[Code 1979, § 1.111]
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- COST (when referring to the cost of any local public improvement)
- The cost of services, plans, condemnation, spreading of rolls, notices, advertising, financing, construction and legal fees and all other costs incident to the making of the improvement, the special assessments for the improvement and the financing of the improvement.
- LOCAL PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT
- Any public improvement which is of such a nature as to benefit especially any real property or properties within a district in the vicinity of such improvement.
[Code 1979, § 1.112]
The whole cost or any part thereof of any local public improvement may be defrayed by special assessment upon the lands specially benefited by the improvement in the manner provided in this chapter.
[Code 1979, § 1.113]
Proceedings for the making of local public improvements within the City, the tentative necessity thereof, and the determination that the whole or any part of the expense thereof shall be defrayed by special assessment upon the property especially benefited, provided that all special assessments levied shall be in proportion to the benefits derived from the improvements, may be commenced by resolution of the Council, with or without a petition.
[Code 1979, § 1.114]
Local public improvements may be initiated by petition signed by property owners whose aggregate property in the proposed district was assessed for not less than 60% of the total assessed value of the privately owned real property located therein, as shown by the last preceding general tax records of the City. Such petition shall contain a brief description of the property owned by the respective signatories thereof and if it shall appear that the petition is signed by at least 60% as aforesaid the Clerk shall certify it to the Council. The petition shall be addressed to the Council and filed with the Clerk and shall in no event be considered directory but is advisory only.
[Code 1979, § 1.115]
Before the Council shall consider the making of any local public improvement, it shall be referred by resolution to the City Manager directing him to cause a report to be prepared which shall include necessary plans, profiles, specifications and detailed estimates of cost, an estimate of the life of the improvement, a description of the assessment district or districts, and such other pertinent information as will permit the Council to decide the cost, extent and necessity of the improvement proposed and what part or proportion thereof should be paid by special assessments upon the property especially benefited and what part, if any, should be paid by the City at large. The Council shall not finally determine to proceed with the making of any local public improvement until such report of the City Manager has been filed, nor until after a public hearing has been held by the Council for the purpose of hearing objections to the making of the improvement.
[Code 1979, § 1.116]
After the City Manager has presented the report required in § 66-5 for making any local public improvement as requested in the resolution of the Council, and the Council has reviewed the report, a resolution may be passed tentatively determining the necessity of the improvement; setting forth the nature of the improvement; prescribing what part or proportion of the cost of the improvement shall be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefited, determination of benefits received by affected properties, and what part, if any, shall be paid by the City at large; designating the limits of the special assessment district to be affected; designating whether to be assessed according to frontage or other benefits; placing the complete information on file in the office of the City Clerk, where it may be found for examination; and directing the City Clerk to give notice of public hearing on the proposed improvement, at which time and place opportunity will be given interested persons to be heard.
The notice of the hearing shall be given by one publication in a newspaper published or circulated within the City and by first class mail addressed to each owner of or person in interest in property to be assessed as shown by the last general tax assessment roll of the City, the publication and mailing to be made at least 10 full days prior to the date of the hearing. The hearing required by this section may be held at any regular adjourned, or special meeting of the Council. The notice shall include a statement that appearance and protest at the hearing in the special assessment proceedings is required in order to appeal the amount of the special assessment to the state tax tribunal, and that an owner or party in interest, or his agent, may appear in person at the hearing to protest the special assessment or may file his appearance or protest by letter and his personal appearance shall not be required. The notice shall further include a statement that the owner or any party having an interest in the real property may file a written appeal of the special assessment with the state tax tribunal within 30 days after the confirmation of the special assessment roll if that special assessment was protested at the hearing held for the purpose of confirming the roll.
[Code 1979, § 1.117]
At the public hearing on the proposed improvement, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard, after which the Council may modify the scope of the local public improvement in such a manner as it shall deem to be in the best interest of the City as a whole; provided, that if the amount of work is increased or additions are made to the district, then another hearing shall be held pursuant to notice prescribed in § 66-6. If the determination of the Council shall be to proceed with the improvement, a resolution shall be passed approving the necessary profiles, plans, specifications, assessment district and detailed estimates of cost, and directing the Assessor to prepare a special assessment roll in accordance with the Council's determination and report it to the Council for confirmation.
[Code 1979, § 1.118]
No deviation from original plans or specifications as adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be permitted by any officer or employee of the City without authority of the Council by resolution. A copy of the resolution authorizing such changes or deviation shall be certified by the City Clerk and attached to the original plans and specifications on file in his office.
[Code 1979, § 1.119]
The Council shall specify the provisions and procedures for financing a local public improvement. No contract or expenditure, except for the cost of preparing necessary profiles, plans, specifications and estimates of cost, shall be made for the improvement, nor shall any improvement be commenced until the special assessment roll to defray the costs of the improvement have been made and confirmed.
[Code 1979, § 1.120]
The Assessor shall make a special assessment roll of all lots and parcels of land within the designated district benefited by the proposed improvement and assess to each lot or parcel of land the proportionate amount benefited thereby. The amount spread in each case shall be based upon the detailed estimate of the City Manager as approved by the Council.
[Code 1979, § 1.121]
When the Assessor shall have completed the special assessment roll he shall file it with the City Clerk for presentation to the Council for review and certification by it.
[Code 1979, § 1.122]
Upon receipt of the special assessment roll the Council, by resolution, shall accept the assessment roll and order it to be filed in the office of the City Clerk for public examination, shall fix the time and place the Council will meet to review such special assessment roll and direct the City Clerk to give notice of a public hearing for the purpose of affording an opportunity for interested persons to be heard. Such notice shall be given by one publication in a newspaper published or circulated within the City and by first class mail addressed to each owner of or person in interest in property to be assessed as shown by the last general tax assessment roll of the City, the publication and mailing to be made at least 10 full days prior to the date of the hearing. The hearing required by this section may be held at any regular, adjourned or special meeting of the Council. At this meeting, all interested persons or parties shall present in writing their objections, if any, to the assessments against them. The Assessor shall be present at every meeting of the Council at which a special assessment is to be reviewed.
[Code 1979, § 1.123]
The Council shall meet at the time and place designated for the review of the special assessment roll, and at such meeting, or a proper adjournment thereof, shall consider all objections to the roll submitted in writing. The Council may correct the roll as to any special assessment or description of any lot or parcel of land or other errors appearing therein; or it may, by resolution, annul the assessment roll and direct that new proceedings be instituted. The same proceedings shall be followed in making a new roll as in the making of the original roll. If, after hearing all objections and making a record of such changes as the Council deems justified the Council determines that it is satisfied with the special assessment roll and that assessments are in proportion to benefits received, it shall thereupon pass a resolution reciting such determinations, confirming the roll, placing it on file in the office of the City Clerk and directing the City Clerk to attach his warrant to a certified copy thereof within 10 days, therein commanding the Assessor to spread and the treasurer to collect the various sums and amounts appearing on the roll as directed by the Council. The roll shall have the date of confirmation endorsed thereon and shall from that date be final and conclusive for the purpose of the improvement to which it applies, subject only to adjustment to conform to the actual cost of the improvement, as provided in § 66-19.
[Code 1979, § 1.124]
If at or prior to the final confirmation of any special assessments, more than 50% of the number of owners of privately owned real property to be assessed for an improvement, or in the case of paving or similar improvements more than 50% of the number of owners of frontage to be assessed for any such improvement, shall object in writing to the proposed improvement, the improvement shall not be made by proceedings delineated by this chapter without a five-sixths vote of the members elect of the Council; provided, that this section shall not apply to sidewalk construction.
[Code 1979, § 1.125]
All special assessments, except such installments as the Council shall make payable at a future time as provided in this chapter, shall be due and payable upon confirmation of the special assessment roll.
[Code 1979, § 1.126]
The Council may provide for the payment of special assessments in annual installments. Such annual installments shall not exceed 30 in number, the first installment being due upon confirmation of the roll or on such date as the Council may determine and deferred installments being due annually thereafter or, in the discretion of the Council, may be spread upon and made a part of each annual City tax roll thereafter until all are paid. Interest shall be charged on all deferred installments at a rate not to exceed 7% per annum, commencing on the due date of the first installment and payable on the due date of each subsequent installment; the full amount of all or any deferred installments, with interest accrued thereon to the date of payment, may be paid in advance of the due dates thereof. If the full assessment or the first installment thereof shall be due upon confirmation, each property owner shall have 60 days from the date of confirmation to pay the full amount of the assessment, or the full amount of any installments, without interest or penalty. Following the sixty-day period, the assessment or first installment shall, if unpaid, be considered as delinquent and the same penalties shall be collected on such unpaid assessments or first installments as are provided in the Charter to be collected on delinquent general City taxes. Deferred installments shall be collected without penalty until 60 days after the due date, after which time such installments shall be considered as delinquent and the penalties on the installments shall be collected as are provided in the Charter to be collected on delinquent general City taxes. After the Council has confirmed the roll, the City Treasurer shall notify by mail each property owner on the roll that the roll has been filed, stating the amount assessed and the terms of payment. Failure on the part of the City Treasurer to give the notice or of such owner to receive the notice shall not invalidate any special assessment roll of the City or any assessment thereon, nor excuse the payment of interest or penalties.
[Code 1979, § 1.127]
Any assessment, or part thereof, remaining unpaid on the first Monday of March following the date when it became delinquent shall be reported as unpaid by the treasurer to the Council. Any such delinquent assessment, together with all accrued interest, shall be transferred and reassessed on the next annual City tax roll in a column headed "Special Assessments" with a penalty of 4% upon the total amount added thereto, and when so transferred and reassessed upon the tax roll shall be collected in all respects as provided for the collection of City taxes.
[Code 1979, § 1.128]
Special assessments and all interest, penalties and charges thereon from the date of confirmation of the roll shall become a debt to the City from the persons to whom they are assessed, and, until paid, shall be and remain a lien upon the property assessed, of the same character and effect as the lien created by general law for state and county taxes and by the Charter for City taxes, and the lands upon which they are a lien shall be subject to sale therefor the same as are lands upon which delinquent City taxes constitute a lien.
[Code 1979, § 1.129]
The City Clerk shall, within 60 days after the completion of each local or special public improvement, compile the actual cost of the improvement and certify the cost to the Assessor who shall adjust the special assessment roll to correspond therewith. Should the assessment prove larger than necessary by 5% or less, it shall be reported to the Council which may place the excess in the City treasury or make a refund thereof pro rata according to the assessment. If the assessment exceeds the amount necessary by more than 5%, the entire excess shall be credited to owners of property as shown by the City assessment roll upon which the assessment has been levied, pro rata according to the assessment; provided, however, that no refunds of special assessments may be made which impair or contravene the provision of any outstanding obligation or bond secured in whole or part by such special assessments. When any special assessment roll shall prove insufficient to meet the cost of the improvement for which it was made, the Council may make an additional pro rata assessment, but the total amount assessed against any one parcel of land shall not exceed the benefits received by the lot or parcel of land.
[Code 1979, § 1.130]
In any case where the provisions of this chapter may prove to be insufficient to carry out fully the making of any special assessment, the Council shall provide by ordinance any additional steps or procedures required.
[Code 1979, § 1.12]
Pursuant to § 7.8 of the Charter, when any expense shall have been incurred by the City upon or in respect to any single premises, which expense is chargeable against the premises and the owner of the premises under the provisions of this Code and is not of that class required to be prorated among the several lots and parcels of land in a special assessment district, an account of the labor, material and service for which such expense was incurred, with a description of the premises upon or in respect to which the expense was incurred, and the name of the owner, if known, shall be reported to the treasurer, who shall immediately charge and bill the owner, if known. The treasurer at the end of each quarter shall report to the City Council all sums so owing to the City and which have not been paid within 30 days after the mailing of the bill therefor. The Council shall, at such times as it may deem advisable, direct the Assessor to prepare a special assessment roll covering all such charges reported to it together with a penalty of 10%. Such roll shall be filed with the Clerk, who shall advise the Council of the filing, and the Council shall thereupon set a date for the hearing of objections to the assessment roll. The assessment roll shall be open to public inspection for a period of seven days before the Council shall meet to review the roll and hear complaints. The City Clerk shall give notice in advance by publication of the opening of the roll to public inspection and of the meeting of the Council to hear complaints and shall also give like notice to the owners of the property affected by first class mail at their addresses as shown on the current general assessment roll of the City, at least 10 days prior to the date of the hearing. Such special assessments and all interest and charges thereon shall, from the date of confirmation of the roll, be and remain a lien upon the property assessed, of the same character and effect as a lien created by general law for state and county taxes, until paid. The same penalty and interest shall be paid on such assessments, when delinquent from such date after confirmation as shall be fixed by the Council, as are provided by the Charter to be paid on delinquent general City taxes and such assessments, which penalties and interest, shall be added by the treasurer to the next general City tax roll or general county and school tax roll, as shall be convenient, and shall thereafter be collected and returned in the same manner as general City taxes.
[Code 1979, § 1.139]
Bonds issued in anticipation of the collection of special assessments and general obligation bonds evidencing the City's share of the cost of any local public improvement may be authorized by resolution of the City Council.
[Code 1979, § 1.131]
If bonds are issued in anticipation of the collection of special assessments as provided in this chapter, all collections on each special assessment roll or combination of rolls shall be set in a separate fund for the payment of the principal and interest on the bonds so issued in anticipation of the payment of the special assessments, and shall be used for no other purpose.
[Code 1979, § 1.132]
Moneys raised by special assessment to pay the cost of any local improvements shall be held in a special fund to pay such cost or to repay any money borrowed therefor. Each special assessment account must be used only for the improvement project for which the assessment was levied, expenses incidental thereto, including the repayment of the principal and interest on money borrowed therefor, and to refund excessive assessments, if refunds are authorized.
[Code 1979, § 1.133]
No suit or action of any kind shall be constituted or maintained for the purpose of contesting or enjoining the collection of any special assessment unless within 30 days after the confirmation of the special assessment roll written notice is given to the Council of intention to file such suit or action, stating the grounds on which it is claimed such assessment is illegal, and unless such suit or action shall be commenced within 60 days after confirmation of the roll.
[Code 1979, § 1.134]
Whenever the Council shall deem any special assessment invalid or defective for any reason whatever, or if any court of competent jurisdiction shall have adjudged the assessment to be illegal for any reason whatever, in whole or in part, the Council shall have power to cause a new assessment to be made for the same purpose for which the former assessment was made, whether the improvement or any part thereof has been completed and whether any part of the assessment has been collected or not. All proceedings on such reassessment and for the collection of it shall be made in the manner as provided for the original assessment. If any portion of the original assessment shall have been collected and not refunded, it shall be applied upon the reassessment and the reassessment shall to that extent be deemed satisfied. If more than the amount reassessed shall have been collected, the balance shall be refunded to the person making such payment.
[Code 1979, § 1.135]
The Council may combine several districts into one project for the purpose of effecting a saving in the costs; provided, however, that for each district there shall be established separate funds and accounts to cover the cost of the project.
[Code 1979, § 1.136]
The Council may provide for the deferred payment of special assessments from persons who, in the opinion of the Council and Assessor, by reason of poverty are unable to contribute toward the cost. In all such cases, as a condition to the granting of such deferred payments, the City shall require mortgage security on the real property of the beneficiary payable on or before his death or, in any event, on the sale or transfer of the property.
[Code 1979, § 1.137]
If the Council shall fail to make any public improvement petitioned for under the provisions of § 66-4 during the calendar year during which any petition is filed, the petition shall be reconsidered by the Council prior to March 1 of the succeeding calendar year for the purpose of determining whether the improvement should be made during such calendar year.
[Code 1979, § 1.138]
When any lot, building or structure within the City, because of the accumulation of refuse or debris, the uncontrolled growing of weeds, or age or dilapidation, or because of any other condition or happening, becomes, in the opinion of the Council, a public hazard or nuisance which is dangerous to the health or safety of the inhabitants of the City or those of them residing or habitually going near such lot, building or structure, the Council may, after investigation, give notice to the owner of the land upon which such hazard or nuisance exists, or the owner of the building or structure itself, specifying the nature of the hazard or nuisance, and requiring the owner to alter, repair, tear down or remove it promptly and within a time to be specified by the Council, which shall be commensurate with the nature of the hazard or nuisance. If, at the expiration of the time limit in the notice, the owner has not complied with the requirements of the notice, or in any case where the owner of the land or of the building or structure itself is not known, the Council may order such a hazard or nuisance abated by the proper department or agency of the City which is qualified to do the work required, and the costs of such abatement assessed against the lot, premises or description of real property upon which the hazard or nuisance was located.