City of Fredericktown, MO
Madison County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[R.O. 2013 § 705.010; Ord. No. 82-4 §§ 1, 7, 6-14-1982; Ord. No. 91-22 § 1 — 2, 8-12-1991; Ord. No. 99-11 § 1, 3-8-1999; Ord. No. 99-33 § 1, 9-13-1999; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006]
A. 
Purpose. It shall be the policy of the City of Fredericktown to promulgate these procedures applicable to all situations involving disputed accounts, delinquent accounts and involuntary termination of utility services which provide for fair and uniform treatment of its customers and provide more responsive service to the residents of the City of Fredericktown, Missouri.
B. 
Applicability. This policy and these procedures shall apply to all residential customers of the City in cases involving:
1. 
All situations involving disputed amounts due to the City by all customers.
2. 
All situations involving the involuntary termination of all customers' utility service.
3. 
All situations where a utility customer is unable to pay his/her current charges for utility services and desires to make repayment arrangements.
4. 
The application of this policy shall not vary from customer to customer.
C. 
Availability Of Copies Of These Ordinances. The City shall prepare, in written form, copies of this Chapter to be given to all customers upon request and shall make each new customer of the City, upon the commencement of service, aware of the availability of the copy. Copies shall be available at all offices of the City and shall be prominently displayed.
D. 
Non-Discrimination. The City shall neither discriminate against nor penalize a customer for exercising any right granted by these procedures.
E. 
Promulgation Of Rules And Forms. The City and/or the Light and Water/Sewer Departments may adopt such reasonable rules and forms as are necessary and not inconsistent with this Section to further these policies and procedures.
F. 
Limitations. Nothing in these procedures shall affect:
1. 
The right of the City's and/or departments' right to collect all amounts due and owing by any customer through judicial or other lawful means.
2. 
In those cases where the new service is predicated by the departments solely on the payment of delinquent former accounts, the customer may employ the time payment plan procedures as provided in Section 705.050(C)(1).
G. 
Conflict Of Regulations Or Ordinances. In the event that any policy or procedure herein provided directly conflicts with any regulations, rules or policies of the City or any department, the provisions of this Chapter shall prevail.
H. 
Definitions. The following definitions shall apply to this policy:
APPLICANT
Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, the Federal or State Government or any unit, agency, political corporation or subdivision of either the Federal or State Government or other agency which applies or is required to apply for utility services from the City.
AUTHORIZED EMPLOYEE(S)
Any employee(s) of the City of Fredericktown having the authority to:
1. 
Prevent termination of utility service,
2. 
Enter into agreements for repayment of utility bills which are binding upon the City,
3. 
Credit on accounts in cases of disputed bills,
4. 
Order the reconnection of any previously terminated utility service.
BILLING ADDRESS
The address of the customer as indicated on the application for service and at which regular statements are mailed.
BILLING PERIOD
A utility service usage period for the purpose of sending regular billing statements.
CITY
The City of Fredericktown.
COMMERCIAL CUSTOMER
Any utility service (electric, water and/or sewer) for use other than residential service use.
CURRENT CHARGES
Those charges for utility services on any billing statement for any billing period which are not delinquent.
CUSTOMER
A purchaser or user of any residential utility service who is or should be designated in the application.
DELINQUENT AMOUNT OR ACCOUNT
The amount of any charges in any billing period due the City by any customer not paid as provided for hereinafter.
DELINQUENT DATE
The 10th day of the month following the month during which services are rendered unless extended as provided herein.
DEPARTMENT(S)
The City of Fredericktown Light and Water/Sewer Departments, their employees, agents and members of their Board of Aldermen.
DISPUTED ACCOUNT OR AMOUNT
Any amount of a customer billing statement current and delinquent, which is totally or partially disputed by the customer.
NOTICE
Any notice required by these procedures to be given by the departments to any customer shall be in writing. Notice which is placed in the United States mail, postage prepaid, and which is addressed to the billing address is presumed to be proper notice for purposes of this Chapter unless different notice is specifically required by the ordinance.
RESIDENTIAL UTILITY SERVICE OR USE
The provision of utility services (electric, water and/or sewer services) for any family and household purposes of any customer, other than for any business use. Multifamily residential units shall be considered residential service users if each unit is separately metered.
TERMINATION
The intentional cessation of utility service by the departments not requested by a customer.
TIME PAYMENT PLAN
An agreement between the departments and any customer for the payment of any current, delinquent and/or disputed amounts.
UTILITY CHARGES
The rates and other charges, including service and connection charges, for utility service.
UTILITY SERVICE
The usage of electric, water or sewer services provided to the customer by the department.
VOLUNTARY TERMINATION
The cessation of utility service requested by the customer.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.020; Ord. No. 82-4 § 2, 6-14-1982; Ord. No. 97-57 § 1, 11-24-1997; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006; Ord. No. 09-62 § 1, 10-26-2009]
A. 
For the purposes of this Title VII, Utilities, the following billing procedures shall apply:
1. 
General Billing Provisions. Meters of the City Light and Water/Sewer Departments shall be read each month between the fifth day of the month and the 23rd day of the month in a sequence that will cause as near as possible billings to be rendered for periods of thirty (30) days of service delivered.
2. 
Preparation And Mailing Of Bills.
a. 
Customer bills shall be prepared and placed in the mail at or before 5:00 P.M. on the last working day of each month. The bill for services rendered during the previous billing period shall be considered due and payable on the 10th day of the succeeding month.
b. 
The City shall apply a ten percent (10%) penalty on electric, water, wastewater and solid waste bills paid after the delinquent date. If bills are placed in the mail later than the last day of the month, then the date on which the penalty is applied shall be postponed accordingly.
c. 
A night deposit box is available to the public on the front of the City Light and Water Department building at 124 West Main Street. This night deposit box shall be opened at 8:00 A.M. each working day and any payments in full found therein the day the penalty would start being applied will be considered timely paid.
d. 
If payment is made to the City by way of United States Postal Service and confusion arises as to the date on which payment is made, the postmark on the customer's bill will be the determining factor.
3. 
No Charges For Exercising Rights Under This Policy. The department shall not assess any charge over and above its normal charge for delinquent accounts against any customer or exercising any right granted by this policy.
4. 
Contents Of Billing Statement. Every billing statement for residential utility service shall clearly state:
a. 
The beginning and ending meter readings of the billing period and the dates hereof.
b. 
The date when the amount owed is due and the date after which it will be considered delinquent.
c. 
Any previous balance owed.
d. 
The amount due for electric, water and sewer services separately itemized.
e. 
The amount of all other charges separately itemized, except that arrearages will not be separately itemized.
f. 
The total amount due.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.025; Ord. No. 98-39 § 1, 8-10-1998; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006; Ord. No. 14-16 § 1, 5-27-2014]
A. 
General Requirements. Budget billing shall be an optional billing method by the City for the billing of electric services to eligible customers. The purpose of budget billing is to allow eligible customers to pay their electric utility bills in equal monthly payments with an annual reconciliation of the account.
B. 
Eligibility. In order to be eligible for budget billing, a customer shall meet all of the following requirements:
1. 
Customer must be a residential electric customer;
2. 
Customer must have had electric service connected at the location for which budget billing is requested for a continuous period of twelve (12) months immediately preceding the month of application for budget billing; and
3. 
Customer must have maintained a record of payment with the City for City light and water billings showing no delinquent payments for the preceding twelve (12) months immediately preceding the month of application for budget billing.
C. 
Application For Budget Billing. Eligible customers who desire to apply for the budget billing plan as set forth herein to begin budget billing on February 1 must submit a completed and signed budget billing application before January 1. Eligible customers who desire to apply for the budget billing plan as set forth herein to begin budget billing on July 1 must submit a completed and signed budget billing application before June 1. If, for any reason, a customer ceases to meet the eligibility requirements as set forth in Subsection (B) hereof between the time the budget billing application is made and the time the budget billing is to commence, then that customer shall lose the right to have budget billing.
D. 
Budget Billing Commencement. Budget billing for all customers who apply after June 1 and before January 1 will begin with the February utility bill first following the customer's application for budget billing. Budget billing for all customers who apply after January 1 and before June 1 will begin with the July utility bill first following the customer's application for budget billing. The City Light and Water Department shall accept completed and signed budget billing applications at any time during the year. However, budget billing will only begin with the customer's February or July utility bill following the application for budget billing as the case may be as set out herein.
E. 
Termination Of Budget Billing. Budget billing shall terminate at either the request of the customer or at such time as the customer fails to meet the eligibility requirements as set forth in Subsection (B) hereof. In cases of voluntary termination of budget billing, the customer shall notify the City Light and Water Department by January 1 if on a February budget billing adjustment cycle or by June 1 if on a July budget billing adjustment cycle or within two (2) weeks after receiving the customer's notice of the amount of the budget billing payment for the following year, whichever is later. After voluntary termination of budget billing, regular billing will begin with the customer's February or July utility bill (as the case may be). Any overpayment or underpayment as the result of the budget billing will be adjusted on the customer's first regular billing.
F. 
Initial Budget Billing Amount. A customer's initial budget billing payment for electric utility service will be based on the customer's average consumption for the previous twelve (12) months plus a ten percent (10%) reserve amount. This will be the customer's monthly electric utility payment for the first twelve (12) months of budget billing.
G. 
Budget Billing Amount Adjustments. At the end of each twelve-month budget billing period, a new budget billing payment will be calculated for each participating customer. The new amount will consist of the old amount adjusted by the customer's total overpayment or underpayment spread over a twelve-month period. Each participating customer will be notified of the new budget payment for the next twelve (12) month budget billing period. The City Light and Water Department may adjust a particular customer's budget billing amount at other times in the event that the current amount is resulting in an excessive overpayment or underpayment by the customer. The City Light and Water Department will notify the customer of such changes.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.030; Ord. No. 82-4 § 3, 6-14-1982; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006]
A. 
General Dispute Provisions. The department shall establish procedures which will ensure the prompt, efficient and thorough receipt, investigation and resolution, when possible, of all disputes involving all customer utility charges.
1. 
The utility shall establish personnel procedures which, as a minimum, ensures:
a. 
Qualified personnel shall be available and prepared at all times during normal business hours to receive and respond to customer disputes.
b. 
An authorized employee is available at all times during normal business hours who is authorized to enter into written settlement agreements on behalf of the department and who has the authority to rescind termination or to order reconnection of previously terminated service.
2. 
These dispute procedures are initiated in writing, in person at the departments' offices, during normal business hours.
3. 
Any party to a dispute under these procedures shall at all times have the right to be represented by counsel or other authorized representatives during any stage of the dispute procedures.
4. 
The departments shall keep accurate, written records of all disputes under these procedures for two (2) years following the initiation of any dispute.
5. 
The departments and the customer can enter into a settlement of any disputed amount at any time during the dispute procedures stated herein.
B. 
Initial Dispute Procedures.
1. 
If it appears that any customer is denying any part of the liability pursuant to statement(s) which show amounts owed by said customer, the department, through the authorized employee, shall:
a. 
Provide the customer with a copy of this procedure, regardless of whether said customer has previously been so provided.
b. 
Record the date, name and address of the customer and a brief statement setting forth the nature of the complaint.
c. 
Give the customer an opportunity to present his/her version of any facts surrounding the disputed amount.
2. 
The customer shall present his/her dispute to the authorized employee. Upon listening to the customer, the authorized employee shall fully and promptly investigate the dispute.
3. 
Within five (5) days of the initiation of the dispute, the authorized employee shall ether allow or deny the disputed amount.
4. 
The decision of the authorized agent shall be in writing, if requested, and shall also include:
a. 
A brief statement of the reasons supporting the decision.
b. 
Notice to the customer of his/her rights to further appeal with instructions on how to file such appeal.
c. 
Notice to the customer of the provisions of the time payment plan under Section 705.050(C)(1).
C. 
Appeal Of The Decision Of The Authorized Employee. Any customer dissatisfied with the decision of the authorized employee shall have the right to a hearing de novo before the Board of Aldermen.
1. 
The customer desiring appeal shall file with the authorized employee a written notice of appeal within ten (10) days of receipt of the authorized employee's initial decision. The authorized employee shall keep accurate written records of the date and time such appeal is received.
2. 
The hearing shall be held at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Aldermen providing said meeting is not sooner than seventy-two (72) hours from the date and time of the receipt of the notice of appeal.
3. 
Each party to the dispute shall have the right to present evidence and to call witnesses in support of his/her version of the facts surrounding the disputed amounts.
4. 
The Board of Aldermen shall hear all of the evidence and render its decision by majority vote either:
a. 
At the time of the hearing, or
b. 
At or before the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Aldermen.
5. 
The decision of the Board of Aldermen shall be reduced to a written decision as soon as reasonably possible. Said decision shall:
a. 
Give reasons in support of the decision.
b. 
Be mailed to the customer within five (5) days of the date of the decision by the Board of Aldermen.
6. 
A decision by the Board of Aldermen shall be considered a final administrative action by the City.
7. 
In the event of a decision in favor of the customer, that amount shall be credited to the customer's account as soon as is reasonably possible.
8. 
In the event of a decision against the customer, the disputed amount shall then be considered due and owing as if it were included as part of a regular monthly statement.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.040; Ord. No. 82-4 §§ 4, 7, 6-14-1982; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006]
A. 
New Customers. For newly connected service locations being billed for the first time to a customer, the account shall be considered to be delinquent on the 10th day of the month following, providing the grace period before penalty is applied has not been extended under other provisions in this policy. Immediately following the application of the penalty on such new account, a termination notice, as provided herein, will be mailed.
B. 
Established Customers. After two (2) or more months of service have been delivered by the City, all customers not covered in Subsection (A) shall be considered to be delinquent and subject to disconnection ten (10) days after the delinquent date.
C. 
Time Payment Plan.
1. 
A time payment plan will be available for persons whose accounts have become delinquent due to, but not limited to, illness or other personal disaster. Upon proper evidence of such illness, personal disaster or other valid reason, arrangements can be made with the customer to arrange a time payment schedule to bring the account to a current status. Time payment shall equal seventeen percent (17%) of the arrears bills plus current bills until the account is paid in full.
2. 
No refusal of an installment payment offer shall be based upon race, income, personality, religious or ethnic background, sex or marital status.
3. 
An installment payment plan shall not be offered where the customer has failed to abide by a previous installment plan and cannot show present ability to perform or where the department(s) have reason to believe the customer is preparing to leave the City in the immediate future, or where the department(s) have reason to question the customer's identity or good faith in requesting an installment payment. However, any person who is not allowed to enter into an installment plan under this Chapter shall be entitled to utilize the dispute procedures herein.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.050; Ord. No. 82-4 § 5, 6-14-1982; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006; Ord. No. 11-45 § 1, 8-22-2011]
A. 
The department(s) may terminate the utility service to any customer for non-payment of any account subject to the following procedures:
1. 
General Termination Provisions. Failure of a customer to pay an amount due, even if the subject of a pending dispute pursuant to this Chapter, shall constitute sufficient cause for the termination of utility service(s), except as provided herein.
2. 
Termination Procedures. The following procedures shall be strictly adhered to prior to termination of utility services to any customer:
a. 
Subject to the requirements of Section 705.040, the department(s) may terminate utility service to a customer between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. on the date specified on the notice of termination or a reasonable time thereafter. Service shall not be discontinued on a day when utility personnel are not available to reconnect the customer's service or after 3:00 P.M. on the day immediately preceding such a day. Nor shall service be discontinued on any day preceding a day or days of extreme weather condition (as defined hereinafter) during the period of unavailability.
b. 
Utility service shall not be terminated for non-payment of any account within five (5) days after said account becomes delinquent.
c. 
The department(s) shall not terminate any utility services to any customer unless:
(1) 
Written notice is mailed to the customer by first-class mail at least ten (10) days prior to the date of termination or delivered by personal service at least six (6) days prior.
(2) 
The utility shall maintain accurate written records of the date all termination notices are mailed or personally served.
(3) 
The delinquent account is not subject to a dispute as defined by Section 705.040, providing the customer is not in breach of any installment agreement.
(4) 
If, between November 1 and March 31, there are attempts to contact the customer within ninety-six (96) hours preceding discontinuance of service either by a door hanger or at least two (2) telephone call attempts to the customer.
d. 
Written notice of termination shall contain:
(1) 
The name and address of the customer.
(2) 
A clear and concise statement of the reason(s) for the proposed termination.
(3) 
The exact amount of any delinquent account or charge.
(4) 
From November 1 through March 31, if a residential customer, notice of the availability of financial assistance from the Division of Family Services and social service or charitable organizations that have notified the City that they provide that assistance and the identity of those organizations.
(5) 
Other information not inconsistent herewith.
3. 
Emergency Postponement Of Termination.
a. 
Medical Emergency. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Section, the department(s) shall postpone the termination of utility service for twenty-one (21) days if said termination will aggravate an existing serious medical emergency, chronic or acute, of the customer or other member of the household where service is rendered. Determination of the medical emergency shall be made following the dispute procedures of Section 705.040.
b. 
Extreme Weather Conditions. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Section, the department(s) shall postpone the termination of any residential utility service for a time not in excess of ten (10) days where it appears that the health and safety of the customer or any resident of the household is endangered due to extreme hot or cold weather conditions and the utility service is necessary to the health and safety of said person. For the purposes of this Section, weather conditions shall be presumed to endanger the health and safety of the residents in the following situations:
(1) 
On any day between November 1 through March 31 when the National Weather Service local forecast between 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M. for the following twenty-four (24) hours predicts that the temperature will drop below thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit (32° F.).
(2) 
On any day between June 1 and September 30 when the National Weather Service local forecast between 6:00 A.M. and 9:00 P.M. for the following twenty-four (24) hours predicts that the temperature shall rise above ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit (95° F.) or that the heat index shall rise above one hundred five degrees Fahrenheit (105° F.).
[1]
State Law Reference: For similar provisions, see §§ 386.250, 393.140 and 660.123, RSMo., and 4 CSR 240-13.055.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.060; Ord. No. 82-4 § 6, 6-14-1982; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006]
A. 
Applicability Of These Special Procedures. These special procedures shall apply in all termination situations where someone other than the occupant of any dwelling used as a rental dwelling is responsible for the payment of utility bills.
B. 
Protection Of Tenants By Policies. In all situations where the department(s) attempt termination of utility service to any dwelling where the utility has actual prior knowledge that more than one (1) family resides in said dwelling and where someone other than one (1) of the occupants is responsible for payment of utility accounts, all said tenants shall be entitled to the protection of these policies.
C. 
Consequential Damages. No termination of utility services will occur where:
1. 
Products or merchandise would be destroyed and the customer had no opportunity to arrange for their protection and the department is aware of this fact.
2. 
Other extraordinary, serious and adverse consequences would affect the customer and the customer had no opportunity to make arrangements to protect from such consequences and the department is aware of this fact.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.070; Ord. No. 93-03 §§ 1 — 3, 1-25-1993; Ord. No. 06-19 § 2, 4-24-2006]
A. 
When Collected. The Missouri State "primacy fee" will be collected annually in the month of February. This fee will be stated separately on the customer's water bill as a "State fee."
B. 
Amount Of State Fee. The charge assessed against each customer of the City utility as established by the State is determined on the basis of meter size as stated below. The City shall use its records to determine the initial fee which, unless challenged within thirty (30) days after the date the fee becomes delinquent, shall be conclusively presumed to be accurate:
1. 
For customers with a meter of one (1) inch or smaller: one dollar and eighty-four cents ($1.84)/year.
2. 
Meter size more than one (1) but not more than two (2) inches: five dollars ($5.00)/year.
3. 
Meter size more than two (2) and less than four (4) inches: twenty-five dollars ($25.00)/year.
4. 
Meter size more than four (4) inches: fifty dollars ($50.00)/year.
C. 
Authority Of City Clerk. The City Clerk is directed to obtain the necessary services and supplies to comply with this decision, including new State billing forms and computer programming services as required.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.080; Ord. No. 97-58 §§ 1 — 5, 11-24-1997]
A. 
The City Clerk, City Collector or such other officer designated by ordinance shall be responsible for calculating the amount of and rendering bills for the charges established in this Code for taxes, licenses, fees and charges for the provision of services and utilities by the City to citizens.
B. 
Unless otherwise ordered in another Section of the Code of Ordinances, all bills issued by the City Clerk, City Collector, or other authorized personnel under this Code shall be due and payable within fifteen (15) days of mailing thereof. Those accounts not paid in accordance therewith shall be deemed delinquent. All accounts which have been delinquent for thirty (30) days or longer shall be charged a ten percent (10%) penalty. The date of the penalty and the amount thereof shall be shown upon the face of the bill.
C. 
The City Clerk, City Collector or other designated personnel shall keep a list of all delinquent accounts under this Code, and said list shall include a legal description of the real property provided with the service or utility or assessed with a tax and the amount of the charge plus penalty remaining unpaid. Delinquent accounts so listed shall constitute a lien upon the real property so served or taxed.
D. 
The failure of any person, firm or corporation to pay any account owed to the City within thirty-one (31) days from the date billed shall constitute an offense under this Code for which said person, firm or corporation may be prosecuted in Municipal Court upon information filed by the City Attorney.
E. 
For violation of this Section, the City shall be entitled to, in addition to the unpaid balance plus the penalty listed above, a fine of not more than two hundred dollars ($200.00), its attorney fees and court costs.
[R.O. 2013 § 705.090; Ord. No. 10-68 § 1, 11-22-2010]
The City may accept payment by credit card of any bill or amount due and owing for payment of utility deposits or utility charges for any services supplied by the City. The City shall charge an additional fee over and above the amount of the bill to cover charges made to the City by the credit card company. The additional fee to cover credit card charges shall be established from time to time by the City, shall be kept on file and available to the public, and shall be adjusted from time to time as the credit card fees change.