BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville City Council has approved an ordinance that would allow for the towing of a vehicle found violating the city's code prohibiting loud music.
By a vote of 4-1, council members on Monday night supported the vehicle impoundment proposal from police Chief George Turner. Joe Johnston III cast the dissenting vote.
To get the vehicle back, the owner would have five days to request a preliminary hearing before a hearing officer. A city representative would be appointed to determine whether there was a legitimate reason to seize the vehicle.
If the hearing officer decides there is probable cause, or if the hearing is waived, the vehicle will stay impounded until the case is resolved. However, the owner could post a cash bond to release the vehicle until a final disposition is reached.
A final hearing before the hearing officer will decide the case. If the hearing officer sides with the police, the vehicle remains impounded until the civil penalty is paid. If the vehicle owner wins, that person would get the car back and wouldn't have to pay any fees associated with the vehicle's seizure.
Turner has said the proposed ordinance would give teeth to a 2006 ordinance that prohibits playing music that is audible 25 feet from a vehicle.
Though similar to the state's statute on loud car music, the Brooksville ordinance allows for a first-offense warning. A subsequent offense could earn the car owner a $250 fine; the next offense, $500.
Also Monday night, the council unanimously approved a tentative tax millage rate of 7 mills. The city staff had recommended setting the tentative rate at 7.438.
Traditionally, the city votes for a higher millage than it hopes to levy. This year's budget was based on a tax rate of 6.069 mills, compared with a tentative rate of 7 mills.
A mill produces $1 in tax for every $1,000 of taxable property value. That means, the owner of a home appraised at $125,000 with a $25,000 homestead exemption would see a tax bill of $606.90.
The city's first public budget hearing has been set for Sept. 9.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 754-6830.