1323.05  REGISTRATION FEES.
   (a)    Vacant commercial, industrial or institutional building registration fees shall be reasonably related to the administrative costs of the vacant commercial, industrial or institutional building registration process and for the costs incurred by the City in monitoring the vacant commercial, industrial or institutional property. The annual increase in registration fee amounts shall be reasonably related to the costs incurred by the City for hazard abatement, repair and/or demolition of vacant commercial, industrial or institutional buildings in addition to the continued administrative costs. Money collected under this section shall be received by the City Auditor's Office and shall be deposited into a fund created for and titled "Vacant Building Registry Fund" and shall be used exclusively for the administration and enforcement of this Chapter.
   (b)    The annual registration fee for a vacant commercial, industrial or institutional building shall be based on the duration of time the building has been vacant regardless of a change in ownership. The owner of a vacant commercial, industrial or institutional building shall pay an annual registration fee of four hundred dollars ($400) beginning twenty-four (24) months after the registry of the structure. For every consecutive year that the building remains vacant, the annual registration fee shall be assessed at double the previous year's registration fee amount for a maximum annual registration fee equaling the five (5) year registration fee of six thousand four hundred dollars ($6,400) which shall be the registration fee for the fifth and all consecutive, subsequent years of vacancy.
   (c)    The registration fee shall be paid in full to the City Auditor's Office prior to the issuance of any zoning permits. The City Auditor shall refund the vacant commercial, industrial or institutional building registration fee paid if the subject building is brought into compliance with standards of the Ohio Building Code and reoccupied within one year of payment of the annual registration fee. The refund shall be for the amount of the registration fee paid during the year in which the building was approved for re-occupancy. Registration fees paid in previous years shall not be refunded.
   (d)    If a registration form is filed late, an additional late fee shall be paid in addition to the annual registration fee and shall be equal to the annual registration fee or one thousand dollars ($1,000), whichever is less.
   (e)    All delinquent registration fees shall be paid by the owner prior to any transfer of an ownership interest in the vacant commercial, industrial or institutional property.
   (f)    If an owner or person in control of a vacant commercial, industrial or institutional building or  a purchaser fails, neglects or refuses to pay a registration fee within the time ordered pursuant to this section then the PMEO shall so notify the City Auditor. The City Auditor shall certify the registration fee to the Knox County Auditor.  In addition to the registration fee, an interest rate equal to the current statutory interest rate shall be imposed by the City on special assessments for the life of the registration fee, added to the registration fee, and collected as provided in this section. The City Auditor shall then certify the amount of the registration fee, including interest, to the Knox County Auditor. The Knox County Auditor shall enter the amount on the tax duplicate of the county as a special assessment against the person's real estate that is subject to the registration fee.
(Ord. 2019-24.  Passed 5-13-19.)