Ordinance would revise Municipal Code to set billing procedures for water, sewer

The Oakland Board of Mayor and Aldermen has unanimously passed an ordinance on first reading that would establish billing procedures and rates for water and sewer.
Board members took the action during their Jan. 15 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Karl Chambless and seconded by Alderman Kelly Rector.
The proposed ordinance is scheduled for final reading at the board’s Feb. 19 meeting.
It states that the billing procedures, rates, penalties and surcharges set by Title 18, Chapter 1 of the Municipal Code have not been reviewed by the board for many years.
Section 1 of the proposed ordinance would require the town to mail water, sewer and solid waste bills by the first of each month. The “standard net payment period” for all customers would be changed from the 10th to the 15th day of the month.
Customers who did not pay their bills by the close of business on the 15th would incur a 10-percent late-penalty charge.
They would be issued a written final notice that includes the delinquent amount, the right to a hearing, the date that services are subject to termination and the amount of the automatic service fee that would accrue on unpaid accounts at the close of business on the 25th of the month.
For customers who did not pay their bills by that time, the process of terminating the service would begin, and a $30 automatic service fee would be incurred on all balances of more than $10.
Any balance at or under the established termination-of-service minimum would not incur the service fee or be subject to termination of services.
Payments would have to actually be received at the Town Hall by the close of business on the established dates.
Those not received in full by the 25th of the month, including the 10-percent penalty, would automatically accrue the $30 service fee, and services would be immediately terminated.
Customers would have to allow 48-hour processing of online payments before the town would consider those funds actually received.
Security box payments would be removed and registered at the beginning and close of business each day.
If the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a town holiday, net payment would be accepted in the security box as “timely paid” up to the beginning of the next business day.
The town recorder would be authorized to approve a three-month extension for payment upon a customer’s written request and his attendance at the specified hearing prior to the 25th of the month. To receive an extension, the customer would be required to have “justifiable cause” and no prior service fees for nonpayment in the previous 12 months.
The customer would have to pay 50 percent of the current bill. The remaining 50 percent would be divided into two installments during the two months immediately after the month for which the customer obtained an extension.
During the extension period, all current billing would have to be paid, in addition to the amounts approved in the extension agreement. Late penalties would accrue on all delinquent amounts, but the service fee would not apply if the current billing and extension agreement were maintained.
The mayor would have to subsequently approve the extension agreement. The board would have to approve requests for an extension of four months or longer.
Customers requiring “temporary services” would have to pay all costs for connection and disconnection, in addition to the $50 regular charge for water and/or sewer service.
Minimum irrigation meter billing would be set at $10.
Upon request, a customer’s meter would be re-read at no charge if the initial reading was found to be inaccurate. But a $15 charge would be assessed if the initial reading was found to be accurate.
Any customer’s unpaid bill accrued at a prior address would be added to the bill for his current address.
Services would not be terminated on the day immediately preceding when the Town Hall or the Water and Sewer Department are scheduled to be closed.
The fee to restore service after business hours would be $50.
Customers who “destroy, disable or otherwise damage” a water meter box lock would be charged a $10 replacement fee and a $20 fee for a concrete meter box lid.