Municipality of Murrysville, PA
Westmoreland County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the Municipality of Murrysville 9-22-1981 by Ord. No. 87-81. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Sanitary Authority — See Ch. 60.
Drainage — See Ch. 102.
Fees — See Ch. 112.
Mosquito breeding areas — See Ch. 152.
Sewers — See Ch. 193.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 198.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 199.

§ 215-1 Definitions.

The following terms, whenever used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, except in those instances where the context clearly indicates otherwise:
CONSTRUCTION
Includes acquisition and construction, and the term "to construct" shall mean and include to acquire and to construct, all in such manner as may be deemed desirable.
COST OF CONSTRUCTION
Includes but is not limited to all costs, expenses, charges, fees, interests, etc., directly or indirectly related to the construction of a water distribution system and recognized in law as being a permissible item to be charged against properties benefited, improved or accommodated by a water distribution system.
COUNCIL
The governing body of the Municipality of Murrysville.
IMPROVEMENT
Includes extension, enlargement and improvement; and the term "to improve" shall mean and include to extend, to enlarge and to improve, all in such manner as may be deemed desirable.
MUNICIPALITY
The Municipality of Murrysville, a political subdivision and Home Rule Charter community created and existing under the Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as amended and supplemented.
PROJECT
Any structure, facility or undertaking which the Municipality shall acquire, construct, improve or maintain in providing for the supply and service of water to the various portions of the Municipality.

§ 215-2 Purpose.

The Council of the Municipality of Murrysville shall provide for the continuous supply and service of water in the furtherance of the general health, welfare, safety and prosperity of the community and may, from time to time in its sole discretion, create, establish, construct, improve or maintain a water distribution system or systems in providing for the supply and service of water to the various portions of the Municipality; provide for the connection of properties to the water system and for the assessment of the cost of construction to properties benefited, improved or accommodated by the water system; and file municipal claims for unpaid assessments. This chapter is further intended to establish a standard for such municipal activities and shall not serve as a retrospective limitation of any municipal powers or actions predating the effective date of this chapter.

§ 215-3 Powers of Council.

The Council shall have and may exercise all powers conferred to it under the Home Rule Charter of the Municipality of Murrysville and such additional powers necessary or convenient for the carrying out of the aforesaid purpose, including or without limitation in generality of the foregoing the following rights and powers:
A. 
To acquire, purchase, hold, lease as lessee and use any franchise, property (real, personal or mixed; tangible or intangible) or any interest therein necessary or desirable for carrying out the purpose of this chapter and to sell, lease as lessor, transfer and dispose of any property or interest therein at any time acquired by it.
B. 
To acquire by purchase, lease or otherwise and to construct, improve, maintain or repair the water distribution system in the carrying out of the aforesaid purpose.
C. 
To borrow money, make and issue negotiable notes, bonds, refunding bonds and other evidences of indebtedness or obligations as may be authorized by law and subject to any limitations contained in the Municipality's Home Rule Charter or Administrative Code[1] now in force or as may be hereinafter amended or supplemented.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 3, Administration of Government.
D. 
To make payment on the principal and/or interest on its indebtedness or obligations and to fulfill the terms and provisions of any agreements made with the purchasers or holders of any such obligations.
E. 
To make contracts of every name and nature and to execute all instruments necessary or convenient for the carrying out of the aforesaid purpose.
F. 
Without limitation of the foregoing, to accept grants and to enter into contracts, leases or other transactions with any federal agency, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, any municipality, school district, corporation or authority.
G. 
To establish and construct a water distribution system or systems within the Municipality of Murrysville, locating the water main(s), line(s) and appurtenances thereto in opened or unopened public or private streets, in the center of the street or on either side of the cartway or the curblines thereof and on public or private property, and the costs and expenses of such water distribution system(s) may be assessed against the properties benefited, improved or accommodated thereby, regardless of the property line location and regardless of whether any portion of the property so benefited, accommodated or improved shall physically abut upon said water distribution system main(s), line(s) and appurtenances.
H. 
To exercise the power of eminent domain.
I. 
To pledge, hypothecate or otherwise encumber all or any of the revenue or receipts of the Municipality from a water distribution system as security for all or any of the obligations of the Municipality in the construction of said water distribution system.
J. 
To do all acts and things necessary or convenient for the promotion of the aforesaid purpose or in carrying out powers herein set forth by this chapter.
K. 
To contract with the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County or any corporation, partnership, organization or individual on such terms as the Municipality shall deem proper for the construction, operation and maintenance of any water distribution system.
L. 
To enter into contracts for the supply and service of water and other related services to and for the benefit of the Municipality or the residents of the Municipality.
M. 
To pay for the costs of construction of any water distribution by utilizing any one, all or a combination of the following four methods:
(1) 
Wholly or partially from general municipal funds, including funds from grants or the incurring of debt.
(2) 
Wholly or partially by general taxation.
(3) 
Wholly or partially as a charge upon the properties benefited, improved or accommodated thereby to the extent of such benefit by means of foot-front assessment, viewer's benefit assessment and tapping charges, any one, all or a combination of which may be utilized on any project or water district.
(4) 
Wholly or partially from voluntary contributions of the owners of any property benefited, improved or accommodated by a water distribution system.
N. 
To charge, wholly or partially, the cost of construction of any water distribution system against the properties benefited, improved or accommodated thereby, according to the foot-front rule. Such charges shall be based upon the foot frontage of the property so benefited and shall be a lien against such properties. The Council may allow such reduction in the case of corner properties and unusually shaped properties where those properties benefited, improved or accommodated by more than one water line, as the ordinance may specify. The ordinance may further provide for equitable assessments or adjustments when special conditions exist where an assessment for the full frontage would be unjust. Such charges may be assessed and collected by action of assumpsit or by lien to be filed and collected in the same manner and subject in all respects to the general law providing for the filing and recovery of municipal claims. When the Council shall have determined to assess properties in proportion to frontage, any property benefited, improved or accommodated by the water distribution system which shall not be lawfully subject to such manner of assessment or as to which such manner of assessment shall not reasonably measure the benefit to such property shall be assessed by the Municipality in accordance with the methods herein provided in Subsections O and P. There shall not be charged against the properties benefited, improved or accommodated thereby an aggregate amount in excess of the actual cost of construction.
O. 
To charge, wholly or partially, the cost of construction of any water distribution system against the properties benefited, improved or accommodated thereby to the extent of such benefits. The amounts of the charge on each property shall be ascertained as herein provided in § 215-4 of this chapter.
P. 
To charge, wholly or partially, the cost of construction of any water distribution system against the properties benefited, improved or accommodated thereby by means of a tapping fee. Any one, all or a combination of the charges authorized in Subsections N, O and P of this section may be utilized on any water distribution system project or water district.
Q. 
To charge a connection fee whenever the owner of any property connects such property with a water distribution system constructed by the Municipality, its authorized agents or under its authority, which fee shall be an addition to any charges assessed and collected against such properties in the construction of the water distribution system or any rental charges assessed.
R. 
To collect voluntary contributions for the whole or partial payment of the cost of construction of a water distribution system from the owner of any property to be benefited, improved or accommodated thereby, and to use all of said funds for payment toward the cost of construction.
S. 
To retain any and all amounts refunded by the Municipality Authority of Westmoreland County and collected as a tapping fee from the owner of any property connecting such property to a water distribution system within the Municipality.
T. 
To require any owner of property benefited, accommodated or improved by a water distribution system constructed by the Municipality or under its authority to make connection(s) with and use the same, except for industries and farms who have their own water supply system for uses other than human consumption and as hereinafter provided in § 215-11. In case any owner of property, except those previously excepted, shall neglect or refuse to connect with and use said system for a period of 90 days after a notice to do so has been served upon him, either by personal service or registered mail, the Council or its agents may enter upon such property and construct such connection. In such case, the Council shall forthwith, upon completion of the work, send an itemized bill of the cost of construction of such connection to the owner of the property to which connection has been made, which bill shall be payable forthwith.
(1) 
The Council may authorize the payment of the cost of construction of connections in equal monthly installments; said installments shall bear interest from the date of completion of the construction of the connection at the maximum legal rate authorized by Acts of General Assembly which are applicable to a class or classes of municipalities in similar cases.
(2) 
The cost of construction of connections shall be payable at the office of the Chief Administrator of the Municipality of Murrysville, in monthly installments, together with interest as aforesaid.
(3) 
In case of default in the payment of any installment and interest for a period of 60 days after the same shall become due, the entire cost of construction of the connection and accrued interest shall become due, and the Council shall proceed to collect the same by action of assumpsit or by lien to be filed and collected in the same manner and subject in all respects to the general law providing for the filing and recovery of municipal claims.
(4) 
In case of neglect or refusal by the owner of such property to pay said bill, the Council shall proceed to collect the same by action of assumpsit or by lien to be filed and collected in the same manner and subject in all respects to the general law providing for the filing and recovery of municipal claims.
(5) 
In case any owner of property, except those previously excepted, shall neglect or refuse to connect with and use said system, as aforesaid, the Municipality may also impose penalties to be enforced by summary proceeding before a District Justice.
[Amended 12-16-1991 by Ord. No. 305-91]
U. 
To charge any property benefited, improved or accommodated by a water distribution system a monthly, quarterly or annual rental or rate charge, whether such property is or is not connected to the water distribution system; provided, however, that the Municipality may not also impose a rental or rate charge where one is also imposed by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County for water supply and service. Such rental or rate charge, whether imposed by the Municipality or the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, shall constitute a lien until paid against the property benefited, improved or accommodated by such system, and the amount thereof may be recovered by action in assumpsit or by lien to be filed and collected in the same manner and subject in all respects to the general law providing for the filing and recovery of municipal claims.
V. 
To constitute a portion of the Municipality accommodated by a water distribution system as a water district or divide it into several water districts. In every such case of division into several districts, the Council shall make an estimate of the proportion of the cost of the water distribution system which should be equitably charged on each of said districts and declare and establish such a apportionment by resolution.

§ 215-4 Procedure for assessment according to benefits.

In all cases where the Council shall select the method provided by § 215-3O of the foregoing section, it shall petition the Court of Common Pleas for appointment of viewers to assess benefits. All such properties considered shall have their respective benefits assessed by jury or board of view in one proceeding or as ordered by the court. The viewers' proceeding and their report shall be as provided in the eminent domain code[1] now in force or as hereinafter amended or supplemented.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Charter § C-5.

§ 215-5 Procedure for assessment by foot-front rule.

In all cases where the Council shall select the method of the foot-front rule provided by § 215-3N of this chapter, the assessment, duly certified under the seal of the Municipality, attested by the President of the Council and the Municipal Secretary, shall be collectible from the owner of the property benefited, improved or accommodated thereby. Such certificate of assessment shall be prima facie evidence, in any proceeding for recovery of the same, of the correctness and validity of such assessment. The Municipal Secretary shall cause notice of the assessment to be given to each party assessed, either by ordinary mail directed to the owner or his agent residing in the Municipality and to all such owners residing elsewhere whose address is known or by leaving the same on the assessed premises. The assessment herein referred to shall be computed under the terms of the assessment ordinance, but the individual assessment need not be expressed therein.

§ 215-6 Collection of assessments; liens.

A. 
After the amount of the assessment charge upon the several properties has been established, either by ordinance making assessment according to frontage or by confirmation of any report of viewers in whole or in part, and if the owners of the property against which assessment has been made shall fail or refuse to pay such assessment within 30 days after notice or confirmation of assessment to such owners, it shall be the duty of the Council to proceed to collect the same, with interest from the date of completion of the improvement, by action of assumpsit or by lien to be filed and collected in the same manner and subject in all respects to the general law providing for the filing and recovery of municipal claims.
B. 
Interest shall accrue at the maximum legal rate authorized by Acts of the General Assembly which are applicable to a class or classes of municipalities on assessments charged against a property benefited, improved or accommodated by a municipal improvement. When an owner has two or more lots against which there is an assessment for the same improvement, all such lots may be embraced in one claim. The municipal claims shall be filed for the collection of an assessment within the time period after the completion of all construction on the water distribution system project, as provided by general law for the filing and recovery of municipal claims, and any appropriate extension thereof due to any delay occasioned in ascertaining the cost of construction and the individual assessment on the properties benefited, accommodated or improved by the water distribution system or in the giving of the requisite notice of assessment or by reason of the proceeding or action before any court or board of view.
C. 
The amount of all assessments charged and collected shall be payable to the Municipality's general fund and for the use of the Municipality.

§ 215-7 Interest.

Interest shall accrue on each assessment provided under the provisions of this chapter for the cost of construction from the time of the completion of the improvement at the maximum legal rate authorized by Acts of General Assembly which are applicable to a class or classes of municipalities on assessments charged against properties benefited, improved or accommodated by municipal improvements.

§ 215-8 Discount for prompt payment.

The Council may, in its discretion, establish a fixed discount or variable discount schedule for the prompt payment of the assessment charged against each property benefited, improved or accommodated by a water distribution system.

§ 215-9 Deferral agreement.

The Council may enter into an agreement with the owner of a large undeveloped or partially developed property, acknowledged by both parties and thereafter recorded, whereby the owner shall pay immediately a stipulated portion of the assessment and shall also covenant to pay the remaining assessment in the future as agreed to by the parties.

§ 215-10 Exemptions.

All real estate, by whomever owned and for whatsoever purposes used, shall be subject to all municipal assessments herein provided, except such real estate exempted by law from such municipal assessments.

§ 215-11 Right of owner to connect to water facilities.

Any owner whose property has been benefited, improved or accommodated by the construction of a water distribution system shall have the right to connect such property with such water facilities and shall have the further right to lay a water service line in and under any public street, road, lane, alley or other public highway in connecting such property to the water facilities. An owner whose property abuts one side of a highway, street, road, lane or alley shall have the right to connect his property with a water line laid along the center line of or along either side of such public highway, street, road, lane or alley and to cross under any paved cartway in making such connection. The paved cartway may also be cut where, in the opinion of the Municipal Engineer, such connection cannot otherwise be reasonably made. The cost of all work, materials and water meter pertaining to the laying of such water service line and its connection with the water distribution system shall be financially and otherwise the sole responsibility of the owner of the property with which connection is made, subject, however, to the Municipality's right (or those acting under its authority) to establish the manner, location and/or design and construction standards for all work and materials of whatever nature or kind pertaining to the water service line(s) and connection(s). All work of making connections to the water main shall be done under the supervision of the Municipal Engineer or his authorized agent and shall conform to the provisions of all federal, state, county or local laws, statutes, ordinances or regulations then and there pertaining and permits required thereunder. All connections, lines and water meters shall further be in compliance with the regulations and fees imposed by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

§ 215-12 Highway occupation.

In providing for regulating, protecting and extending its system of distribution of water, the Municipality may occupy public highways, but no highway under the jurisdiction of the Department of Highways shall be occupied until a permit therefor has been obtained from such Department, nor any highway under the jurisdiction of the county until a permit therefor has been obtained from the County Commissioners.