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SEC. 27-16.20.   APPEAL TO MUNICIPAL COURT.
   (a)   Either party to an action ruled upon by the hearing officer under this article may appeal that determination by filing a petition in municipal court within 31 calendar days after the date the hearing officer's administrative order is filed with the municipal court clerk. An appeal does not stay the enforcement of the order of the hearing officer unless, before the appeal petition is filed, a bond is filed with the municipal court for twice the amount of the administrative penalties, fees, and court costs ordered by the hearing officer. The city is not required to file a bond in order to appeal. An appellant to municipal court may request a waiver of the bond amount on the basis of financial inability to pay, in which case the hearing officer may hold a hearing pursuant to Section 27-16.19 to determine whether the appellant is indigent and whether the bond amount may be waived. If the hearing officer's administrative order is reversed on appeal, the appeal bond will be returned to the appellant.
   (b)   If a person found liable for a violation does not timely appeal the hearing officer's administrative order, the order will become a final judgment. If the administrative penalties, fees, and court costs assessed in the final judgment are not paid within 31 calendar days after the date the hearing officer's order is filed with the municipal court clerk, the administrative penalties, fees, and court costs may be referred to a collection agency and the cost to the city for the collection services will be assessed as costs, at the rate agreed to between the city and the collection agency, and added to the judgment. The city may enforce the hearing officer's administrative order by filing a civil suit for collection of the administrative penalties, fees, and court costs and/or by obtaining an injunction to prohibit specific conduct that violates the administrative order or to require specific conduct necessary for compliance with the administrative order.
   (c)   Any recording of an administrative hearing must be kept and stored for not less than 45 calendar days beginning the day after the last day of the administrative hearing. Any administrative hearing that is appealed must be transcribed from the recording by a court reporter or other person authorized to transcribe court of record proceedings. The court reporter or other person transcribing the recorded administrative hearing is not required to have been present at the administrative hearing.
   (d)   The person found liable for the violation shall pay for any transcription of the recorded administrative hearing unless the hearing officer finds, pursuant to Section 27-16.19, that the person is unable to pay or give security for the transcription.
   (e)   Before the recorded proceedings are transcribed, the person found liable for the violation shall, unless found by the hearing officer to be unable to pay for the transcription, post a cash deposit with the municipal clerk for the estimated cost of the transcription. The cash deposit will be based on the length of the proceedings, and the costs of the court reporter, typing, and other incidental services.  If the cash deposit exceeds the actual cost of the transcription, the municipal court clerk shall refund the difference to the person charged. If the cash deposit is insufficient to cover the actual cost of the transcription, the person charged must pay the additional amount before being given the transcription. If a case is reversed on appeal, the municipal court clerk shall refund to the person charged any amounts paid for a transcription.
   (f)   Upon receipt of an appeal petition, the municipal court clerk or deputy clerk shall cause a record of the case to be prepared from the transcript and the statement of facts, which must conform to the provisions relating to the preparation of a statement of facts in the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The appellant shall pay for the statement of facts. If the person found liable for a violation failed to timely request that the administrative hearing be electronically recorded, then that person has waived the right to appeal the administrative order.  If the person found liable for a violation timely requested that the administrative hearing be electronically recorded and, through no fault of the person, the recording of the hearing is either unavailable or cannot be transcribed, then the municipal judge shall reverse the hearing officer's order and remand the matter to the hearing officer for a new administrative hearing.
   (g)   Upon receiving the record of the administrative hearing, the municipal judge shall review the record and may grant relief from the administrative order only if the record reflects that the appellant's substantial rights have been prejudiced because the administrative order is:
      (1)   in violation of a constitutional or statutory provision;
      (2)   in excess of the hearing officer's statutory authority;
      (3)   made through unlawful procedure;
      (4)   affected by another error of law;
      (5)   not reasonably supported by substantial evidence considering the reliable and probative evidence in the record as a whole; or
      (6)   arbitrary or capricious or characterized by an abuse of discretion or a clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
   (h)   The municipal judge shall rule on the appeal within 21 calendar days after receiving the record of the administrative hearing. The municipal judge shall affirm the administrative order of the hearing officer unless the record reflects that the order violates one of the standards in Subsection (g) of this section. If the record reflects that the hearing officer's order violated one of the standards in Subsection (g), the municipal judge may either:
      (1)   reverse the hearing officer's order and find the appellant not liable;
      (2)   reverse the hearing officer's order and remand the matter to the hearing officer for a new hearing; or
      (3)   affirm the order, but reduce the amount of the administrative penalties assessed to no lower than the minimum penalty established by ordinance for the particular violation, including the additional $36 administrative penalty.
   (i)   The municipal judge's ruling on the appeal must be issued in writing and filed with the municipal court clerk. A copy of the ruling must be sent to the appellant by regular United States mail at the last known address of the appellant as provided to the municipal court for the appeal.
   (j)   The municipal judge's ruling is a final judgment. If an appeal bond was posted, any administrative penalties, fees, or court costs assessed by the municipal judge or by the hearing officer, if affirmed by the municipal judge, will be deducted from the appeal bond. If no appeal bond was posted, any administrative penalties, fees, or court costs assessed by the municipal judge or by the hearing officer, if affirmed by the municipal judge, must be paid within 30 calendar days after the municipal judge's ruling is filed with the municipal court clerk. If not timely paid, such penalties, fees, and court costs may be referred to a collection agency and the cost to the city for the collection services will be assessed as costs, at the rate agreed to between the city and the collection agency, and added to the judgment. The city may enforce the municipal judge's ruling by filing a civil suit for collection of the administrative penalties, fees, and court costs and/or by obtaining an injunction to prohibit specific conduct that violates the ruling or to require specific conduct necessary for compliance with the ruling.  (Ord. Nos. 25927; 30236)