Source: January 16, 2020 0 Comments Read More →

CITY OF SMITHERS, WEST VIRGINIA AN

CITY OF SMITHERS, WEST VIRGINIA

AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING AND FIXING RATES, FEES, AND CHARGES FOR SERVICE TO CUSTOMERS OF THE SMITHERS SANITARY BOARD

WHEREAS, the Sanitary Board of the City of Smithers (“Sanitary Board”) has not obtained a rate increase since 2013;

WHEREAS, since 2013, the West Virginia Legislature has adopted legislation which requires municipal utilities to maintain a working capital reserve account equal to one-eighth of a utility’s annual operating expenses, and to have rates which meet the municipal utility’s depreciation expense;

WHEREAS, the Sanitary Board’s present rates do not allow it to meet these new obligations;

WHEREAS, the Kanawha Falls Public Service District (“District”) treats all the wastewater collected by the Sanitary Board;

WHEREAS, the District’s bill to the Sanitary Board is presently based upon the collective water meter readings of the Sanitary Board’s customers;

WHEREAS, the District has repeatedly violated its National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit, and as a consequence is under a consent order with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) to construct improvements to its wastewater transmission and treatment system;

WHEREAS, the District’s permit violations are caused in substantial part by stormwater, known as inflow and infiltration (“I&I”), entering the District’s system;

WHEREAS, approximately half of the Sanitary Board’s collection system is a combined sewer overflow (“CSO”) system, in which sanitary sewage and stormwater are comingled in the collection system;

WHEREAS, following heavy rain events, the Sanitary Board’s sanitary sewage collection system sometimes discharges untreated wastewater to Smithers Creek;

WHEREAS, following heavy rain events, the District’s pump stations sometimes discharge untreated wastewater to the Kanawha River;

WHEREAS, it is contrary to the public health and quality of life to permit untreated wastewater to be discharged into local streams;

WHEREAS, it is wasteful to pay to pump stormwater for treatment;

WHEREAS, the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (“PSC”) has granted the District a certificate of convenience and necessity for a wastewater system improvement project (“District Project”), and a 55{4ceb532c6f579389df471c6c1e832caf2346b74dc60fcbf6aabd4d29df3baf9c} rate increase for the District’s customers, including the Sanitary Board;

WHEREAS, the District Project includes the installation of flow meters on the District’s transmission system, with an expectation that once installed the District will bill its resale customers based upon metered wastewater flow, which includes I&I;

WHEREAS, the Sanitary Board is pursuing funding for a CSO separation project (“Sanitary Board Project”) to remove stormwater from the Sanitary Board’s sanitary collection sewers;

WHEREAS, implementation of the Sanitary Board Project will reduce the transmission and treatment expense of the Sanitary Board;

WHEREAS, adoption of a rate increase ordinance with revenue sufficient to pay debt service on the expected funding for the Sanitary Board Project can be expected to expedite approval of a funding package for the Sanitary Board Project and ultimately construction of that project;

WHEREAS, the District’s rate increase will become effective April 1, 2020;

WHEREAS, the Sanitary Board needs increased revenue to meet the increased charges from the District;

WHEREAS, the Sanitary Board’s accountant has calculated that a 22.5{4ceb532c6f579389df471c6c1e832caf2346b74dc60fcbf6aabd4d29df3baf9c} Step 1 rate increase will enable the Sanitary Board to meet the increased charges from the District, meet depreciation expenses, and make contributions towards the working capital reserve account;

WHEREAS, the Sanitary Board’s accountant has calculated that a 4.4{4ceb532c6f579389df471c6c1e832caf2346b74dc60fcbf6aabd4d29df3baf9c} Step 2 rate increase to go into effect upon substantial completion of the Sanitary Board Project will be sufficient to meet increased debt service obligations arising from the Sanitary Board Project;

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Smithers (“City Council”) regrets the impact of increasing charges for sewer services upon the Sanitary Board’s customers;

WHEREAS, the City Council recognizes that the increases are needed and warranted, and that failing to approve a rate increase when needed will ultimately result in higher expenses for the City and the Sanitary Board, and even higher rates for the customers of the Sanitary Board;

WHEREAS, the City Council deems it advisable and necessary that the present sewer rates and charges for service provided to customers of the Sanitary Board be increased in order that the Sanitary Board may meet increased expenses;

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that the following rates are just and equitable for the service provided to the Sanitary Board’s sewer customers and that such rates will be sufficient to meet expenses.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SMITHERS as follows:

The following schedule of rates, fees and charges are hereby fixed and determined as the rates, fees and charges to be charged to customers of the sewerage system of the Sanitary Board throughout the entire territory served:

SECTION 1. SCHEDULE OF STEP 1 RATES

APPLICABILITY

Applicable to all bills rendered after March 16, 2020 until substantial completion of the Sanitary Board’s I&I Separation Project to the customers served by the Sanitary Board of the City of Smithers.

RATES (Based on water consumption or metered waste placed in the sewer system)

First 3,000 gallons used per month $15.00 per 1,000 gallons
All Over 3,000 gallons used per month $15.00 per 1,000 gallons

MINIMUM CHARGE

No bill will be rendered for less than $45.00 per month, based on 3,000 gallons.

SECURITY DEPOSIT

$102.00 for all residential customers; 1/6th of estimated annual charges for commercial customers. The Security Deposit shall be refunded to customers in owner-occupied structures after 12 consecutive months of timely payment. The Sanitary Board shall retain the Security Deposit for customers in tenant-occupied structures until the account closes.

SECTION 2. SCHEDULE OF STEP 2 RATES

APPLICABILITY

Applicable to all bills rendered after substantial completion of the Sanitary Board’s I&I Separation Project to the customers served by the Sanitary Board of the City of Smithers.

RATES (Based on water consumption or metered waste placed in the sewer system)

First 3,000 gallons used per month $15.65 per 1,000 gallons
All Over 3,000 gallons used per month $15.65 per 1,000 gallons

MINIMUM CHARGE

No bill will be rendered for less than $46.95 per month, based on 3,000 gallons.

SECURITY DEPOSIT

$106.42 for all residential customers; 1/6th of estimated annual charges for commercial customers. The Security Deposit shall be refunded to customers in owner-occupied structures after 12 consecutive months of timely payment. The Sanitary Board shall retain the Security Deposit for customers in tenant-occupied structures until the account closes.

SECTION 3. INCIDENTAL CHARGES

APPLICABILITY The following incidental charges apply to the customers of the Sanitary Board of the City of Smithers at all times.

UNMETERED WATER USERS

In the event building or premises discharging sewage, water or other liquid waste into the municipal sanitary sewage system uses water from any source supplied on other than a metered basis, the owner or occupant may be required to cause a water meter or other measuring device to be installed, but pending such installation the sewer service rates and charges to such building or premises shall be at least equivalent to the average sewer bill based on the above rates and charges of similar building or premises with similar occupancy which are served by water utility providing such meter information to the City.

DELAYED PAYMENT PENALTY

The above tariff is net. On all current usage billings not paid within twenty (20) days, ten percent (10{4ceb532c6f579389df471c6c1e832caf2346b74dc60fcbf6aabd4d29df3baf9c}) will be added to the net current amount unpaid. This delayed payment penalty is not interest and is to be collected only once for each bill where it is appropriate.

UNUSUAL DISCHARGES

All industrial customers are required to obtain the approval of the Kanawha Falls Public Service District prior to connecting to the City’s sewage system.

In the event the sewage, water or other liquid wastes being discharged into the sanitary sewers from any building or premises is determined by the City to contain unduly high concentrations of any substances which add to the operation costs of the sewage system, then the City may establish special rates or charges as to such class of buildings or premises, or the City may require the owner or other interested party to specially treat such sewage, water or other liquid wastes before it is discharged into the municipal sanitary sewage system.

MUNICIPAL EXCISE TAX SURCHARGE

The public utility tax adopted by the City of Smithers in the amount of two percent of revenues from sewer service sales by the sewer utility within corporate limits shall be billed as a “surcharge” to the customers receiving service within said corporate limits.

The sewer utility is required to collect the utility tax pursuant to West Virginia Code 8-13-5a.

DISCONNECT FOR NON-PAYMENT

Water service shall be discontinued for non-payment of sewer bill as provided by Rule 4.8.b. of the Rules and Regulations for the Government of Sewer Utilities.

WATER DISCONNECT – RECONNECT FEES

Whenever water service has been disconnected for non-payment of sewer bills, a disconnection fee of $35.00 shall be charged.

Whenever water service which has been previously disconnected or otherwise withheld for non-payment of sewer bills is reconnected, a fee of $35.00 shall be charged.

ADMINISTRATIVE FEE

If a delinquent sewer bill is collected by the City in the field, an administrative fee of $35.00 shall be charged.

TAP FEE

$500.00 for all connections.

BAD CHECK CHARGE

For each customer whose check for payment is returned due to insufficient funds, a returned check charge will be assessed in the amount of the bad check charge assessed against the Sanitary Board by its bank but, in any event, the bad check charge shall not exceed $25.00.

LEAK ADJUSTMENT INCREMENT

$7.44 per 1,000 gallons

To be used when the bill reflects unusual consumption which can be attributed to eligible leakage on the customer’s side of the water meter. This rate is used to calculate consumption above the customer’s historical average usage.

SURFACE OR GROUND WATER SURCHARGE

An additional amount shall be charged where surface or ground water is introduced into the sanitary system where evidence of a violation exists.

Surcharge formula to be applied in cases where surface drainage is connected to the utility’s sewer system.

Whenever the utility has discovered that a customer’s roof drain, downspout, storm sewer or similar facilities conducting surface water have been connected to the utility’s sewer system, and such customer has failed to take appropriate action, within thirty (30) days of receipt of a demand by the utility in accordance with the Rules of the Public Service Commission, to eliminate such connection, a surcharge will be imposed upon the customer calculated on the basis of the following formula:

S = A x R x .0006233 x C
S = The surcharge in dollars
A = The area under roof and/or the area of any other water collection surface connected to the sanitary sewer, in square feet.

R = The measured monthly rainfall, in inches.

.0006233 = A conversion factor to change inches of rain x square feet of surface to thousands of gallons of water.

C = The utility’s approved rate per thousand gallons of metered water usage.

The utility shall not impose the surcharge unless and until the customer has been notified by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by hand delivery, that it has been established by smoke testing, dye testing, or on-site inspection that rain or surface water is being introduced into the sanitary sewer system at the customer’s location, and that the customer has not acted within thirty (30) days from receipt of such notice to divert the water from the sanitary sewer system.

Said surcharge shall be calculated and imposed for each month that said condition continues to exist. Failure to pay the surcharge and/or correct the situation shall give rise to the possible termination of water service in accordance with the Rules of the Public Service Commission of West Virginia.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

The rates, fees and charges provided herein shall be effective for all bills rendered 45 days after the enactment hereof.

SECTION 5. STATUTORY NOTICE AND PUBLIC HEARING

Upon introduction hereof, the Sanitary Board shall publish a copy of this Ordinance once a week for 2 successive weeks within a period of 14 consecutive days, with at least 6 full days intervening between each publication, in the Fayette Tribune, and the Montgomery Herald, being the newspapers qualified to accept legal advertisements published and of general circulation in Fayette County, West Virginia, and being of general circulation in the City of Smithers, and said notice shall state that this Ordinance has been introduced, and that any person interested may appear before Council on the 27th day of January, 2020, at 6:00 p.m., which date is not less than 10 days subsequent to the date of the first publication of the Ordinance and notice, and present protests. At such hearing all objections and suggestions shall be heard and the Council shall take such action as it shall deem proper on the premises.

THE FOREGOING RATE ORDINANCE HAS BEEN INTRODUCED AT A MEETING OF COUNCIL HELD JANUARY 13, 2020 AND APPROVED BY MAJORITY VOTE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION. THE SECOND READING AND CONSIDERATION FOR FINAL ADOPTION WILL BE JANUARY 27, 2020 AT 6:00 P.M. AT CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 518 Michigan Ave., Smithers, WV.
CITY CLERK