The intent of this section is to authorize the recoupment of administrative costs reasonably related to the enforcement of this chapter. In furtherance of this intent the County shall be entitled to recover costs of enforcement, including costs of staff time, by complying with the following procedure:
- Records of Costs. Animal Services shall maintain records of all administrative costs incurred by Animal Services and all other responsible County Departments, in the processing of the violation or violations and the enforcement of this chapter and other applicable Ordinances and may recover such costs from the violator and/or property owner or property occupier as provided in this chapter.
- Notice. Upon investigation and determination that a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or other related county ordinances is found to exist, Animal Services and/or other County Department(s) shall notify the violator and/or record owner of the property, or any person having possession or control of the subject property, by mail of the existence of the violation, of the department's intent to charge the violator and/or property owner and/or person having possession or control of the property for all administrative costs associated with enforcement, and of the respondent's right to a hearing on objections thereto.
- Summary of Costs. At the conclusion of the case, the Animal Services Division shall send a summary of costs associated with enforcement to the violator and/or owner of the property and/or person having possession or control of the subject property by first class mail.
- Right to Administrative Review. Any violator or property owner, or other person having possession and control of the property, who receives a summary of costs under this section shall have the right to an Administrative Review before an Administrative Review Officer on his or her objections to the proposed costs in accordance with the procedures set forth herein.
- Request for Administrative Review. A Request for Administrative Review shall be filed with Animal Services Division within ten (10) calendar days of the service by first class mail of Animal Services' summary of costs, on a form provided by Animal Services. Within thirty (30) days of the filing of the request, and on ten (10) days' written notice to the violator and/or owner, the Administrative Review Officer shall hold a proceeding on the violator and/or owner's objections, and shall determine the validity thereof.
- Recovery of Costs. In the event that: (a) no request for Administrative Review is timely filed; or (b) after an Administrative Review the Administrative Review Officer affirms the validity of the costs; the violator, the property owner or the person in control and possession of the property shall be liable to the County in the amount stated in the summary of costs or any lesser amount as determined by the Administrative Review Officer. These costs shall be recoverable in a civil action in the name of the County, in any court of competent jurisdiction within the County.
- Administrative Review Officer's Decision. In determining the validity of the costs, the Administrative Review Officer shall consider whether the total costs as charged have been fairly and accurately calculated. Factors to be considered include whether the time and personnel spent in enforcement were reasonably necessary to bring about compliance and whether the rate charged is the current rate established by the County.
- Appeal. The decision of the Administrative Review Officer may be appealed by filing a written notice of appeal with the Director within ten (10) calendar days after service by mail on the violator, property owner, or other person having possession and control of the property, of the decision of the Administrative Review Officer. The appeal shall be heard by a Hearing Officer which may affirm, amend or reverse the decision and may take any other action deemed appropriate. The Department shall give written notice of the time and the place of the hearing to appellant. In conducting the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall not be limited by the technical rules of evidence.