TITLE I: GENERAL PROVISIONS
PROCEDURE FOR HEARINGS BY THE CITY COUNCIL
1-3-1 Purpose and Intent
1-3-3 Form of Notice of Hearing
1-3-5 Conduct of Hearing
1-3-6 Method and Form of Decision
SECTION 1-3-1 PURPOSE AND INTENT.
(1) It is the purpose of this Article to establish an orderly, efficient and expeditious process for evidentiary hearings before the City Council.
(2) The provisions of this Article shall apply to a proceeding required by constitution, statute or Ordinance to be determined by the City Council after an opportunity for an evidentiary hearing.
SECTION 1-3-2 GENERAL.
(1) Record. A record of the entire proceedings shall be made by tape recording or by any other means of permanent recording determined to be appropriate by the City Council.
(2) Reporting. The proceedings at the hearing may also be reported by a court reporter at the expense of any party.
(3) Continuances. The City Council may grant continuances for good cause.
(4) Oaths, Certification. The City Council or any member thereof has the power to administer oaths and affirmations.
(5) Reasonable Dispatch. The City Council and its representatives shall proceed with reasonable dispatch to conclude any matter before it. Due regard shall be shown for the convenience and necessity of any parties or their representatives.
SECTION 1-3-3 FORM OF NOTICE OF HEARING. The notice to parties shall be substantially in the following form, but may include other information:
“You are hereby notified that an evidentiary hearing will be held before the Belle Plaine City Council at _____________ on the ______ day of ____________, 20___, at the hour ____________, upon the notice and order served upon you. You may be present at the hearing. You may be, but need not be, represented by counsel. You may present any relevant evidence and will be given full opportunity to cross-examine all witnesses testifying against you. You may request the issuance of subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, documents or other things by filing an affidavit with the City Clerk.”
SECTION 1-3-4 SUBPOENAS. Filing of Affidavit. The City Council may issue a subpoena for the attendance of witnesses or the production of other evidence at a hearing upon the request of a member of the City Council or upon the written demand of any party. The issuance and service of such subpoena shall be obtained upon filing an affidavit which states the name and address of the proposed witness; specifies the exact things sought to be produced and the materiality thereof in detail to the issues involved; and states that the witness has the desired things in the witness’s possession or under the witness’s control. A subpoena need not be issued when the affidavit is defective in any particular.
SECTION 1-3-5 CONDUCT OF HEARING.
(1) Rules. Hearings need not be conducted according to the technical rules relating to evidence and witnesses.
(2) Oral Evidence. Oral evidence shall be taken only on oath or affirmation.
(3) Hearsay Evidence. Hearsay evidence may be used for the purpose of supplementing or explaining any direct evidence; however, such evidence standing alone shall not be sufficient to support a finding unless it would be admissible over objection in civil actions in courts of competent jurisdiction in this state.
(4) Admissibility of Evidence. Any relevant evidence shall be admitted if it is the type of evidence on which responsible persons are accustomed to rely upon in the conduct of serious affairs, regardless of the existence of any common law or statutory rule which might make improper the admission of such evidence over objection in civil actions in courts of competent jurisdiction in this state.
(5) Exclusion of Evidence. Irrelevant and unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded.
(6) Rights of Parties. Each party shall have these rights, among others:
(a) To call and examine witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues of the hearing;
(b) To introduce documentary and physical evidence;
(c) To cross-examine opposing witnesses on any matter relevant to the issues of the hearing;
(d) To impeach any witness regardless of which party first called the witness to testify;
(e) To rebut the evidence against the party; and
(f) To self-representation or to be represented by anyone of the party’s choice who is lawfully permitted to do so.
(7) Official Notice.
(a) What may be Noticed. In reaching a decision, official notice may be taken, either before or after submission of the case for decision, of any fact which may be judicially noticed by the courts of this state or of official records of the City or its departments and Ordinances of the City.
(b) Parties to be Notified. Parties present at the hearing shall be informed of the matters to be noticed, and these matters shall be noted in the record, referred to therein, or appended thereto.
(c) Opportunity to Refute. Parties present at the hearing shall be given a reasonable opportunity, on request, to refute the officially noticed matters by evidence or by written or oral presentation of authority, the manner of such refutation to be determined by the City Council.
(8) Inspection of the Premises. The City Council may inspect any building or premises involved in the appeal during the course of the hearing, provided that:
(a) Notice of such inspection shall be given to the parties before the inspection is made;
(b) The parties are given an opportunity to be present during the inspection; and
(c) The City Council shall state for the record, upon completion of the inspection, the material facts observed and the conclusions drawn therefrom. Each party then shall have a right to rebut or explain the matters so stated by the City Council.
SECTION 1-3-6 METHOD AND FORM OF DECISION.
(1) Hearings. In Hearings before the City Council where a contested case is heard before the City Council, no member thereof who did not hear the evidence or alternatively has not read or listened to the entire record of the proceedings shall vote on or take part in the decision. The City Council may designate a member or members to preside over the receipt of evidence. Such member or members shall prepare findings of fact for the City Council.
(2) Form of Decision. The decision shall be in writing and shall contain findings of fact, a determination of the issues presented and the requirements to be complied with. A copy of the decision shall be delivered to the parties personally or sent to them by certified mail, postage prepaid, return receipt requested.
(3) Effective Date of the Decision. The effective date of the decision shall be stated therein.