CHAPTER XV. UTILITIESCHAPTER XV. UTILITIES\ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

For purposes of this article utility services shall include water, electrical, sewer, solid waste (refuse) and other utility services provided by the city.

(Code 2006)

(a)   Persons requesting utility service must complete and sign a utility service contract with the City of Hoisington and provide the City with a current government issued photo I.D. The City's acceptance of the service contract constitutes a binding agreement between the City of Hoisington and the utility customer.

(b)   It shall be the policy of the City that any and all debts owed the City be paid before service will be established. In the event a utility customer becomes delinquent on utility service, or incurs a debt with the City for any other reason, utility service may be discontinued if said debt remains unpaid after notification of amount due.

(c)   Persons requesting utility service must provide either proof of ownership for the residence on which utility service is being requested, or a rental/lease agreement showing all tenants and cotenants for location. The landlord's name, address and phone number must be provided at the time utility service is requested.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

Service Connection Fees for Electricity and Water must be paid prior to service being established. This fee is nonrefundable.

(a)   Electricity: $100.00

(b)   Water: $50.00

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

(a)   Should a customer move to another address in the City's service area, utilities may be established at the new address without additional Service Connection Fees providing the following criteria are met:

(1)   The account, or any previous account in the customer's name, cannot have been disconnected due to failure to pay during the past 12 consecutive months.

(2)   Customer must have a good payment record which is defined as no more than two late payments in a 24 month period of time, or for the duration of the account if it has been active less than 24 months.

(b)   If the above criteria cannot be met, then Service Connection Fees will be required.

(c)   Service Connection Fees cannot be transferred from one customer to another.

(d)   Final service at the previous address must be closed out within 30 days (unless renovation of house is in process). If prior service is still in effect after 30 days, Service Connection Fees will be assessed to the new address account.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

Each person of legal age, 18 or older, residing at the premises shall be deemed to have received the benefit of utility service supplied by the City and shall be liable for payment whether or not the service is listed in that person's name. Therefore, any person requesting utility service must provide the names of any persons of legal age residing at the location.

(a)   The utility account will be subject to disconnection of services should any of the beneficiaries at said address owe unpaid utility debts to the City. Before utilities can be reestablished, all unpaid utility debts to the City of Hoisington shall be paid in full. Other unpaid debts shall be defined as court fines, court costs, or ambulance bills. Any other type of debt or obligation to the City of Hoisington must be in an active payment status or current.

(b)   Should the City become aware that a beneficiary user at any address owes the City any back bills, the person listed on the contract will be sent a letter informing them that the account may be shut off unless the back bills are paid.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

Each month the City will read the meters for each account and calculate the amount due and payable from each customer for utilities.

(a)   The City shall make an initial demand for payment through the mailing of a utility bill on the last working day of a month.

(b)   Payment of the account shall be due by close of business of the 15th of each month. Payments received after the 15th will be considered delinquent and late charges will be assessed at fifteen percent (15%) of the charges for the current month.

(c)   The City is not responsible for Utility Bills lost or not delivered by the Postal Service.

(d)   A customer that has held an account with the City for more than 24 consecutive months and has not had a late payment within the past 24 months may have the late charges waived. To obtain such waiver, customer must request same within 15 days of the due date appearing on the subject utility bill. Late charges will not be waived for any customer more than one time in a 24 month period. This waiver shall only apply to late charges and shall not apply to reconnection fees, returned check fees or any other charges aside from the delinquency charge.

(e)   If the customer's meter is obstructed, a second attempt to read it will be made. If the meter is still obstructed a notice will be mailed to the customer requesting that access be arranged for the readers each month. No additional notice will be given. If the City is unable to access a customer's meter due to obstruction a second time, an Inaccessibility Fee of $50.00 will be placed on the customer's utility billing the following month and each month thereafter that the meter is inaccessible.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

(a)   Delinquent notices shall be mailed to all customers who have not paid by the 20th of the month. If the entire bill (including penalties) is not paid in full within 10 days, utility service shall be disconnected and a final notification will be sent. An additional Delinquency Penalty Charge of 15% shall be added to the amount due.

(b)   If the amount owed is still not paid after 15 days from the date on the final notice the account may be turned over for collection to the Kansas Setoff Program which will deduct the delinquent amount from any eligible tax refunds or state payments the customer may be entitled to or assessed to taxes, if property is owned by customer. In the event that any person, except the United States or the state of Kansas, residing occupying, using or operating on property to which utility service(s) furnished by the City is not paid, the unpaid fees or charges shall constitute a lien upon the property to which utilities are furnished. The amount of the unpaid fees or charges may be certified by the governing body to the county clerk of the county in which the property is located, to be placed upon the tax roll for collection, subject to the same penalties and collected in the same manner as other taxes are collected by law.

(c)   The lien described above, shall not attach to property for unpaid utility fees or charges when the utility service(s) have been contracted for by a tenant and not by the landlord or owner of the property to which the utility service is provided.

(d)   In the event the City of Hoisington is required to pursue collection of accounts that become delinquent through the State of Kansas Set-Off program or any other lawful collection process, the City shall be entitled to reimbursement of the costs of collection from the customer, including but not limited to, administration fees, court costs, attorney's fees and collection agency fees. An additional Collection Account Charge of 25% shall be added to the amount due.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

(a)   Once the utility account is placed on the City's Shut Off List and the list is in the hands of personnel doing shut-offs, reconnection fees must be paid even if the utilities have not physically been disconnected.

(b)   Payment may only be made with cash, cashier's check, debit card, credit card or money order to have service reconnected. Checks will not be accepted to reconnect utilities.

(c)   Reconnection fees will adhere to the following tier schedule:

(1)   First Time Account is Shut Off: $35.00

(2)   Second Time Account is Shut Off: $70.00

(3)   Third and Subsequent Time Account is Shut Off: $100.00

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1; Ord. 1458, Sec. 1)

(a)   First Returned Check: A notice will be sent giving the customer five (5) days to pay the NSF check and a $35.00 NSF fee. Only cash, cashier's check or money order will be accepted.

(b)   Second Returned Check:

(1) The Utility account will be subject to immediate disconnection without notice.

(2) The Utility account will be placed on a "cash only" basis for 12 months.

(A)  Any checks received during this time will be returned without being processed and the account will remain as unpaid until cash, cashier's check or money order is received.

       Utilities are subject to disconnection procedure if cash payment is not received before disconnection reports are issued.

(c)   Returned Checks on Service Connection Fees: Returned checks written for utility Service Connection Fees will cause immediate disconnection of services without notice. A reconnection fee must be paid in addition to all amounts owed prior to the account being turned back on.

(d)   The City reserves the right to contact the customer's financial institution to verify that funds are available before accepting any checks.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

In cases where a customer's meter is deemed inaccessible by the City Manager and City staff due to safety or any other factors, the following procedures will be followed:

(a)   First Notification for a Premise- The first time a meter is determined to be inaccessible; the owner shall be notified of the determination and asked to remedy the factors making the meter inaccessible. The owner will also be notified of the procedure for dealing with inaccessible meters.

(b)   Second Notification for a Premise- The second time a meter is determined to be inaccessible, the owner shall be notified of the determination, asked to remedy the factors making the meter inaccessible and will be notified that this will be their last warning.

(c)   Third Notification for a Premise- The third time a meter is determined to be inaccessible, the owner will be notified of the prior notifications and their failure to remedy the factors making the meter inaccessible. The City will take steps to make the meter accessible and the cost shall be assessed to the property owner. The property owner may pay for the improvements or they may be billed in the following manner:

(1)   $0 to $50 Cost will be placed on utility bill in three monthly installments

(2)   $51 to $100 Cost will be placed on utility bill in six monthly installments

(3)   $100 to $200 Cost will be placed on utility bill in nine monthly installments

(4)   More than $200 Cost will be placed on utility bill in twelve monthly installments

(Ord. 1428, Sec. 1)

All utility customers outside the City limits shall be charged an additional surcharge equal to 50 percent of the total bill for all City-operated utility services with the exception of electric. Electric customers outside the City limits will be charged an additional surcharge equal to one (1) cent per kilowatt of electricity consumed.

(Ord. 1428, Sec. 1)

Each Utility Account will be allowed two (2) extensions per calendar year. Extensions must be applied for by the end of the month. Said extension will extend the due date seven (7) calendar days from the last day of the month.

(a)   Only the person(s) listed on the Utility account may sign an extension. If said customer cannot come into the office, a form can be mailed or picked up by someone else.

(b)   The customer will be required to pay 25% of the total bill prior to obtaining an extension.

(c)   This extension will not relieve an individual from incurring charges for delinquent payments.

(d)   If the remainder of the bill is not paid in full at the end of the extension period, utilities will be disconnected without further notice. A reconnection fee must be paid in addition to all amounts owed prior to the account being turned back on.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1; Ord. 1458, Sec. 1)

Discontinuance of service may occur for the following reasons:

(a)   Subterfuge, Tampering, Bypassing or Unauthorized Metering: 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 services of any utility system, the use of which the proper billing authorities have no knowledge.

(b)   Failure to pay utility bills when due.

(c)   Violation of Ordinances, Resolutions, City Code or any other department rules and regulations.

(d)   Unsafe conditions.

(e)   Denying utility personnel and equipment the right of access to the premises.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

Upon request, a customer may schedule a hearing regarding utility bills with the City Manager or his designee. Upon reviewing the information provided, the City Manager or his designee shall make a determination as to the outcome of said delinquent account.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

The following Landlord Agreement is hereby adopted and may be entered into by qualifying Landlords and the City Clerk/Treasurer.

(a)   Purpose: The purpose of this agreement is to provide a clear understanding of what will be required to maintain continuous service during periods of vacancy to Landlords' rentals through tenant arrivals and departures.

(b)   Limitations: This agreement is meant to exist within the boundaries set by the City of Hoisington ordinances and billing practices. If there is any conflict, the ordinance and billing practices will supersede the agreement.

(c)   Eligibility: Landlords must be in good payment standing with the City of Hoisington. This is defined as no late payments on any account in the Landlord's name during the past 12 consecutive months, no disconnections due to failure to pay within the past 24 consecutive months; and no outstanding debts of any kind or nature owed to the City.

(d)   Transfers and Transfer Fees:

(1)   The City of Hoisington, subject to the terms of this agreement and City ordinances, agrees to transfer service, without interruption, from the name of the tenant to the Landlord's name when the Landlord notifies the City that the tenant has moved and makes application to transfer service into the Landlord's name. It shall not be the responsibility of the City to transfer said utilities without notification from the Landlord to do so.

(2)   All persons who are benefit users of City utilities as described in City ordinances on utilities, shall comply with the Rules and Regulations as set forth in said Ordinance, including the benefit user policy regardless of who pays the bill or whose name the utilities are in.

(3)   Landlord agrees to pay all City of Hoisington bills for all properties with utilities in his/her name on or before the due date. Failure of the Landlord to pay bills timely, or failure to comply with any part of this agreement voids this agreement. If this agreement is voided for any reason, the City of Hoisington cannot be held responsible for any damage or loss that may occur to the Landlord's property as a result of electric and/or water service having been discontinued. Either party may cancel this agreement by providing written notice to the other party.

(4)   The City of Hoisington reserves the right to discontinue or to refuse to commence service for any tenant who has an unpaid utility bill or other bad debt with the City of Hoisington. Even if the Landlord chooses to keep utilities in his/her name after the new tenant moves in, utility service may be refused or discontinued if the City determines that a benefit user residing in said rental property has unpaid debts with the City. Benefit users may not avoid payment of past services by having utilities put in the Landlord's name. The Landlord will not be held responsible for any of the tenant's previous unpaid utility bills or bad debts, but will be responsible for any debts occurring while the utilities are in his/her name.

(5)   Any dispute arising between the tenant and the Landlord concerning timing of transfer of service must be resolved between the tenant and the Landlord. The City of Hoisington urges Landlords to verify that their tenants have applied for utility service.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

The City of Hoisington offers an Average Level Pay Program for residential customers on the following terms and criteria:

(a)   The customer whose name appears on the Utility Contract cannot have been shut off for nonpayment in the previous 12 months.

(b)   Where more than one residence is metered by a master meter, this plan shall not apply. (i.e. - apartment buildings where all apartments share a single meter.)

(c)   The Average Level Pay Program shall automatically renew each month for customers in the program until written notice is received cancelling the agreement. The average level pay amount, however, will be recalculated each month.

(d)   The average level payment will be calculated each month by taking an average of the 12 previous months plus a factor determined by the City Clerk/Treasurer. If the monthly utility average level payment is not made by the 15th of the month, penalties will be assessed and must be paid along with the past due billing.

(e)   Adjustments to the average level pay amount shall be made by the City Clerk/Treasurer if it is determined that the account is accruing either too large a deficit or too large a credit.

(f)   If the account becomes delinquent and is turned off for nonpayment, the average level pay agreement shall be terminated and the balance owed, including all applicable penalties, must be paid in full before utilities will be reinstated. The customer must wait for 12 months before reapplying for the Average Level Pay Program.

(g)   If the customer writes a check to pay on an account, and that check is returned by the banking institution as a NSF Payment, the Average Level Pay Program shall be terminated immediately. The customer must pay all amounts owing, along with applicable penalties, and must wait 12 months before reapplying to the program.

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

All fees and charges defined in this policy are subject to change and will be reviewed at least once annually by a resolution titled "A RESOLUTION CONCERNING SERVICE, LICENSE AND PERMIT FEES WITHIN THE CORPORATE LIMITS AND SERVICE AREA OF THE CITY OF HOISINGTON."

(Ord. 1457, Sec. 1)

(a)   That there shall be assessed against every residential utility customer of the City of Hoisington, Kansas, as hereinafter defined, a utility charge of $2.00 per month, which utility charge is to be collected as part of the monthly utility bill and credited to the General Fund of the City for the purpose of maintaining and operating the City of Hoisington Municipal Swimming Pool.

(b)   The $2.00 monthly utility charge shall permit the residential utility customer and family members residing at the residence free admittance to the City of Hoisington Municipal Swimming Pool. This utility charge is not meant to cover admission to all pool activities. It only pertains to daily admissions. The cost of other activities, such as swimming lessons, pool parties and water aerobics will be assessed separately. Non-assessed households will pay the standard daily admission and applicable rates.

Said fees and charges are subject to change and will be reviewed at least once annually by a resolution titled "A RESOLUTION CONCERNING SERVICE, LICENSE AND PERMIT FEES WITHIN THE CORPORATE LIMITS AND SERVICE AREA OF THE CITY OF HOISINGTON."

(c)   In order to qualify for free admittance, each residential utility customer will need to have a Pool Admittance Form returned to City Hall which lists the residential utility customer and family members residing in the home that desire to use the pool. In addition, this monthly utility charge also allows the residential utility customer to add the names of up to four guests that also qualify for free admittance. In order to qualify as a guest, these individuals must also be listed on the Pool Admittance Form. The guest names listed shall remain the same for the entire season.

(d)   For the purpose of this section, "residential utility customer" shall be defined as follows:

(1)   Each residential user billed for municipal utility service; and

(2)   Any other user assessed a municipal utility charge that provides service to a customer's living quarters.

(Ord. 1432, Secs. 1:4; Code 2012; 2015 fee schedule)

Any account owed to the City of Hoisington which is referred to any outside agency or entity for collection, including the State of Kansas setoff program, shall have a fee equal to thirty percent (30%) of the total delinquent amount added to said account. Such administrative fee shall be added and applied prior to referral for collection. The person, persons, or entity which owes any such account may also be held responsible for other costs incurred for the collection of the account as allowed by law.

(Ord. 1527)