Chapter 13.20
USE CHARGES*

Sections:

13.20.010    Deposit to ensure payment.

13.20.020    Rates generally.

13.20.030    Charge for temporary connections and rate for water consumed through such connections.

13.20.040    Charge when meter fails to register.

13.20.050    Bills generally.

13.20.060    Procedure for handling customer complaints with regard to disputed bills.

13.20.070    When and where payable.

13.20.080    Penalty on and notice and collection of delinquencies.

13.20.090    Discontinuance of service for failure to pay.

*Cross reference – Tax on purchasers of water service, SCC 3.30.110.

State law reference – Authority of city to charge and collect compensation for water furnished, Code of Virginia, § 15.2-2143. See also § 15.2-5136.

13.20.010 Deposit to ensure payment.

(1) Any occupant not owning the premises to be served by the city water system shall, at the time of applying for service, pay to the chief finance officer the sum of $100.00, to be held as a deposit to ensure the final settlement of his account for water furnished. Such deposit will be refunded, without interest, when the account is closed and the final bill paid.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the director of finance for the city may waive the requirement of a deposit if the applicant has been a city water customer within the 12 months preceding the application and has established a record of timely payments for such service. (Code 1964, § 29-3; Code 1985, § 29-29; Ord. 4-13-89; Ord. 5-24-01; Ord. 7-10-03).

13.20.020 Rates generally.

(1) Except as hereinafter set forth, for the use of water through a connection with meter attachment, the rate and method of assessment shall be according to meter measurement, as follows:

The user fee shall be $3.50 per 100 cubic feet of metered water entering the premises.

(2) There shall be paid each two months, as prescribed, by each regular user of city water a minimum charge per two months of $17.50.

(3) For a fractional part of a two-month period, a bill will be rendered for the actual consumption of water, as indicated by the meter. Where deemed necessary by the chief finance officer, rates may be computed on a monthly basis equal to one-half of the above rates.

(4) The rate at which water will be sold outside the corporate limits of the city shall be one and one-half times the rate at which water is sold inside the corporate limits, with the exception of any contracts in effect specifying a different rate.

(5) The bulk water rate to miscellaneous water customers will be $8.75 per 750 gallons of water purchased.

(6) There shall be paid a minimum charge of $17.50 for bulk water purchases during the month of less than 1,500 gallons for the month. (Ord. 2016-08; Ord. 2010-11; Ord. 2007-18; Ord. 2007-07; Ord. 2005-16. Code 1964, § 29-7; Ord. 7-23-81; Ord. 6-23-83; Code 1985, § 29-30; Ord. 5-22-86; Ord. 4-27-89; Ord. 2-28-91; Ord. 4-27-00; Ord. 11-14-02).

13.20.030 Charge for temporary connections and rate for water consumed through such connections.

There shall be a charge of $10.00, payable in advance, for all temporary connections to the water system and the rate for all water consumed shall be the same amount as prescribed for the normal use of city water. (Code 1964, § 29-9; Code 1985, § 29-31; Ord. 4-13-89; Ord. 4-27-00).

13.20.040 Charge when meter fails to register.

If any water meter fails to register or is temporarily out of order or inoperable for any reason, the charge for water each two-month period shall be the average reading for the preceding three two-month periods. (Code 1964, § 29-8; Code 1985, § 29-32).

13.20.050 Bills generally.

The chief finance officer shall bill and receive payment from each user of city water in accordance with the prescribed rates. Each bill shall include a notice as to when the same is due and payable. (Ord. 2005-03. Code 1964, §§ 10-37, 29-10; Code 1985, § 29-33).

Cross reference – Duties of chief finance officer with respect to billing of utility customers, SCC 2.45.070.

13.20.060 Procedure for handling customer complaints with regard to disputed bills.

(1) Any consumer of city water who disputes the amount of a water bill may contact the director of public works within two weeks of the receipt of the disputed water bill and state the grounds upon which such dispute is made. The director of public works shall document and promptly investigate the complaint and make a written recommendation to the chief finance officer. The chief finance officer shall consider the recommendation of the director of public works and shall make a decision whether or not the subject bill should be adjusted and shall notify the complainant in writing of the decision. The notification by the chief finance officer shall advise the complainant that, if the complainant is still aggrieved by the decision so made, the complainant has the right to request in writing a hearing before the chief finance officer and the director of public works, provided such request is made within 10 days of the date of the notice.

(2) Upon receipt by the chief finance officer of a written request by the complainant timely delivered as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, the chief finance officer shall set a time, date, and place for the hearing and so advise the complainant in writing.

(3) After conducting any hearing so requested and scheduled, the chief finance officer and the director of public works shall determine whether or not the disputed bill or any portion thereof is due to the city of Staunton and shall promptly so notify the complainant in writing.

(4) If upon the initial complaint or subsequent hearing of a complaint, the chief finance officer and/or the director of public works finds that the bill is excessive due to an underground leak and is more than double the average bill, as rendered for the 12 months preceding, the excess over double the average bill as rendered will be refunded or credited by the chief finance officer.

(5) For purposes of SCC 13.20.080 and 13.20.090, the date of such disputed bill shall be the date of the notice to the customer of the decision of the chief finance officer as set forth in subsections (1) or (3) of this section or his decision, whichever is later.

(6) All city water bills shall contain the following statement:

Customer complaints with regard to this bill may be made by contacting the Director of Public Works for the City of Staunton, P.O. Box 58, Staunton, Virginia 24402, or by calling the Director of Public Works at 332-3860, who shall handle such complaints pursuant to Section 13.20.060 of the Code of the City of Staunton.

(Code 1964, § 29-14; Code 1985, § 29-34; Ord. 11-13-86; Ord. 5-25-01).

Cross reference – Refund of sewer user fee when refund granted under above section, SCC 13.45.060.

13.20.070 When and where payable.

Water bills shall be due and payable to the city of Staunton within 30 days from the date of the bill. (Code 1964, §§ 10-37, 29-10; Code 1985, § 29-35; Ord. 8-22-02).

13.20.080 Penalty on and notice and collection of delinquencies.

If a bill for water shall remain unpaid for 30 days after the date of the bill, or the final date on which it becomes payable, a penalty of 10 percent of the water charge or $1.50, whichever is greater, shall be added to the bill. The chief finance officer shall then notify the consumer of his delinquent bill, by telephone, written notice or otherwise, after which the city treasurer shall proceed immediately to collect such bill in the same manner that other claims and obligations are or may be collected. (Code 1964, §§ 10-37, 29-11; Code 1985, § 29-36; Ord. 4-13-89).

13.20.090 Discontinuance of service for failure to pay.

(1) If any water bill remains unpaid for 40 days after the date of the bill, it shall be the duty of the chief finance officer to notify the director of public works, immediately after expiration of such period of 40 days, to at once cause the water to be cut off from the premises of the consumer who is so delinquent and not allow the water to be turned on again at any place for such defaulting consumer until the water bill and the reconnection charge prescribed by this section are paid.

(2) When the chief finance officer notifies the director of public works to cut off the water from the premises as required by subsection (1) of this section and the consumer has paid his delinquent bill in full, there shall be a charge of $30.00 payable in advance to prevent the cut-off or to reinstate water supply to the customer in the event the supply has been cut off. In the event water has been cut off hereunder, the consumer must pay all past-due charges (including penalty and interest, if any) and the reconnection charge at the office of public works in order to schedule the reconnection of water supply, unless special arrangements have been made. If the unpaid water bill and reconnection charge are paid by 3:00 p.m. on the day of disconnection, the disconnected customer’s water service shall be reinstated the same day. If payment is received after 3:00 p.m. on the day of disconnection, the disconnected customer’s water service shall be reinstated the following day.

(3) It shall be unlawful for any person, other than the director of public works or his agents, to turn on the water into or upon the premises from which it has been cut off for nonpayment of the water bill. Each day the water so unlawfully turned on remains on and the fact of its so remaining shall be regarded as a distinct offense under this section, the same as if there were fresh turning on each day.

(4) In the event the water and/or sewer bill for a particular consumer becomes delinquent and remains unpaid, as set forth in subsection (1) of this section, more than one time in any 12-month period, the water service, or sewer service (if the consumer is a sewer-service-only consumer) shall not be resumed until the requirements of this section are met and the consumer makes a security deposit in an amount equal to the sum determined by the chief financial officer to be an average two-month bill for the consumer so delinquent (based upon the previous 12-month period or such portion thereof if the customer has not been a consumer for 12 consecutive months). Such security deposit shall be held by the city to ensure the final settlement of the consumer’s account when closed. Such deposit shall be applied to the consumer’s final account when closed, with any excess refunded (without interest) to the consumer. In the event the deposit is insufficient to cover the final account, the consumer shall be held accountable for the balance. (Code 1964, §§ 10-37, 29-11 – 29-13; Code 1985, § 29-37; Ord. 4-23-87; Ord. 4-13-89; Ord. 5-24-01; Ord. 5-8-03).

Cross reference – Discontinuance of water service for failure to pay sewer user fee, SCC 13.45.070.