City Code: 500:00

Section 500:00.  Fees, Charges and Rates Authorized and Defined.  The fees, charges and rates for the purposes set forth in this Chapter V. of this Code for licenses, permits and municipal services shall be in the amount set forth in this Chapter.  Reference to the amounts set forth herein in other portions of this Code or in other ordinances may be made in such terms as "required fee," "established fee," "required license fee," "license fee," and "license fee in the required amount," without specific reference to this Chapter, in which event the amounts herein set forth shall be applicable.

Section 500:05.  Priority of Application.  If fees, charges and rates are set forth specifically in parts of this Code other than this Chapter V. or in other ordinances which are now in effect, but have not been set forth in this Chapter V., in that event, the fees, charges and rates thereby specifically set forth shall be effective for all purposes.  In the event that such amounts shall appear in other places in this Code or in other ordinances or codes, but shall appear in this Chapter V., the amounts appearing in Chapter V. shall supersede the others.

Section 500:10.  Collection, Late Payment Charge, Special Assessment.  Payment in accordance with billings shall be made not later than the billing date established for the account.  In addition to the charges provided, there shall be a late charge as set by the Council and as may be set from time to time for payments made after the 15th day after the billing date.  When a charge is more than fifteen (15) days past due it shall be considered delinquent.  It shall be the duty of the Clerk-Treasurer to endeavor to promptly collect delinquent accounts.  All delinquent accounts shall be certified to the Clerk-Treasurer who shall prepare an assessment roll each year providing for assessment of the delinquent amounts, plus interest at the rate of 8% per annum from the date they become delinquent, against the respective properties served.  This assessment roll shall be delivered to the Council for adoption on or before October 10th of each year.  Such action may be optional or subsequent to taking legal action to collect delinquent accounts.

Section 500:15.  Late Payment of Fees for Renewals of Licenses.  Fees for renewal of licenses will be doubled if received late.  Fees are deemed to be late if not received by noon of the Thursday preceding the City Council meeting which considers the annual renewals, if the City Clerk has sent notice of the date of Council consideration at least thirty (30) days before the scheduled date for consideration.  A penalty collected under Section 500:15 shall not exceed $100.

Section 500:20.  Assessment of Delinquent Charges for Utility Services.

   Subd. 1.  Purpose.  Owatonna Public Utilities provides electricity, gas service, and water service to customers for premises within its service territory. Owatonna Public Utilities also bills for sewer service on behalf of the City of Owatonna.  Each year there are customers who fail to timely pay the bills for the services provided.  When collection efforts are unsuccessful the amounts not collected must be borne by other customers and results in higher rates than would be in force if all customers paid their utility bills in a timely manner.  To minimize uncollectable accounts for public utility services and to reduce the amount borne by paying customers the City Council adopts this Ordinance providing that the unpaid charges of delinquent service accounts may be assessed against the property served.

   Subd. 2.  Authority.  Section 9.9 of the Amended Charter of the City of Owatonna provides that the Public Utilities Commission may sue or make unpaid charges a lien against the property served in the name of the City for any money due to it for services or commodities.  Minn. Stat. §  444.075, subd. 3e, enables municipalities to certify past due sewer and water bills for collection with property taxes.  In 1989 Minn. Stat. § 366.012 was passed giving towns the authority to certify unpaid service charges for collection with taxes and, subsequently, in 1973 Minn.Stat. § 415.01 (amended in 2003) was passed giving municipalities all the powers afforded to towns which, therefore, allows the City to certify delinquent electric AND GAS charges to the County Auditor to be collected with property taxes.

   Subd. 3.  Certification of Unpaid Charges.  From time to time the Public Utility Department shall certify to the City Clerk Treasurer a list of unpaid accounts showing the names and addresses of all unpaid utility accounts.  The Council shall certify the unpaid accounts against the property receiving electrical, gas, water and sewer service from the Public Utility Department to the Steele County Auditor for collection with taxes under the procedure found in Minn. Stat. § 429.011, et. seq.  The delinquent sum together with interest shall be credited proportionately to the electric gas, water or sewer fund.

   Subd. 4.  Limitation.  Notwithstanding the authority contained in the preceding section, pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 325E.025, subd. 2, the Public Utility Department shall not place a lien on a landlord or owner’s property for a tenant’s outstanding electrical bill unless the owner or a property manager, acting as the owner’s agent, contracted for the utility service.

   Subd. 5.  Application.  The City Council declares that this Ordinance is procedural and may be applied retroactively against all properties upon which there exist unpaid charges for utilities for which a suit or lien may be served under Section 9.9 of the Amended Charter of the City of Owatonna.


(Section 500:20 added 10/16/12 / Subd 5 was added 5/21/13 )


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