PENDING ORDINANCES
ORDINANCE NO. 20-252
AN ORDINANCE OF BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE BEAR VALLEY COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT, AMENDING CHAPTER 2, SECTIONS 7 AND 8 OF TITLE 7 (WATER USE AND SERVICE) OF THE DISTRICT CODE PERTAINING TO DISCONTINUATION OF SERVICE AND BILL PAYMENTS
   
The Bear Valley Community Services District Board of Directors ordains as follows:
 
SECTION 1.  Findings .  The Board of Directors finds as follows:
 
SB 998, also known as the “Water Shutoff Protection Act” (codified in Health & Safety Code §§ 116900-116926), provides a new standardized process local agencies must follow before discontinuing water service to residential customers.
 
The District has adopted regulations regarding the discontinuation of water service in Chapter 2 (Water Rates and Charges) of Title 7 (Water Use and Service) of the District Code.
 
The Board of Directors desires to amend Sections 7 and 8 of Chapter 2 of Title 7 of the District Code to update these regulations and establish new procedures regarding the discontinuation of water service and related bill payment matters in accordance with the Water Shutoff Projection Act. 
 
SECTION 2.  Environmental FindingsThe Board of Directors exercises its independent judgment and finds that this ordinance is not subject to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to following sections of the State CEQA Guidelines, California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Chapter 3: (1) Section 15060(c)(2) (the activity will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment); and (2) Section 15060(c)(3) (the activity is not a project as defined in Section 15378) because the subject ordinance and regulations have no potential for resulting in any significant physical change to the environment, either directly or indirectly.
 
SECTION 3.  Amendment to Title 7 of the District CodeSections 7 and 8 of Chapter 2 of Title 7 of the District Code, are amended and restated as set forth in the attached Exhibit A.
SECTION 4.   Severability .  If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase of this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of any court of competent jurisdiction, such decision will not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.  The Board of Directors hereby declares that it would have passed this ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, or phrase not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any portion of the ordinance would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.
 
SECTION 5.  Publication .  The Secretary of the Board of Directors is directed to cause this ordinance to be published in the manner required by law.
ADOPTED this 12th day of March, 2020.
 
                  _____________________________________
Steve Roberts, Board President
 
ATTEST:
 
BY:   _____________________________________
   Kristy McEwen
   Secretary to the Board of Directors
 
APPROVED AS TO FORM:
 
BY:   _____________________________________
   Donald M. Davis
   District General Counsel
 
STATE OF CALIFORNIA   )
COUNTY OF KERN      )  ss.
 
   I, Kristy McEwen, Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Services District, do hereby certify that the foregoing ordinance was introduced by the Board of Directors of the Bear Valley Community Services District at a regular meeting held on February 13, 2020, and duly adopted at a regular meeting held on March 12, 2020, by the following vote:
 
 
AYES:   5      MEMBERS: Baron, Carlyn, Hahn, Quinn, Roberts
 
NOES:    0      MEMBERS: None
 
ABSENT: 0      MEMBERS: None
 
ABSTAIN: 0      MEMBERS: None
 
                  
_____________________________________
Kristy McEwen, Board Secretary
 
EXHIBIT A
 
AMENDMENTS DISTRICT CODE TITLE 7, CHAPTER 2
 
 
7-2-7:  BILLING; PAYMENTS
 
F.  Penalties: Rates and charges that are not paid by the due date specified will be subject to a basic penalty of ten percent (10%). In addition, a penalty of one percent (1.0%) per month will accrue on the due date of each subsequent month for nonpayment of the charges and penalties; provided, however, the district will upon request, once every 12 months, waive any penalty or interest charges on delinquent bills for customers who demonstrate an annual household income that is below 200 percent (200%) of the federal poverty line in accordance with Health & Safety Code section 116914.
 
7-2-8: DISCONTINUANCE OF SERVICE:
 
A.    Disconnection For Nonpayment; Notice:
1. Residential service may not be discontinued for nonpayment until payments have been delinquent for at least 60 days beyond the date of delinquency under code section 7-2-7(E).
2. Prior to terminating residential service on account of nonpayment of a delinquent account, the district must give notice of the delinquency and impending discontinuation, at least 10 days prior to the proposed discontinuation, by means of a notice mailed, postage prepaid, to the customer to whom the service is billed.  The 10-day period will not commence until five days after the mailing of the notice. The charge for such notice will be added to the customer's account. The amount of the charge will be established by resolution of the board of directors.
3. In addition to written notice, the district will make a reasonable attempt to contact an adult person at the premises of the customer by telephone or personal contact, at least 48 hours prior to any discontinuation of service.  If telephone or personal contact cannot be accomplished, the district will post a notice of discontinuation of service in a conspicuous location at the premises and provide a copy of the district’s policy on the discontinuation of residential water service for nonpayment, at least 48 hours prior to discontinuation.
4. Notice to Renters.  Where the listed customer on an account is a landlord, a notice of delinquent account and pending discontinuation must also be sent to the residential occupants at least 10 days prior to the discontinuation of service.  The notice must inform the renter of his or her right to become a customer without paying the past due amounts on the landlord’s account.  In order for the amount due on the delinquent account to be waived, however, an occupant who becomes the customer must verify that the delinquent account customer of record was the landlord, manager, or agent of the dwelling.  Verification may include a lease or rental agreement, rent receipts, a government document indicating that the occupant is renting the property, or information disclosed pursuant to Civil Code section 1962.
B. Contents Of Notice Of Discontinuation: Every notice of discontinuation of service must be sent to the customer’s address and to the residence where residential service is provided, if different.  Every notice of discontinuation of service will include all of the following information:
1. The name and address of the customer whose account is delinquent.
2. The amount of the delinquency.
3. The date by which payment or arrangement for payment is required in order to avoid discontinuation of service.
4. The procedure by which the customer may initiate a review and appeal concerning service or charges.
5. The procedure by which the customer may request a deferred, reduced, or alternative payment schedule, including amortization of the unpaid charges.
6. The procedure for the customer to obtain information on the availability of financial assistance, including private, local, state or federal sources, if applicable.
7. The telephone number of an employee of the district who can provide additional information or institute arrangements for payment.
C. Limitations On Discontinuing Service; In General: The district may not discontinue residential service for nonpayment in any of the following situations:
1. During the pendency of an investigation by the district of a customer dispute or complaint, or an appeal of an adverse determination regarding such review.
2. When the customer has been granted an extension of the period for payment of a bill.
3. On any day or at any time that the district office is not open to the public.
D. Limitations On Discontinuing Service; Special Medical and Financial Circumstances.  The district will not discontinue residential service for nonpayment both of the following conditions are met:
1. The customer, or a tenant of the customer, submits a certification of a primary care provider, as that term is defined in Welfare and Institutions Code Section 14088(b)(1)(A), that to do so will be life threatening to, or pose a serious threat to the health and safety of, a resident of the premises; and
2. The customer is financially unable to pay for service within the district’s normal billing cycle by demonstrating that any member of the customer’s household is a current recipient of Cal WORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment Program, or California Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or declares under penalty of perjury that the household’s annual income is less than 200 percent of the current federal poverty level guidelines issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
E. Repayment Options for Qualified Customers.  If all of the circumstances listed in subsection (D)  above are met, the district will offer, at its discretion, the customer one or more of the following options:
1.   Amortization of the unpaid balance for a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 12 months, unless a longer period is necessary to avoid undue hardship.
2.   An alternate payment schedule.
3.   A partial or full reduction in payment financed without additional charges to other ratepayers.
4.   Temporary deferral of payment.
F.   Request for Amortization Agreement Due to Financial Hardship. If a customer (i) has an excessive bill due to a water leak and provides proof of repair or (ii) can demonstrate a temporary financial inability to pay for service within the normal payment period, and is willing to enter into an amortization agreement over a reasonable period of time, not to exceed 12 months, the district will consider and act on such a request in accordance with the procedures in the district’s discontinuation of residential water service for nonpayment policy.  As provided in such policy, approval of any such request is at the sole discretion of the district.
G.   Limitations on Terminating Service For Customers Subject to a Repayment Plan: If a residential customer fails to comply with (1) an amortization agreement, (2) an alternative payment schedule, or (3) a deferral or reduction in payment plan for delinquent charges for 60 days or more, or while undertaking any of items (1)-(3) above does not pay the current residential charges for 60 days or more, the district may terminate service no sooner than 5 business days after posting a final notice of intent to disconnect service in a prominent and conspicuous location at the premises.  Such notice does not entitle the customer to further investigation or review regarding such delinquent amount by the district.
H.   Third Party Notification: The district will make available to its residential customers who are 65 years of age or older, or who are dependent adults as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of section 15610.23 of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, a third party notification service, whereby the district will attempt to notify a person designated by the customer to receive notification when the customer's account is past due and subject to discontinuation. The notification will include information on what is required to prevent discontinuation of service. The residential customer must make a request for third party notification on a form provided by the district, and must include the written consent of the designated third party. The third party notification does not obligate the third party to pay the overdue charges, nor will it prevent or delay discontinuation of service.
I.  Reconnection Charge: A reconnection charge will be made and collected prior to renewing service following a disconnection. The reconnection charge will be established by resolution of the board of directors.  The reconnection charge for a customer who demonstrates the household’s annual income is less than 200 percent of the current federal poverty level may not exceed $50 during normal district operating hours, and the charge during non- operational hours cannot exceed $150. These caps for low-income customers may be adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area beginning January 1, 2021.
J.  Noncompliance With Regulations: The district may terminate service without complying with the provisions of this section due to an unauthorized action by the customer, including noncompliance with this chapter or any other ordinance or regulation related to the water service.
K.  Vacating Premises: Customers desiring to voluntarily discontinue service should so notify the district at least two business days prior to vacating the premises..  Property owners will continue to be liable for the payment of water rate base charges, however, until the property is sold or otherwise changes ownership.