[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Somers Point as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Claims approval — See Ch. 7.
Article I Recovery of Police Costs
[Adopted 8-28-2014 by Ord. No. 23-2014]
Editor's Note: This ordinance was originally adopted as Ch. 170, but was renumbered to maintain the organization of the Code.
This article is intended to address chronic police calls arising from public disturbances and nuisances recurring in the same owner-occupied dwelling unit or the same apartment, dwelling unit or rental unit, including, but in no way limited to, excessively loud music or parties, public alcohol consumption, late night noise, chronic dog barking, violations of City ordinances, state statutes or regulations, or federal laws or regulations relating to property or person. This article is not intended and shall not be interpreted to cover police calls related to domestic violence, child abuse or any other significant form of criminal activity.
All words used in this article shall carry their customary dictionary meanings, except that the following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this article, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- APARTMENT or DWELLING UNIT
- Any room or rooms or suite or apartment thereof, whether furnished or unfurnished, which is occupied or intended, arranged, or designed to be occupied for sleeping and dwelling purposes by one or more persons, including but not limited to the owner thereof or any of his servants, agents or employees.
- A. Those costs for services incurred by the City in connection with a response to police call including, but not limited to, the actual labor and material costs of the City (including, without limitation, employee wages, fringe benefits, administrative overhead, costs of equipment, costs of equipment operation including depreciation, costs of materials, costs of transportation, equipment, costs of material disposal and costs of contracted labor) whether or not the services are provided by the City or by a third party on behalf of the City which shall be calculated, approved and from time to time adjusted by resolution of the City Council. The schedule set forth within such resolution shall be available for inspection by the public at the office of the City Clerk during regular business hours.
- B. Assessable Police Service Costs shall also include, in addition to the amounts set forth above as fixed by Council:
- (1) The actual cost of medical treatment to officers (including K-9 dogs), and/or costs of repairing or replacing damaged police equipment or property, in connection with a response;
- (2) Service charges and interest;
- (3) Attorneys' fees, litigation costs; and
- (4) Any and all costs, charges, fines or penalties to the City imposed by any court or state or federal governmental entity or agency.
- GOVERNMENT ENTITY
- Any federal, state, local government, school district, agency or authority created or organized thereby.
- An owner who rents, by lease or sublease, a residential unit or a tenant who rents by sublease a residential unit within the City of Somers Point, whether for monetary, nonmonetary or other consideration. The definition applies regardless of whether the lease is entered into by the owner, tenant or an agent of the owner or tenant.
- Person or persons or corporations and/or corporate officers or other entity, and/or its principals, comprising record owner or owners of any private property.
- PRIVATE PROPERTY
- Any land and any single and multifamily dwellings not owned by a government entity.
- PROPERTY MANAGER
- Person or persons or corporations and/or corporate officers or other entity, and/or its principals, who have been designated as the property manager by the owner in a writing signed by the owner and the designee and/or any person or corporation and/or corporate officers or other entity, and/or its principals, who is actually responsible for the management of the property.
- PUBLIC DISTURBANCES
- Any party gathering, event or disturbance involving disorderly conduct as described in the Code of the City of Somers Point and/or any state statute or regulation or any federal law or regulation.
Every owner, landlord and/or property manager within the City shall pay to the Chief Financial Officer of the City of Somers Point, for deposit into the general fund, assessable police service costs as defined in § 105-2 for each response by the Somers Point Police Department to maintain order and public peace and/or to restrain unlawful conduct thereon and/or to stop public disturbances at such private property for each response by the Police Department in excess of three calls per calendar year; provided, however, that police services in connection with crimes against residents and/or property by persons not residing in or by persons who are not invited guests or otherwise lawful occupants of the private property shall not be considered "responses" for purposes of this article; nor shall responses to calls for domestic violence or child abuse or any other significant form of criminal activity.
The Chief of Police, his or her designee, or other duly authorized agent of the City shall notify the owner, landlord and/or property manager that a response has been made to such property to maintain order or public peace or to stop a public disturbance. Each such notice shall be given by regular mail to the last known address of such owner, landlord and/or property manager or to the address listed upon the Somers Point rental registration application in the case of a landlord or property manager; provided, however, that an owner, landlord and/or property manager shall be required to pay assessable police service costs in accordance with § 105-2 of this article whether or not such notice(s) has (have) been issued or received. A copy shall also be delivered to the tenant in the event a rental unit is the source of the response.
Responsibility to pay. Assessable police service costs due in accordance with § 105-3 hereof shall be billed to the owner, landlord and/or property manager (the "responsible party") by the Chief Financial Officer or his duly authorized agent and shall be due and payable to the City of Somers Point and deposited with the Chief Financial Officer within 30 days of the date on such bill; and any amounts unpaid after such date shall bear a late payment fee equal to 1% per month or fraction thereof that the amount due and any previously imposed late payment fee remains unpaid. This obligation is joint and several and may be assessed against any of the responsible parties.
Failure to pay. Any responsible party who fails to pay the costs assessed pursuant to this article within 30 days of the date of the statement shall be considered in default. In the case of a default, the City Administrator may authorize the City Attorney to commence a civil action to recover the costs plus the late payment penalty of 1% per month during which the costs remain unpaid together with its attorney fees and any other costs allowed by law. All of the charges imposed pursuant to this article shall be collectible through proceedings in Superior Court or in any court of competent jurisdiction as a matured debt.
Nonexclusive remedy. In the alternative, the City shall be entitled to pursue any other remedy or may institute any appropriate action or proceeding in a court of competent jurisdiction as permitted by law to collect assessable costs from a responsible party inclusive of, but not limited to, imposition of a municipal lien on the property based upon a certification by the Chief Financial Officer or the City Administrator that the assessed amount has remained unpaid for a period of 30 days from the date of the statement which shall then be added to the next property tax bill.
No waiver. The failure of the Chief of Police, his or her designee, or other authorized representative of the City of Somers Point to impose or collect the assessable police service cost in any one or more instance shall not be construed as a waiver of the right of the City to impose such costs in the event of subsequent incidents.
Partial calendar year. The effective date of this article in calendar year 2014 shall not include a twelve-month period. For 2014, the applicable period for counting the three response calls shall be from the effective date through 12:00 a.m. on December 31, 2014. During 2015 and thereafter, the twelve-month calendar year shall apply.