OCEAN CITY – The ordinance outlining amendments to hearings and appeals of business license fines, suspensions, and revocations was discussed and passed on second reading at Monday evenings Mayor and Council meeting.
The ordinance will amend Chapter 14 entitled businesses and aims to add more teeth to the ordinance governing the suspension and revocation of business licenses. Through changes in fines, hearings, and appeals, the Mayor and Council hopes to crack down on business license violators.
The ordinance now gives the City Manager the right to fine a licensee in lieu of suspension. The ordinance reads, “If mitigating circumstances so warrant, in lieu of suspension, the City Manager may levy a fine not to exceed $1000 per violation.”
The ordinance also saw changes after the Mayor and Council suggested earlier in the summer that a hearing be held sooner, rather than three to five months after the violation. The ordinance calls for the City Manager to schedule a hearing within 72 hours of the violation.
The appeal time was also shortened in hopes of quickening the license suspension and revocation process. The aggrieved licensee will have within 10 days of receiving the fine, suspension or revocation, to file an appeal with the Mayor and Council. The city manager must then set a date for that hearing within three days that the appeal is received. If the City Council denies the appeal at that hearing, the licensee must wait at least 12 months from the date of the council’s decision to re-apply.
The appeals section of the ordinance also saw changes in the city manager’s decision for suspension, revocation and fining. The ordinance states that the licensee’s filing of an appeal does not stay the City Manager’s action of fining, suspending or revoking a license until the City Council makes a final decision.
With no discussion from the Mayor or Council on the ordinance, the City Council voted unanimously to pass the ordinance on second reading.