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The rates, rules and regulations contained in this chapter shall constitute and be considered a part of the contract with every person, company or corporation who is supplied with water and sewer services from the water and sewer systems, and every person, company or corporation, hereinafter called a “customer” who accepts and uses water, gas or sewer services, shall be held to have consented to be bound thereby.
(A) Not liable for interrupted service. The utility will endeavor at all times to provide a regular and uninterrupted supply of service, but in case the supply of service shall be interrupted, or irregular, or defective, or fail from causes beyond its control, or through ordinary negligence of employees, servants or agents, the utility shall not be liable therefor.
(B) Using utilities without paying. Any person using gas, water or sewer services from the city without paying therefor, or who shall be found guilty of breaking any gas or water meter, or appurtenances, or by-passing the meter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, shall be fined a sum as is provided in § 10.99.
(C) Destroying or obstructing property. A person found guilty of defacing, obstructing, tampering, injuring or destroying or in any manner, limiting the use of availability of any fixture, meter or any property of the utilities, or erecting signs on the property of the utilities without permission, shall, upon conviction of such act, be fined as provided in § 10.99.
(D) Service obtained by fraud. All contracts for gas, water and sewer service must be made in the name of the head of the household, firm or corporation using the established spelling of that person’s or firm’s name. Attempts to obtain service by the use of other names, different spellings or by substituting other persons’ or firms’ names will be considered a subterfuge and service will be denied. If service had been discontinued because of non-payment of bills or any unpaid obligation, and service again has been obtained through subterfuge, misrepresentation or fraud, that service will be promptly disconnected and the whole or such part of the advanced payment, as may be necessary to satisfy the unpaid obligation shall be retained by the city and credited to the proper account.
(E) Failure to receive bill. Failure to receive a bill shall not excuse a customer from his or her obligation to pay within the time specified. Should the Department be unable to bill a customer for services used during any month, the billing next made shall include the charges for services used during the unbilled month. A month shall be considered as that period of approximately 30 days.
(F) Discontinuing utility services.
(1) Utility services shall be deemed to have been supplied to any property connected to the utility systems during any month, unless the consumer shall have given written notice to the City Clerk prior to the first of the new billing month. Upon the receipt of such notice, utility service shall be discontinued and shall not again be resumed until a request for the utility service has been made.
(2) Any customer disputing the correctness of his of her bill shall have a right to 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.
(G) Removal of meters. All meters shall remain the property of the Department and may be removed from the customer’s premises at any time without notice for the purpose of testing and repairing the same or upon discontinuance of service. Upon discovery of any unlawful act by any customer, his or her agent, or employee herein prohibited or upon failure to comply with any other rules and regulations of the department, such service shall be disconnected.
(H) Payment; penalty. City utility meters will be read by the public works employees on or about the first day of each month. If weather conditions or other circumstances prevent the reading of meters, then each meter will be estimated by the city. Bills will be mailed by the fifteenth day of the month and will be delinquent on the first day of the following month. If a bill is not paid by the first of the following month of billing, a penalty equal to 5% of the amount due on said bills shall be added thereto. This penalty shall be in addition to the charge heretofore established for utility services. Bills shall be paid to the Treasurer of the city or the designated representative.
(I) Notice before disconnect.
(1) All utility bills are due and payable by the first day of the month. If a utility bill is not paid by the ninth of the month, a notice before disconnect will be mailed to customers as a final request for payment before utility services are disconnected. If the ninth day of the month falls on a non-working day for the city, the city will mail the notice before disconnect on the last business day prior to the ninth.
(2) If a utility bill remains unpaid by the end of business on the fifteenth of the month, the city will initiate turn-offs for non-payment of services at 8:00 a.m. on the sixteenth of the month, and will initiate reconnections at 1:00 p.m. for same-day payments. The city reserves the right to alter this disconnection policy wherein the schedule of payments due and/or disconnection falls on weekend or holiday and/or mitigating circumstances warrant otherwise.
(J) Lien on property. In the event the charges for utility services, including any penalty then due are not paid within 30 days after the rendition of the bill for such service, such charges and penalties shall constitute liens upon the real estate for which such services are supplied, and the City Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to file sworn statements showing such delinquent charges in the office of the Recorder of Deeds of the County, and the filing of such statements shall be deemed notice for the payment of such charges and penalties for such services.
(K) Reconnect charge. If a utility is disconnected to any customer for non-payment of a bill, utility service shall not be reconnected until all charges and penalties have been paid. The city shall charge a reconnection fee of $50 for water/sewer meter and $25 for gas meter that have been shut off for non-payment. The city will initiate turn-offs for nonpayment of services at 8:00 a.m. on the sixteenth of the month and will initiate reconnections at 1:00 p.m. The city reserves the right to alter this disconnection policy wherein the schedule of payments due and/or disconnection falls on weekends, holidays and/or when mitigating customer circumstances warrant otherwise.
(L) Resale. No water or gas shall be resold or distributed by the customer thereof from the city supply to any premises other than that for which application has been made and the meter installed, except in cases of emergency.
(1975 Code, § 38.05) (Ord. 78-5, passed 2-6-1978; Ord. 85-9, passed 6-19-1985; Ord. 2005-01, passed 6-1-2005; Ord. 11-03, passed 3-2-2011) Penalty, see § 53.999