Local Government Law Bulletin #127

Civil Penalties for Ordinance Violations -- Specific or Variable? by David M. Lawrence, May 2012. View online.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One statutory option a city or county has in enforcing its ordinances is to impose a civil penalty on a violator and, if necessary, sue for the penalty in a civil action in the nature of debt. This bulletin considers the question of whether the ordinance being enforced must set out an exact dollar amount for each penalty, to be sued for regardless of circumstances, or whether it may set out a dollar range for penalties ["variable penalties"] and leave to an administrative official or board the decision as to the amount of the penalty in any individual instance.

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Public Officials - Local and State Government Roles
Topics - Local and State Government