§ 50.002  TAMPERING WITH OR OBSTRUCTING WATER AND SEWER LINES OR WATER METERS PROHIBITED.
   (A)  It shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to alter, tamper with or manipulate any valves, lines or other equipment and appurtenances comprising a part of the water and sewer systems belonging to the town including water meters and backflow preventers.  Those actions which constitute violations of divisions (B) and (C) below shall not be considered violations of this division.  A person violating the provisions of this division shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of § 10.99.
   (B)   It shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to reconnect water or sanitary sewer connections, or otherwise turn back on either of those utilities after they have been lawfully disconnected or turned off by an authorized employee or agent of the town for nonpayment of water and/or sewer charges.  In addition to any fee set forth in §§ 50.080, 50.082 or elsewhere in this chapter, any violation of the provisions of this division shall cause a customer to pay a fee of $75 before water and/or sewer service is made available to such customer.  In the enforcement of this division, it shall be presumed that the occupant (or owner, if the property is vacant) of any real property serviced by a town water or sanitary sewer connection is the person who reconnected water or sanitary sewer connections, or otherwise turned back on either of those utilities after they had been lawfully disconnected or turned off by an authorized employee or agent of the town.  In accordance with G.S. 160A-175(b), a violation of this division shall not be subject to the penalty provisions of G.S. 14-4 or § 10.99 of this code and shall not be considered a breach of the penal laws of the state.
   (C)   It shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to turn on or turn off water and/or sanitary sewer services by using a cutoff valve or other device which is a part of the town's water or sewer system.  Violations of this division shall subject the offender to a civil penalty of $75 to be recovered by the town in a civil action in the nature of debt if the offender does not pay the penalty within ten days after he has been cited for a violation of this division.  In accordance with G.S. § 160A-175(b), a violation of this division shall not be subject to the penalty provisions of G.S. § 14-4 or § 10.99 of this code and shall not be considered a breach of the penal laws of the state.
   (D)   The owner is responsible for ensuring the meter is not blocked or otherwise obstructed and does not present a hazard to the meter reader. This may mean trimming grass and bushes around the meter, not blocking by installing a fence in front or parking a car on top of the meter, and keeping dogs confined. The minimum hazard clearance around a water meter is not less than 36 inches. A meter reader hazard shall be considered to be items such as pampas grass, yucca and other vegetation capable of injury. In the event of a hazard, failure of the owner to correct the hazard after one notification shall cause the town to correct/eliminate the hazard.
(Ord. 1119, passed 7-26-90; Am. Ord. 1683, passed 6-14-12)