CHAPTER XV. UTILITIESCHAPTER XV. UTILITIES\ARTICLE 5. USER CHARGE SYSTEM

It is determined and declared to be necessary and conducive to the protection of the public health, safety, welfare and convenience of the city to collect charges from all users who contribute wastewater to the city's treatment works. The proceeds of such charges so derived will be used for the purpose of operating and maintaining the public wastewater treatment works.

(Ord. 2123, Art. 1)

Unless the context specifically indicates otherwise, the meaning of terms used in this ordinance shall be as follows:

(a)   BOD (denoting Biochemical Oxygen Demand) - shall mean the quantity of oxygen utilized in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter under standard laboratory procedure in five days at 20°C, expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/1).

(b)   Normal Domestic Wastewater - shall mean wastewater than has a BOD concentration of not more than 200 mg/1 and a suspended solids concentration of not more than 250 mg/1.

(c)   Operation and Maintenance - shall mean all expenditures during the useful life of the treatment works for materials, labor, utilities, and other items which are necessary for managing and maintaining the works to achieve the capacity and performance for which such works were designed and constructed.

(d)   Replacement - shall mean expenditures for obtaining and installing equipment, accessories, or appurtenances which are necessary during the useful life of the treatment works to maintain the capacity and performance for which such works were designed and constructed. The term operation and maintenance includes replacement.

(e)   Residential Contributor - shall mean any contributor to the city's treatment works whose lot, parcel of real estate, or building is used for domestic dwelling purposes only.

(f)   Shall is mandatory; May is permissive.

(g)   SS (denoting Suspended Solids) - shall mean solids that either float on the surface of or are in suspension in water, sewage, or other liquids and which are removable by laboratory filtering . .

(h)   Treatment Works - shall mean any devices and systems for the storage, treatment, recycling, and reclamation of municipal sewage, domestic sewage, or liquid industrial wastes. They include intercepting sewers, sewers, sewage collection systems, individual systems, pumping, power· and other equipment and their appurtenances, extensions, improvements, remodeling, additions and alterations thereof; elements essential to provide a reliable recycled supply such as standby treatment units and clear well facilities; and any works, including site acquisition of the land that will be an integral part of the treatment process or is used for ultimate disposal of residue resulting from such treatment (including land for composting sludge, temporary storage of such compost, and land used for the storage of treated wastewater in land treatment systems before land application) or any other method or system for preventing, abating, reducing, storing, treating, separating, or disposing of municipal waste or industrial waste, including waste in combined storm water and sanitary sewer systems. ,

(I)    Useful Life - shall mean the estimated period during which treatment works will be operated.

(j)    User Charge - shall mean that portion of the total wastewater service charge which is levied in a proportional and adequate manner for the cost of operation, maintenance, and replacement of the wastewater treatment works.

(k)   Water Meter - shall mean a water volume measuring and recording device, furnished and/or installed by the city or furnished and/or installed by a user and approved by the city.

(Ord. 2123, Art. II, Secs. 1:11)

The user charge system shall generate adequate annual revenues to pay costs of annual operation and maintenance including replacement and costs associated with debt retirement of bonded capital associated with financing the treatment works which the city may by ordinance designate to be paid by the user charge system. That portion of the total user charge which is designated for operation and maintenance including replacement of the treatment works shall be established by this article.

(Ord. 2123, At. III, Sec. 1)

That portion of the total user charge collected which is designated for operation and maintenance including replacement purposes as established in this article, shall be deposited in a separate non-lapsing fund known as the Operation, Maintenance and Replacement Fund and will be kept in two primary accounts as follows:

(a)   An account designated for the specific purpose of defraying operation and maintenance costs (excluding replacement) of the treatment works (operation and maintenance account).

(b)   An account designated for the specific purpose of ensuring replacement needs over the useful life of the treatment works (replacement account). Deposits in the replacement account shall be made annually from the operation, maintenance and replacement revenue in the amount of $1,027 annually.

(Ord. 2123, Art. III, Sec. 2)

Fiscal year-end balances in the operation and maintenance account and the replacement account shall be carried over to the same accounts in the subsequent fiscal year, and shall be used for no other purposes than those designated for these accounts. Monies which have been transferred from other sources to meet temporary shortages in the operation, maintenance and replacement fund shall be returned to their respective accounts upon appropriate adjustment of the user charge rates for operation, maintenance and replacement. The user charge rate(s) shall be adjusted such that the transferred monies will be returned to their respective accounts within the fiscal year following the fiscal year in which the monies were borrowed.

(Ord. 2123, Art. III, Sec. 3)

(a)   Wastewater system contributors shall be defined and classified as follows:

(1)   Residential Customer - is a customer using water and/or sewer service exclusively for domestic purposes in a private home or individual dwelling unit where not more than one dwelling unit is served through one meter. Where water and/or sewer service is supplied through a single meter and used for both residential and commercial purposes, the service is considered residential if the residential use is predominate as determined by the City Manager.

(2)   Commercial Customer - is a customer using water and/or sewer service for non-manufacturing and nonresidential purposes. These purposes include wholesale and retail trade, clubs, service organizations, churches, professional services, hotels, motels and other lodging places; commercial office buildings; warehouses; theaters and auditoriums; single meters providing service to entire apartment houses and boarding homes; laundries; and public buildings. Where water and/or sewer service is supplied through a single meter and used for both commercial and residential purposes or for both commercial and industrial purposes, the service is considered commercial if the commercial use is predominate as determined by the City Manager.

(3)   Industrial Customer - is a customer using water and/or sewer service in an establishment wherein the gas, electricity, and/or water is used for creating or changing raw or unfinished material into another form or product through the application of heat or heat treating, steam agitation, evaporation, baking, drying, distilling, etc. These customers include those engaged in the production of food products, wood products, furniture and fixtures, chemicals and allied products, fabricated metal products and establishments engaged in the overhaul and repair of transportation and other equipment. Industrial customers also include public schools, hospitals, institutions for the care or detention of persons, and other uses that is meets the City of Sterling Zoning Ordinance as an Industrial land use district. Where water is supplied through a single meter and used for both industrial and commercial purposes, the service is considered industrial if the industrial use is predominate as determined by the City Manager.

(b)   Each user shall pay for the services provided by the city based on his or her use of the treatment works as determined by water meters acceptable by the city.

(c)   For residential contributors, monthly user charges will be based on the average monthly water usage determined during the months of January, February, and March, and each contributor's average monthly water usage shall be established on the first day of May each year. In the event a residential contributor has not established a January, February, and March average, his or her monthly user charge shall be the average of all other residential contributors. In the event a residential contributor does not use city water his or her monthly; per charge shall also be the average charge of all other residential contributors. For industrial and commercial contributors, user charges shall be based on water during the current month. If a contributor has a consumptive use of water, or in some other manner uses water which is not returned to the wastewater collection system, the user charge for the contributor may be based on a wastewater meter(s) or separate water meter(s) installed and maintained at the contributors expense, and in a manner acceptable to the city.

(d)   The minimum charge per month shall be $11.50. In addition, each contributor shall pay a user a charge rate for operation and maintenance as determined in the preceding section.

(e)   The minimum monthly charge includes a $1.50 component to be used to repay the electric fund for a 1999 transfer / loan. This $1.50 charge shall be eliminated in 2013, or when the debt is paid in full.

(Ord. 2360, Secs. 1:2; Code 2014)

(a)   The rates to be charged for sewer usage within the City shall be as follows:

0 - 999 gallons $19.18 minimum monthly charge

1,000 - 3,000 gallons $1.67 per 1,000 gallons

3,001 - 9,000 gallons $3.34 per 1,000 gallons

9,001 - 25,000 gallons $5.00 per 1,000 gallons

25,001 gallons and above $6.67 per 1,000 gallons

(Ord. 2343; Ord. 2449)

Any user which discharges any toxic pollutants which cause an increase in the cost of managing the effluent or the sludge from the city treatment works, or any user which discharges any substance which singly or by interaction with other substance causes identifiable increases in the cost of operation, maintenance or replacement of the treatment works, shall pay for such increased costs. The charge to each such user shall be as determined by the responsible plant operating personnel and approved by the governing body.

(Ord. 2123, Art. IV, Sec. 4; Code 2001, 15-507)

The user charge rates established in this article apply to all users, regardless of their location of the city's treatment works.

(Ord. 2123, Art. IV, Sec. 5; Code 2001, 15-508)

(a)   All users shall be billed on a monthly basis and shall become due and payable the like day of each succeeding month thereafter. Any payment not received by the like day of the succeeding month shall be delinquent.

(b)   A late payment penalty of 10 percent of the sewer use charge will be added to each delinquent bill for each month of delinquency. When any bill is ·one month in default the city may, at its option and following due notice and opportunity for hearing, discontir:1Ue any utility service rendered and charged for in the delinquent bill until such charges are paid in full. The city shall not disconnect the user from the treatment works, which would directly endanger the environment and public health and welfare. .

(c)   There shall be a user charge for sewer use each month, except where there has been no use made of the treatment works for the premises for any month or months by disposing of any water, waste or sewage into the treatment works, when the water system on such premises has been disconnected for the entire month.

(d)   City officers empowered to prepare bills for water, sewer and other city owned and operated utilities shall calculate the amount of each sewer user charge, and shall add the same to the amount of the other utilities if to be collected as a combined bill. Failure to receive a billing shall not excuse a user from the obligation to pay such bill within the time specified. Should the city be unable to bill a user for services rendered under this ordinance during any month, the next billing made shall include such sewage service rendered during the unbilled month, on the same basis as utility accounts are billed.

(e)   In the event the user does not have any utility account, personally, with the city, the statement for the user charge shall be forwarded directly to the owner of the property being served, if not paid on time by his or her agent, or tenant of the property being served.

(Ord. 2123, Art. V, Secs. 1:5; -Code 2001, 15-509)

(a)   The city shall review the user charge system at least every two years and revise user charge rates as necessary to ensure that the system generate adequate revenues to pay the costs of operation and maintenance including replacement costs among users and user classes.

(b)   The city shall notify each user at least annually, in conjunction with a regular bill, of the rate being charged for operation, maintenance including replacement of the treatment works.

(Ord. 2123, Art. VI, Secs. 1, 2; Code 2001, 15-510)