(A)   Definitions. For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      CITY ACTION. Any regulatory, legislative, governmental or proprietary functions of the city concerning:
         (a)   The use or occupancy of real property; or
         (b)   The operation of any business activity within the city limits and shall include requested or required inspections, and issuance of certificates of occupancy, licenses and permits.
      DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS. Accounts, as used in this section, shall include emergency medical services charges, garbage collection charges, lot and alley mowing and cleaning charges, court fines and fees and all other indebtedness (except ad valorem taxes) owed to the city by any person for any reason.
      PERSON. Any individual, partnership, company, venture, association, trust, estate, foundation, institution, organization, group, governmental subdivision or agency and any other entity recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties whether operated for profit or not for profit. The term PERSON shall include anyone acting as an agent, employee or otherwise on behalf of a person.
   (B)   Delinquent accounts prohibit city action. Any person requesting or requiring city action concerning the use or occupancy of real property within the city limits or concerning the operation of any business activity within the city limits, whether or not the request or requirement is otherwise required by law, ordinance or regulation, shall include with the request a statement from the City Secretary or Finance Director certifying that there are no delinquent accounts owed by the person. No city action may be taken if the person owes a delinquent account.
   (C)   Interest on delinquent accounts. All delinquent accounts, being those accounts not paid to the city within 30 days of their due date, shall bear interest at the rate of 10% per annum until paid.
   (D)   Collection charges. When an account owed to the city has become delinquent and is given to a collection agency for collection, the person(s) responsible for paying the account shall also be responsible for paying all collection costs.
   (E)   Litigation costs. When an account owed to the city has become delinquent and is given to an attorney for collection, the person(s) responsible for paying the account shall also be responsible for all reasonable and necessary attorney's fees as well as all other costs associated with the litigation and coliection of the account.
   (F)   Disputed indebtedness.
      (1)   Any person, whether or not the person is requesting or requiring city action, who disputes an indebtedness claimed by the city shall seek an informal resolution with the City Manager who shall act in consultation with the City Attorney.
      (2)   In the event informal resolution fails to resolve the dispute, the person may appeal the determination of indebtedness or the amount thereof to the dispute resolution panel of the city.
      (3)   The dispute resolution panel shall consist of the City Manager, Finance Director, City Attorney, Mayor and a City Commissioner so appointed by the City Commission. In the event one of these persons is a fact witness to the appeal the person shall not serve on the panel for the appeal. The City Manager shall appoint another city employee or city resident to serve as a panel member.
      (4)   The person appealing the determination of the City Manager shall have 30 days, from the City Manager's determination to request an appeal. The request for an appeal shall be made in writing, filed with the City Secretary, and shall fully explain what issues of indebtedness are being appealed and shall include an explanation of why the person disagrees with the determination of the City Manager.
      (5)   The dispute resolution panel shall hear the appeal in public forum within 14 days after the appeal is filed and shall render a written decision, based upon a majority vote, within ten business days following the conclusion of the hearing.
      (6)   The decision of the panel shall be limited to whether an indebtedness exists and, if so, the amount. No further findings may be made and no other action may be taken by the panel. The decision shall be binding upon all city departments, and no further appeal of the panel's decision will be allowed.
(Ord. 484, passed 1-27-1987; Ord. 484A, passed 7-28-1998; Ord. 588, passed 7-28-1998)