(1) This City is hereby empowered to recover expenses from any person whose conduct was at a minimum grossly negligent and resulted in a fire to which the City and/or assisting agencies responded. The City is hereby empowered to recover expenses from any person who is determined by the City to be a responsible party in any hazardous materials incident to which the City and/or assisting agencies responded. The recoverable expenses in this Section shall be limited to those directly associated with the subject fire/hazardous materials emergency/incident. These expenses shall be collected as follows:
(a) The City shall determine responsibility for the emergency and notify the responsible party in person or by mail of the City's determination of responsibility and the expenses to be recovered.
(b) The notice shall specify that the determined responsible party may appeal the City's determination, in writing, to the City Manager, who may designate a hearing officer to hear the appeal.
(c) Any appeal must be filed, in writing, with the City Manager not more than fifteen (15) days from the date the notice was received by the determined responsible party.
(d) In the event the determined responsible party appeals the determination, the hearing officer shall hold a public hearing to consider any issues raised by the appeal. Both the appealing party and the City shall be entitled to present evidence in support of their respective positions to the hearing officer.
(e) Following the hearing, the hearing officer shall make a recommendation to the City Manager, who shall issue a final decision assessing responsibility and expenses.
(2) Payment does not admit liability. The payment of expenses determined owing under this Chapter does not constitute an admission of liability or negligence in any legal action for damages.
(3) For the purposes of this Section, "Responsible party for hazardous materials incidents", shall mean:
Any person, corporation, partnership, or other individual or other entity who caused such an incident, directly or indirectly, solely or jointly.
(a) The individual or entity responsible for transporting the spilled hazardous materials.
(b) The owner(s) or possessor(s) of the hazardous materials involved in the incident.
(c) The property owner(s) of the site of a hazardous materials incident.
(4) Action to recover expenses. Subsequent to a final decision of the City Manager, pursuant to this Section, and upon certification of expenses by the Fire Chief to the City Manager, the City Manger may authorize the Finance Director to recover the expenses directly associated with responding to a fire/hazardous materials emergency from those persons determined by the City Manager to have directly or indirectly caused the emergency expenses.
(a) In the event the person(s) determined to be responsible for the payment of intentional or grossly negligently caused fire or any hazardous materials incident expenses fail(s) to make payment to the City and/or assisting agencies within thirty (30) days after a determination of any appeal to the City Manager, or thirty (30) days from the deadline for appeal in the event no appeal is filed, the City and/or assisting agency may initiate legal action to recover from the determined responsible person(s) the expenses determined to be owing, including the reasonable attorney's fees and costs of such recovery.
Ord. No.97-35, Recodified, 6/19/1997
Ord. No. 98-60, Enacted, 12/3/1998
Ord. No. 02-09, Amended, 3/7/2002