ARTICLE IWater and Sewer Meters (§ 229-1 — § 229-9)
§ 229-1Short title.
§ 229-2Statement of authority.
§ 229-3Statement of purposes and legislative intent.
§ 229-4Use of meters required.
§ 229-5Specifications and regulations.
§ 229-6Expenses of acquisition, installation, repair, inspection, testing
and removal of meters and appurtenances.
§ 229-7Relationship with other laws, rules or regulations.
§ 229-8Basis for user charges.
§ 229-9Penalties for offenses.
This article shall be known as the "Water and Sewer Meter Law of the Town of Montgomery."
This article shall apply to all lands within the Town of Montgomery, Orange County, State of New York excepting all those lands within the corporate boundaries of the Villages of Walden, Maybrook and Montgomery.
This article is authorized by the New York State Constitution, Article IX, Section 2, the provisions of the New York Municipal Home Rule Law, the provisions of the Statute of Local Governments, the relevant provisions of the Town Law and the General Municipal Law of the State of New York and the general police power vested with the Town of Montgomery (hereinafter the "Town").
The Town Board of the Town of Montgomery is the governing authority for all special districts and special improvement areas within the Town.
The Town Board of the Town of Montgomery hereby finds the following facts and renders the following conclusions as to the purpose and intent of this article:
The Town of Montgomery is experiencing substantial residential and commercial development both within and without the various sewer and water districts and improvement areas in the Town, and this growth is expected to continue.
The Town of Montgomery recently has caused substantial capital improvements to be made to both its sewage and wastewater transmission, treatment and disposal systems and to its water production, treatment, storage and distribution facilities.
Prior to the recent capital improvement projects referenced in Subsection B above, the Town obtained public water under contract with the Village of Maybrook and the Town obtained sewage and wastewater disposal services partially from a former sand filter system located off of Bracken Road in the Town and partially under separate contract with the Village of Maybrook. As such, the necessity of individual meters previously was not required as the Village of Maybrook utilized a master meter to gauge the flows coming into and leaving the village, and the sand filter system maintained by the Town of Montgomery was developed approximately 20 years ago without the requirement of individual meters and, instead, relied on national averages to estimate flows.
The benefits of metered flows cannot be disputed and they include, without limitation:
User fees will be based upon actual consumption and/or flows instead of upon estimated consumption and/or flows;
The database created by metered flows will allow the Town to analyze potential treatment capacity issues and be better prepared to analyze unexplained surges;
The Town will be able to monitor more accurately the various systems for water leakage from the water supply system and for infiltration and/or unauthorized discharges to the sewage and wastewater collection system.
Based upon the above, the Town Board concludes that the provisions of this article will be a benefit to all of the present and future users of the public water and sewer systems of the Town and will serve to promote and advance the health, safety and welfare of the Town of Montgomery.
Future water connections. As of the effective date of this article, all new connections to any public water system in the Town of Montgomery shall require the installation and use of a water meter as specified by the Town. If multiple users are permitted to operate from one main connection, the Town Board or its duly authorized designee may require the installation of multiple meters.
Future sewer connections. As of the effective date of this article, all new connections to any public sewage system in the Town of Montgomery shall require, at the sole option of the Town or its designee, the installation and use of a water and/or sewage flow meter per the specifications of the Town.
Both future water and future sewer connections. Notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection B above, the Town Board or its duly authorized designee, at the sole option of the Town, shall have the authority to require that a sewage flow meter be installed and used in addition to a water meter if the Town has a reasonable basis to conclude that sewage flows must be metered notwithstanding that water consumption also is metered.
Existing connections to water and/or sewer systems. The Town Board or its duly authorized designee, at the sole option of the Town, shall have the authority at anytime after the effective date of this article to require that an existing user of water and/or sewage facilities shall install and utilize water consumption meters and/or sewage flow meters per the specifications of the Town. The exercise of the authority established by this Subsection D is intended to allow the Town to implement the gradual conversion from estimated flows to metered flows without causing undue financial hardship to smaller, typical users, such as single-family residences, where estimated and actual flows are not believed to be at great variance. Notwithstanding, the Town recognizes that certain existing users of the water and/or sewage systems of the Town consume substantial amounts of water and/or contribute either substantial amounts of wastewater and/or specific types of wastewater to the Town's wastewater disposal system. Without limiting the application of Subsection D above, it is these types of existing users that initially will be required to install meters as specified below. For properties that utilize an existing meter or meters as of the effective date of this article, the Town or its duly authorized designee, at its sole option, may allow the continued use of existing meters and their appurtenances, provided that the Town or its designee finds that such existing meters and their appurtenances meet the purposes, standards and specifications set forth in this article.
Only meters approved by the Town Board or its duly authorized designee shall be installed and utilized. All such installations shall be performed by Town forces or by outside contractors retained by the Town pursuant to applicable law. Meters and their appurtenances shall be supplied by the Town and shall remain the property of the Town or of the applicable water and/or sewer district or improvement area.
Meters shall be located and kept free from all obstructions so as to afford easy access so that they can be read, inspected and tested easily. Where required by the Town, meters shall be located outside of the structure or structures on the premises. Alternatively, at the sole discretion of the Town, meters that are located inside structures shall be required to have the appropriate reading device located in an acceptable location outside of the structure or structures on the subject property. For meters and/or related appurtenances installed inside of the structure or structures on the premises, any authorized agent of the Town, upon a showing of proper identification, shall be allowed to enter any premises at reasonable hours, to read and/or inspect and/or test the meter(s) and/or related appurtenances, make repairs or examine related plumbing fixtures and/or to remove such meters and appurtenances but for no other reason. Should the owner or occupant of the premises refuse to allow access to the premises for these purposes upon reasonable prior notice, a violation may be filed in accord with § 229-9 of this article and/or the Town can pursue any other reasonable remedies at law and/or in equity including, without limitation, the termination of water and/or sewer services, as the case may be, upon reasonable written notice and with a reasonable opportunity for the owner or occupant to be heard prior to such termination.
Any unauthorized removal or tampering with any meter or any of its appurtenances shall subject the owner and/or occupant of the premises to a violation or violations under this article. All water flows entering a property that is subject to this article and all sewage or wastewater flows leaving such property shall pass through the meter or meters, as the case may be. No bypass or other connection shall be made or maintained where flows are allowed to bypass a meter. Cross-connecting and/or the joining of the Town's water systems with any other portion of any private water supply system is prohibited.
The Engineer for the Town hereby is authorized and required to develop written standards regarding the specifications for the acquisition, installation, use, testing and removal of all meters and appurtenances to be utilized under this article. A reasonable number of copies of such written specifications shall be available without cost to any person or entity upon request. Such written specifications may be amended from time to time provided that each amendment also shall be in writing and made available as above.
The reasonable and actual costs of the expenses of the acquisition, installation, repair, replacement, inspection, testing and removal of meters and appurtenances shall be borne by the property owner and shall be paid in full within 20 days of invoice or, at the option of the Town or its designee, a non-interest-bearing escrow fund shall be posted by the owner or occupant or its agents which fund shall be held by the Town prior to the work being performed with all disbursements from said fund to be documented by the Town and all unexpended funds to be refunded to the party posting the escrow upon completion of the work.
In the event that full payment is not made when due, the reasonable costs for the work performed and/or the materials supplied shall become a lien on the real property which lien shall be superior to every other lien or claim except the lien of an existing tax, assessment or other lawful charge imposed by or for the State of New York or a political subdivision or district thereof. Such lien imposed hereunder shall be added to the applicable tax or roll and levy in the manner prescribed by law.
In the event that an owner or occupant of property utilizing any meters installed and/or utilized hereunder reasonably believes that the meters are not operating properly, such owner or occupant may submit a written request that the Town or its designee test the meter for accuracy. The responsibility to promptly request a meter test shall rest with the owner or occupant of the subject property and not with the Town. Testing requested by the owner or occupant shall require the payment of a testing fee per the current Town Fee Schedule. For those meters found to have an error in registration to the prejudice of the consumer in excess of 3% of any rate of flow within typical test flow limits, the fee paid for testing shall be refunded and the next due bill will be adjusted to correct such over-registration for the previous two billings periods. Such meter shall be repaired or replaced as elsewhere set forth in this article.
Notwithstanding the above, the Town or its designee may inspect and/or test meters at any time per the provisions elsewhere set forth in this article. For those meters found to have an error in registration to the prejudice of the Town in excess of 3% of any rate of flow within typical test flow limits, the owner may be served with a special invoice for the shortfall as determined by various factors including, without limitation, the historical average flow rate for the premises receiving the subject service of services. All such special invoices shall be paid per the provisions of this article regarding regular invoices and all remedies for nonpayment of regular invoices also shall apply to such special invoices. Additionally, such meter shall be repaired or replaced as elsewhere set forth in this article.
The provisions of this article shall be in addition to and not in replacement of other applicable laws, rules and/or regulations of the Town of Montgomery and of the County of Orange, the State of New York and/or of the United States of America as those laws, rules and regulations now exist or from time to time are amended except where the provisions of this article impose a more stringent standard then the provisions of this article shall control.
The applicable water and sewer rates for metered flows shall be established by the Town Board pursuant to applicable law. The quantity of flow recorded by the water meter shall be considered to be the amount of water consumed and, in the absence of a sewage or wastewater flow meter, shall be considered, also, to be the amount of sewage or wastewater discharged, unless specific facts related to the type of use or type of discharge command a different conclusion.
Meters shall be read periodically by the Town and property owners shall be billed accordingly. All bills are due and payable net cash within 30 days of the billing date. After 30 days a penalty of 10% will be added to the bill for each and every month or part thereof that payment is late. If any bill hereunder is not paid in full within 30 days of the billing date, such bill and penalty shall constitute a lien upon the real property and such lien shall be superior to every other lien or claim except the lien of an existing tax, assessment or other lawful charge imposed by or for the State of New York or a political subdivision or district thereof. All charges hereunder shall be payable, collectible and enforceable in the manner provided by law for the payment, collection and enforcement of annual Town taxes in the Town of Montgomery.
Any person, corporation or other entity committing an offense against any provision of this article shall be guilty of a violation as defined in the Penal Law for the State of New York and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both. Each week's continued violation after notice thereof shall constitute a separate additional violation.
In addition to the above, the Town shall have the right to exercise any other remedies available under law to ensure compliance hereunder.