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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 23

Meeting Date: April 8, 2003

Subject/Title: Consideration of amending Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.350, 14.01.580 and 14.01.600 of the Brentwood Municipal Code pertaining to the Municipal Water System.

Submitted by: Pam Ehler, Director of Finance and Information Systems
Donna Dwyer, Utility Billing Supervisor

Approved by: John Stevenson, City Manager


RECOMMENDATION:
Approve the proposed Ordinance amending Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.350, 14.01.580 and 14.01.600 and of the Brentwood Municipal Code pertaining to the Municipal Water System effective June 1, 2003.

PREVIOUS ACTION:
Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.350: Temporary Connections
In 1982, the City Council passed Ordinance 343, which stated that temporary service connections should be metered and would be allowed for an initial sixty-day period and extended only if sufficient evidence warranted the extension.

Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.580: Delinquent Accounts
In 1984, the City Council approved Resolution 84-33 stating in part “In the event that payment of the utility charge and delinquent penalty is not made within forty (40) days of the billing date, water service will be discontinued.”

In January, 2003, the City Council amended Chapter 14.01.580 as follows: “All bills are due on the 25th day following the billing date and if not paid by the due date a five percent (5%) delinquency penalty will be added to the following bill. Reconnection charges shall be in accordance with the Master Fee Schedule.”

Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.600: Turning on water after shut-off
In 1982, the City Council passed Ordinance 343, which stated when water service has been discontinued because of delinquency of payment, service shall not be turned on until all delinquent and turn on charges have been paid.

BACKGROUND:
Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.350: Temporary Connections
Customers rent hydrant meters from the City of Brentwood on a regular basis. Many of these customers keep the hydrant meters for extended periods of time (in some cases, a year or more) due to the scope of the projects. Currently, hydrant meters are read on an infrequent basis. Sometimes the hydrant meter is damaged and does not read properly when they have been on a job site for many months.

By requiring the hydrant meters to be brought into Utility Billing quarterly for reading, usage can be billed on a regular basis and meters can be visually inspected for obvious damage. By calibrating the meters annually, we can insure the registers are working. If the meter is not brought into Utility Billing by the designated date, there shall be a penalty of $250 to the customer and the hydrant meter would need to be returned to the Utility Billing office. Prior to the hydrant meter being returned to the customer, all fees due must be paid in full.

Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.580: Delinquent Accounts
On August 14, 1984, Council approved Resolution 84-33 which stated in part, “In the event that payment of the utility charge and delinquent penalty is not made within forty (40) days of the billing date, water service will be discontinued.” Each month, customers write checks with insufficient funds in order to avoid water service being discontinued. We would like the ability to require the customer to make these payments only with cash, money order or credit card.

Chapter 14.01, Section 14.01.600: Turning on water after shut-off
Each month, the Utility Billing office sends approximately 250 disconnect notices to delinquent customers. This number represents approximately 2% of our customers. Water service is actually shut-off at 50 to 65 customer’s addresses each month. Customers write checks with insufficient funds in order to have water service restored. We would like the ability to require the customer to make these payments only with cash, money order or credit card.

We receive many calls from customers requesting to make payment arrangements. Currently, the ordinance does not contain language that authorizes staff to make payment arrangements.

We would like the ability to make specific payment arrangements with the customers in order to allow them to have their water service restored or to avoid the service from being discontinued. Formal payment arrangements would be allowed for customer’s who have delinquent accounts due to financial hardship. Payment for the delinquent charges would have to be completed within a 6-month period and could only be offered once in a 12-month period. If payment arrangements are followed, no further penalties would be incurred on the past due charges during the repayment period. The customer would be required to keep their current charges current while repaying the past-due amount. The customer would be required to make the scheduled payments only with cash, money order or credit card. The payment arrangements must be signed by the customer, and approved by the Director of Finance and Information Systems. If the customer does not adhere to the arrangements, water shall be disconnected with 24-hour notification via door-hanger.

FISCAL IMPACT:
None

ATTACHMENTS

• Proposed Ordinance









ORDINANCE NO.____________

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD, AMENDING CHAPTER 14.01, SECTIONS 14.01.350, 14.01.580 AND 14.01.600 OF THE BRENTWOOD MUNICIPAL CODE PERTAINING TO THE MUNICIPAL WATER SYSTEM

WHEREAS, on April 8, 2003, the City Council held a public hearing on the proposed ordinances; and

WHEREAS, a Notice of Public Hearing was legally advertised in the Ledger Dispatch in accordance with City policies and Government Code Section 65091.

NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Brentwood hereby ordains the Brentwood Municipal Code as follows:

Section 1. Amend the Brentwood Municipal Code, Sections 14.01.350, 14.01.580, and 14.01.600.

(EXISTING TEXT UNALTERED, DELETED TEXT STRICKEN, ADDED TEXT UNDERLINED)

Chapter 14.01

MUNICIPAL WATER SYSTEM

14.01.350 Temporary Connections

Whenever practical, Temporary service connections shall be metered with a City of Brentwood hydrant meter. Temporary connection shall be allowed for an initial sixty-day period and extended by the superintendent on presentation of good and sufficient evidence that such extension is warranted. Hydrant meters rented for a period of longer than three months must be brought into the Utility Billing office on a quarterly basis for a meter reading. If the meter is kept for one year, the meter must also be brought in for calibration. If the meter is not brought into the Utility Billing office by the appropriate time designated and agreed upon in writing by both the customer and a City representative, there will be a penalty of $250 to the customer and the meter shall be returned immediately. The customer shall pay all fees due before the meter can be re-issued. If unmetered, the superintendent shall determine a method to provide a record of consumption to the commercial office for each calendar month and the rates which will apply.


14.01.580 Delinquent Accounts

All bills are due on the 25th day following the billing date and if not paid by the due date a five percent (5%) delinquency penalty will be added to the following bill. If payment is not made within forty (40) days of the billing date, water service will be discontinued following written notice being mailed to the customer. Reconnection charges shall be in accordance with the Master Fee Schedule and shall be paid only by cash, money order or credit card.






14.01.600 Turning on water after shut-off

When water service has been discontinued because of delinquency of payment of a water bill, the service shall not be turned on provided until all delinquent and turnon charges have been paid unless authorized payment arrangements have been made with the Utility Billing office. and a cash deposit to re-establish credit has been made in accordance with administrative policy. If a payment plan is executed, all delinquent charges must be paid within a 6-month period, and can only be offered once in a 12-month period. If payment plan arrangements are followed, the City of Brentwood will waive penalties during the repayment period. The customer must keep their charges current while repaying the past-due amount. Payments must be made only with cash, money order or credit card. The payment plan arrangements must be signed by the customer, and approved by the Director of Finance and Information Systems. If the customer does not adhere to arrangements, water shall be disconnected with 24-hour notification via door-hanger.

Section 2. This Ordinance shall be published in accordance with applicable law, by one or more of the following methods:

1. Posting the entire Ordinance in at least three (3) public places in the City of Brentwood, within fifteen (15) days after its passage and adoption; or

2. Publishing the entire Ordinance at least once in the Ledger-Dispatch, a newspaper of general circulation published in the County of Contra Costa and circulated in the City of Brentwood, within fifteen (15) days after its passage and adoption; or

3. Publishing in the Brentwood Press a summary of the Ordinance prepared by the City Attorney and posting a certified copy of the Ordinance in the Office of the City Clerk at least five (5) days prior to passage and adoption and along with the names of those City Council members voting for and against the Ordinance.


Section 3. This Ordinance shall become effective June 1, 2003 after its passage and adoption.


THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waived at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Brentwood on the 8th day of April 2003 and was adopted at a regular meeting on the 22nd day of April, 2003, by the following vote:
 

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