Wilmington's Instant Ticketing Program is Back in Force
Posted on 04/19/2012 6:44 pm
Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker and L&I Commissioner Jeff Starkey tonight thanked City Council for agreeing to amend the appellate procedure for civil penalties imposed by City L&I Inspectors for sanitation violations. The revision to City Code eliminates the requirement that property owners pay their $50 fee at the time they file their appeal of the citation.
Under the revised law, property owners who receive a citation for violating the City’s sanitation code (e.g. trash/debris, fecal matter, high grass and weeds) have 30 days to pay their $50 fine. Property owners who choose to appeal the fine must do so within 21 days of the date the citation was issued. Citizens who appeal the sanitation code violation must pay a non-refundable administrative appeal fee of $15.00. The Commissioner of Licenses and Inspections or his designee will issue a written decision within 45 days of receipt of the appeal; during this time, no further fines or civil penalties will be imposed for the violation in question.
The City of Wilmington revised its instant ticketing program in response to recent statements by a Federal Appeals Court that is reviewing a challenge to New Castle County’s Instant Ticketing Program. Because Wilmington’s program was the model for the County’s law, the Mayor and Commissioner felt it was prudent that Wilmington amend its program to take into consideration the Court comments. The City has not issued any instant tickets since mid-February, when the matter first came to light in the Federal Appeals Court.
“We adopted our Instant Ticketing program more than five years ago because too many citizens were ignoring the need to keep their properties in respectable shape,” said the Mayor. “Their lack of concern about their own property was severely damaging our neighborhoods. The Instant Ticketing program produced a dramatic change in the negative behavior of some property owners. So, while we will not back off on our efforts to stabilize neighborhoods, we have amended the law as it was structured. Hopefully the results will be the same—cleaner streets and neighborhoods and more satisfied citizens who don’t have to put up with someone else’s negligence.”