As used in this article, the following definitions shall apply:
(a) Customer - shall mean the utility service account holder of record.
(b) Person - shall mean natural persons and all corporations, partnerships, associations and all other types and kinds of organizations and entities, without limitation.
(c) Utility Services - shall mean electrical service, water service, sanitary sewer service, trash service and other utility services provided by the city.
(Ord. 287, Sec. 1; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
(a) The city may discontinue or refuse a particular utility service to any customer, without notice or hearing, for any of the following reasons:
(1) When the customer so requests.
(2) When it is determined by an employee of the city utility department, fire department or police department that the continuance of a particular utility service constitutes a dangerous condition presenting a likely immediate threat to health or safety of persons or to property on or near the customer’s premises.
(b) The city may discontinue or refuse a particular utility service to any customer, following compliance with the notice and hearing requirements of section 15-104 of this article, for any of the following reasons:
(1) Nonpayment of utility bills and charges as provided in section 15-104 of this article.
(2) When the customer misrepresents his or her identity or otherwise intentionally provides false information for the purpose of obtaining utility services from the city.
(c) The city may discontinue or refuse a particular utility service to any customer, following notice to the customer, for any of the reasons set out in this subsection. The customer shall have the right to a hearing within a reasonable time, not to exceed 10 days, following termination or refusal of service. If after such hearing, the hearing officer finds in favor of the customer the hearing officer may order connection or reconnection of the service at no cost to the customer.
(1) When the customer refuses to grant employees of the city’s utility department access to equipment installed upon the premises of the customer for the purpose of inspection, meter reading, maintenance or replacement.
(2) When the customer violates any rule, regulation or ordinance of the city pertaining to utility services, which violation adversely affects the safety of the customer or other persons, or the integrity of the city’s utility services’ delivery system.
(3) When the customer attempts, causes or permits unauthorized interference, diversion, theft, tampering, damage or use of utility services or the utility services’ delivery system situated or delivered on or about the customer’s premises.
(Ord. 287, Sec. 1; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
Utility billings shall be mailed after the 15th of the month for the previous month serviced. All billings for utility services shall be due and payable at the city office on the 25th day of the month and must be paid in full by the 8th day of said month. Failure to make payment after the 8th day of the month shall result in the mailing of an account delinquency and service discontinuation notice (bill collection card).
(Ord. 252, Sec. 2; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
(a) An account delinquency and service discontinuance notice and hearing notice shall be issued in writing after the 8th day of each month with respect to any delinquent and unpaid utility service bill, a $10.00 reconnect fee will be assessed. Notice shall be sent by U.S. mail, first class, to the customer (and a copy also sent by U.S. mail, first class, to the occupant and landlord of the premises served if the occupant or landlord is not the customer) at the last known address of the customer as shown on the records of the city. Written notice may also be provided by personal service upon the customer by an employee of the city utility department or by any city law enforcement officer or by such city employee posting the written notice upon a door of a building upon the property services.
(b) The notice of account delinquency and service discontinuance shall provide the following information:
(1) Name of customer and address where service is being provided.
(2) Account number.
(3) Amount past due plus delinquency charges.
(4) Notice that utility service shall be terminated upon failure to pay the delinquent billing plus delinquency charges and no request for a hearing within three days of the date of the mailing of the notice by the 8th day of the month.
(c) The notice of account delinquency and service discontinuance shall be substantially in the following form:
Notice of Account Delinquency and Service Discontinuance.
Your (electrical and/or sanitary sewer and/or water and/or trash) bill in the amount of $____ which was due __________, 20 __, remains unpaid and is now delinquent. You are hereby notified that the city intends to terminate your service on ______ at __:00 (a.m.) (p.m.), unless you pay the amounts due as above stated or unless good cause be shown why such service should not be terminated. You are further notified that you are to appear in the ______ at __:00 (a.m.) (p.m.), unless you pay the amounts due as above stated or unless good cause be shown why such service should not be terminated. You are further notified that you are to appear in the Kiowa city building on the ___ day of _____________, 20_, at __:00 (a.m.) (p.m.), then and there to show good cause as to why your service should not be terminated for nonpayment of charges. Should you fail to attend the hearing or fail to request at least 24 hours prior to the above hearing date that the hearing be rescheduled, then you are notified that immediately following the hearing date such service or services shall be discontinued.
Dated __________ __, 20___, City of Kiowa, Kansas.
(d) Any utility customer receiving a notice of account delinquency and service discontinuance shall have the right to a hearing prior to disconnection. At such hearing, the applicant customer, and the city, shall have the right to present such evidence as is pertinent to the issue, may be represented by counsel, and may examine and cross-examine witnesses, however formal rules of evidence shall not be followed. The hearing shall be conducted by the city administrator or such other hearing officer as may be appointed with the consent of the governing body. In the event the hearing officer finds utility service(s) should not be discontinued, the hearing officer shall so order and advise the city thereof. In the event the hearing officer finds utility service(s) should be discontinued, the hearing officer shall so order and advise the city thereof. Unless otherwise ordered by the hearing officer, utility service(s) shall be discontinued on the date that the order of discontinuance is issued by the hearing officer. Extensions of the date of discontinuance may be granted to enable the customer to make arrangements for reasonable installment payments or for other good cause shown. The customer shall be given notice of order of discontinuance in person, or by mail. In making a determination of whether discontinuance should be ordered, the hearing officer shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors: Whether discontinuance is dangerous to the health of the customer, the customer’s family or any other residents of the premises affected; the weather; unforeseen financial hardship of the customer, and the medical conditions, ages or disabilities of the customer, the customer’s family or other residents of the premises.
(Ord. 252, Sec. 3; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
City utility departments are hereby authorized to discontinue and disconnect utility services to any customer pursuant to the procedure set out in this article. Customers shall remain responsible for furnishing the city with the correct address for billing purposes.
(Code 279, Sec. 1; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
In the event any person shall neglect, fail or refuse to pay within 10 days following notice of discontinuance the utility billings and delinquency charges due the city, such billings and charges shall constitute a lien, upon the real property served by the connection to the utility service, and shall be certified by the city clerk to the county clerk of Barber County, Kansas, to be placed on the tax roll for collection, subject to the same penalties and collected in like manner as other taxes are by law collectible.
(Code 1988; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
The city requests the landlords inform the city when they are aware one of their tenants has vacated the premises. The landlord shall be responsible for any unpaid utility charges of its tenants.
(Ord. 252, Sec. 7; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
(a) Late Payment Charges. All bills delinquent after (5 p.m.) the 8th day of the month of the billing shall be subject to a 10% penalty.
(b) Reconnection Charges. Prior to reconnecting a utility service disconnected following a delinquency, the customer shall pay to the city the entire balance due and owing to the city at the time of reconnection. The customer shall also pay a reconnection charge (“as set forth in the city fee resolution”; or “established by resolution”; etc.) for reconnection of electric service and for reconnection of water service plus labor cost and service vehicle costs if after working hours.
(Ord. 252, Secs. 5:6; Code 1988; Ord. 427)
Between November 15th and the following March 31st, the cold weather rule shall be in effect for all residential customers who have unpaid arrearages and who meet the requirements of the “Good Faith Test.” For purposes of the cold weather rule, the good faith test shall require the customer to:
(a) Inform the city of the customer’s inability to pay his or her utility bill in full;
(b) Give the city sufficient information to allow a determination of payment agreement to be made; and
(c) Apply for federal, state and local or other funds available for the payment of utility bills for which the customer may be eligible. The city shall notify the customer, at the time the customer is required to meet these requirements of assistance available.
(Ord. 252, Sec. 8; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
(a) Services shall not be disconnected for any customer who qualifies under the cold weather rule and who meets the good faith test if the customer makes an initial payment to the city of 25% of the bill for the most recent period or $45, whichever is greater, plus 3/4 of the arrearage and pays the remaining arrearage in 11 equal payments in the months immediately following the initial payment.
(b) A customer may be disconnected or prevented from qualifying for the cold weather rule upon the customers breach of the good faith test if (1) it is documented that a diversion of electric service has occurred and the customer has benefitted from such diversion, or (2) the customer has defaulted in making payments on the agreement made under the cold weather rule and remains in default. In no event shall a customer’s electric service be disconnected when the national weather service office forecasts that the temperature will drop below 32° Fahrenheit within the following 24 hour period.
(Ord. 252, Sec. 9; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)
(a) At the time of making application for water service, the property owner or customer shall make a cash deposit in the amount set by the governing body to secure payment of accrued bills or bills due on discontinuance of service. Receipt thereof shall be issued to each such depositor.
(b) Cash deposits for the indicated residential utility services shall be in the following amounts:
(1) Water Service - $20;
(2) Electric Service - $80.
(c) The deposit so made shall be kept by the city clerk in a separate account and deposited in a fund designated as the “meter deposit fund.” Interest shall be payable at the rate determined by the state corporation commission yearly and credited to the customer’s account January 1st of each calendar year.
(d) The deposit and interest accrued shall be payable in cash upon demand by the property owner or customer depositing the same or it may be credited on the payment of any bill rendered; provided, that at the second interest payment date following the deposit required above, the city clerk shall refund the deposit of any depositor who is owner of the premises wherein such water service is being furnished and has not been delinquent in payment of any water service charge during the past year. Interest due and accrued shall not draw interest.
(e) Upon the discontinuance of any service at the request of the depositor, the deposit shall be refunded upon surrender of the original receipt therefor together with the accrued interest thereon less any amount due and owing the city for services furnished prior thereto.
(f) Any security deposit not refunded within three years after discontinuance of service shall be deposited in the water fund of the city upon compliance with the provision of K.S.A. 12-822 as amended.
(Ord. 252, Sec. 10; Ord. 380; Code 2015; Ord. 427)