Chapter 13.45


13.45.010    Definition.

13.45.020    Imposed – Basis.

13.45.030    Amount.

13.45.040    Computation when meter fails to register.

13.45.050    Billing and records.

13.45.060    Adjustment or refund when bill excessive.

13.45.070    Terms and conditions of payment.

13.45.010 Definition.

As used in this chapter, the term “user fee” shall mean the fee imposed by this chapter for the use of the city’s sanitary sewer system. (Code 1985, § 22-35).

13.45.020 Imposed – Basis.

There is hereby imposed upon the owner or occupant of any premises or lot connected to the city system of sanitary sewers a user fee designed to cover the cost to the city for providing wastewater disposal services. The basis for such fee shall be determined by the amount of metered water which shall enter the premises through the city’s water distribution system or by the amount of sewerage disposed of through a separate wastewater meter. (Code 1964, § 19-10.2; Code 1985, § 22-36; Ord. 4-13-89).

13.45.030 Amount.

(1) The user fee shall be $4.88 per each 100 cubic feet of metered water entering the premises. The owner of any premises may, at his option and expense, install a separate meter designed to measure the wastewater actually entering the city system of sanitary sewers. Subject to the inspection and approval of the separate meter by the city, the rate of $4.88 per 100 cubic feet will be applied to the metered flow of wastewater into the sewer system. There shall be paid each two months, as prescribed, by each user of the city sewer system a minimum charge per two months of $24.40.

(2) Users of the city sewer system within the corporate limits of the city who do not have city water service shall be charged a flat rate of $48.80 each two months, with the exception of any existing contracts in effect specifying a different rate.

(3) The rate at which wastewater disposal services will be provided outside the corporate limits of the city shall be one and one-half the regular city rate, with the exception of any existing contracts in effect specifying a different rate.

(4) No sewer user fee will be charged for metered water supplies through an outside and separate water service which has been installed at the owner’s expense for the exclusive use of construction, lawn irrigation, and plant watering, and from which water cannot be reasonably expected to enter the sanitary sewer system. Refer to SCC 13.15.040(3).

(5) No sewer user fee will be charged for a portion of metered water entering the premises under the following conditions:

(a) Whenever the owner or occupant of a lot or premises is installing a new lawn or a new landscaping scheme upon the lot or premises and watering of the same is necessary for the initial gestation and growth of the same, the owner or occupant may obtain relief from the sewer user fee under the following conditions:

(i) The project must be the establishment of a new lawn of at least 1,800 square feet, the cost of which exceeds $1,500; or

(ii) The complete renovation of a previously established lawn of at least 1,800 square feet, the cost of which exceeds $1,500; or

(iii) A new landscaping plan or a renovation of an existing landscaping plan, the cost of which exceeds $2,000.

(b) An owner or occupant seeking relief under this section shall make application therefor at the water billing department of the city of Staunton and present to the water billing department such evidence, including receipts for seeding, plantings, etc., as requested by the water billing department to determine whether or not the applicant qualifies for relief. Upon approval by the water billing department of the request, the water used during the time concerned, to the extent that it exceeds the average amount of water used by the premises for the immediate past 12 months (or such lesser period of time that the premises were used or occupied), shall not be used in computing the sewer user fee set forth herein. In the event there is no past history available with regard to water usage for the subject premises, the water billing department shall determine an average water bill for the subject premises based on estimations for similarly sized dwellings or buildings in making its computations hereunder.

(c) No such relief shall be issued for the watering of vegetable gardens or for any other use except as set forth herein, and the relief granted hereunder shall be granted only for a period of time not to exceed 60 days and such relief shall not be granted with respect to the same premises more than once in each calendar year.

(6) For any premises used exclusively as an industrial laundry for which it is impractical to separately measure the wastewater by meter, as determined by the city manager or designee, the user fee charge for an account shall be reduced by credit equal to 15 percent of the charge otherwise applicable. For purposes solely of this provision, an “industrial laundry” shall mean an establishment engaged on a non-retail contract basis in operating a mechanical laundry, with steam as a significant processing byproduct, for cleaning by washing with water various clothing, fabrics, and other similar items, when during a bimonthly billing period metered water on the premises for the particular account exceeds 1,000 hundred cubic feet.

(7) Upon prior written request and certification submitted by the owner to the city’s finance department, for a period of 90 days after connection of service or until the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, whichever is earlier, no sewer user fee shall be charged as to any premises on which a new dwelling is being constructed on an unimproved lot. (Ord. 2012-02; Ord. 2010-12; Ord. 2009-13; Ord. 2008-12; Ord. 2006-16; Ord. 2005-15. Code 1985, § 22-37; Ord. 5-25-95; Ord. 5-13-99; Ord. 5-10-01; Ord. 5-24-01; Ord. 5-8-03).

13.45.040 Computation when meter fails to register.

If any water or wastewater meter fails to register or is temporarily out of order or inoperable for any reason, the user fee for each two-month period shall be based on the average meter reading for the preceding 12 months. (Code 1964, § 19-10.5; Code 1985, § 22-38).

13.45.050 Billing and records.

The chief finance officer shall bill and receive payment from each user for user fees in accordance with the rates prescribed by this chapter and with the keeping of the necessary records, which shall be made out and kept in such manner as shall be prescribed by ordinance or by the council. (Ord. 2005-03. Code 1964, § 19-10.4; Code 1985, § 22-39).

Cross reference – General duties of chief finance officer relative to billing of utility customers, SCC 2.45.070.

13.45.060 Adjustment or refund when bill excessive.

(1) Any customer receiving an adjustment or refund on a water bill pursuant to SCC 13.20.060 of this code shall also receive a refund or adjustment on the user fee, based on the excess of the user fee over the average bill rendered for the preceding 12 months.

(2) In cases where a water line breaks within a residence or business, upon written request of the owner or other person responsible for the payment of the sewer user fee, the director of public works shall investigate the claim. If such investigation indicates that the water flowing from the break could not or did not enter the sanitary or combined sewer system, the claimant will be entitled to an adjustment on the sewer user fee. Such adjustment shall be accomplished by issuing a bill therefor equal to the highest bimonthly consumption billed to the account over the immediately prior 12-month period, in lieu of the bill subject of the complaint. Such adjustment provided herein shall be granted only once in any one 12-month period. In order to qualify for such adjustment, the claimant must have repaired the break within a reasonable time after discovery of the break, not to exceed 30 days. (Code 1964, § 19-10.6;Code 1985, § 22-40; Ord. 2-8-96; Ord. 5-24-01).

13.45.070 Terms and conditions of payment.

(1) The terms and conditions of payment of the user fee shall be the same as those specified in Chapter 13.20 SCC for water billing. Nonpayment of the user fee constitutes grounds for termination of water service, as specified in SCC 13.20.090.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any person, other than the director of public works or his agents, to resume sewer service. (Code 1964, § 19-10.4; Code 1985, § 22-41; Ord. 5-24-01).