The budget plan is hereby authorized for eligible customers to provide a program by which a customer is billed and pays a fixed, flat budget billing amount each month rather than the actual utility charges incurred subject to the terms and conditions listed in this section. By definition the budget billing amount is an estimate and average based on past events and is unlikely to exactly match the total actual charges in a 12-month period.
(1) Application and Qualification. Applications for the budget plan are to be made through the City utility billing office. A customer shall qualify for the budget plan if they meet the following criteria:
(a) Their account has been in full service status for at least 12 consecutive months and has not incurred a late pay penalty.
(b) Their monthly budget billing amount is paid in full each month before incurring a late pay penalty.
(c) Their budget plan account is paid to zero at the time of the “carryover” calculation.
(2) Billing. The customer shall be sent a bill monthly showing how much is due for the monthly budget billing amount and how much the account is over/under paid based on actual charges and actual payments made on the account. This billing shall be considered sufficient notice and no separate notification of changes to the monthly budget billing amount is required. It shall be the customer’s responsibility to monitor changes to the monthly budget billing amount and to adjust any amounts established on the City’s autopay program or other automated payment bank paying systems.
(3) Calculation. The monthly budget billing amount is calculated by taking the total of the actual charges for the previous 12 months and dividing that total by 12 to establish the base monthly amount. The base monthly amount is adjusted by the carryover amount to establish the monthly budget amount. The carryover amount is the difference between all charges to the account through the calculation date less all payments through the calculation date divided by 12. Budget billing accounts will be recalculated and the monthly budget billing amount adjusted each April and October.
(4) Removal from the Budget Plan. Accounts that no longer meet the eligibility criteria will be removed from the budget plan and be subject to all the terms and conditions of accounts not on the budget plan, which may also include payment of all delinquent charges. Accounts may also be removed from the budget plan upon customer request. Any accounts removed from the budget plan based on customer request will be ineligible to return to the budget plan for one year from the date of removal. The Director of Finance is authorized to re-enroll an account to the budget plan immediately if there has been only one late penalty and the customer has demonstrated to the Director of Finance sufficient actions have been taken (e.g., enrollment in autopay) to guard against future late payments.
(5) Notifications. A customer that is removed from the budget plan will be notified in writing that the account has been removed from the budget plan and be advised of the delinquent amount owing on the account. The account will then follow the same collection processes used for accounts that are not enrolled in the budget plan.