Some CCIPRA work on the Hazard Abatement Ordinance



A look at the final version of changes to the Hazard Abatement Ordinance, dated May 12, 2010.


CCIPRA's view of remaining issues in the Hazard Abatement Ordinance (HAO)

The County's recent drafts of the HAO have been confusing.  In late March, a draft was posted for the April Commission meeting; but about a week before that meeting, a different draft was posted; and recently another changed draft was posted -- all without any specific acknowledgment of changes.  It took a while to unravel the confusion.  Even deputy county attorney Ambrose didn't see the problem before having a conversation about it.

However, as to the substance of the proposed changes, comments have gone to Ambrose, but no discussion has come back.  A two-way dialogue before this meeting would have been helpful.

The discussion below quotes what appears to be the latest draft of the HAO, and adds NOTES about citizens' concerns.

PART I:  DEFINITIONS

5.  "Days" means calendar days unless otherwise noted.
--NOTE, "days" should mean "business days," especially when a deadline is short.

6.  "Dilapidated Building" means any building [whose] strength or stability is substantially less than a new building ....
--NOTE, old buildings are often substantially weaker than new buildings, so "substantially less than a new building" gives very broad discretion to an inspector.  Attorney Ambrose says that phrase is required by law, but this writer hasn't found that statute.  In this case, more openness by the County before this meeting would have been appropriate.

14.  "Public nuisance" means [trash] that constitutes a hazard ... as determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer.
--NOTE, Should add "or by a hearing if one is requested."

PART II:  VIOLATION OF ORDINANCE ...

A.  A person ... shall have created a public nuisance ... if such person ... without lawful authority and in a manner that constitutes a hazard to public health and safety ... 2. ... permits ... rubbish [etc.] to remain upon contiguous sidewalks, streets and alleys ....
--NOTE 1, in Cochise County, many people dump obnoxious trash alongside unwatched roads.  This is not a property owner's fault, and owners should not have to pay to clean up trash left by people without their permission.
--NOTE 2, the word "permits" sounds like a property owner has a duty to resist anyone dumping near his property.  This might lead to armed confrontations.

B.  A person ... shall ... abate a public nuisance ... within 30 days after mailing or personal service of a Notice and Order ....
--NOTE, Mail dropped into the outbox on Friday may not be postmarked until Monday.  When action is required within a set time after mailing, the clock should start on the postmark date.

D.  The Notice and Order to Abate shall include ...

2.  A statement that the Hazard Abatement Officer has determined that there is a reasonable belief that a violation ... has occurred ....
--NOTE, should the belief meet a higher test than "reasonable"?

4.  A statement that rubbish, trash, weeds, filth debris ... must be disposed of [by] legal means and ... evidence of legal disposal is to be submitted ....
--NOTE 1, A comma is needed between the words "filth debris".
--NOTE 2, If the trash is disposed of at home, e.g. by burning, what is acceptable "evidence of legal disposal"?

7.  A statement that the owner, occupant or lessee shall have fifteen (15) days from the post mark date ... to appeal ....
--NOTE, 15 days may not be enough notice for someone away or in the hospital; how about 30 days?

E.    Any person receiving a Notice and Order ... may appeal ....

1.    Notice of Appeal.  A written Notice of Appeal shall be filed ... within fifteen (15) days ....
--NOTE, 15 days may not be enough; how about 30?

3.    ... the Board shall, within a reasonable time, place the matter on the agenda [or] refer the appeal to the hearing officer....  The hearing shall be informal and without regard to the rules of procedure or evidence governing court proceedings.  The Board shall decide the appeal, and its decision shall be final.
--NOTE 1, CCIPRA much prefers the BOS to conduct hearings.
--NOTE 2, If the Board doesn't hear the case within the 30 days, is the person noncompliant?
--NOTE 3, does "decision shall be final" imply no appeal?
--NOTE 4, several specific guarantees from existing 603 are gone:
-- -- 603(c), Hearsay evidence ... shall not be sufficient in itself to support a finding unless it would be admissible ... in ... courts ....
-- -- 603(d), Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if it is the type of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in ... serious affairs ...
-- -- 1987 Sec. 603(f) lists rights of each party, including "To call and examine witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues" and "impeach any witness ...."
Every specific guarantee already stated should remain stated.

4.    If the Board's decision is adverse to the appellant, the date of compliance ... shall be extended by the number of days elapsed between the filing of [an] Appeal and the rendering of the Board's decision.
--NOTE, is this intended as an automatic stay?

F.    Removal by Board....
1.    The costs ... for removal or abatement shall not exceed the actual costs and incidental expenses thereof....
--NOTE, It's good that the illegal 5-10% surcharges are gone, but how will "incidental expenses" be set and monitored?

H.    Notice of Assessment....
NOTICE:  ... FORCECLOSE THE LIEN ...
--NOTE, "FORCECLOSE" should STILL become "FORECLOSE."

The Notice of Assessment shall indicate that the owner, lessee or occupant shall have fifteen (15) days ... to appeal".
--NOTE, why not 30 days?

K.    Upon receipt of the Notice of Appeal of Assessment, the Board shall ... place the matter on the agenda at a regular meeting or ... refer the appeal to the hearing officer....  The decision of the Board ... shall be final.
--NOTE 1, CCIPRA remains opposed to using a hearing officer instead of the Board Of Supervisors.
--NOTE 2, no appeal to a court?

P.    ... the Board may ... appoint a hearing officer to review appeals of Notices ....
--NOTE, CCIPRA strongly prefers that the BOS not delegate its duties as a hearing board.  One reason is exemplified by the hearing about Rev. Harter and Miracle Valley; no matter what you think about the merits, the hearing itself was procedurally unfair.  The Supervisors should hear cases, because it's the county that profits from any fees and fines.  An appointed Hearing Officer can dodge the consequences of being unfair, but the three elected Board members can't.  Also, if a Hearing Officer is used, where's the provision for a careful Board review, with every participating Supervisor required to read the entire transcript, listen to all of the audio recording, etc.?



A look at the situation just before the final set of proposed changes

Important differences between Cochise County's 1987 Hazard Abatement Ordinance, and the draft proposed in December 2009

After the comparisons in Part I below, Part II mentions a few sections that have disappeared but should reappear.

If you find any errors, please email me at
    mpj@vtc.net


I.  SECTION-BY-SECTION COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE 1987 ORDINANCE AND THE DECEMBER 2009 DRAFT

102(a)
    1987, It is the purpose of this ordinance to provide a ... method ... whereby any rubbish, trash, weeds, filth, debris or damaged and dilapidated buildings which constitute a hazard to public health and safety may be compelled to be removed ....
    DRAFT, "... weeds (as narrowly defined under this ordinance)"
    COMMENTS:
    The narrow definition is in section 201:  "Any vegetation that impedes emergency vehicle access, constitutes a fire hazard, or interferes with the line of sight of vehicles on roadways."
    At the P&Z Commission meeting on 12/9, the Department said it would generally NOT police weeds that blocked a driver's view on a state right of way; at most, it would supposedly cut such weeds as a "favor."  This section needs to be rewritten to accurately reflect the Department's purpose.

102(b)
    1987, "The provisions of this ordinance shall apply to all hazardous conditions ...."
    DRAFT, adds "It is enacted pursuant to authority granted by A.R.S. 11-268" and "Commentaries contained herein are intended as a guide to interpreting and carrying out the text of this ordinance."

201 (Definitions)

    1987, "Debris":  The definition of debris in addition to its ordinary accepted meaning shall include accumulations of combustible or flammable materials which are determined by the hazard abatement officer to constitute a hazard to public health or safety.
    DRAFT, "Accumulations of combustible or flammable materials which are determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer to constitute a hazard to public health or safety."
    COMMENT, Wherever action is allowed based solely on a determination by the Hazard Abatement Officer, the language should be changed to clarify that the HAO's "determination" cannot settle any issue in a lawsuit or appeal.

    DRAFT, "Dilapidated Building":  Any building in such disrepair, or damaged to such an extent, that its strength or stability is substantially less than a new building, or that is likely to burn or collapse, and the condition of which endangers the life, health safety, or property of the public as determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer.
    COMMENT, Many old barns, sheds, etc., are substantially less strong or stable than a new structure, but still perfectly useful and safe.  To except such buildings, the definition could read "Any building in such disrepair, or damaged to such an extent, that it is likely to burn or collapse, and the condition of which endangers the life, health safety, or property of the public as determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer."

    DRAFT, "Public Nuisance":  A dilapidated building or an accumulation of rubbish, trash, weeds, filth, or debris that constitutes a hazard to the public health and safety as determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer.
    COMMENT, Should read "as determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer or a hearing if one is requested."

    DRAFT, "Wildcat dumping":  The unauthorized placement, or transportation for placement, by any person, firm or corporation, of any rubbish, trash, weeds, filth or debris upon any private or public property located in the unincorporated areas of the County not owned or under the control of that person, firm or corporation.
    COMMENTS:
    The builders' clique wants to make the word "wildcat" pejorative in general.  To avoid pandering to that clique, this title should be changed to "Illegal dumping".
    In fact, the only draft section whose TEXT (not just title) used the term "wildcat" dumping has been removed, so there is now no need for this definition at all.

302 is entitled "WILDCAT DUMPING".
    COMMENT, Section 302's title (but NOT its text) uses the term "wildcat."  The contents of the section are fine, but the title panders to the builders' clique which wants to establish "wildcat" as a general insult.  The title should be changed to "ILLEGAL DUMPING."

401
    DRAFT, "... a dilapated and dangerous building ...."
    COMMENT, The first use of the word "dilapidated" in this section has, since 1987, read "dilapated."  The Department has ignored this in all four versions of the 2009 rewrite.  That's embarrassing.  Now, shall we take the time to fix it?

403
    1987, If, after notice, and after the specified date of compliance, the owner, occupant or lessee fails to remove the rubbish, trash, weeds, filth, debris or dilapidated and dangerous building, and abate the conditions which constitute a hazard to public health and safety, the County may, at the expense of the owner, occupant or lessee, remove or cause removal of such trash ....  The cost to be charged for such removal will be the actual cost of removal or abatement, including a five percent (5%) charge for additional inspection and incidental costs.
    DRAFT, "... the County may, at the expense of the owner, occupant or lessee, remove or cause removal of such trash ...; however, if such removal or abatement is not undertaken within 180 days after the right to do so first accrues, a new Notice of Violation shall be served as provided in Section 402.  The cost to be charged for such removal will be the actual cost of removal or abatement, including a ten percent (10%) charge for additional inspection and incidental costs.  Said cost, if imposed against an owner of said real property, shall, if not paid within 30 days or timely appealed pursuant to Chapter 5 of this ordinance, constitute an assessment against the property upon recording thereof with the County Recorder."
    COMMENTS:
    The County should not be allowed to charge a landowner for hypothetical charges which will probably never actually be incurred.  This charge is pure pickpocketing.
    In fact, if the County removes the trash etc., the County knows what work it did, and what possible reason is there for the County to re-inspect its own work?
    The "cost" of the work may be a bill from a contractor hired by the county; such a bill must include a profit; but the county could not include such profit in its own cost; therefore an assessment may be more than the cost, although state law does not allow the county to recover more than its cost.
    In Cochise County, many transients dump incredibly obnoxious trash -- cigarette butts, empty oil containers, used baby diapers -- alongside any convenient and unwatched road.  This is not the fault of the property owner, it is a burden laid on every citizen of the county for living in such an attractive area.  Many individuals, families, or organizations "adopt" a stretch of road for cleanup.  Outside of that system, many citizens spend a good deal of their own time and money cleaning up such trash.  Without proof that a person dumped trash outside his own property, he should not have to pay for its cleanup.

404(b):  The cost of such work may be made a special assessment against the property involved as in the manner set forth in Section 703 through 709 of this ordinance, or may be made a personal obligation of the property owner, occupant or lessee, whichever the Board of Appeals shall determine is appropriate.  If made a special assessment, said assessment shall ... be a lien on the lot or tract of land until paid.
    COMMENTS:
    What is the legal basis for the Board to create "a personal obligation" on the part of a renter or owner -- of anyone?
    The power to decide whether to place a lien on property, or to lay a personal debt on a citizen, is suspect.
    What is the legal basis for converting an assessment against a renter into a lien on the property?
    One citizen comments "I can not see how they can make this a personal debt, it should be a lien on the property. Then it would be up to the property owner to assess the renter or take the renter to court."

504
    1987, Enforcement of any notice and order of the hazard abatement officer issued under this code shall be stayed during the pendency of an appeal therefrom ....
    DRAFT, Enforcement of any notice or determination that is under appeal shall be stayed during the pendency of the appeal ... unless it is determined by the Hazard Abatement Officer that the condition poses an immediate danger to life, limb, property or safety of the public or of an adjacent property.
    COMMENTS:
    In America, we don't let people who issue orders decide whether or not the orders will be enforced while you appeal them.  By definition, the person who issues orders has already decided that they are right -- and that person cannot be an impartial decider of whether his own orders should be enforced during an appeal from them.  The 1987 wording is fine.
    At the December P&Z Commission meeting, the Department argued that the HAO should decide whether there should be a stay, because an incident might involve hazardous material that needs to be dealt with immediately.  The Department's argument has no basis in reality.  In an incident where hazardous materials are involved, Haz-Mat teams will be called in to take immediate action.  Cochise County fire departments staff a joint Hazardous Materials Response Team of certified technicians, with specialized equipment and supplies of all kinds, to stabilize and contain a haz-mat emergency.  All local Haz-Mat teams have agreed to cover each other's district as needed.  Fire districts and law enforcement agencies will also be involved in any emergency, and there is a County Emergency Manager for overall coordination.  In an emergency, the HAO could do nothing except interfere with people who know what they are doing.  The Department's argument about the HAO needing special emergency powers is surreal.

505
    DRAFT, The Board of Supervisors, sitting as a Board of Appeals, shall have the discretion at any time to delegate the hearing of any appeal brought pursuant to this Ordinance to a duly appointed hearing examiner ....
    COMMENTS:
    This section essentially nullifies the right to have the Supervisors hear an appeal.  Section 505 is an attempt to cheat the people out of a hearing by three elected public servants, and relegate people to a hearing by one appointee of unknown qualifications, training, interests, history, and personality, with no way for a citizen to object to the appointment of any particular hearing examiner.  Section 505 should be deleted.
    At the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting on December 9, 2009, the Department and its attorney said that the Department has no plans to implement Section 505, and that this language was for "down the road" in the indefinite future.  If the Department has no plans on using a hearing examiner in the near future, then this section should be deleted.
    Of course, if 505 is passed, the Board, not the Department, will decide whether to use Section 505, so the Department's assurances are meaningless.  Meaningless assurances generate suspicion.

601(b)
    1987, The proceedings at the hearing shall also be reported by a phonographic reporter if requested by any party thereto.  A transcript of the proceedings shall be made available to all parties upon request and upon payment of the fee prescribed therefore.  Such fees may be established by the Board, but shall in no event be greater than the cost involved.
    DRAFT, The proceedings at the hearing shall also be recorded if requested by any party thereto.  A transcript of the proceedings shall be made available by the Clerk of the Board to any party upon request and upon payment in advance of the estimated cost of transcription and copying.  Upon completion of transcripts, the actual cost of preparation shall be determined and, if more than the estimated cost, the requesting party shall pay the balance due prior to receiving the completed transcript; if the actual cost is less than the estimated cost, the balance shall be refunded to the requesting party.  If one party orders a transcript of proceedings, other parties may obtain additional copies of trial transcript for the reasonable cost of copying, as established by the Clerk of the Board.
    COMMENTS
    An elaborate procedure for paying for a transcript.  The procedure is the way the system works in many courts, but that is because court reporters often are, or work for, private businesses, and they make sure they don't work without pay.  There is no apparent reason why the procedure should be codified in such detail here.
    All proceedings should be recorded, without the necessity for a request by anyone.  If anyone wants a transcript, payment terms can be settled with the Court Reporter who will prepare a transcript.
    In courts, parties may have the right to examine transcripts (especially of statements made outside of trial proper, for instance of depositions as part of discovery) for accuracy, and to make corrections.  Consideration should be given to setting up such procedures for transcripts at these hearings, too.

602
    1987, "You are hereby notified that a hearing will be held ....  You may be, but need not be, represented by counsel...."
    DRAFT, "You are hereby notified that a hearing will be held before the Board Of Appeals at (or before a Hearing Examiner) ....  You may be, but need not be, represented by counsel.  If you are going to be represented by counsel, written notice of that representation must be filed with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors at least five business days prior to the hearing...."
    COMMENT, The statement "you may be, but need not be, represented by counsel" is ambiguous.  It means to say that a person has a choice about whether or not to hire an attorney, but it gives the impression that a person may not actually need an attorney at all.  The County shouldn't give that impression.  The sentence would be more accurate if shorter, along the lines of "It's your choice whether to have an attorney represent you or not."  That leaves no implication about whether or not a person "needs" an attorney.

603(a)
    1987, "... The issuance and service of such subpoena shall be obtained upon the filing of an affidavit therefore which states the name and address of the proposed witness; specified the exact things sought to be produced and the materiality thereof in detail to the issues involved ...."
    DRAFT, "such subpoena shall be obtained ... at least fifteen (15) business days prior to the date of the hearing ...."
    COMMENTS:
    The "materiality" comment may require a party to reveal his theory of the case to his opponent before the hearing.  It might be more fair to impose penalties on someone who obtains a subpoenas for reasons that are "frivolous" in the legal meaning of the term.
    Complications will result from the interaction of the 15-day requirement here, and the 5-day requirement for hiring a lawyer.  A lawyer might be hired, and see the need for issuing subpoenas, after the time for issuing subpoenas has passed.  It would be better to set a deadline for hiring an attorney to be far enough before the hearing to let the attorney become familiar with the case in time to meet the other deadlines.

604(a)

    [COMMENT, Several specific guarantees in 1987 Section 603 have been removed:
        1987 Sec. 603(c), Hearsay evidence may be used for the purpose of supplementing or explaining any direct evidence, but shall not be sufficient in itself to support a finding unless it would be admissible over objection in civil actions in courts of competent jurisdiction in this case.
            DRAFT, it's gone.
        1987 Sec. 603(d), Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if it is the type of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in civil actions in courts of competent jurisdiction in this state.
            DRAFT, it's gone.
        1987 Section 603(f) lists rights which each party has,including "To call and examine witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues of the hearing" and "To impeach any witness regardless of which party first called him to testify."
            DRAFT, both are gone, to be replaced by vagueness:]
    DRAFT, Hearings may be conducted in an informal manner and without strict adherence to the rules of evidence required in judicial proceedings.  Neither the manner of conducting the hearing nor the failure to adhere to the rules of evidence required in judicial proceedings shall be grounds for reversing any administrative decision or order, providing that the evidence supporting such decision or order is substantial, reliable, and probative.  Irrelevant or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded.  Every person who is a party to such proceeding shall have the right to be represented by counsel, to submit evidence in open hearing and shall have the right of cross-examination.  Any attorney appearing on behalf of any party shall enter his appearance, in writing and addressed to the Hazard Abatement Officer, at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
    COMMENT, The specifics from 1987 should be restored.

604(b)(3)
    1987, as Section 603(g)(4), The Board may inspect any building or premises involved in the appeal during the course of the hearing, provided that:  (i) notice of such inspection shall be given to the parties before the inspection is made; (ii) the parties are given an opportunity to be present during the inspection; and (iii) the Board shall state for the record upon completion of the inspection the material facts observed and the conclusions drawn therefrom.  Each party then shall have a right to rebut or explain the matters so stated by the Board.
    DRAFT, substantially the same, except in providing for a Hearing Examiner instead of the Board, and adding a reference to the Open Meeting Law.
    COMMENT, Appeals, as generally understood, don't hear new evidence.  The procedure proposed here changes a nominal "appeal" into an actual new hearing.  This is a bad idea.  A party could make one case at the original hearing, then make an entirely different case under 604(b)(3).  It's not really an appeal if new evidence is taken.  If either side wants the Board to inspect premises, or the Board wants to inspect premises, that should be done during the hearing itself.

605(a)
    1987, Where a contested case is heard before the Board, no member thereof who did not hear the evidence or has not read the entire record of the proceedings shall vote on or take part in the decision.
    DRAFT, When a case is heard before the Board, any member thereof who did not hear the evidence or did not have the opportunity to read the entire record of the proceedings shall not vote on or take part in the decision.
    COMMENTS:
    A Supervisor who did not see and hear the entire proceeding should not vote, period.
    Instead of saying "Any member ... who did not hear the evidence ... shall not vote," just say "No member ... who did not hear the evidence ... shall vote."  That is what is meant, and there is no good reason not to say so clearly, instead of producing gibberish.  Here is how the sentence could read, to make its point even more clearly:  "When a case is heard before the Board, no member thereof who did not hear and observe all of the witnesses and evidence, or attend the entire hearing, shall participate in the hearing after said lapse, nor vote on or take any part in the decision."
    Also, who would pay a court reporter for the accelerated production of a transcript?  Even the shortest transcript costs hundreds of dollars; transcripts can quite easily run into thousands of dollars; accelerated transcripts cost even more.  Since the accelerated transcript would only be needed if a supervisor insisted on judging a case without attending a case, the supervisor should have to personally pay for the extra cost of acceleration.  Surely the citizen on trial should not pay for a supervisor's inability to do the job, nor should the public treasury pay.  Requiring a supervisor to pay would, luckily, have the incidental effect of getting supervisors either to do their job, or get out of the way.

605(b)
    1987, The decision shall be in writing and shall contain findings of fact, a determination of the issues presented, and the requirements to be complied with.  A copy of the decision shall be delivered to the appellant personally or sent to him by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested.
    DRAFT, The decision shall be issued in writing within 60 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing, unless extraordinary circumstances intervene, and shall contain findings of fact, a determination of issues presented, and the requirements to be complied with, and may provide that, if unpaid within 30 calendar days of the decision, that decision shall be filed with the County Recorder, and thereby constitute an assessment against the subject property.
    COMMENTS:
    The 60 day requirement seems too long, especially compared to the 30 days allowed to decide whether to appeal or pay.  Surely, if a case is so complicated that the Board takes 60 days to decide after a hearing, a citizen should have the same amount of time to decide how to respond to a complicated situation.
    Automatically converting a decision into an assessment is another assault on due process.  Doing away with the commentary emphasizing "protection of citizens' rights," letting the Board dodge its duty to hear appeals, and converting unsuccessful appeals into assessments against property, all seem to be prongs of one plan, to reduce citizens' rights and reduce county government's responsibility to treat citizens fairly.

605(c)
    DRAFT, The Hearing Examiner shall, within 20 calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing, submit to the Board of Appeals a proposed written decision, with proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.  Within 20 calendar days of filing of the proposed decision, and after review of the written record, which shall include all pleadings and orders in the Hearing Examiner's files, all evidence admitted at the hearing, and any audiotape of proceedings, but no new evidence, the Board shall adopt, modify or reject the proposed decision of the Hearing Examiner.
    COMMENTS
    What an incredible botch.  The Board would -- in theory -- do just as much work as if conducting the hearing itself, but without having the benefit of seeing and hearing any live testimony; so having a Hearing Examiner wouldn't save the Board any work, but would make the Board into a poor substitute for a trial court.  On the other hand, the Board would also, in effect, be acting as an appellate board, but one without the powers that a real appellate board must have.  For instance, the Board could see all evidence ADMITTED at the hearing, but could not see all evidence OFFERED at the hearing, so the Board could not make a finding that any evidence had been improperly excluded; in other words, the dice would be unfairly loaded in favor of the decision that the Hearing Examiner made -- because there would be no way to argue that the Hearing Examiner improperly refused to admit any evidence.
    The County would have two 20-day deadlines under 605(c), but under 605(b) the County would have 60 days to act; that leaves 20 extra days for the County to twiddle its thumbs, while a citizen waits for a decision which must be very important to him or her.
    Where, in the process under 605(c), would the Board review the most important part of the order to a citizen, "the requirements to be complied with"?
    Section 605(c) provides another good reason for not allowing the creation of a "Hearing Examiner."  That position confers no benefit on anyone; on the contrary, it is a complicated, unworkable drag on both efficiency and due process -- a combination which is rarely seen.


II.  SECTIONS THAT HAVE DISAPPEARED BUT SHOULD REAPPEAR

1987 Sec. 801
    The director of public works shall keep an itemized account of the expense incurred by Cochise County in the work or removal of any materials, done pursuant to the provisions of this ordinance.  Upon the completion of the work or removal, said director shall prepare and file with the hazard abatement officer a report specifying the work done, the itemized and total cost of the work, a description of the real property upon which the hazard is or was located, and the names and addresses of the persons entitled to notice pursuant to Section 402.
    COMMENTS
    If the County is going to be charging people, why not keep accurate records of the expenses?  The County apparently intends to charge people for estimated costs, without ever providing a way to compare estimates with reality.
    If 801 is restored, something like 1987 Sec. 802 must also be restored.
1987 SEC. 802
    Upon receipt of said report [from Sec. 801], the hazard abatement officer shall present it to the Board of Supervisors shall fix a time, date and place for hearing said report and any protests or objections thereto.  The clerk of the Board of Supervisors shall cause notice and said hearing to be posted upon the property involved, published once in a newspaper of general circulation in this jurisdiction, and served by certified mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the owner of the property as his name and address appear on the last equalized assessment roll of the County, if such so appear, or as known to the clerk.  Such notice shall be given at least ten (10) days prior to the date set for hearing and shall specify the day, hour and place when the Board of Supervisors will hear and pass upon the director's report, together with any objections or protests which may be filed as hereinafter provided by person interested in or affected by the proposed charge.

1987 Sec. 803
    Any person interested in or affected by the proposed charge may file written protests or objections ... at any time prior to the time set for the hearing on the report of the director....
    COMMENTS
    Why should people interested in the charge, or affected by it, lose their right to protest or object?
    If 803 is restored, something like 1987 Sec. 804 must also be restored.
1987 SEC. 804
    Upon the day and hour fixed for the hearing the Board of Supervisors shall hear and pass upon the report of the director together with any such objections or protests.  The Board of Supervisors may take such revision, correction or modification in the report or the charge as it may deem just; and when the Board of Supervisors is satisfied with the correctness of the charge, the report (as submitted or as revised, corrected or modified) together with the charge, shall be confirmed or rejected.  The decision of the Board of Supervisors on the report and the charge, and on all protest or objections, shall be final and conclusive.