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Yellow Springs Public Notices

An Ordinance Rescinding Old and Adopting New Utility Sections

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Ordinance No. 2015-06, Village of Yellow Springs, OH

Interested persons will take note that the Village Council of Yellow Springs on Monday, April 20, 2015, gave first reading to an ordinance, text to follow.

Council will consider said ordinance for a second reading and a public hearing to begin at 7:10 p.m., Monday, may 4, 2015, in the Bryan Community Center, 100 Dayton St.

RESCINDING OLD SECTIONS 1040.02-1040.04, 1040.08 AND 1040.99 OF THE YELLOW SPRINGS CODE OF ORDINANCES AND ADOPTING NEW SECTIONS 1040.02-1040.04, 1040.08 AND 1040.99 OF THE YELLOW SPRINGS CODE OF ORDINANCES

WHEREAS, the Village is facing fiscal challenges that require the Village Council to consider difficult
solutions to balance the budget including considering making property owners responsible for
tenants’ utility bills; and

WHEREAS, the Village Manager and Finance Director have recommended amendments to Sections 1040.02-1040.04, 1040.08 and 1040.99 of the Code of Ordinances to allow the Village to utilize various procedures allowed under Ohio law to collect unpaid utility bills; and

WHEREAS, the Village Council hereby accepts the recommendations of the Village Manager and Finance Director and amends Sections 1040.02-1040.04, 1040.08 and 1040.99 of the Code of Ordinances accordingly.

NOW, THEREFORE, THE COUNCIL FOR THE VILLAGE OF YELLOW SPRINGS, OHIO, GREENE COUNTY, HEREBY ORDAINS THAT:

Section 1. Old Sections 1040.02-1040.04, 1040.08 and 1040.99 of the Code of Ordinances are rescinded and new Sections 1040.02-1040.04, 1040.08 and 1040.99 of the Code of Ordinances are adopted to read as follows.

§ 1040.02 RESPONSIBILITY TO PAY UTILITIES BILL.

The property owner is responsible for the payment of any and all charges billed for electricity, water, sewer, and sanitation service used at his or her property.

§ 1040.03 NONPAYMENT OF UTILITY CHARGES; DELINQUENT STATUS.

Each utility service account provided pursuant to this chapter and the rate schedules of these Codified Ordinances, as they now exist or are hereafter amended, is due and payable upon issuance of the utility bill by the Village. If the utility bill for service is not paid in full within 30 days after the utility bill is issued, the customer’s account shall be classified as delinquent. If the customer’s account is delinquent at the time of the issuance of the next regular utility bill, then such utility bill shall be stamped with a delinquent notation. The customer’s bill shall continue to be classified as delinquent until such time as the customer’s account shall be paid in full and made current.

§ 1040.04 DISCONTINUATION OF UTILITY SERVICE; PROCEDURES.

(a) The Village may discontinue any customer’s service whose account is in delinquent status only after following the procedures set forth below.

(b) All utility disconnections shall occur during normal Village business hours and only after a seven-day written notice (herein “Disconnection Notice”) of intent to discontinue utility service has been sent via U.S. regular mail to the customer at the billing address set forth on the customer’s account. If the billing address is not the premises where the utility service is provided, then the disconnection notice shall also be mailed via U.S. regular mail to the premises where the utility service is being provided. If the service address is a rental property, the property owner will also be notified. After the passage of seven days from the date of the letter, if the account remains delinquent and no payment plan has been executed, the designated workers of the Village may enter the premises where such utility service is being provided, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and disconnect any and all meters, conduits or attachments from the mains, pipes or lines of the Village.

(c) The disconnection notice shall state all of the following:
(1) The reason for the disconnection of service;
(2) The amount of any delinquency;
(3) That the customer may submit a written request for special payment arrangements, appeal the reason for the disconnection, seek relief due to an existing health condition or pending bankruptcy;
(4) Instructions regarding filing a written request for a payment plan or an appeal
of the disconnection notice;
(5) The time period in which any such written request must be made to the
Finance Director;
(6) The name and number of the Village contact to address questions related to
the customer’s account; and
(7) The date after which utility services will be disconnected (herein
“Disconnection Date”).

(d) On the disconnection date, the Village shall provide the customer with a personal notice of the discontinuation of utility service by delivering a copy of the disconnection notice to the premises where the utility service is to be disconnected. This personal notice shall contain the same information as the disconnection notice with the exception of the availability of a hearing. If the customer is not available at the service location, the Village shall provide the personal notice to an adult consumer at the premises. If neither the customer nor an adult consumer is available, the Village shall attach the personal notice to the premises in a conspicuous location prior to disconnecting the service.

(e) Any customer who is on an approved payment plan to correct a delinquent account must pay, by the applicable due date, all amounts due and owing for all utility services provided from the approval date of the payment plan forward into the future. If a customer defaults on any payment set forth in the payment plan or the customer’s account otherwise becomes delinquent during the term of any payment plan, the Village may disconnect the utility services of such customer after providing 48-hour written notice to the customer. This notice shall be personally served upon the customer, or if the customer is not at the service address, then by posting said notice in a conspicuous location at the service address. This notice shall state that utility service to the premises shall be terminated by the disconnection date set forth in the notice unless the customer’s account is brought current prior to the disconnection date.

(f) Any notice of disconnection of service issued to a customer who is not the owner of the premises shall also be copied to the property owner or designated agent. It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to provide the Village with the correct contact information for this notification.

§ 1040.08 POWERS AND PROCEDURES OF THE UTILITY DISPUTE RESOLUTION BOARD.

The Utility Dispute Resolution Board shall have the powers and duties set forth in Section 735.29 of the Ohio Revised Code.

(b) The customer shall endorse the date, time and place of all Utility Dispute Resolution Board hearings in writing. Failure of the customer to appear at a hearing shall not limit the Board’s authority to act.

(c) If the customer is petitioning for a payment plan, the Utility Dispute Resolution Board shall take into account the amount of the delinquency, the payment history of the customer, and the customer’s current ability to pay in approving or establishing an acceptable payment plan for a customer.

(d) Any payment plan approved by the Utility Dispute Resolution Board shall require that all amounts due and owing for utility services up through the date of the hearing be paid in full within six months of the of the execution of the payment plan. However, the Utility Dispute Resolution Board may renegotiate a payment plan if they determine it to be in the best interest of the utility.

(e) If the customer is disputing the delinquency amount, the Utility Dispute Resolution Board shall review all such evidence presented by the customer that the account is not delinquent or that the amount of the delinquency is in error. If the Board finds that there has been an error and that there is no delinquency, the disconnection notice shall be rescinded. If the Board finds that the disconnection notice is proper, then the disconnection shall proceed unless the customer brings the account current or executes a payment plan.

(f) If the customer is disputing an amount owed, the Utility Dispute Resolution Board shall review all such evidence presented by the customer that the amount billed is inappropriate and that some adjustment to the amount due is warranted. If the Board finds from the evidencpresented that an adjustment to the amount owed is warranted, an adjustment approved by the Board shall be made to the customer’s account.

§ 1040.99 PENALTY.

Whoever violates or fails to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a minor misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than the maximum amount allowed by law.

Section 2.
This ordinance will be in full force and effect at the earliest time allowed by law.

Karen Wintrow, Council President

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An Ordinance Rescinding Old and Adopting New Utility Sections

by YS News Staff