[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Ellington 10-7-2002, effective 11-2-2002; amended in its entirety by Town Meeting 12-9-2019. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby found and declared that it is desirable to adopt a citation hearing procedure in accordance with and under authority contained in Connecticut General Statutes § 7-152c in order to permit a local forum under which citizens may be heard in connection with citations that may be issued by municipal officials in connection with any municipal ordinance.
The following definitions shall apply in the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter:
- CITATION HEARING BOARD
- The Board of Selectmen shall constitute the Citation Hearing Board and shall conduct hearings pursuant to the rules set forth in this chapter and issue decisions in connection with citations for violation of any municipal ordinance. The Citation Hearing Board is hereafter referred to as the "Board."
- CITED PERSON
- The person, individual or business to whom or to which a notice of violation was issued by an official and whose act or conduct is the subject of a hearing pursuant to this chapter.
- Any notice required by this chapter shall be given and is sufficient if provided in one of the following forms:
- A. In-hand delivery by an agent designed by the Board of Selectmen.
- B. Certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the person cited at his last known address on file with the Tax Collector.
- C. Delivery by any commercial carrier and delivery service such as Fed Ex or UPS.
- D. A commercial process server, state marshal, police officer or constable.
- The municipal official charged with enforcing a municipal ordinance or regulation who issued the notice of violation or citation subject to a hearing pursuant to this chapter.
- Any ordinance, rule, regulation or policy adopted by the Town of Ellington or any of its boards, commissions or agencies proscribing specified actions or activities and which ordinance or rule, regulation or policy imposes a penalty or fine or requires specified action by the party charged.
Notice to cited person. At any time within 12 months from the expiration of the final period for the uncontested payment of any fine, penalty, cost or fees set forth in any citation issued under any municipal ordinance for an alleged violation thereof, the officer charged with such enforcement shall provide written notice to the cited person. Such notice shall inform the cited person:
Of the nature of the allegations against him which constitute a violation of a specific ordinance and the amount of fines, penalties, costs or fees due.
That he may contest his liability before the Board by delivering a written notice in person or by mail within 10 days of the date of such notice to the office of the First Selectman.
That if he does not demand such a hearing, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against him.
That such judgment may issue without further notice.
Admission of liability. If the cited person wishes to admit liability for an alleged violation, he may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fines, penalties, costs or fees set forth in the citation to the First Selectman's office either in person or by mail on or before the date required for the payment of the same as set forth in the notice of violation. Such payment shall be inadmissible in any proceeding, civil or criminal, to establish the conduct of such person. Any cited person who fails to pay the full amount of the fines or penalties within the time period provided for in the notice of violation and does not deliver or mail written demand for a hearing within 10 days of the date of the notice provided for in Subsection A above shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the designated official shall certify such person's failure to respond to the Board. The Board shall thereupon enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees provided for by the applicable ordinances and shall follow the procedures set forth in § 46-5A of this chapter.
Appeal by cited person. A cited person may at any time, but not later than 10 days following the date of a notice provided for in Subsection A above, appeal such notice of violation and the financial penalty imposed thereby by filing a notice of appeal in the office of the First Selectman, which notice shall include all of the following information:
Name, current mailing address, telephone number and FAX number, if any, of the cited person taking the appeal.
A copy of the notice of violation from which an appeal is being taken or sufficient identification of the notice for the First Selectman to identify the subject of the appeal, i.e., the date, place of violation, and name of the official issuing the notice of violation.
A statement of the facts or theories upon which the appeal is based and which the appellant would like the Board to consider.
Notice of hearing. The Board, through the office of the First Selectman, will give written notice of the date, time and place of the hearing to the cited person and official not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days prior to the hearing by any means considered by the First Selectman as adequate to give all parties notice of the hearing, including a notice delivered by confirmed FAX to the number given by all cited persons.
The Board shall grant, upon good cause shown, any reasonable request by an interested party for postponement or continuance of the hearing.
Since the primary purpose of the ordinances of the Town is to gain compliance with the purposes thereof, the Board, upon receipt of a request for additional time within which to remedy the state of facts which gave rise to the issuance of the citation, may continue the hearing for a reasonable amount of time to permit the cited person to accomplish that goal and may impose such additional conditions upon the continuance as the Board deems appropriate.
An original or certified copy of the initial notice of violation issued by the issuing official shall be filed and maintained by the First Selectman's office and shall be deemed to be a business record within the scope of § 52-180 of the Connecticut General Statutes and evidence of the facts contained therein. The presence of the issuing official shall be required at the hearing if the cited person so requests.
The cited person wishing to contest his liability shall appear at the hearing and may be represented by counsel and may present evidence in his behalf. If the cited person fails to appear, and such appearance has not been determined by the Board to be unnecessary (see Subsection F below), the Board may enter an assessment by default against him upon a finding of proper notice and liability under the applicable statutes or ordinances and shall thereafter follow the procedures set forth in § 46-5A of this chapter.
Any municipal official, other than a sitting member of the Board, may present evidence on behalf of the municipality.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection D, the Board may accept copies of police reports, investigatory and citation reports and other official documents delivered to it directly or by carrier from the cited person and may determine thereby that the appearance of the cited person at the hearing is unnecessary.
The Board shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and accept such methods of proof as it deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.
The Board shall announce its decision at the end of the hearing, and shall provide notice to the cited person and provide notice to the officer who issued the initial citation. If the Board determines that the cited person is not liable, it shall dismiss the matter and enter its determination in writing accordingly. If the Board determines that the cited person is liable for the violation, it shall forthwith enter and assess the fines, penalties, costs or fees against such person as provided by the applicable ordinances of the Town of Ellington and shall thereafter follow the procedures set forth in § 46-5A of this chapter.
If the assessment is not paid on the day of its entry, the Board shall give notice of the assessment to the cited person and shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such notice, a certified copy of the notice of assessment with the Clerk of the Superior Court for Geographical Area No. 19, together with such entry fee as may be required by the court. The certified copy of the notice of assessment shall constitute a record of assessment. Within such twelve-month period, assessments against the same cited person may be accrued and filed as one record of assessment. The Clerk shall enter judgment in the amount of such record of assessment and court costs against such cited person in favor of the Town of Ellington. Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Statutes, the Board's assessment, when so entered as a judgment, shall have the effect of a civil money judgment, and a levy of execution on such judgment may issue without further notice to such person.
A cited person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this section is entitled to judicial review by way of an appeal in the Superior Court. An appeal shall be instituted within 30 days of the issuance of notice of such an assessment by filing a petition to reopen assessment, together with an entry fee in an amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to § 52-259 of the Connecticut General Statutes, in the Superior Court for Geographical Area No. 19 which shall entitle such person to a hearing in accordance with the rules of the Judges of the Superior Court.
A cited person against whom an assessment has been entered shall be responsible for payment of all costs, including, but not limited to, reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred by the Board in the collection of said assessment.
If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof shall be held invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this chapter, or the application of such terms and provisions to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid or unenforceable, shall not be affected thereby, and each remaining term and provision hereof shall be deemed valid and shall be enforced to the fullest extent permitted by law.
The provisions of this chapter shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any and all provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and ordinances of the Town of Ellington.