in spite of reasonable attempts by the owner to maintain the dwelling free of such violations, the current occupants continue to cause the violations; or
(3) 
An occupant or resident of the dwelling has refused entry to the owner or his or her agent to all or a part of the dwelling for the purpose of correcting the code violation(s);
(4) 
The code violation alleged in the notice occurred before the owner became of owner of the real or personal property. Notwithstanding the foregoing sentence, any existing order to correct a code violation and/or sanctions imposed by the Village as a result of a finding of a code violation under this chapter shall attach to the property as well as to the owner of the property, so that a finding of a code violation against one owner cannot be avoided by conveying or transferring the property to another owner. Any subsequent transferee or owner of the property takes the same subject to the findings, decision and order of a Hearing Officer under this chapter.
E. 
Continuances. No continuances shall be authorized by a Hearing Officer for any administrative adjudication hearing commenced under this chapter except in cases where a continuance is absolutely necessary to protect the rights of the defendant or owner. Lack of preparation shall not be grounds for a continuance. Any continuance authorized by a Hearing Officer shall not exceed 25 days.
F. 
Representation. The case for the Village may be presented by the Building Inspector, by any other Village employee or by an attorney designated by the Village. However, in no case shall the case for the Village be presented by an employee or official from the Code Hearing Department. The case for the property owner may be presented by the owner, his or her attorney, or any other agent or representative.
G. 
Judicial review. Any final decision by a Hearing Officer that a code violation does or does not exist shall constitute a final determination for purposes of judicial review and shall be subject to review under the Illinois Administrative Review Law, ILCS Ch. 735, Act 5, § 3-101 et seq., or as hereinafter amended. Any person filing for judicial review under the Administrative Review Law shall be subject to the assessment of costs for the preparation and certification of the record of proceedings before the Hearing Officer. Such cost shall be assessed as $100 for the first page of the transcript and $25 for each page thereafter. Any failure to pay such fee shall subject the party seeking review to the provisions of ILCS Ch. 735, Act 5, § 3-109, including dismissal of the complaint on motion of the Village.
[Amended 9-13-2010 by Ord. No. 10-26; 7-27-2016 by Ord. No. 16-16]
The fines and penalties for any Code violation shall be as set forth within the section of the Village Code that establishes the violation. If no penalty is prescribed, the fine shall be as set forth in § 10-99, unless otherwise provided by law.
A. 
Any fine, other sanction or costs imposed, or part of any fine, other sanction or cost imposed, remaining unpaid after the exhaustion of or the failure to exhaust judicial review procedures under the Illinois Administrative Review Law are a debt due and owing the Village of Coal City and may be collected in accordance with applicable law.
B. 
Failure of the defendant to pay such fine or penalty after the exhaustion of or the failure to exhaust judicial review procedures under the Illinois Administrative Review Law may result in the Village filing a petition in the appropriate county Circuit Court to have reduced to judgment any unpaid fine or penalty with costs, and, if applicable:
(1) 
The immobilization of the person's vehicle for failure to pay fines or penalties for five or more parking violations; and
(2) 
The suspension of the person's driver's license for failure to pay fines or penalties for 10 or more parking violations.
C. 
Upon the entry of a judgment upon the findings and determination of the Hearing Officer, and such judgment being recorded in the manner required by Article XII of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, ILCS Ch. 735, Act 5, § 12-101 et seq., or by the Uniform Commercial Code, ILCS Ch. 810, Act 5, § 1-101 et seq., a lien shall be imposed on the real estate or personal property, or both, of the defendant in the amount of any debt due and owing the Village under this chapter.
D. 
A Hearing Officer may not vacate any final determination of liability.
[Amended 9-13-2010 by Ord. No. 10-26]
A. 
Whenever any vehicle is parked in violation of any provision of the code prohibiting or restricting vehicular parking, stopping or standing, the owner shall be prima facie responsible for the violation and subject to the penalty thereof and as such shall be subject to adjudication under the Village Code and the provisions of Section 11-208.3 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 511-208.3).
B. 
The Code Administrator set forth in § 41-5 of this chapter shall also serve as the Traffic Compliance Administrator, with the authority to adopt, distribute and process parking and compliance violation notices, to collect money paid as fines and penalties for violation of parking and compliance violations and to assist with the administrative adjudication system as such relates to violations concerning parking, standing and vehicle compliance. For adjudication of all parking, standing and vehicle compliance violations, notices shall be given as provided in Section 11-208.3 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 511-208.3).
C. 
Whenever any vehicle is parked in violation of any provision of the code prohibiting or restricting vehicular parking, stopping or standing, any police officer, traffic control aide, other designated member of the Police Department, parking enforcement aide or other person designated by the Code Administrator observing such violation may issue a parking violation notice, and serve the notice on the owner of the vehicle by handing it to the operator of the vehicle, if he is present, or by affixing it to the vehicle in a conspicuous place. The issuer of the notice shall specify on the notice his identification number, the particular parking regulation allegedly violated, the make and state registration number of the cited vehicle, and the place, date, time and nature of the alleged violation and shall certify the correctness of the specified information by signing his name as provided in Section 11-208.3 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-208.3), as amended. The foregoing shall not relieve the Code Administrator from the duties set forth in § 41-6 above with respect to scheduling a hearing on such alleged violation and providing notice thereof.
D. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, other than the owner of the vehicle or his designee, to remove from a vehicle a parking violation notice affixed pursuant to this chapter.
E. 
The Code Administrator shall distribute parking violation notices to parking enforcement aides, other persons authorized to issue parking violation notices, and the Police Department for issuance pursuant to these provisions. The Chief of Police shall be responsible for the distribution of the notice forms within the Police Department, shall maintain a record of each set of notices issued to individual members of the Department and shall retain a receipt for every set so issued.
F. 
The Code Administrator shall compile and maintain complete and accurate records relating to all parking violation notices issued and the dispositions thereof, whether by payment of the fine or by final determination of the Hearing Officer. In addition, the Code Administrator shall make certified reports to the Secretary of State pursuant to Section 6-306.5 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/6-306.5).
[Amended 9-13-2010 by Ord. No. 10-26]
A. 
Where a respondent either fails to pay the indicated fine prior to the hearing or fails to appear at a hearing, a final determination of motor vehicle violation liability shall be entered in the amount of the fine indicated on the notice of violation. Failure to pay the fine within 21 days of a final determination of motor vehicle violation liability will result in the imposition of a late payment penalty pursuant to Subsection B herein. Upon the occurrence of a final determination of motor vehicle violation liability and after expiration of the period in which judicial review under the Illinois Administrative Review Law may be sought, any unpaid fine or penalty will constitute a debt due and owing the Village.
B. 
Failure by any respondent to pay or mail payment of the fine for a motor vehicle violation within 21 days of the issuance of the final determination of liability will automatically subject the respondent to a penalty for late payment. The penalty for late payment shall be $25.
C. 
Defenses. A person charged with a motor vehicle violation may contest the charge through an administrative adjudication hearing limited to one or more of the following grounds with appropriate evidence to support:
(1) 
That the respondent was not the owner or lessee of the cited vehicle at the time of the violation;
(2) 
That the cited vehicle or its state registration plates were stolen at the time the violation occurred;
(3) 
That the relevant signs prohibiting or restricting parking, if necessary, were missing or obscured;
(4) 
That the relevant parking meter was inoperable or malfunctioned through no fault of the respondent;
(5) 
That the facts alleged in the motor vehicle violation notice are inconsistent or do not support a finding that the specified regulation was violated;
(6) 
If the motor vehicle violation is in relation to a size or weight violation, that the vehicle was not in violation of the applicable law and regulations.
In accordance with ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 11-1306, no person who is the lessor of a vehicle pursuant to a written lease agreement shall be liable for a violation of any standing or parking regulation of this chapter involving such vehicle during the period of the lease if, upon receipt of a notice of violation, he or she shall, within 60 days thereafter, provide to the Code Administrator the name and address of the lessee. Upon receipt of a lessor's notification of the name and address of his or her lessee, pursuant to ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 11-1305 or 11-1306, the Code Administrator shall cause a notice of violation to be sent to the lessee as provided herein. If the lessor fails to provide the Code Administrator with the name and address of the lessee within 60 days of receiving notice, the lessor shall be liable for the full amount of the violation and late penalties, and a final determination will be issued.
A. 
When a person has failed to pay any fine or penalty due and owing pursuant to this chapter on 10 or more parking violations, the Code Administrator shall cause a notice of impending driver's license suspension to be sent in the form as required by the Secretary of State. The notice shall state that failure to pay the amount owing within 45 days of the date of the notice will result in the Village's notifying the Secretary of State that the person is eligible for initiation of suspension proceedings pursuant to ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 6-306.5.
B. 
If a person sent a notice pursuant to Subsection A fails to pay the amount owing within the time stated on the notice, the Code Administrator may file with the Secretary of State, a certified report, in accordance with ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 6-306.5(c), that the person is eligible for initiation of suspension proceedings. The Code Administrator shall assess a filing fee of $20 against the person named in the certified report to reimburse the Village for the expense of preparing and filing the certified report with the Secretary of State.
C. 
Challenging report.
(1) 
A person named in a certified report filed pursuant to Subsection B may, within 21 days of the date of the notice sent by the Secretary of State pursuant to ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 6-306.5(b), file with the Code Administrator a written statement and supporting documentation to challenge the report; provided, however, the grounds for such challenge shall be limited to:
(a) 
The person not having been the owner or lessee of the vehicle or vehicles receiving 10 or more parking violation notices on the date or dates such notices were issued;
(b) 
The person having already paid the fine and penalty for the 10 or more violations indicated on the report; or
(c) 
The person not having accumulated 10 or more final determinations of parking violation liability.
(2) 
The Code Administrator shall send notice of the decision on the challenge to the report after receipt thereof.
D. 
If a person named in a certified report has paid the previously reported fine or penalty or if the report is determined by the Code Administrator to be in error, the Code Administrator shall notify the Secretary of State in accordance with ILCS Ch. 625, Act 5, § 6-306.5(d). A certified copy of such notification shall be given, upon request and at no charge, to the person named therein.
E. 
An administrative hearing to contest an impending suspension or suspension may be had upon filing a written request with the Secretary of State. Such hearing shall not be a forum to readjudicate the findings of fact and law issued by the Hearing Officer. The filing fee for this hearing shall be $20, to be paid at the time the request is made. The Village shall reimburse the Secretary of State for all reasonable costs incurred by the Secretary as a result of filing a certified report, including but not limited to the costs of providing the required notice and the costs incurred by the Secretary in any hearing conducted with respect to the report and any appeal from such a hearing. In the event the owner is found eligible for suspension, such owner shall reimburse the Village for all of the foregoing costs.