City of Avondale Public Information
Release Date: October 28, 2010
Media Contact: Ingrid Melle, PIO, 623-333-1614
Avondale Amends City Code Related to Utility Service Agreements
Avondale residents are reminded to pay their water bill on time. Beginning November 17, 2010, a $60 disconnect fee plus a deposit of up to $250 will be charged on delinquent water accounts dispatched for shut-off. These are just some of the recent changes to the City Code that were adopted to ensure that Avondale is able to effectively manage the collection of delinquencies on its utility accounts.
In May of 2010, the State of Arizona adopted House Bill 2450, which imposed limits on a municipality’s ability to collect delinquent utility bills from the owner of the property. State law now requires a city to enter into a contract with an individual to provide service for utilities. The law states: “A Municipality shall not require payment of unpaid water and wastewater service rates and charges by anyone other than the person who the Municipality has contracted with to provide service.”
Because of this state law, the City of Avondale had to make changes to its City Code, which allowed the collection of delinquent utility accounts from tenants to be collected from the landlord prior to establishing new service at a service location. This provision was enforced in Avondale over the past several years, requiring payment from the owner of the property if there were any delinquent bills. With the passage of HB 2450 (which became effective August 1, 2010), the city was no longer be able to collect delinquent accounts from the owner on their rental properties, under the current City Code.
Avondale held public meetings and met with interested stakeholders such as residents, landlords, and professional realtors to craft an ordinance that would protect the city from mounting delinquent utility accounts, yet provide flexibility for professional realtors, property management companies and rental property owners in Avondale. On Oct. 18, the Avondale City Council voted to amend Chapter 24 of the City Code relating to the responsible party, an increase in security deposits, the fee to connect service and conditions to restore service. The changes take effect Nov. 17, 2010.
Highlights of the changes include:
- Clarifying the ordinance to reflect that all new accounts must now pay a deposit.
- Increasing the residential deposit from $75 to $175 ($200 if billed in installments); Increasing the commercial deposit to $300.
- The property owner must sign a service contract stating that he/she is ultimately responsible for all delinquencies
- Increasing the water service turn-on fee from $20 to $60 ($100 for same day service)
- Refunding the deposit when service is discontinued
- When services are disconnected for non-payment, the deposit is automatically set at $250
- To accommodate for inspections of homes for sale, real estate agents will be allowed to turn-on water for three days with payment of $100 turn-on fee
- Real estate agents with a listing will be allowed to establish service provided they sign the service contract agreeing to be responsible for fees