DUNEDIN — Sometimes, getting city code violators to comply with regulations gets bogged down in the weeds.

City commissioners agreed June 17 to give staff the tools to help make sure that code violations are addressed in a timely fashion.

Essentially, they approved a civil citation process that city officials say are akin to a police officer writing a ticket for a vehicle infraction.

The resolution commissioners unanimously adopted that evening establishes a schedule of fines for violations of city code violations that are enforced by the city civil citations process.

The fine is $50 for the first offense, rising to $500 for the fourth and subsequent offense.

"This will give our code compliance officers the ability to issue separate citations for each alleged violation, for each calendar day for which a violation exists," city Community Development Director George Kinney said,

City official began framing the process for the supplemental ability to enforce code provisions back in January and February, Kinney said. Commissioners have discussed the issue at several meetings.

"This is the last official piece from the original plan that we did about two years ago," Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski said. "We should be popping the cork or something."

City officials say the process that has been used is lengthy and may take months before it goes before the city's code enforcement board. That can be frustrating for residents who make complaints.

Under the revisions adopted June 17 to a city ordinance, the schedule of fines is applicable only if a violation is not contested by the violator.

A special magistrate will have the authority to conduct hearings to consider citations that are contested by an alleged code violator.

The magistrate may uphold the fine imposed and will add administrative costs. If the magistrate determines there was no violation committed, then the citation will be dismissed.

City officials say the good news is the city has a high voluntary compliance rate in code enforcement cases — 97 percent.