Chapter 13.36
SEWER SERVICE AND USE CHARGES

Sections:

13.36.010    Purpose of provisions.

13.36.020    Findings – Two collection methods authorized.

13.36.030    Definitions.

13.36.040    Basis for charges.

13.36.050    Rates per service unit.

13.36.060    Residential customers.

13.36.070    Commercial customers.

13.36.075    Repealed.

13.36.080    Institutional customers.

13.36.090    Industrial and miscellaneous customers.

13.36.100    Industrial and miscellaneous customers – Billing procedures – Meters.

13.36.110    Inspection authorized when.

13.36.120    Effective date for charges.

13.36.130    Billing – Procedures generally.

13.36.140    Adjustments and special charges.

13.36.150    Payments – Due date.

13.36.160    Payment – Persons responsible.

13.36.170    Payments – Where made.

13.36.180    Payments – Collection on tax roll authorized when.

13.36.190    Payments – Delinquent when.

13.36.200    Delinquent payments – Penalty.

13.36.210    Delinquent payments – City powers to enforce collection.

13.36.220    Refunds – Authorized when.

13.36.230    Refunds – For vacant premises.

13.36.010 Purpose of provisions.

The purpose of the sewer service and use charge is to raise revenue for the cost of maintenance, construction, operation and improvement of the city sewerage facilities used for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage, industrial sewage and industrial waste, and the reclamation of water therefrom as a by-process. The funds derived from the sewer service and use charge shall be used for only those purposes provided for in Section 5471 of the Health and Safety Code. (1960 code § 18.77)

13.36.020 Findings – Two collection methods authorized.

The city council finds and declares that two methods of collection are required to adequately serve the city’s customers. There are approximately 9,000 residential customers who can be charged and billed on the basis of ownership, either by direct billing or through the use of the alternative tax roll method. However, because of occupancy changes, changes in permitted uses in zones, and changes in use of property within the commercial and industrial zones and those premises classed as miscellaneous, it is necessary and desirable that billing be made to the occupant of the premises. It is therefore the council’s intent to use the county tax rolls for the collection of charges to residential properties but to separately bill customers in the commercial, industrial and miscellaneous categories. (1960 code § 18.78)

13.36.030 Definitions.

A. Unless the context specifically indicates otherwise, the meanings of terms used in this chapter shall be as set forth in LMC 13.32.020, with the following exceptions:

1. “Customer” means any person, firm, association, corporation or governmental agency served by the city for compensation.

B. In addition, the following terms are defined as follows:

1. “Commercial” means any premises used for commercial or business purposes and discharging a quality of sewage essentially similar to that of a single-family dwelling.

2. “Industrial” means any premises used for manufacturing or industrial purposes which discharges industrial waste, sanitary waste and sewage by reason of the manufacturing or industrial process involved, or which discharges chemicals or putrescent materials.

3. “Miscellaneous” means premises used for a purpose which is unlike residential or commercial, and for which a specific sewer service and use charge cannot be fixed other than by formula, taking into consideration rate of flow of sewer discharge or water use and quality of discharge.

4. “Multiple-family dwelling” means any premises designed, improved or used as a residence for two or more families living independently of each other in two or more structurally joined dwelling units with separate entrances; this term shall include apartment houses and duplexes, but it shall not include hotels, motels, dormitories or similar structures.

5. “Parameter” means the criteria on which the peak month loading charge and annual loading charge components of sewer service charges will be based, including, but not limited to flow, in gallons and/or millions of gallons, BOD in pounds and/or thousands of pounds, and suspended solids (SS) in pounds and/or thousands of pounds.

6. “Single-family dwelling” means premises designed, improved or used as a residence for one family only and for no other purpose.

7. “Wastewater characteristics” means the general composition of the wastewater based on individual pollutants, for example, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids.

8. “Winter water usage” means the average water consumption for a property between the months of December and March of a given calendar year. (Ord. 1675 § 1, 2002; Ord. 1590 § 3, 2000; 1960 code § 18.79)

13.36.040 Basis for charges.

A. The basis of the residential sewer service and use charge is the establishment of a unit cost, hereinafter referred to as a “monthly user charge,” computed to reflect the cost of collection, treatment and disposal of sewage from an average single-family dwelling.

B. The basis of commercial sewer service charges is the establishment of “monthly user charges,” computed to reflect the cost of collection, treatment, and disposal of a unit volume of sewage from each commercial user class.

C. The basis of industrial and miscellaneous sewer service charges is the establishment of unit costs for treatment of flow, BOD, and suspended solids. Industrial and miscellaneous sewer service charges include components for annual and peak month loading as described in LMC 13.32.090. (Ord. 1590 § 4, 2000; 1960 code § 18.78)

13.36.050 Rates per service unit.

The residential, commercial and institutional user charges for each month of sewer service shall be established by uncodified ordinance of the city council. (Ord. 1590 § 5, 2000; Ord. 1557 § 1, 1999; Ord. 1532 § 1, 1998; Ord. 1411 § 1, 1993; Ord. 1337 § 1, 1990; Ord. 1209 § 1, 1986; Ord. 1181 § 1, 1985; 1960 code § 18.80)

13.36.060 Residential customers.

Residential customers shall be billed at a flat monthly rate by dwelling type, including single-family, condominium, and multifamily dwelling units. Different rates are established according to dwelling type in order to recognize that family sizes and thus wastewater flows vary according to dwelling type. (Ord. 1590 § 6, 2000; 1960 code § 18.81)

13.36.070 Commercial customers.

Sewer service for commercial customers shall be based on a monthly user charge, in dollars, multiplied by the measured water usage, in hundreds of cubic feet, for each customer, except as provided by LMC 13.36.140(A). In no case shall the calculated monthly commercial sewer service charge be less than the single-family monthly user charge. Classifications shall be established based on estimated or measured values of water usage, BOD and suspended solids by the water resources manager. Commercial customers will be placed in one of the following business classes to assign user charges: auto/steam cleaning, bakeries, commercial laundries, markets, mortuaries, restaurants, and all other. Commercial users not covered by one of the specific business classes will be placed in the “all other” category. (Ord. 1675 § 2, 2002; Ord. 1590 § 7, 2000; Ord. 1437 § 5, 1995; 1960 code § 18.82)

13.36.075 Schools and churches.

Repealed by Ord. 1590. (Ord. 1437 § 6, 1995)

13.36.080 Institutional customers.

Sewer service for institutional users including public and private schools, hospitals and government facilities shall be based on a monthly user charge in dollars, multiplied by the measured water usage, in hundreds of cubic feet, for each customer, except as provided by LMC 13.36.140(A). In no case shall the calculated monthly commercial sewer service charge be less than the single-family monthly user charge. (Ord. 1675 § 3, 2002; Ord. 1590 § 9, 2000; 1960 code § 18.98)

13.36.090 Industrial and miscellaneous customers.

Industrial and miscellaneous users shall pay both annual loading charges and peak month loading charges based on measured wastewater characteristics and parameters or wastewater characteristics and parameters as estimated by the water resources manager.

A. Annual Loading Charges. Customers in the industrial category shall pay annual loading charges based on unit costs of providing treatment for the parameters of volume, in millions of gallons per year, BOD, in thousands of pounds per year, and suspended solids, in thousands of pounds per year.

B. Peak Month Loading Charges. In addition to the annual loading charges under subsection A of this section, customers in the industrial category shall also pay a monthly loading charge that is the sum of the following unit costs: volume, in millions of gallons per day, BOD, in pounds per day, and suspended solids, in pounds per day. Peak monthly charges will be calculated on the highest average monthly flow, BOD and suspended solid data for the preceding fiscal year. Upon verification of data indicating that current monthly average levels have exceeded previously established peak monthly levels, peak monthly charges shall be recalculated to reflect this increase with the next monthly billing cycle. Also, the user may be billed for the difference in adjusted peak loading charges from the beginning of the fiscal year billing cycle. (Ord. 1590 § 10, 2000; Ord. 1170 § 4, 1984; 1960 code § 18.83)

13.36.100 Industrial and miscellaneous customers – Billing procedures – Meters.

The following are additional procedures applicable to the computation of the sewer service and use charge for industrial and miscellaneous customers:

A. Billing for services shall generally be made on a monthly schedule. In lieu of the monthly billing service, billing for services for a period mutually agreed upon, not exceeding 12 months, may be made where it can be demonstrated that a uniform flow and sewage characteristic exists.

B. The city or customer may require the installation of city-approved recording and sampling devices, or sewage meters, on the premises, for use by the city at the customer’s expense. Such devices or meters shall be available for inspection at any time. Recording devices shall be capable of recording instantaneous and accumulated flows. Sampling devices shall be automatic and capable of taking and storing 24 discrete samples over a 24-hour period, and must maintain temperature at four degrees centigrade. The maintenance, repair and replacement of all sampling or recording devices shall be the customer’s responsibility. (Ord. 1170 § 5, 1984; 1960 code § 18.84)

13.36.110 Inspection authorized when.

The city’s administrative services director and his authorized representatives are hereby given the power and authority to enter upon and within any premises for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of such premises, the type of activities carried on therein, the number of plumbing fixtures situated therein, and any other facts or information reasonably necessary to ascertain the applicability of any sewer service and use charges to such premises, or the amount of such charges. In particular, he may take readings of water meters where such charge is based upon the amount of water consumed or used in such premises. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.85)

13.36.120 Effective date for charges.

A. Charges shall be effective immediately on the first day of the calendar month immediately following connection or discharge, whichever is sooner.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or of this chapter, no service charge shall be due or paid for a building or dwelling which is newly constructed until such is occupied. (Ord. 1590 § 11, 2000; 1960 code § 18.90)

13.36.130 Billing – Procedures generally.

A. Except as provided elsewhere in this chapter, the city’s administrative services director shall ascertain the amount of each sewer service and use charge applicable to each premises in the city, and shall mail to the owner of each premises in the city, within 60 days from and after the date any sewer service and use charges become due and payable, a bill for the sewer service and use charges which are then due and payable.

B. Such bills shall be mailed to the person or persons listed as the owners on the last equalized assessment roll of the county at the address shown on such assessment roll, or to the successor in interest of such owner, if the name and address of such successor in interest are known to the city’s administrative services director.

C. Each bill so mailed shall contain a statement that a delinquency in payment for 60 days shall constitute a lien against the lot or parcel against which the charge is imposed, and that, when recorded, shall have the force, effect and priority of a judgment lien for three years unless sooner released or otherwise discharged. Failure of the city’s administrative services director to mail any such bill, or failure of any owner to receive any such bill, shall not excuse the owner of any premises from the obligation of paying any sewer service and use charge for any premises owned by him. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.94)

13.36.140 Adjustments and special charges.

A. It is the intent of the provisions of this chapter, in establishing different sewer service and use charges for different categories of customers, to reflect the benefit from such service to each customer so that those who receive greater benefits or those who impose a heavier burden upon the system because of higher flow or the quality of the discharge pay a higher charge. If, in respect to any customer, the city council finds that the charge is inequitable or unfair because of unusual circumstances, it may establish a special service and use charge for such customer, differing from those otherwise established, which will bear a closer relationship to the benefit received from use of the city system. Such special charge may be established by resolution or agreement but may be revoked at any time by the city whenever it finds that continuation thereof would be inequitable or unfair under the circumstances then prevailing.

B. Winter Water Use. Properties constructed prior to 1992 that are served by a single water meter measuring both irrigation and nonirrigation usage shall have sewer service charges calculated based on winter water usage as defined in LMC 13.36.030(8), unless the property owner, tenant, or other individual responsible for paying sewer service charges elects to have sewer service charges calculated as specified in LMC 13.36.070. Properties constructed or renovated after 1992 are required to have separate meters under LMC 13.25.060(G)(2)(a), and are therefore not eligible for the winter water use program. Sewer service charges for customers utilizing the winter water use calculation will be based on a rate structure that has not been adjusted for irrigation. Users in this classification shall also be assessed a monthly surcharge equal to 10 percent of the monthly charges to cover the cost of administering the winter water use program. (Ord. 1675 § 4, 2002; 1960 code § 18.89)

13.36.150 Payments – Due date.

A. Such bills shall be mailed to the person or persons listed as the owners on the last equalized assessment roll of the county at the address shown on such assessment roll, or to the successor in interest of such owner, if the name and address of such successor in interest are known to the city’s administrative services director.

B. Each bill so mailed shall contain a statement that a delinquency in payment for 60 days shall constitute a lien against the lot or parcel against which the charge is imposed, and that, when recorded, shall have the force, effect and priority of a judgment lien for three years unless sooner released or otherwise discharged. Failure of the city’s administrative services director to mail any such bill, or failure of any owner to receive any such bill, shall not excuse the owner of any premises from the obligation of paying any sewer service and use charge for any premises owned by him. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; Ord. 1590 § 12, 2000; 1960 code § 18.91)

13.36.160 Payment – Persons responsible.

A. The owner of any residential premises is and shall be responsible for payment of any and all sewer service and use charges applicable to residential premises owned by him. It shall be and is hereby made the duty of each such owner to ascertain from the city’s administrative services director the amount and due date of any such charge applicable to residential premises owned by him and to pay such charge when due and payable. It also shall be and is made the duty of all owners of all residential premises to inform the city’s administrative services director immediately of all circumstances and of any change or changes in any circumstances which will in any way affect the applicability of any charge to residential premises owned by him, or the amount of any such charge. In particular, but not by way of limitation, an owner of any residential premises shall immediately inform the city’s administrative services director of any sale or transfer of such residential premises by or to such owner.

B. The occupant of any premises classified as commercial, industrial or miscellaneous is and shall be responsible for payment for any and all sewer service and use charges applicable to such premises. It shall be and is made the duty of each such occupant to ascertain from the city’s administrative services director the amount and due date of any such charge applicable to premises occupied by him and to pay such charge when due and payable. It also shall be and is made the duty of all occupants of such premises to inform the city’s administrative services director immediately of all circumstances and of any change or changes in any circumstances which will in any way affect the applicability of any charge to premises occupied by him or the amount of any such charge. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.95)

13.36.170 Payments – Where made.

Except as otherwise provided elsewhere in this chapter, all sewer service and use charges shall be payable at the city hall or as noted on the billing. (1960 code § 18.93)

13.36.180 Payments – Collection on tax roll authorized when.

A. Pursuant to the provisions of Division 5, Part 3, Chapter 6, Article 4 of the Health and Safety Code of the state, and subject to the exceptions hereinafter set forth, the city elects, as an alternative procedure for the collection of sewer service and use charges prescribed or imposed by the provisions of this chapter, to have sewer service and use charges for premises classed residential for each fiscal year from and after July 1, 1968, collected on the tax roll in the same manner, by the same persons and at the same time as, and together with and not separately from, its general taxes.

B. The city’s administrative services director is directed to prepare and file with the city clerk, on or before the fifth day of July, 1968, and on or before the fifth day of each year thereafter, or such other date or dates as the city council may specify by resolution, a written report containing a description of each and every parcel of real property in the residential classification receiving the sewer services and facilities mentioned in this chapter, and the amount of the sewer service and use charge for each such parcel for the forthcoming fiscal year, computed in conformity with the charges prescribed by the provisions of this chapter; charges to industrial, miscellaneous and commercial customers shall not be included in such report. Charges for any and all governmental or public premises or for any premises which are not subject to taxation on the tax roll shall not be included in the report, but shall be collected in accordance with other provisions of this chapter. The parcels of real property included in the report may be described by reference to maps prepared in accordance with Section 327 of the Revenue and Taxation Code of the state, on file in the office of the county assessor of Alameda County, or by reference to plats or maps on file in the office of the city clerk. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.97)

13.36.190 Payments – Delinquent when.

Except as otherwise provided elsewhere in this chapter, each sewer service and use charge, including charges based on water use, shall be delinquent if not paid on or before the sixtieth day immediately following the date upon which such sewer service and use charge, including charges based on water use, became due and payable. (1960 code § 18.92)

13.36.200 Delinquent payments – Penalty.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter for collection of sewer service and use charges through general tax law, whenever a delinquency shall occur, a penalty for nonpayment of 10 percent shall attach to the delinquent charge, and for each month that such charge remains delinquent, a further penalty of one-half of one percent shall be added. After delinquency for 60 days, such unpaid charge and penalties shall constitute a lien upon the lot or parcel of land against which the charge was levied. (1960 code § 18.96)

13.36.210 Delinquent payments – City powers to enforce collection.

In the event of the failure of any owner to pay when due any sewer service and use charges applicable to premises owned by him, the city may enforce payments of such delinquent charges in any of the following manners:

A. The city manager may have such premises disconnected from the sanitary sewer system. In the event such disconnection should create a public hazard or nuisance, the city manager or his representatives may enter upon the premises for the purpose of doing such things as may be reasonably necessary to alleviate or remove such hazard or menace. The owner of such premises shall have a duty to reimburse the city for all expenses incurred by the city in disconnecting any such premises or in doing other things authorized by this section, and no reconnection shall be made until all such charges are paid;

B. The city’s administrative services director may institute action in any court of competent jurisdiction to collect any charges which may be due and payable, in the same manner as any other debts owing to the city may be collected;

C. Any and all delinquent payments may be placed on the tax roll and collected with property taxes, as hereinafter provided in this chapter;

D. Such other action may be taken as may be authorized by law and by the city council. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.86)

13.36.220 Refunds – Authorized when.

When any refund becomes due and owing by virtue of action of the city council or by virtue of any error made in ascertaining the charge applicable to any customer, the city’s administrative services director is authorized to make such refund and to expend such public moneys in the specific fund established for the deposit of sewer service and use charges. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.88)

13.36.230 Refunds – For vacant premises.

A refund shall be made for all charges collected by the city for premises which become vacant for a period of 30 or more consecutive days during the fiscal year. Application for such refund shall be made on a form provided by the city. No refund shall be made if application therefor is filed with the city more than six months after the date that such vacancy occurred. The applicant shall certify that all statements of fact in such application are true and correct. Refunds shall be made by the administrative services director in the manner provided for by LMC 13.36.230. (Ord. 1895 § 8, 2010; 1960 code § 18.87)