Article 3. Utilities Generally

§3-301               UTILITIES GENERALLY; UTILITY BILLS; BILLING AND COLLECTING. Property owners shall be billed jointly for water and sewer service on a bi-monthly basis starting in February. Utility bills shall be mailed on the first (1st) day of every other month, and shall be due and payable by the tenth (10th) day of the month in which they were mailed. Bills not paid by the fifteenth (15th) day of the month in which they were mailed shall be deemed to be delinquent. Upon being deemed to be delinquent, as herein defined, the Municipality may discontinue service pursuant to section 3-302 of this Code. Delinquent utility bills shall be assessed a late charge in the amount of ten percent (10%). Once discontinued, service shall be not recommenced except upon payment in full of all delinquent charges and upon further payment of a reconnection fee in the amount of twenty-five dollars ($25.00). The Municipality may also take any action authorized by law to effect collection of the delinquent charges. (Ref 17-542, 17-925.01, 18-416 RS Neb.)

§3-302               UTILITIES GENERALLY; DISCONTINUANCE OF SERVICE, NOTICE PROCEDURE. (1) The Municipality shall have the right to discontinue utility services and remove its properties if the charges for such services are not paid within seven (7) days after the date that the charges become delinquent. Before any termination, the Municipality shall first give notice by first-class mail or in person to any domestic subscriber whose service is proposed to be terminated. If notice is given by first-class mail, such mail shall be conspicuously marked as to its importance. Service shall not be discontinued for at least seven (7) days, weekends and holidays excluded, after notice is sent or given. As to any subscriber who has previously been identified as a welfare recipient to the Municipality by the Department of Health and Human Services, such notice shall be by certified mail and notice of such proposed termination shall be given to the Department of Health and Human Services.

                          (2)        The notice shall contain the following information:

                          (a)        The reason for the proposed disconnection;


                          (b)        A statement of the intention to disconnect unless the domestic subscriber either pays the bill or reaches an agreement with the Municipality regarding payment of the bill;


                          (c)        The date upon which service will be disconnected if the domestic subscriber does not take appropriate action;


                          (d)        The name, address, and telephone number of the employee or department to whom the domestic subscriber may address an inquiry or complaint;


                          (e)        The domestic subscriber̓s right, prior to the disconnection date, to request a conference regarding any dispute over such proposed disconnection;


                          (f)         A statement that the Municipality may not disconnect service pending the conclusion of the conference;


                          (g)        A statement to the effect that disconnection may be postponed or prevented upon presentation of a duly licensed physician̓s certificate which shall certify that the domestic subscriber or a resident within such subscriber̓s household has an existing illness or handicap which would cause such subscriber or resident to suffer an immediate and serious health hazard by the disconnection of the Municipality̓s service to that household. Such certificate shall be filed with the Municipality within five (5) days of receiving notice under this section and will prevent the disconnection of the Municipality̓s service for a period of thirty (30) days from such filing. Only one (1) postponement of disconnection shall be allowed under this subsection for each incidence of nonpayment of any past-due account;


                          (h)        The cost that will be borne by the domestic subscriber for restoration of service;


                          (i)         A statement that the domestic subscriber may arrange with the Municipality for an installment payment plan;


                          (j)         A statement to the effect that those domestic subscribers who are welfare recipients may qualify for assistance in payment of their utility bill and that they should contact their caseworker in that regard; and


                          (k)        Any additional information not inconsistent with this section which has received prior approval from the Governing Body.


             (3)                     A domestic subscriber may dispute the proposed discontinuance of service by notifying the Municipality with a written statement that sets forth the reasons for the dispute and the relief requested. If a statement has been made by the subscriber, a conference shall be held before the Municipality may discontinue services.


             (4)                     The procedures adopted by the Governing Body for resolving utility bills, three (3) copies of which are on file in the office of the Municipal Clerk, are hereby incorporated by reference in addition to any amendments thereto and are made a part of this section as though set out in full.


             (5)                     This section shall not apply to any disconnections or interruptions of services made necessary by the Municipality for reasons of repair or maintenance or to protect the health or safety of the domestic subscriber or of the general public. (Ref 70-1602 et seq. RS Neb.)

§3-303               UTILITIES GENERALLY; UNAUTHORIZED RECONNECTION, PROHIBITED; EVIDENCE. (1) When water service has been disconnected pursuant to sections 70-1601 to 70-1615 RS Neb., or section 3-302 of this Code, any person who reconnects such service without the knowledge and consent of the Municipality shall be deemed guilty of an offense.

                          (2)        Proof of the existence of any reconnection as provided in this section shall be taken as prima facie evidence of the guilt of the person in possession of the premises where such reconnection is proved to exist. (Ref 86-329 through 86-33 1 RS Neb.)


§3-304               UTILITIES GENERALLY; LIEN. In addition to all other remedies, if a customer shall for any reason remain indebted to the Municipality for utilities service furnished, such amount due, together with any rents and charges in arrears shall be considered a delinquent utility rent which is hereby declared to be a lien upon the real estate for which the same was furnished. The Municipal Clerk shall notify in writing or cause to be notified in writing, all owners of premises or their agents whenever their tenants or lessees are sixty (60) days or more delinquent in the payment of the utilities rent. It shall be the duty of the Municipal Clerk to report to the Governing Body a list of all unpaid accounts due for utilities service together with a description of the premises served. The report shall be examined, and if approved by the Governing Body, shall be certified by the Municipal Clerk to the County Clerk to be collected as a special tax in the manner provided by law. (Ref 17-538, 17-925.01, 18-503 RS Neb.)