CHAPTER XV. UTILITIESCHAPTER XV. UTILITIES\ARTICLE 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

For purposes of this article “utility services” shall include water, sewer, gas, and other utility services provided by the city.

The general management, care, control, and supervision of the city water, sewage, and gas system shall be in the director of public works, who may be appointed by the mayor with the consent of the council.

The director of public works, shall have general supervision of all officers, employees, servants, and agents of the department. The director of public works shall employ all employees necessary for the efficient operation of the water, sewage, and gas system and make reports to the governing body as required.

The utility clerk shall be an employee of the department, whose duties shall include accounting for the department and the collections for all services rendered consumers and users of the water and sewage system.

Unless otherwise provided, water, sewer, gas or other utility service shall be terminated for non-payment of service fees or charges in accordance with sections 15-106:107.

(a)   If a utility bill has not been paid on or before the due date as provided in this chapter, a delinquency and termination notice shall be issued by the utilities clerk within 10 days after the delinquency occurs and mailed to the customer at his or her last known address. A copy also shall be mailed to the occupant of the premises if the occupant and the customer are not the same person.

(b)   The notice shall state:

(1)   The amount due, plus delinquency charge;

(2)   Notice that service will be terminated if the amount due is not paid within five days from the date of the notice unless the date of the notice to pay the charges due shall be on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, in which event such notice will give the consumer until the close of the next business day in which to pay the charges;

(3)   Notice that the customer has the right to a hearing before the designated hearing officer.

(4)   Notice that the request for a hearing must be in writing and filed with the city clerk no later than three days prior to the date for termination of service.

(c)   Upon receipt of a request for hearing, the city clerk shall advise the customer of the date, time, and place of the hearing which shall be held within three working days following receipt of the request.

Following the hearing, if the hearing officer shall find that service should not be terminated, then notice of such finding shall be presented to the city clerk. If the officer finds that service should be terminated, an order shall be issued terminating service five days after the date of the order. The customer shall be notified either in person or by mailing a letter to his or her last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested. However, if the order is made at the hearing in the presence of the customer, then no further notice need be given. The hearing officer has a right, for good cause, to grant an extension, not to exceed 10 days, for the termination of such service.

(a)   At the time of making application for utility service, customer shall make a cash deposit in the amount set by the governing body to secure payment of accrued bills or bills due on discontinuance of service. Receipt thereof shall be issued to each such depositor.

(b)   Cash deposits for the indicated utility services shall be in the following amounts:

(1)   Water Service: Renters of property $50;

(2)   Gas Service: Renters of property $100.

(c)   The deposit so made shall be kept by the city treasurer in a separate account and deposited in a fund designated as the “meter deposit fund.” Interest shall be payable at the rate determined by the state corporation commission yearly and credited to the customer’s account January 1st of each calendar year.

(d)   The deposit and interest accrued shall be payable in cash upon demand by the property owner depositing the same or it may be credited on the payment of any bill rendered; provided, that at the second interest payment date following the deposit required above, the city treasurer shall refund the deposit of any depositor who is owner of the premises wherein such water service is being furnished and has not been delinquent in payment of any water service charge during the past year. Interest due and accrued shall not draw interest.

(e)   Upon the discontinuance of any service at the request of the depositor, the deposit shall be refunded upon surrender of the original receipt therefore together with the accrued interest thereon less any amount due and owing the city for services furnished prior thereto.

(f)   Any security deposit not refunded within three years after discontinuance of service shall be deposited in the water fund of the city upon compliance with the provisions of K.S.A. 12-822 as amended.

The owner or owners of any premise situated outside the city limits may be granted permission, at the sole discretion of the Governing Body, to connect such premises to the city’s gas, water and sewer utility systems, as herein provided. The fees shall be proportional to the user charge for city residents, but the city may in addition charge additional fees designed to recover capital costs and any other necessary costs related to the provisions of said services.

(a)   APPLICATION.

Any applicant desiring to make a utility connection shall apply in writing to the city clerk for a permit to do so. Such application shall include the following information and any other information that the city shall request:

(1)   The legal description of the premises;

(2)   The name of the owner or owners;

(3)   The type of connection requested;

(4)   The point of connection.

(b)   REVIEW. The Governing Body will review the same and may in its sole decision after such review issue the applicant a permit to connect to one or more of the city utilities upon such terms and conditions as the city deems reasonable and necessary.

(a)   In the event that any person, except the United States or the state of Kansas, residing, occupying, using or operating on property to which utility service(s) furnished by the city is not paid, the unpaid fees or charges shall constitute a lien upon the property to which the utilities are furnished. The amount of the unpaid fees or charges shall be certified by the governing body to the county clerk of the county in which the property is located, to be placed upon the tax roll for collection, subject to the same penalties and collected in the same manner as other taxes are collected by law.

(b)   The lien, described in subsection (a) of this section, shall not attach to property for unpaid utility fees or charges when:

(1)   The utility service(s) have been contracted for by a tenant and not by the landlord or the owner of the property, or the agent of such person, to which the utility service is provided; or,

(2)   The utility services are owed by the United States or the state of Kansas.

(c)   If at the time of application for utility service the applicant has an outstanding balance or unpaid fees or charges for utility services provided by the city, the application shall not be accepted until all fees or charges are paid in full.

(K.S.A. 12-808c; Code 2016)

(a)   Owners of premises served by utility service under this article shall be liable for payment of the costs of any utility service account delinquency arising from service provided to such premises, regardless of whether the utility service was furnished upon the application and request of the owner or lessee of the premises. This provision shall also apply when the premises are leased by or through an agent or other representative of the owner.

(b)   In the event that a delinquency arises involving leased premises, in addition to the tenant, the owner or owner’s agent shall be notified in writing of the delinquency of the lessee by first class regular mail within 10 days after the billing to the lessee becomes delinquent. Notice shall be sufficient if mailed to the last known address of the owner or owner’s agent known to city personnel responsible for said mailing, after reasonable inquiry.

(c)   If utility service is furnished to a leased premises on the application or request of the lessor of the premises, then all billings for utilities furnished to such leased premises shall be made directly to the lessor, and the lessor shall be fully liable for the cost of service furnished.

(d)   The city may collect the amount of the unpaid bill for utility services by any lawful means. Provided, however, that in no event may the city place a lien, as provided in subsection (a) of 15-110, on real estate of the lessor.

(K.S.A. 12-808c; Code 2016)