CHAPTER XVIII. UTILITIESCHAPTER XVIII. UTILITIES\ARTICLE 1. UTILITY MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTING

The city manager of the City of Russell shall be responsible for the effective management, supervision, and operation of the electric utility, the water plant and distribution system, and the sewage system of the city as provided by ordinance and as may be established therefor by the governing body.

(Code 1973, 18-101)

The directors of utilities shall have the immediate supervision and direction of the utilities department. They shall be responsible for the proper assignment to work and attendance to duties of employees of the departments and the keeping of the personnel records and work records, the safekeeping and supply of the department’s stores and the making of the inventory records. They shall make periodic reports to the city manager respecting the foregoing and his or her estimate of the future requirements of the department for personnel replacements and new equipment as may be required by the city manager.

(Code 1973, 18-102)

The directors shall prepare requisitions for the purchase of supplies and replacements or services required by his or her department when the same shall be authorized. No purchase shall be made without approval of the city manager. Upon delivery or furnishing of the supplies and equipment, the same shall be added to the department’s permanent inventory. The directors shall examine and approve all claims covering such purchases and cause the same to be prepared for payment in accordance with the regular accounting procedure of the city. The city clerk shall charge the several utility funds in accordance with the fund obligated by any purchase or contract and the amount of the claim paid.

(Code 1973, 18-103)

The city clerk shall provide for the billing and collection of accounts due the city from the sale of utility and other services supplied by the departments. The city clerk shall prepare monthly statements of all accounts as shown by the meter books and for other monthly charges due as required by ordinance. The bills shall give a summary of services supplied together with the amount of Kansas retailers sales tax, credits due the customer, charges and penalties due the city, and the net amount due the city.

(Code 1973, 18-104)

All bills or statements for utility and other services shall be due 15 days from the billing date for meter readings and services rendered during the preceding month. A receipt shall be issued by the clerk to each customer upon payment of the account rendered.

(Code 1973, 18-105; Ord. 1528, Sec. 1)

(a)   The city clerk shall collect all utility or other city service accounts due the city and he or she shall be responsible for the collection and safekeeping of all such sums received by the clerks in his or her office. He or she shall keep by separate funds the income from the sale of water services, electrical service and trash and garbage collection fees and he or she shall keep a retailers sales tax fund showing taxes due the State of Kansas from the sale of utility services.

(b)   Deposits required of any utility customer shall be kept separately for each category of utility customers depositing the same. Revenues for the payment of the principal and interest on revenue bonds shall be kept in a separate fund as required by law.

(c)   Upon termination of service, if the deposit is not to be transferred, the city will refund the deposit to the customer less any unpaid utility bills due the city. Deposits taken from residential customers shall be either credited with interest to their utility bills or, if requested, refunded, after the customer has paid nine (9) out of the last twelve (12) bills on time and no undisputed bill was unpaid after 30 days beyond due date. The month(s) of a disputed bill(s) shall be ignored in this calculation. Non-residential deposits of under $500 shall be returned within 36 months of on-time payment. The payments need not be consecutive. Non-residential deposits of $500 or more may be retained until termination of service.

A deposit need not be returned until all undisputed amounts are paid. When refunded or credited, the deposit shall include accrued simple interest at a rate not less than that provided by K.S.A. 12-822 and amendments.

(Code 1973, 18-106; Ord. 1215, Sec. 1:2; Code 1983; Ord. 1528, Sec. 1)

There is hereby established an imprest fund for the purpose of paying postage, freight, temporary labor and other emergency expense, including refund of deposits made to secure payment of accounts. Such imprest fund shall be in the sum of $2,000 and shall be deposited in the designated city depository bank and paid out of the order of the city clerk by checks which will state clearly the purpose for which used. The payee of such checks shall certify thereon under their signatures that such services were rendered, supplies furnished or funds received, as the case may be, and any false certification shall be deemed obtaining money under false pretenses and punished as provided by law. Whenever the imprest fund shall become low or depleted, vouchers will be prepared covering such expenses as have been paid from the fund and the vouchers shall be submitted together with the paid checks to the governing body for reimbursement and to restore such imprest fund to its original amount, for the uses as herein provided.

(Ord. 1210, Sec. 1; Ord. 1826, Sec. 1)

(a)   All utility accounts shall be due and payable on the 5th and 20th day of each month following the rendering of service and if not paid on or before the 15th day following the billing, the accounts shall become delinquent. When a bill becomes delinquent, as provided herein, a late payment charge equal to two (2%) percent of the delinquent amount owed for current utility service will be added to the customer’s bill, and any collection efforts by the utility may be initiated.

(b)   Debt Allowance Account Fee. All bills for utility services which are determined to be a debt allowance and submitted for outside collection, including the State of Kansas Setoff Program, shall be subject to a fee of $15.00 per utility account. This debt allowance administrative fee shall be applied prior to referral for collection.

(Ord. 1407, Sec. 3; Ord. 1586, Sec. 1; Ord. 1692, Sec. 1; Ord. 1800, Sec. 1; Code 2017)

(a)   The procedure for discontinuing service shall be as follows in all instances where there now exists, or shall hereafter exist, provisions of statutes or ordinances, or both, for the termination of utility service provided by the city, because of the failure of any customer or person or other firm legally liable for payment for the service as provided by the ordinances of the city.

(b)   A notice of discontinuance of service issued by the city will give the customer (10) days written notice before discontinuing service, unless the discontinuance is upon customer request, or involves a dangerous condition, a violation of utility rules or unauthorized interference, diversion or use of service, in which case the city may discontinue service immediately. However, if the city has knowledge that persons other than the customer or members of the customer’s family are residing at the premises where unauthorized interference, diversion, or use (meter bypass) is taking place, the city shall give such persons a two (2) days written or twenty-four (24) hour oral notice prior to discontinuance. The notice(s) shall contain the following information:

(1)   The name of and address of the customer and the address, if different, where service is rendered.

(2)   A clear and concise statement of the reason for the proposed discontinuance of service and the cost and conditions for reconnection.

(3)   The dates between which service can be discontinued unless the customer takes appropriate action.

(4)   Terms under which the customer may avoid discontinuance.

(5)   A statement that discontinuance may be postponed or avoided if customer can demonstrate that special circumstances prevent complete payments and satisfactory credit arrangements are made with the utility for moneys not in dispute.

(6)   A statement reasonably calculated to apprise the customer of the availability of an administrative procedure which may be utilized in the event of a bona fide dispute or under other circumstances. The address, telephone number and name of the city office or personnel empowered to review disputed bills, rectify errors, and prevent disconnection, shall be clearly set forth. The notice shall state that the customer may meet with a designated employee of the city and may present his or her reason for disputing a bill or the utility’s reasons for discontinuance, requesting credit arrangements or requesting a postponement of discontinuance.

(c)   The city will review disputes when a customer advises the city prior to the date of the proposed discontinuance of service that all or any part of any billing as rendered is in dispute or that the city’s reasons for discontinuance are factually invalid, the city shall:

(1)   Immediately record the date, time and place the complaint is made;

(2)   Postpone discontinuance until a full investigation is completed and the dispute found to be invalid:

(3)   Investigate the dispute promptly and completely; and

(4)   Attempt to resolve the dispute informally in a manner mutually satisfactory to both parties.

A customer may advise the city that a bill is in dispute in any reasonable manner such as by written notice, in person or by telephone call directed to the appropriate personnel of the city.

The city, in attempting to resolve the dispute in a mutually satisfactory manner, may employ telephone communication, personal meetings, formal or informal hearings, on-site visits or any other technique reasonably conducive to settlement of the dispute.

In the event that a dispute is not resolved to the satisfaction of the customer, after full investigation, and the city intends to proceed with discontinuance, the utility shall advise the customer of formal and informal procedures available before the Kansas Corporation Commission. The city may then discontinue service if proper notice has been given.

(d)   The review of disputes as set forth herein are to be held before the city clerk or the manager in the city building in the City of Russell, Kansas.

(Ord. 1407, Sec. 3; Ord. 1528, Sec. 1)

In the event the delinquent account is not paid within the time stated in said notice, service to such customer shall be discontinued. Such service shall be resumed only upon payment of all delinquent accounts and payment of a reconnection service fee of $50. 00 if there has been no prior reconnection service fee charged for the same meter within the immediately prior 12-month period, $75.00 if there has been one (1) prior such reconnection fee during such period and $100.00 if there has been two (2) or more such reconnection service fee for the same meter within such 12-month period. The delinquent customer may also be required to make a deposit with the utility department in an amount equal to an estimated six weeks’ utility billing as a guarantee for the payment of future billings.

(Ord. 1407; Ord. 1524; Ord. 1859)

The city manager shall prepare such other rules as he or she may deem necessary relating to fiscal management and procedure, for the keeping of cash for making change, the deposit and paying out of funds in the city depository bank, the reading of meters, the discontinuance of service, changes of service, the rendering of bills for less than a full month’s or year’s service, cash guaranty deposits and all other matters pertaining thereto which are not inconsistent with the ordinances of the city and rules established by the governing body.

(Code 1973, 18-108)