CITY OF HASTINGS ORDINANCE 2012-12ORDINANCE NO. 2012-12
ORDINANCE NO. 2012-12
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF HASTINGS, MINNESOTA AMENDING CHAPTER 51 OF THE HASTINGS CITY CODE PERTAINING TO UTILITIES.
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF HASTINGS AS FOLLOWS:
Chapter 51 of the Hastings City Code is hereby amended and Section 51.03 is hereby amended as follows (new language is underlined, strikethrough language is deleted):
§ 51.03 RULES AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO MUNICIPAL UTILITIES. (A) Billing, payment, and penalty.
(1) All municipal utilities shall be billed in monthly or quarterly installments, as the case may be, but a utilities statement shall be sent to each consumer on or before the first day of the month following reading of any meter read during the month. All utility charges shall be delinquent if they are unpaid at the close of business on the twentieth day of the month following the billing, provided, that if the twentieth day of the month shall fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the time shall be extended to the close of business on the next succeeding day on which business is normally transacted.
(2) Except as specifically authorized in this Section, a penalty of 10% thereof shall be added to, and become part of, all delinquent utility bills. Upon a utility bill becoming delinquent, the city shall at month-end, by first-class mail to the recorded billing address, mail a delinquent notice and disconnect warning, stating the amount of the unpaid bill, including penalty amount. This notice must state that if payment is not received within 10 days of billing, an additional penalty of $10 will be added to the bill and service will be disconnected. (If the above days fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the above procedure shall be implemented the next regular scheduled business day.)
(3) If any such bill is not paid in full on or before the thirtieth day of the month following the date upon which it became delinquent, municipal utilities may, at the option of the city, be suspended to the consumer whose bill is so delinquent. Disconnection of service due to an unpaid utility bill shall be as soon as practicable following the eleventh business day after notification. Disconnection shall be made during normal business hours.
(4) Prior to disconnection, the utility shall post a Notice of Water Shutoff on the property The Notice of Water Shutoff shall be posted conspicuously indicating the following:
(a) Water service termination date;
(b) Total amount due; and
(c) Contact information for making payment.
(5) No on-site collection attempts shall be conducted.
(6) If the delinquent utility bill remains delinquent beyond the water service termination date identified in the posted Notice of Water Shutoff, the utility may disconnect the service.
(7) The Utility Department must reconnect service at the earliest practical time during regular business hours of the Utility Department if the customer or designated representative:
(a) Pays the outstanding balance owed; or
(b) Enters into a written payment agreement with the city providing for partial payment arrangements acceptable to the Finance Department. Failure of the customer to adhere to the payment agreement as established by the utility shall result in immediate disconnection of service by the utility. Payment must be made in full 60 days after original billing. Service termination shall occur the next regular business day after dated water shut-off or agreement to pay letter expires and payment has not been received.
(Am. Ord. 491, passed 4-21-2003)
(8) In the case of single-metered residential buildings, the utility shall follow the
requirements of Minn. Stat. 504B.215, as amended, as the same applies to notice of disconnection, disconnection. and reconnection of service.
(B) Application, connection, and sale of service. Application for municipal utility services shall be made upon forms supplied by the city, and strictly in accordance therewith. No connection shall be made until consent has been received from the city to make the same. All municipal utilities shall be sold and delivered to consumers under the then applicable rate applied to the amount of the utilities taken as metered or ascertained in connection with the rates.
(C) Discontinuance of service. All municipal utilities may be shut off or discontinued whenever it is found that:
(1) The owner or occupant of the premises served, or any person working on any connection with the municipal utility systems, has violated any requirement of the City Code relative thereto, or any connection therewith;
(2) Any charge for a municipal utility service, or any other financial obligation imposed on the present owner or occupant of the premises served, is unpaid after due notice thereof;
(3) There is fraud or misrepresentation by the owner or occupant in connection with any application for service or delivery or charges therefore;
(4) Utility connections or disconnections have been made by anyone other than a Utility Department employee or a contractor approved by the Utility Department; and/or
(5) The city is refused entry to property, dwelling or other building to install, read, inspect, repair, maintain or replace a utility meter or to inspect or repair a utility system.
(D) Ownership of municipal utilities. Ownership of all municipal utilities, plants, lines, mains, extensions, and appurtenances thereto, shall be and remain in the city and no person shall own any part or portion thereof Provided, however, that private facilities and appurtenances constructed on private property are not intended to be included in municipal ownership.
(E) Right of entry. With the consent of the property owner or in the event of an emergency, the city has the right to enter in and upon private property including buildings and dwelling houses, in or upon which is installed a municipal utility, or connection therewith, for the purposes of installing, reading, inspecting, repairing, maintaining, or replacing utility meters or any part thereof; to inspect or repair utility systems; and for the purposes of connecting and disconnecting service.
(F) Meter test/meter reading discrepancies. In the event that a customer suspects a discrepancy in meter readings, the following procedures will be followed.
(1) Customer shall notify the Finance Department located in City Hall, of specific discrepancies.
(2) The utility staff shall review customer consumption history. If findings indicate that a discrepancy is possible, the meter shall be re-read.
(3) If the city is requested to test a consumer's utility meter and if that meter is found to be inaccurate, then the meter shall be replaced with an accurate meter. If the meter is found to be accurate, the meter shall be reinstalled and the consumer shall be billed a fee by the city in an. amount established by ordinance to cover the cost of the test.
(4) In the case of remote water meters where there is a discrepancy between the outside reader and the inside reader, the inside master meter reading shall be used.
(5) For final billings the utility staff will take a reading on both inside and outside meters when possible.
(G) Unlawful acts.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to willfully or carelessly break, injure, mar, deface, disturb, or in any way interfere with any buildings, attachments, machinery, apparatus, equipment, fixture, or appurtenance of any municipal utility or municipal utility system or commit any act tending to obstruct or impair the use of any municipal utility.
(2) It is unlawful for any person to make any connection with any municipal utility system without first having applied for and received permission from the city to make the same.
(3) It is unlawful for any person to turn on or connect a utility when the same has been turned off or disconnected by the city for nonpayment of a bill, or for any other reason, without first having obtained a permit to do so from the city.
(4) It is unlawful for any person to jumper or by any means or device fully or partially circumvent a municipal utility meter, or to knowingly use or consume unmetered utilities or use the service of any utility system, the use of which the proper billing authorities have no knowledge.
(5) It is unlawful for any person to distort any meter readings or meter accuracy. Any meters damaged as a result of any attempt to distort meter readings or meter accuracy will be repaired by the Utility Department at the consumer's expense.
(H) Municipal utility charges a lien.
(1) Statements for municipal utility charges shall be rendered to the consumer at the usual times and in the usual manner. If any such municipal utility bill remains unpaid for period of more than 30 days, then a statement of the delinquent and unpaid service charge shall be served by mail or personally upon the consumer. If the consumer fails or refuses to pay bills for utility charges relating to the premises within a period of 30 days after statement of the charges has been duly rendered the city may disconnect and discontinue to provide utility service for the premises as provided by division (I).
(2) Each charge levied by and pursuant to this chapter is hereby made a lien upon the premises served by a connection to a municipal utility system of the city and located within the city; and all the charges which are more than 60 days past due, and having been properly billed to the consumer of the premises served, shall be certified by the City Clerk to the County Auditor and the City Clerk in so certifying the charges to the County Auditor shall specify the amount thereof and the description of the premises served, the name of the owner thereof, and the amount so certified shall be extended by the Auditor on the tax rolls against the premises in the same manner as other taxes, and collected by the County Treasurer and paid to the city along with other taxes.
(Am. Ord. 540, passed 10-17-2005)
(Prior Code, § 12.04)
(1) It is the policy of the city to discontinue utility service to customers by reason of nonpayment of bills only after notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard on disputed bills. The city's form for application for utility service and all bills shall contain, in addition to the title, address, room number, and telephone number of the official in charge of billing, clearly visible and easily readable provisions to the effect:
(a) That all bills are due and payable on or before the date set forth on the bill; and
(b) That if any bill is not paid by or before that date, a second bill will be mailed containing a cutoff notice that if the bill is not paid within 10 days of the mailing of the second bill, service will be discontinued for nonpayment; and
(c) That any customer disputing the correctness of his or her bill shall have a right to a hearing at which time he or she may be represented in person and by counsel or any other person of his or her choosing and may present orally or in writing his or her complaint and contentions to the city official in charge of utility billing. This official shall be authorized to order that the customer's service not be discontinued and shall have the authority to make a final determination of the customer's complaint.
(2) Except as specifically authorized in this Section, requests for delays or waiver of payment will not be entertained; only questions of proper and correct billing will be considered. In the absence of payment of the bill rendered or resort to the hearing procedure provided herein, service will be discontinued at the time specified, but in no event until the charges have been due and unpaid for at least 30 days.
(3) When it becomes necessary for the city to discontinue utility service to a customer for nonpayment of bills, service will be reinstated only during regular business hours of the Utility Department and only after all bills for service then due have been paid, along with a turnon charge in an amount established by ordinance by the City Council.
Penalty, see § 10.99
(J) Penalty Waiver.
(1) The Finance Department may grant a one-time waiver of the 10% penalty on delinquent utility bills upon the customer satisfying the following conditions:
(a) The customer must submit a written request for waiver of penalty to the Finance Department postmarked or hand delivered to the Finance Department no later than the thirtieth day of the month following the date upon which the utility bill became delinquent.
(b) The customer must enroll in a program authorized by the Finance Department to allow for automatic deduction of all future utility bill payments from a checking or savings account designated by customer. Any costs imposed by the financial institution for establishing the automatic deduction shall be paid by the customer.
(c) The customer must sign an agreement and authorization form by which the customer agrees that the automatic deduction authorization may not be revoked by the customer without the consent of the Finance Department for a period of six months and if for any reason the automatic deduction authorization is revoked, or if additional utility bills become delinquent for any reason during the same six month period, the full amount of the penalty previously waived, plus any additional penalties which may be imposed by the subsequent delinquency, shall become immediately due and payable by the customer.
(2) The penalty waiver shall be applied only one time during the duration of the utility account regardless of the number of responsible individuals or owners of the property serviced by the account.
Council member Alongi moved a second to this Ordinance, and upon being put to a vote it was unanimously adopted by all Council members present.
Adopted by the Hastings City Council on this 18th day of June, 2012, by the following vote:
Ayes Cguncilmembers Alongi, Hollenbeck, Schultz, Nelson, Nays: Slavik, Balsanek & mayor Hicks
CITY OF HASTINGS
Paul J. Hicks, Mayor
Melanie Mesko Lee,
Assistant City Administrator/City Clerk
I hereby certify that the above is a true and correct copy of the Ordinance presented to and adopted by the City of Hastings, County of Dakota, Minnesota, on the day of_________, 2012, as disclosed by the records of the City of Hastings on file and of record in the office.
Melanie Mesko Lee,
Assistant City Administrator/City Clerk
THIS INSTRUMENT DRAFTED BE FLUEGEL LAW FIRM P.A.
999 Westview Drive, Suite #1
Hastings, MN 55033