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6.04.140 Business License Appeals Board; Hearings Officer; Appeal; Rules.

(Replaced by Ordinance No. 184772; amended by Ordinance No. 187339, effective October 16, 2015.)  The Business License Appeals Board shall have power and it shall be its duty:

A.  Except as provided herein, the Business License Appeals Board has authority to hear and determine appeals of orders or decisions of the Division or Division Director made upon petitions for redetermination of tax.  The Board may affirm, modify, or reverse such orders or decisions or dismiss the appeals and prescribe such forms, rules, and regulations relating to appeals as it may deem necessary.  In the review of the Division or Division Director’s decision or order, the Board may take such evidence and make such investigation as it may deem necessary.  It shall give notice of its determinations in the manner prescribed for service of a notice of the Division or Division Director’s decision and shall file a copy of each such determination with the Division.  Such determination shall become final after 10 days and any increase to the determination becomes due and payable once final, subject to interest and penalties, and enforceable by the Division in like manner as an order or decision of the Division or Division Director.

B.  For an amount in controversy greater than $10,000 and less than $50,000, an appellant may request a hearing by an appointed Hearings Officer instead of a hearing by the Business License Appeals Board. 

C.  An appeal involving an amount in controversy greater than $50,000 shall be heard by a Hearings Officer instead of a hearing by the Business License Appeals Board.  The Hearings Officer shall be appointed by the City Attorney, shall be a member of the Oregon State Bar and shall not be a City employee. 

D.  In appeal hearings held before a Hearings Officer, the appellant and the City’s representative shall each have the right to appear in person and be represented by legal counsel, to receive notice, to respond to and present evidence, to call and cross-examine witnesses under oath and to present argument on all issues involved. Subject to the provisions herein, the City Attorney may promulgate supplementary rules and procedures for the conduct of the hearing, the forms of notice and proceedings, and the preparation and submission of the record.

E.  The record in a proceeding before the Hearings Officer shall include:  

1.  All pleadings, motions, and intermediate rulings;

2.  Evidence received or considered;

3.  Stipulations;

4.  A statement of matters officially noticed;

5.  Questions and offers of proof, objections, and rulings thereon;

6.  Proposed findings and exceptions; and

7.  Any proposed, intermediate, or final order prepared by the Hearings Officer.

F.  The Hearings Officer shall have the power to compel attendance of witnesses by deposition or at hearing and the production of documents by subpoena to any party upon showing of general relevance and subpoena in accordance with civil law. 

G.  The formal rules of evidence shall not apply and any relevant evidence that is the sort of evidence upon which reasonably prudent persons are accustomed to rely in the conduct of serious business affairs shall be admissible.  Irrelevant, immaterial, or unduly repetitious evidence shall be excluded.  Hearsay evidence may be considered by the Hearings Officer, but no findings may be based solely on hearsay evidence unless supported or corroborated by other relevant and competent evidence.  The Hearings Officer shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law.

H.  The Hearings Officer may take notice of judicially recognizable facts, and the Hearings Officer may take official notice of general, technical, or scientific facts within the specialized knowledge of City employees.

I.  A verbatim, written, mechanical, or electronic record shall be made on all motions, rulings, and testimony if requested by any party.  The record shall be transcribed for the purposes of court review.  If the City prevails on such review, the reasonable costs of preparing the transcript shall be allowed as a part of the City's costs in such action.

J.  The Hearings Officer is authorized to rule upon issues of law or fact and to determine the amount of the tax, penalty or interest due in accordance with the Transient Lodgings Tax Law.  The Hearings Office shall not have any jurisdiction to waive, mitigate or suspend the collection of any tax, penalty or interest found to be duly imposed.

K.  The decision of the Hearings Officer shall be issued in writing in a final order. The final order shall become final on the date specified in the order, which date shall be within 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.  The decision shall be the final administrative remedy of the appellant. Any amounts due shall be payable to the City Treasurer within 10 days of the order becoming final.  The Hearings Officer shall notify the parties to a proceeding of a final order by delivering or mailing a copy of the order and any accompanying findings and conclusions to each party or, if applicable, the party's attorney of record.