Chapter 13.02   UTILITIES "LIFELINE" RATES PROGRAM

Sections:


13.02.010   Purpose.

Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution and RCW 74.38.070, the City of Black Diamond wishes to provide necessary support for the poor and infirm who would otherwise be unable to afford the standard monthly service rates of the city's water, sewer, and storm water utilities. At the same time, the city recognizes that its ability to offer special rates is limited by the financial constraints of the city and the limited revenues available to fund special rates for low-income residents. Therefore, the city has been forced to limit availability of these special rates according to the criteria described in this chapter.

(Ord. No. 901, § 8(Exh. A), 4-23-2009)

13.02.020   Lifeline utility rates.

A.

The City of Black Diamond hereby authorizes a reduced monthly rate for residential low-income senior citizen and residential low-income disabled customers of the city's water, sewer, and storm water utilities. This reduced rate shall be known as the "lifeline" rate, and shall be a reduction of up to fifty percent of the city's share of the costs for services provided under the city's water, sewer, and storm water utilities. Fees or charges collected by the city on behalf of other utilities shall be unaffected.

B.

The exact amount of the lifeline rate reduction shall be set annually by the city council and published on the city's official fee schedule.

(Ord. No. 901, § 8(Exh. A), 4-23-2009)

13.02.030   Eligibility.

A.

Lifeline utility rates shall be available to any household that meets the following criteria:

1.

The residence or apartment seeking to receive the lifeline rates must be served by City of Black Diamond utilities.

2.

The account must be in the name of a resident customer who is sixty-two years of age or older, or who can provide verification from an attending physician or other official document, such as a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) statement, of being permanently disabled; and

3.

Total household disposable income from all sources (such as Social Security; Disability payments; Veteran's benefits; pensions; rents; annuities; IRA withdrawals; etc.) must not exceed the official guidelines set annually by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and

4.

The customer eligible for the lifeline rate must be living at the residence or apartment receiving the discount.

5.

Households in which a person resides who is receiving kidney dialysis and where the household income does not exceed the HUD guidelines may receive a discount on water rates of fifty percent. The customer eligible for the lifeline rate must be living at the residence or apartment receiving the discount.

B.

Lifeline utility rates shall be available for residential customers only; non-residential users shall be ineligible to receive lifeline rates.

(Ord. No. 901, § 8(Exh. A), 4-23-2009)

13.02.040   Application and approval procedure.

A.

Application procedures.

1.

Persons wishing to apply for a lifeline rate shall file an application with the city clerk on a form approved by the city. This form shall include a statement in which the applicant attests under oath that the information provided by the applicant is true and correct to the best of applicant's knowledge.

2.

The applicant shall provide a copy of applicant's most recent tax return, or other reliable official document, that verifies the applicant's income.

3.

If the applicant is asserting a disability that renders them eligible for a lifeline utility rate, the applicant must provide verification of their condition from a licensed attending physician or through other official documents, such as a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) statement, that verifies that the applicant is permanently disabled.

4.

The city may require any other information from the applicant reasonably necessary to determine the applicant's eligibility.

B.

Approval or denial of application.

1.

Applications for lifeline utility rates shall be reviewed by the city's finance director, or his or her designee, for completeness and eligibility. An incomplete application shall not be processed.

2.

The finance director, or his or her designee, shall inform the applicant in writing whether the application has been approved or denied. If the application is denied, the applicant shall be informed in writing of the reason for the denial.

3.

If denial is based on misrepresentation of information by the applicant, the applicant shall be ineligible to receive a lifeline rate for a period of five years.

C.

Annual application required. Applicants for a lifeline utility rate shall be reviewed for approval based on their circumstances at the time of application, provided, persons may apply only once in any calendar year, and persons who have previously been denied based on intentional misrepresentation to the city shall be ineligible to receive lifeline rates for a period of five years. Persons who have previously been approved for a lifeline utility rate must reapply each year and demonstrate their continued eligibility. No lifeline rate shall be renewed without an application and approval as provided in this section.

D.

Revocation of lifeline rate. The city shall have the right to immediately revoke any lifeline utility rate reduction upon probable cause to believe the applicant and/or recipient of the rate is ineligible to receive it.

(Ord. No. 901, § 8(Exh. A), 4-23-2009)

13.02.050   Appeals.

A person who has properly applied for and been denied a lifeline utility rate may appeal this denial by filing a request in writing within ten days of the denial to the city administrator. The appellant may provide additional information to support the appeal, if desired. A decision on the appeal shall be issued within thirty days of receipt. If the position of city administrator is vacant at the time the appeal is filed, the mayor shall consider the appeal. The decision of the city administrator or the mayor shall be final. Requests received by telephone, facsimile, or email shall not satisfy the requirements of this section.

(Ord. No. 901, § 8(Exh. A), 4-23-2009)

13.02.060   Violation—Penalties.

The city shall have authority to take all measures, criminal and civil, allowed by law to seek reimbursement for any reduction in utility rates achieved based on intentional misrepresentation, fraud, or deceit, and to seek any other penalties available under the law.

(Ord. No. 901, § 8(Exh. A), 4-23-2009)