Jerome Officials to Consider Changes to Utility Billing, Penalties
CITY OF JEROME, IDAHO—October 7, 2010
On September 7, 2010, the Jerome City Council met to discuss the problem of a significant rise in the number of delinquent accounts in the city’s utility billing operations. The number of accounts scheduled for shut-off due to non-payment has risen dramatically from forty accounts per month to over 160 accounts, a four-fold increase. This trend is alarming and costly to the operations of the Water Works Department and unfairly burdens everyone else who pays their bills on time with compensating for those who don’t. At this meeting the City Council directed staff to propose changes to the billing policies for utility accounts related to delinquency fees, landlord responsibilities and termination fees.
A number of proposals have been brought forward and will be presented to the public for discussion at a Town Hall meeting to be held on Tuesday, October 12, 2010, at the Jerome Public Library at 7:00 p.m. The City Council is interested in hearing public opinion about how to address this issue. These changes would be accomplished in two separate ordinances. In summary, the first ordinance creates a new section of Jerome Municipal Code, that establishes that only the real property owners served by City services may subscribe to City utility services, including water, sewer, sanitation, and irrigation. This differs from the current practice of allowing tenants to subscribe to said City services. The second ordinance establishes a new delinquent penalty of 20% of the outstanding bill to be placed on all late utility payments (those paid after the 15th of the month) and a termination fee of $100 to be placed on unpaid utility accounts which have been shut off on the last Tuesday of the month.
The City Council will consider these ordinances for adoption in November. All interested persons are invited to attend the council meetings when these ordinances will be discussed or to call City Hall at 324-8189 with any questions. Updates will be posted to the city’s Facebook page (“City of Jerome, Idaho”) and the City Blog (www.cityofjerome.blogspot.com).