Chapter 13.05
GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sections:

13.05.010    Water, Electric, and Sewer Divisions.

13.05.020    Definitions.

13.05.030    Combined billing.

13.05.035    Budget billing program.

13.05.040    Contracts for service.

13.05.050    Application for service.

13.05.060    Discontinuance of utility services.

13.05.070    Utility billing dates – Delinquency date.

13.05.080    Nonpayment of utility bills.

13.05.090    Discontinuance of utility services.

13.05.100    Late payment charges and reconnection fees.

13.05.110    Charge for bad checks and bank drafts.

13.05.120    Deposits, residential.

13.05.130    Deposit, commercial.

13.05.140    Connection of services – Fees.

13.05.150    Responsibility.

13.05.160    Customer responsibility for meters, meter settings and appurtenances.

13.05.170    Meters remain City property.

13.05.180    Testing meters.

13.05.190    Employees to have access to customer’s premises.

13.05.200    Customers not to supply other parties.

13.05.210    Penalty.

13.05.220    Repealed.

13.05.010 Water, Electric, and Sewer Divisions.

The City of Gardner shall operate an electric power generation and distribution system, a waterworks treatment and distribution system, and a wastewater treatment and collection system. Said systems are wholly owned by the City and no private utility operates within the area served by the systems. The utility systems of the City of Gardner, Kansas, shall hereinafter be known and designated as the Water Division of the City of Gardner, Kansas, the Electric Division of the City of Gardner, Kansas, and the Sewer Division of the City of Gardner, Kansas. All funds of said systems are to be separate and separate accounts shall be maintained for each utility. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-101)

13.05.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter the following definitions shall apply:

A. “Customer” shall mean the utility service account holder of record.

B. “Dwelling unit” shall mean a permanently located building, or portion thereof, designed exclusively for residential occupancy, including single-family, duplex, multifamily and mobile homes, but not hotels or motels.

C. “Person” shall mean natural persons and all corporations, partnerships, associations and all other types and kinds of organizations and entities, without limitation.

D. “Utility services” shall mean electrical service, wastewater service and water service. (Ord. 1927 § 2. Code 1990 § 15-102)

13.05.030 Combined billing.

All rates, fees, and charges for electrical power, water, and wastewater service of the City shall be billed as separate items on the monthly utility bills of customers of said divisions of this City. No bills shall be honored paid by the City of Gardner unless full payment, including service charges, is tendered. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-103)

13.05.035 Budget billing program.

Upon mutual agreement between a “residential” class customer and the City, a residential class customer may elect to participate in the City’s budget billing program. Under the program, a residential class customer shall pay a uniform amount for 12 months, said amount being a calculated average of the previous 12 months’ billing amounts and includes any scheduled rate changes. In the twelfth month, any deferred balance will be applied to the account, and the budget billing payment amount will be recalculated. Additionally, the City reserves the right to recalculate the budget billing payment amount at any time that the deferred balance exceeds 150 percent of the budget bill amount. The City will notify the customer of any recalculated budget billing amount. For customers participating in the budget billing program, the procedures of budget billing supersede all other billing procedures detailed herein. (Ord. 2220 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-103.1)

13.05.040 Contracts for service.

The rates, rules and regulations hereinafter named shall constitute and be considered a part of the contract with every person, company or corporation who is supplied with utility services of the City, and every such person, company or corporation, hereinafter called the customer, who accepts and uses utility services shall be held to have consented to be bound thereby. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-104)

13.05.050 Application for service.

All applications for utility service shall be made in writing upon an application form furnished by the City of Gardner stating the full purpose for which the services are required. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-105)

13.05.060 Discontinuance of utility services.

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 either the Electric Division, Water Division, Sewer Division, Codes Enforcement Division or Public Safety Division of the City of Gardner 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 GMC 13.05.080, for any of the following reasons:

1. Nonpayment of utility bills and charges as provided in GMC 13.05.080.

2. When the customer misrepresents his/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 of Gardner 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 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. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-106)

13.05.070 Utility billing dates – Delinquency date.

Utility billings shall be mailed on approximately the seventh, seventeenth, and twenty-seventh of each month for the previous month’s services. All billings for utility services shall be due and payable within 20 days of the billing date and must be paid in full by this date. (Ord. 2354 § 1; Ord. 2128 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-107)

13.05.080 Nonpayment of utility bills.

A. Failure to make payment before the due date as defined in GMC 13.05.070 shall result in the mailing of an account delinquency and service discontinuance notice. Notice shall be sent by U.S. mail, first class, to 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 or the occupant of the premises, if the occupant is not the customer, by an employee of the City of Gardner or by such City Employee posting the written notice upon a door of a building upon the property serviced.

B. The notice of account delinquency and service discontinuance shall provide the following information:

1. The name of the customer and address where service is being provided.

2. Amount past due plus delinquency charges.

3. Notice that disconnection of service will occur within 15 calendar days of the date of mailing of the delinquency notice unless prior written arrangements were made.

4. Notice that the customer has the right to appear and be heard at a hearing on the hearing date set by the City, provided the customer submits a written request for hearing to the City of Gardner Finance Department not less than three business days prior to the date of termination of service.

C. Any utility customer receiving a notice of account delinquency and service discontinuance shall have the right to a hearing prior to disconnection. To obtain a hearing, the customer must submit a written request to the City of Gardner Finance Department not less than three business days prior to the date for termination of service. At such hearing, the applicant customer, and the City, shall have the right to present such evidence as is pertinent to the issue. The hearing shall be conducted by the City Clerk or his/her designee. 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 customers shall be given notice of order of discontinuance in person or by certified mail. However, if the order is made at the hearing in the presence of the customer, then no further notice need be given. 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, as evidenced by a medical order from the customer’s physician; 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. 2354 § 2; Ord. 2342 § 1; Ord. 2128 § 2. Code 1990 § 15-108)

13.05.090 Discontinuance of utility services.

The City of Gardner is hereby authorized to discontinue and disconnect utility services to any customer pursuant to the procedure set out in this chapter. Customers shall remain responsible for furnishing the City with the correct address for billing purposes. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-109)

13.05.100 Late payment charges and reconnection fees.

A. Late Payment Charges. All bills delinquent after 20 days from the billing shall be subject to a 10 percent 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 for reconnection service. The reconnection charge shall be set by the Governing Body by resolution. The working hours of the City shall be posted on the delinquency notice. (Ord. 2531 § 16; Ord. 2128 § 3. Code 1990 § 15-110)

13.05.110 Charge for bad checks and bank drafts.

The City shall levy a charge for all checks or bank drafts returned from the banks to the City for payment of City utilities which are returned for the reason of insufficient funds, account closed or stopped payment. Said charge shall be set by the Governing Body by resolution. If the City receives two or more returned checks or bank drafts in a 12-month period, the City may refuse to accept checks or additional bank drafts and require payment by cash, money order, certified check or credit card. (Ord. 2531 § 17; Ord. 2354 § 3; Ord. 2041 § 5. Code 1990 § 15-111)

13.05.120 Deposits, residential.

Each residential utility customer shall pay to the City a water deposit of $25.00 for each dwelling unit served and an electric deposit of $75.00 for each dwelling unit served or the highest bill during the past 12 months, whichever is less, as provided by K.S.A. 12-822. At least one-third of the deposit must be paid at the time utility service is initiated with the remainder being paid in the first two billing cycles. Residential water and electric customers who have not had delinquent utility bills for a period of at least one year are eligible for refund of the deposits. Refunds shall be issued the billing cycle following completion of the one-year requirement. The deposit refund shall be reflected as a credit on the customer’s utility bill. If water or electric service to a customer is discontinued for nonpayment and the customer does not have a deposit with the City, a water and electric deposit shall be required before reconnection of service. (Ord. 2135 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-112)

13.05.130 Deposit, commercial.

A deposit equivalent to two months’ average bill will be required for all new commercial accounts or any old commercial account that has been delinquent within the preceding two years, as provided by K.S.A. 12-822. The City Administrator may waive the deposit requirement. The deposit requirement for new accounts will be estimated by a representative of the City and be subject to an equitable adjustment after six months of billing. At least one-third of the deposit must be paid at time of applying for utility service with the remainder being paid in the first two billing cycles. Commercial users who have paid their utility bills for a period of at least one year and have not had delinquent utility bills or problems can be eligible for consideration of return of meter deposits with the City. Refunds shall be issued the billing cycle following completion of the one-year requirement. The amount of deposit refund shall be reflected as a credit on the next applicable billing cycle. If a customer is disconnected for nonpayment and does not have a deposit with the City, a deposit will be required before reconnection of service. (Ord. 2354 § 4; Ord. 2135 § 2. Code 1990 § 15-113)

13.05.140 Connection of services – Fees.

Electric and/or water service shall be established for new customers upon satisfying security deposit requirements, and upon a payment of a connection fee for each service as set by the Governing Body by resolution. Transfer customers will also be subject to the same connection fee. Customers requesting that service(s) be temporarily disconnected will be charged a disconnect fee for each service as set by the Governing Body by resolution. Payment of the regular connection fee(s) will also be required when service is reconnected. (Ord. 2531 § 18; Ord. 2267 § 24; Ord. 2128 § 4. Code 1990 § 15-114)

13.05.150 Responsibility.

The owner of real property shall be responsible for the costs of utility service when permitting the occupation of a dwelling or building prior to the security deposit for such utilities being made. Charges for such service shall be billed to the owner of said real property and, upon failure to make such payment, utility services shall be disconnected irrespective of whether or not said premises are occupied by the tenant or owner. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-115)

13.05.160 Customer responsibility for meters, meter settings and appurtenances.

The customer shall be responsible for any damage done to meters, meter settings and all appurtenances related thereto installed on their premises by malicious intent or from any other cause except ordinary wear. The customer shall be liable for the costs of replacing or repairing any meter, meter setting, or appurtenances related thereto so damaged. The City shall keep all meters in repair and in proper working condition without cost to the customer except as before mentioned. No customer or other person shall repair or remove any meter, meter setting or appurtenances or break any seal without authority from the City of Gardner nor tamper with the proper registration of any meter. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-116)

13.05.170 Meters remain City property.

All meters shall be and remain the property of the City and may be removed from the customer’s premises at any time, without notice, for the purpose of testing or repairing same or upon discontinuance of service. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-117)

13.05.180 Testing meters.

The City shall provide rules, regulations and costs for the testing of meters, either water or electric, in its distribution system. The cost of such testing shall be paid by the applicant under the conditions hereinafter set out. Any customer who deems that their meter or meters are inaccurate may request that the City test the meter or meters for accuracy. The City shall send the meter to a third-party testing company for testing. The customer shall pay the entire cost of testing as billed by the third-party testing company unless the meter or meters are running two percent fast or more. Nothing herein shall prohibit the City from checking meters, and/or testing the same, in the regular and usual manner of testing at no chargeable cost to the customer. (Ord. 2041 § 6. Code 1990 § 15-118)

13.05.190 Employees to have access to customer’s premises.

The employees of the City shall have free access at any reasonable hour to all parts of the customer’s premises for the purpose of making inspection and reading meters. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-119)

13.05.200 Customers not to supply other parties.

No person or occupant of any building into which water service or electricity service has been introduced shall be allowed to supply other persons or families with water or electricity from his/her service without having obtained permission in writing from the City of Gardner. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-120)

13.05.210 Penalty.

Any person violating any of the provisions of GMC 13.05.200 shall be subject to a fine of not less than $1.00 nor more than $100.00 for each offense, and each day of the continuance of such offense shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-121)

13.05.220 Authority.

Repealed by Ord. 2354. (Ord. 1832 § 1. Code 1990 § 15-122)