WILMETTE – Wilmette plans to have its own administrative adjudication system up and running by early spring 2018, providing a convenient and less costly option to address some code violations.
At its regularly scheduled meeting On December 12, the Village Board approved an ordinance that creates the new administrative adjudication system.
Code violations in the village that involve noncriminal and non-jailable offenses will be heard by an administrative law judge in the village, instead of the current system through Cook County Circuit Court. By starting its own adjudication system, the village stands to save money, as will violators who elect to have a hearing, according to Jeffrey Stein, village attorney for Wilmette.
Currently, the village prosecutes all local traffic and code violations through Circuit Court, where violators are often charged administrative fees and costs that can total over $200, according to Stein. The village only receives a fraction of the fines collected by Cook County.
By creating its own system, the village will recoup these lost revenues, as well as pass along savings to violators, and create a convenient option right in the village. Expected to start in late March, the proceedings will be held once a month at village hall.
While the new system will not address moving traffic violations, such as speeding, it will be available for other common code violations such as property maintenance violations, failure to obtain a license for business activities or construction projects, work performed without a permit, possession of alcohol by a minor, parking violations or minor theft.
The village also revamped its fine structure, allowing the administrative law judge to impose a range of fees if someone is found liable under the code. Most non-traffic related violations will have a minimum fee of $50 to a maximum of $750. Most traffic violations will have a minimum fee of $40 and a maximum fee of $250. In order for the village to recoup its costs, a court fee of $50 will be imposed in addition to the penalty fees, which is comparable to other communities, according to Stein.
The village hopes that the new system will not only provide a convenience in a more relaxed setting than Circuit Court, but also help with compliance and education within the community.