Details for A Bill To Be Entitled A Bill
L1656 LEGAL NOTICE STATE OF ALABAMA COUNTIES OF DALE, HENRY, AND HOUSTON Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 106 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, that a bill substantially as follows will be introduced in the 2021 Regular Session by the Legislature of Alabama and application for its passage and enactment will be made: SYNOPSIS: This bill would provide an alternative procedure for any Class 5 municipality with a mayor/commission/city manager form of government to abate grass or weeds which become a nuisance and would provide for the assessment and collection of the costs of the abatement when the work is required to be performed by the municipality. A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT Relating to any Class 5 municipality with a mayor/commission/city manager form of government; to provide for the abatement of grass or weeds which become a nuisance under certain conditions; to provide for notice to the property owners; to provide for the assessment of the costs for abatement when the work is required to be performed by the municipalities; to provide for the collection by the municipality of the costs through the addition of the costs to ad valorem taxes and for enforcement by the county tax collecting official; and to provide for liens on the property under certain conditions. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA: Section 1. This Act shall only apply to a Class 5 municipality with a mayor/commission/city manager form of government. Section 2. (a) An abundance of overgrown grass or weeds within the municipality which is injurious to the general public health, safety, and general welfare by providing breeding grounds and shelter for rats, mice, snakes, mosquitoes, and other vermin, insects, and pests; or attaining heights and dryness so as to constitute a serious fire threat or hazard; or bearing wingy or downy seeds, when mature, that cause the spread of weeds and, when breathed, irritation to the throat, lungs, and eyes of the public; or hiding debris, such as broken glass or metal, which could inflict injury on a person going upon the property; or being unsightly; or a growth of grass or weeds, including plants of no value, undesirable, and usually of rank growth; or grass, shrubs, and undergrowth, other than ornamental plant growth, which exceeds 12 inches in height, are declared to be a public nuisance and abated as provided in this act. (b) This act shall not apply to any of the following: (1) Heavily wooded areas in their natural state which are undeveloped. (2) Farm properties. (3) Properties under current construction. Section 3. For the purposes of this act, the following words have the following meanings: (1) ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL. A person designated by the city manager to hear appeals for the purposes of this act, but the person may not be the same person as the enforcing official. (2) ENFORCING OFFICIAL. The municipal official or employee the city manager from time to time may designate. (3) TAX COLLECTING OFFICIAL. The county tax collector, county revenue commissioner, or other county ad valorem tax collecting official. Section 4. (a) Whenever in the opinion of the city official or any other city employee designated by the city manager, a nuisance exists, the enforcing official shall order the owner of the property on which the nuisance is located to abate the condition. (b) The enforcing official shall give the owner written notice in person or by first class mail. The notice shall apprise the owner of the facts of the alleged nuisance and require the condition be abated within the time stated in the notice or to request a hearing before an administrative official of the city designated by the city manager, to determine whether there has been a violation. (c) The notice shall be sent to that person shown by the records of the county to have been the last person assessed for payment of ad valorem tax on the property where the nuisance is situated. It shall be the responsibility of that person to promptly advise the enforcing official of a change of ownership or interest in the property. (d) The notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the property. (e) The notice shall require the owner to complete abatement of the nuisance within 10 days from the date of notice, provided the enforcing official may stipulate additional time, but in no case more than 28 days. (f) A property owner shall have five days in which to request a hearing before the administrative official to appeal the determination of the enforcing official. After the hearing, the enforcing official shall notify the owner by personal service or by first class mail of the determination of the administrative official. (g) At the hearing, any interested party shall have the right to present evidence and testimony. The hearing shall be open to the public, and a record of the proceedings shall be kept as a part of the public records of the municipality. (h) The administrative official shall render a written decision on the merits of the proposed abatement within five days of the conclusion of the hearing. The enforcing official shall notify the owner by personal service or by first class mail of the written determination of the administrative official. If the administrative official determines that a nuisance exists and should be abated, the written determination of the administrative official shall inform the owner that the owner must complete the abatement ordered by the enforcing official within 10 days of the date of the administrative official's decision, or upon such additional time, but in no case more than 28 days from the administrative official's determination. If the administrative official determines that a nuisance does not exist, then the enforcing official's notice to abate the nuisance will be null and void, but such determination shall not bar any subsequent notice concerning the same property. Section 5. (a) Any person aggrieved by the decision of the administrative official at the hearing, within 10 days, may appeal to the circuit court upon filing with the clerk of the court notice of the appeal and bond for security of costs in the form and amount to be approved by the circuit clerk. Upon filing of the notice of appeal and approval of the bond, the clerk of the court shall serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the clerk of the municipality and the appeal shall be docketed in the court and shall be a preferred case therein. The clerk of the municipality, upon receiving the notice, shall file with the clerk of the court a copy of the record, findings and determination of the administrative official in its proceedings. Any trials shall be held without jury upon the determination of the administrative official that the weeds are a public nuisance. (b) The circuit court shall not itself hear or accept any further evidence with respect to those issues made the basis of the appeal. The review shall be conducted by the court without a jury and shall be confined to the record. The findings of the administrative official, if supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive on appeal. If upon such appeal the court finds that the ruling appealed from is unlawful within the meaning of this Act, it shall have the power to vacate or modify the same. Section 6. (a) If the owner fails, neglects, or refuses to abate the nuisance, or the nuisance is not otherwise abated, (1) within the time permitted to do so as stated in the enforcing official's notice, where such notice was not suspended by the request for a hearing before the administrative official; or (2) within the time permitted to do so as stated in the administrative official's written determination, then the municipality may enter upon the property and abate the nuisance using its own forces, or it may provide by contract for the abatement. However, if an appeal has been taken to the circuit court as provided in Section 5, then the municipality may not abate the nuisance until the determination or judgment authorizing abatement becomes final as provided by law. (b) Upon completion of the abatement work performed by the municipality, including work by contractors employed by the municipality, the enforcing official shall compute the expenses of the municipality for the abatement of the nuisance, including, but not limited to, cost of labor, value of the use of the equipment, advertising expenses, postage, administrative expense, legal expense, and materials purchased which were incurred by the municipality as a result of the work. An itemized statement of the expenses shall be given by first class mail to the last known address of the owner of the property. This notice shall be sent at least five days in advance of the time fixed by the municipal council to consider the assessment of the cost against property. (c) At the time fixed for receiving and considering the statement, the municipal governing body shall hear the same, together with any objections which may be raised by the owner whose property is liable to be assessed for the expenses of the municipality for the abatement of the nuisance, and thereupon make modifications in the statement as deemed necessary, after which a resolution may assess the cost. The cost stated in the resolution shall constitute a lien on the property and shall be referred to as a weed lien on the property. A weed lien established pursuant to this act is subject to and subordinate to any mortgage or security interest recorded prior to the recordation of the weed lien. (d) A copy of the resolution shall be given to the county tax collecting official. It shall be the duty of the county tax collecting official to add the costs of the weed lien to the next regular bill for taxes levied against the property subject to the weed lien, and thereafter, the costs shall be collected and remitted to the municipality at the same time and in the same manner as ordinary municipal ad valorem taxes are collected, and shall be subject to the same penalties and the same procedure under foreclosure and sale in case of delinquency; provided, however, that if the foreclosure and sale is the result of a delinquency caused by a weed lien, the municipality shall reimburse the county tax collecting official for all costs associated with the foreclosure and sale unless the costs are collected at the time of sale as part of the sale. (e) The municipal clerk may also cause a certified copy of the resolution showing the weed lien to be filed for recording in the office of the judge of probate. Section 7. When a weed lien is made against a lot or lots or parcel or parcels of land, a subsequent redemption thereof by a person authorized to redeem, or sale thereof by the state, shall not operate to discharge, or in any manner affect the weed lien of the municipality, but a redemptioner or purchaser at a sale by the state of any lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land upon which a weed lien has been made, whether prior to or subsequent to a sale to the state for the nonpayment of taxes, shall take the same subject to the weed lien. Section 8. Upon payment of the weed lien, the city clerk shall notify the county tax collecting official and may file a notice of satisfaction of weed lien in the records of the probate court. Section 9. This act is cumulative in its nature and in addition to any and all power and authority which a municipality may have under any other law. Section 10. This act shall become effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor, or it's otherwise becoming law.