7-13-2301. Establishment of charges for services -- payment of charges. (1) The board of directors shall fix all water and sewer rates and shall, through the general manager, collect the sewer charges and the charges for the sale and distribution of water to all users.
(2) (a) The board, in furnishing water, sewer service, other services, and facilities, shall review, at least once every year, and set, as required, the rate, fee, toll, rent, tax, or other charge for the services, facilities, and benefits directly afforded by the facilities, taking into account services provided and direct benefits received. Taking into account the collections of any special assessments levied pursuant to 7-13-2280 through 7-13-2290 and any property taxes that will be levied to pay debt service on general obligation bonds authorized pursuant to 7-13-2331, the amount to be collected and appropriated must be sufficient in each year to provide income and revenue adequate for the:
(i) payment of the reasonable expense of operation and maintenance of the facilities;
(ii) administration of the district;
(iii) payment of principal and interest on any bonded or other indebtedness of the district;
(iv) establishment or maintenance of any required reserves, including reserves needed for expenditures for depreciation and replacement of facilities, as may be determined necessary from time to time by the board or as covenanted in the ordinance or resolution authorizing the outstanding bonds of the district; and
(v) payment of rates, fees, and charges levied by a regional authority established pursuant to Title 75, chapter 6, part 3.
(b) A portion of the rate, fee, toll, rent, tax, or other charge provided for in subsection (2)(a) may be charged to the owner of an undeveloped lot, tract, or parcel to pay a share of the principal of and interest on bonded indebtedness issued to finance the capital cost of improvements to an existing water or sewer system, so long as the board makes findings in a resolution or ordinance of the district that demonstrate that the improvements to the existing system to be financed by the bonded indebtedness confer a direct benefit on the lot, tract, or parcel.
(3) A person or entity may not use any facility without paying the rate established for the facility. In the event of nonpayment, the board may order the discontinuance of water or sewer service, or both, to the property and may require that all delinquent charges, interest, penalties, and deposits be paid before restoration of the service.
(4) (a) If the board has ordered discontinuance of service as provided in subsection (3) and the person or entity who received the service has not made full payment of all delinquent charges, interest, penalties, and deposits, then a district may elect to have its delinquent charges for water or sewer services collected as a tax against the property by following the procedures of this subsection (4). If a charge for services is due and payable in a fiscal year and is not paid by the end of the fiscal year, the general manager shall, by July 15 of the succeeding fiscal year, give notice to the owners of the property to which the service was provided. The notice must be in writing and:
(i) must specify the charges owed, including any interest and penalty;
(ii) must specify that the amount due must be paid by August 15 or it will be levied as a tax against the property;
(iii) must state that the district may institute suit in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover the amount due; and
(iv) may be served on the owner personally or by letter addressed to the post-office address of the owner as recorded in the county assessor's office.
(b) On September 1 of each year, the general manager shall certify and file with the county assessor a list of all property, including legal descriptions, on which arrearages remain unpaid. The list must include the amount of each arrearage, including interest and penalty. The county assessor shall assess the amount owed as a tax against each lot or parcel with an arrearage. If the property on which arrearages remain unpaid contains a mobile home, the amount owed must be assessed as a tax against the owner of the mobile home. If the mobile home for which arrearages remain unpaid is no longer on the property, the amount owed must be assessed as a tax against the property.
(5) In addition to collecting delinquent charges in the same manner as a tax, a district may bring suit in any court of competent jurisdiction to collect amounts due as a debt owed to the district.
(6) Notwithstanding any other section of part 22 or this part or any limitation imposed in part 22 or this part, when the board has applied for and received from the federal government any money for the construction, operation, and maintenance of facilities, the board may adopt a system of charges and rates to require that each recipient of facility services pays its proportionate share of the costs of operation, maintenance, and replacement and may require industrial users of facilities to pay the portion of the cost of construction of the facilities that is allocable to the treatment of that industrial user's wastes.
History: (1)En. Sec. 25, Ch. 242, L. 1957; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 263, L. 1967; Sec. 16-4525, R.C.M. 1947; (2), (3)En. Sec. 26, Ch. 242, L. 1957; amd. Sec. 1, Ch. 263, L. 1967; amd. Sec. 17, Ch. 455, L. 1975; Sec. 16-4526, R.C.M. 1947; R.C.M. 1947, 16-4525, 16-4526; amd. Sec. 4, Ch. 518, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 351, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 342, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 187, L. 2013.