Chapter 13.34
WATERWORKS UTILITY

Sections:

13.34.010    Combination of water system and sewerage system.

13.34.020    Operation.

13.34.030    Penalties and delinquent charges.

13.34.040    Responsibility of property owner.

13.34.050    Billing.

13.34.060    Lien.

13.34.070    Discontinuance of service by utility and voluntary payment plan.

13.34.080    Inactivation of service by customer.

13.34.090    Billing adjustments.

13.34.010 Combination of water system and sewerage system.

Pursuant to RCW 35.67.331, the water system of the city, the sewerage system of the city, and the surface water system of the city are combined into a waterworks utility of the city, and such combined systems shall be maintained and operated jointly. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 16, 2013; Ord. 537 § 1, 1969)

13.34.020 Operation.

To the extent authorized by law, the operation by the city of such combined waterworks utility shall be governed by the statutes relating to the establishment and maintenance of a city water system. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 17, 2013; Ord. 537 § 2, 1969)

13.34.030 Penalties and delinquent charges.

A. In addition to all other charges provided in this title or LMC Title 14 each account shall be charged 10 percent of the unpaid balance for all city utility charges not paid within 35 days after the date of billing. This amount shall be paid whether or not the water is actually turned off.

B. There shall be a $50.00 penalty charge for each payment returned due to insufficient funds. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3223 § 4, 2016; Ord. 3024 § 7, 2013)

13.34.040 Responsibility of property owner.

All accounts for city utilities shall be kept in the name of the owner of the property and not in the name of the tenant unless stated otherwise in this code; and the owner or authorized agent shall be responsible for utility charges. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 11, 2013)

13.34.050 Billing.

A. All charges for city utility service shall be due and payable to the city of Lynnwood on or before the twenty-eighth day after the bill has been issued and shall be classified as delinquent after the twenty-eighth day.

B. City utility bills shall cover periods of two months and shall be issued upon a single statement.

C. All payments and collections shall be paid into the combined utility fund.

D. Delinquent accounts shall be charged as provided in LMC 13.34.030.

E. The order of application of payments received towards outstanding utility bills shall be applied in the following order: penalties, interest if applicable, surface water charges, sewer charges, water charges. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 12, 2013)

13.34.060 Lien.

A. All charges for city utility services, and all service charges, provided in this title and LMC Title 14, together with penalties and interest thereon, shall be a lien upon the property to which city utility services are provided, superior to all other liens and encumbrances whatsoever, except for general taxes and local special assessments. Enforcement of such lien or liens shall be in the manner provided by law.

B. Pursuant to RCW 35.67.215, the city’s lien for delinquent sanitary sewer service charges or surface water service charges shall be effective for a total not to exceed one year’s delinquent service charges without the necessity of any written lien or recording of the lien with the county auditor.

C. In any case where the city records a written lien for delinquent utility service charges, fees, interest and/or penalties with the county auditor, the city shall charge the account a lien processing fee in the amount of $180.00 for each written lien recorded by the city. The lien processing fee shall be added to the amount of the lien. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3223 § 5, 2016; Ord. 3024 § 13, 2013)

13.34.070 Discontinuance of service by utility and voluntary payment plan.

A. In addition to the city’s lien authority, the city may refuse to supply, or may discontinue service to, any customer for violation of this title or LMC Title 14.

1. When any amount of outstanding balance remains delinquent 20 days after two billing cycles (approximately four months), the director of public works shall notify by first class mail sent to the customer at the service address and the property owner if different that the account is delinquent and that the water is scheduled to be shut off 13 days after the date of such delinquency notice. The director of public works is directed to shut off water as described in the delinquency notice until all charges have been paid, or a voluntary payment agreement has been executed; provided, that if a state declaration of emergency has been issued and the nonpayment is due to the emergency, the director of public works shall have the discretion to delay or suspend termination of water service.

2. A discontinuance of service pursuant to this section shall not release the customer from the obligation of paying utility charges and fees. Except for discontinuance of service pursuant to LMC 13.34.080, billing of utility charges shall continue during the period that water service is discontinued.

3. The utility may refuse or discontinue service to any customer who requires or uses such volume of water that water service to any other customer may be thereby impaired.

4. The utility shall discontinue service to any customer who makes an unauthorized connection to a city water or sewer line, bypasses a city water meter, or in any other way steals city water or sewer services.

B. Voluntary payment plans shall be available in recognition of households with limited financial means to eliminate past-due account balances, the need to ensure the utilities’ financial sustainability, and the need to minimize undesirable impacts upon future utility rates.

1. A customer with a past-due account balance may request approval of a voluntary payment plan. While a voluntary payment plan is in effect, the city of Lynnwood shall not:

a. Impose monetary penalties or delinquent charges as otherwise authorized by LMC 13.34.030.

b. Impose utility lien(s) upon the property as otherwise authorized by LMC 13.34.060.

c. Discontinue water service as otherwise authorized by this section.

d. As allowed by applicable law, impose interest accrued upon the past-due account balance.

2. While a voluntary payment plan is in effect, the customer shall:

a. Pay the full amount of charges due for the most recent and each subsequent bimonthly billing cycle; and

b. Every two months, either coinciding or alternating with the above payment, pay not less than 10 percent of the past-due account balance.

3. In the event the customer fails to comply with the provisions of the voluntary payment plan, the voluntary payment plan shall be deemed null and void. In the absence of a voluntary payment plan, the city may impose monetary penalties and interest, impose liens, discontinue water service, and use other measures to collect an unpaid account balance.

4. The city reserves the right to deny a request for a voluntary payment plan.

C. Discontinuance of service for any cause stated in this section shall not release the customer from his obligation to the city for payment of bills or charges.

D. Whenever service has been discontinued as provided in this section, and before service is restored, in addition to charges as provided in subsection (A) of this section, the utility may require the customer to make a deposit of $50.00. The deposit may be held for up to two years depending on account history and used at any time to offset outstanding balances due, should they reoccur. Upon transfer of the account to a new owner, any unused deposit will be returned to the depositor. Restoration of service at the customer’s request and after payment of all bills due shall be done at the convenience of the utility.

E. Except as provided by LMC 13.34.080, a fee may be charged for shutting off and turning back on water service when necessitated by the provisions of this chapter or at the request of the customer. The fee shall be as provided by Table 13.34.070E.

Table 13.34.070E 

Time When Trip to Account Location Occurs

Charge for Each Occurrence

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday except holidays

$35.00

All other times including holidays

$85.00

(Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 14, 2013)

13.34.080 Inactivation of service by customer.

A customer who wishes to inactivate water service shall give at least five business days’ prior written notice to the utility. No charge will be made for shutting off or turning back on the water supply; however, minimum base billing will continue for sewer, water, and surface water during the period of inactivity; however, if complete billing cycles have no metered water consumption, then the city will back out the water charges for those cycles. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 15, 2013)

13.34.090 Billing adjustments.

The public works director together with the finance director shall establish regulations and procedures for making adjustments to the quantity of water and sewer from which billings are calculated in situations where a customer reports a leak in their private system. These regulations and procedures shall establish the criteria to be used in consideration of an adjustment, the method to calculate the adjustment, and the frequency with which adjustments will be considered. (Ord. 3393 § 2 (Exh. B), 2021; Ord. 3024 § 18, 2013)