[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Ithaca 2-9-2004 by L.L. No. 3-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Town of Ithaca Sewer Rent Law.”
The Town of Ithaca (the “Town”) has established, by duly adopted procedures, a Town-wide sewer improvement area and a Town-wide Town of Ithaca - Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Area as an addition to the Town-wide sewer improvement area.
The Town, by the ordinances and local laws referred to below in this chapter, has established sewer rents for the purposes permitted by, and in accordance with, General Municipal Law Article 14-F, Town Law §§ 130, 133, 198, and 209-q.
The Town wishes to clarify and consolidate the various ordinances and local laws into one restated sewer rent law.
The Town hereby finds and determines that the most equitable manner of collecting funds from the various properties within the Town served by its sewer system (the “Improvement Area”) to defray the costs of operating, maintaining, and financing the Town's sewer system and the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Plant is to be based, to the extent reasonably possible, upon the consumption of water on the premises connected with and served by the said Improvement Area. All other costs of expenditures for operating and maintaining the facilities of said Improvement Area shall continue to be computed and assessed upon benefited real property pursuant the process conducted by the Town annually for the purpose of making such assessments as the same may be applied and modified from time to time hereafter.
For the purposes of this chapter, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, the definitions set forth in § 451 of the General Municipal Law shall be controlling.
[Amended 12-7-2009 by L.L. No. 24-2009]
Pursuant to Subdivision 12-a of § 209-q of the Town Law, Paragraph (l) of Subdivision 1 of § 198 of the Town Law, and Article 14-F of the General Municipal Law, the Town hereby establishes and imposes sewer rents for the use of the sewer system or for any part or parts thereof and establishes and imposes such sewer rents as a minimum charge. Pursuant to the aforementioned laws, the Town Board shall set from time to time by resolution such sewer rents and charges. Such resolutions shall be adopted after a public hearing upon five days’ public notice.
Editor's Note: This local law also provided for an effective date of 1-1-2010.
The Town Engineer may require each owner and/or occupant of real property within the Town connected to the Town-wide sewer facilities to furnish such information as may be necessary and reasonable in order to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Any duly authorized officer, employee, contractor, or agent of the Town or other person duly authorized by the Town, including employees or other persons associated with the Southern Cayuga Lake Intermunicipal Water Commission, shall be permitted to enter on any property at reasonable hours for the purpose of reading meters, inspecting, disconnecting, repairing or for any other purposes reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions or purposes of this chapter.
All rents and charges due hereunder shall be payable quarterly and shall be paid to the Town Clerk of the Town at the Town Offices at 215 North Tioga Street, Ithaca, New York, except for such rents and charges which are due and payable to any other entity to whom billing authority for sewer rents has been given or delegated by the Town.
The Town Clerk or other person authorized by the Town Board shall keep a record of all properties within the Town which are connected to the Town-wide water system and the Town-wide sewer system, and sewer bills shall be mailed to the owner or any other person to whom a water bill is addressed, billed, or mailed by the Town or other entity performing water billing services for the Town, and at the address appearing on said water bill. If property is connected to the Town-wide sewer system but not to a Town-operated water system, unless the property owner has directed the Town in writing to use a different address, the sewer rent bill shall be sent to the address to which real estate tax bills for the property are sent. The failure of any owner or other user to receive a bill shall not excuse nonpayment thereof, nor shall it operate as a waiver of the penalty herein prescribed. Notwithstanding any other provision in this chapter, all sewer rents, surcharges or other fees or charges relating to sewer service, shall be a charge against the owner of the premises connected with the Town-wide sewer system, and such owner shall be liable for the payment of all such rents and charges, including penalties and interest.
In the event any sewer rent is not paid within 30 days of the date of the bill, there shall be added a penalty of 10% for late payment.
If sewer rents or other charges payable hereunder are not paid within 60 days from the date on which they are due, the Town Supervisor or other person designated by the Town Supervisor may cause a notice to be delivered or mailed to the owner or to any other person designated by the owner addressed to the address to which bills are to be sent, and to the occupant of the premises, addressed at the premises, stating the amount due and demanding payment thereof within a period of at least 10 days of the date of the notice and stating that if such payment is not made, the sewer service shall be discontinued, without further notice, and, at the expiration of such period the Town Supervisor, or any employee or officer of the Town designated by the Town Supervisor, or the Town Board, or any person referred to in § 210-5 above, may enter on said premises and cause the sewer service to be disconnected.
Sewer rents and any other charges payable hereunder shall constitute a lien on the real property served by the sewer system. The priority of such lien, and the enforcement thereof shall be in accordance with Article 14-F of the General Municipal Law which presently provides that the lien shall be prior and superior to every other lien or claim except the lien of an existing tax, assessment or other lawful charge enforced by or for the state or a political subdivision or district thereof.
The Town may bring an action a) as upon contract, for sewer rents, surcharges thereto, and all other charges incurred by the owner of property in connection with sewer service, which are in arrears, together with interest and penalties thereon, or b) to foreclose liens for such sewer rents and surcharges. Also, in the alternative, the Town Board may cause any unpaid sewer rents, surcharges, or other charges to be levied and collected in the same manner and in the same time as the Town and county tax in accordance with the provisions of Article 14-F (Subdivision 4 of § 452) of the General Municipal Law, or any amendment thereof.
Any costs and expenses or other charges other than those hereinbefore described, incurred by the Town because of any repair or other work to the sewer system or otherwise for which the owner of any property served by or connected with the sewer system is obligated under this chapter or any other local law, ordinance, statute or provision of law, shall be collected in the manner provided for the collection of sewer rents in this chapter, and shall be a lien upon the property and enforceable in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or any other applicable provision of law.
If any owner of real property on which a sewer rent has been imposed deems himself or herself aggrieved because such real property is not served by the sewer system or an error has been made in computing such sewer rent, he or she may file an application for a refund of all or part of such sewer rent. Such application shall be verified by the owner and shall set forth the amount of refund sought and the grounds therefor. Such application shall be presented to the Town Board of the Town, which may refund all or part of such sewer rent. Any such application shall be filed within 60 days of the time the applicant learns of the claimed error, and in any event within four months of the date of the bill claimed to be in error. The Town Board may, for good cause shown, extend the time for the filing of such application if circumstances show the charges are patently unfair and that the applicant had a reasonable basis for not timely filing the application for correction of the error.
Any revenues derived by the Town of Ithaca from the sewer rents, including penalties and interest, shall be deposited in a special fund to be known as the “Sewer Rent Fund.” Monies in such fund shall be used for the payment of the necessary management, maintenance, operation, repair and financing of any sewer improvement or service provided by the Town or the Town-wide sewer improvement area, including any payment required to be made by the Town to any contracting municipality for such purposes, including interest and penalties. Except as otherwise stated in this chapter, at any time, any surcharges on said sewer rents shall be used for the costs of sewer operations as above defined and shall be specifically designated for such purpose in the Sewer Rent Fund. Moneys in the fund shall be used to pay the Town's share of the operating and maintenance costs and capital costs, to the extent authorized by law and the Town Board, related to collection, transmission and treatment of sewage and for any other purpose authorized by General Municipal Law § 453 as the same may be amended from time to time.
This chapter shall apply to all properties in the Town outside the Village of Cayuga Heights that are connected to any sewer system operated by the Town, including the Town-wide sewer system.
If any part or provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance be adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction, such judgment shall be confined in its operation to the part or provision or application directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered and shall not affect or impair the validity of the remainder of this chapter or the application thereof to other persons or circumstances.
Town of Ithaca Sewer Rent Ordinances adopted by the Town Board on August 11, 1969, and July 10, 1972, and Local Law Number 6 of the year 1986 entitled “A LOCAL LAW TO ESTABLISH SEWER RENTS IN THE TOWN OF ITHACA SEWER IMPROVEMENT AREA” adopted to be effective January 1, 1987, as amended by Local Law Number 7 of the year 1989, by Local Law Number 12 of the year 1990, by Local Law Number 11 of the year 1993, by Local Law Number 7 of the year 1994, by Local Law Number 12 of the year 1995, by Local Law Number 4 of the year 1997, and by any other ordinances or local laws amending any of the foregoing, are all hereby amended and restated to read as set forth in this chapter effective upon the effective date of this chapter. To the extent the provisions of said earlier ordinances and local laws conflict with the chapter as set forth herein, this chapter shall govern.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the sewer rents in effect prior to the effective date of this amended and restated Town of Ithaca Sewer Rent Law shall continue in effect for the purposes of determining any amounts due for sewer rents during the periods referred to in said prior local laws and ordinances.