Relating to the City of Decatur; to provide for the abatement of grass and 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 city; and to provide for liens on the property under certain conditions.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of Alabama:
This act shall apply only in the City of Decatur.
An abundance of overgrown grass or weeds within the city 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 and hazard; or bearing wingy or downy seeds, when mature, that cause the spread of weeds and, when breathed, irritation of 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 growth of grass or weeds, other than ornamental plant growth, which exceeds 12 inches in height, may be declared to be a public nuisance and abated as provided in this act.
(a) Whenever in the opinion of the city official or any other city employee designated by the mayor, a nuisance exists, the 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 require the owner to abate the condition within the time stated in the notice or to request a hearing before an administrative official of the city designated by the mayor or council to determine whether there has been a violation. The notice shall apprise the owner of the facts of the alleged nuisance and shall name the particular date, time, and place for the hearing if requested by the owner.
(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 14 days from the date of notice, provided the enforcing official may stipulate additional time, but in no case more than 28 days.
(f) A hearing before the administrative official shall be requested within five days of the date of the notice by the enforcing official. The enforcing official shall notify the owner by personal service or by first class mail of the determination of the administrative official. If the administrative official determines that a nuisance exists, the owner shall comply with the initial order to abate issued by the enforcing official, with modifications as may be made by the administrative official.
(a) If the owner fails, neglects, or refuses to abate the condition after notice to do so, the enforcing official shall cause the offending grass or weeds to be cut.
(b) Upon completion of the abatement work performed by the city, including work by contractors employed by the city, the enforcing official shall compute the actual expenses, including, but not limited to, total wages paid, value of the use of equipment, advertising expenses, postage, and materials purchased, which were incurred by the city 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 city council to consider the assessment of the cost against property.
(c) At the time fixed for receiving and considering the statement, the council shall hear the same, together with any objections which may be raised by the owner whose property is liable to be assessed for the work and thereupon make modifications in the statement as they deem necessary, after which a resolution may assess the cost. The cost stated in the resolution shall constitute a lien on the property. The city clerk shall charge the assessments against the respective lots and parcels of land for municipal purposes. Thereafter, the amounts shall be collected at the same time and in the same manner as ordinary municipal assessments are collected, and shall be subject to the same penalties and the same procedure under foreclosure and sale in case of delinquency as provided for ordinary municipal assessments.
(d) The city clerk shall cause a certified copy of the resolution assessing the cost of abatement to be filed for recording in the office of the judge of probate and shall forward a copy to the county tax collector. Upon a filing the tax collector shall add the amount of the lien to the ad valorem tax bill on the property and shall collect the amount as if it were a tax, using all methods available for collecting ad valorem tax, and remit the amount to the city.
Where an assessment 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 lien of the city for the assessment, but a redemptioner or purchaser at a sale by the state of any lot or lots, parcel or parcels of land upon which an assessment has been levied, whether prior to or subsequent to a sale to the state for the nonpayment of taxes, shall take the same subject to the assessment.
This act is cumulative in its nature and in addition to any and all power and authority which a city may have under any other law.
The provisions of this act are severable. If any part of this act is declared invalid or unconstitutional, that declaration shall not affect the part, which remains.
All laws or parts of laws which conflict with this act are repealed.
This act shall become effective immediately upon its passage and approval by the Governor, or upon its otherwise becoming a law.